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Event: 2019 Cabaret Festival

Auckland’s grand dame of cabaret and musical theatre, The Civic, plays host to a stellar line-up of international cabaret stars and top Kiwi performers this June, when the red carpet is rolled out for the fifth Auckland Live Cabaret Season.

With The Civic celebrating its 90th birthday this year, the season’s eclectic programme is the perfect party starter, starring nine sumptuous shows featuring cabaret, musical theatre and immersive experiences celebrating inclusivity, gender fluidity, dance and the best in entertainment after dark.

The iconic Civic has a rich history of cabaret and musical theatre dating back to the 1920s, peaking during the Second World War when Freda Stark, a clerical worker by day, would entertain the troops at night in the Wintergarden. Dancing in just a feather headdress and not much else, Freda was an icon during the wartime years and her legacy lives on as the venue invokes her spirit and celebrates a week of sassy, sexy and cheeky entertainment.

The 2019 Auckland Live Cabaret Season kicks off with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s The NZ Mix Tape. This one-off show is a celebration of the Kiwi music we know and love, featuring talented NZ musicians Liam Finn, Nadia Reid and Anna Coddington performing with the full 72-piece orchestra. The set list includes songs from some of our greatest songwriters including Don McGlashan, Supergroove, Crowded House, Dave Dobbyn and Lorde, reflecting who we are and where we live.

Making his New Zealand debut, Auckland Live proudly presents Reuben Kaye, international cabaret superstar, and the undeniably delightful face of the festival, Reuben will be holding court across the week in various guises before taking to the mainstage with his full-length show.

Hailed by Melbourne’s Herald Sun as ‘the quintessential cabaret performer’, Reuben promises an explosion of high energy, high camp, big notes and filthy humour – your perfect cabaret combo.

Premiering on June 11 is Delicious Oblivion, a brand-new work starring Jennifer Ward-Lealand and directed by Shane Bosher, in which the pair explore the biting musical experience of subversive cabaret wunderkind Kurt Weill and his contemporaries in this wild rejig of the Weimar songbook.

The Māori Sidesteps hit the Wintergarden stage on June 12 for their ‘belly laughing, thought-provoking and sing-a-longy’ one-night-only performance that deliverers a fresh and enlightening perspective of the evolution of the Māori showband. 

Mid-week, Pasifika gender fluid creatives Fine Fatale unveil The Heels are Alive, a fierce night of diva songs and vogue-stomping dance that will titillate the soul and excite the spirit with its contemporary embodiment of Pasifika pride.

The Civic herself takes centre stage from June 13, when Barbarian Production’s all-new Grand Opening tour takes audiences behind the velvet curtain to reveal the grandeur, the gossip and a glimpse of what makes the heritage venue tick, in an immersive, surprising and satisfying up-close-and-personal experience with the much-loved entertainment icon.

Making their NZ debut on June 13 is YUMMY Productions’ powerhouse cabaret show taking over at the Wintergarden. A legend in the international underground cabaret scene, YUMMY’s breath-taking drag, music, circus, and burlesque guarantees an outrageous night of fun. 

Battle Chorus brings strangers together for an unforgettable night of group harmonies and power ballads on June 14 in a worldwide phenomenon that’s taken social media by storm. Join a team lead by choirmasters Rutene Spooner and Jason Te Mete, and battle-off in a night of song that will determine which choir will be crowned the victor.  

From the past to the future: June 16 sees a special performance by Aotearoa’s leading music theatre performers, when the New Zealand Music Theatre Company steps on stage in the Wintergarden, showcasing a stunning line-up of contemporary songs written by some of the country’s most recognisable composers and lyricists.

In addition to the season’s high voltage performances and on-stage antics, revellers will be vying to gain entrance to the perennially popular pop-up Piano Bar – a speakeasy of uncommon delight, tucked away somewhere secret, where after hours performers, audiences, artists and their entourages are encouraged to let loose and indulge in the sexy, scintillating and scandalous world of cabaret.

Schedule and TimesAuckland Live Cabaret Season
Tue 11 – Sun 16 June
The Civic

The NZ Mix Tape
Tue 11 June, 8pm
The Civic
$28 – $91*

Delicious Oblivion
Tue 11 June, 6.30pm
Wed 12 June, 6.30pm
Thurs 13 June, 6.30pm
Sat 15 June, 2pm
Wintergarden, The Civic
$45 – $59*

The Māori Sidesteps
Wed 12 June, 8.30pm
Wintergarden, The Civic
$40.50 – $49*

Thu 13 June, 10.15pm
Fri 14 June, 8.00pm
Sat 15 June, 9.45pm
Wintergarden, The Civic
$45 – $59*

The Heels Are Alive

Thu 13 June, 8.30pm
Sat 15 June, 8.00pm
Wintergarden, The Civic
$30 – $39*

Grand Opening

Thu 13 June, from 5.00pm
Fri 14 June, from 5.00pm
Sat 15 June, from 5.00pm
Sun 16 June, from 5.00pm
Wintergarden, The Civic
$15 – $25*

Reuben Kaye

Fri 14 June, 10.00pm
Sun 16 June, 8.30pm
Wintergarden, The Civic
$40.50 – $49.00

Music Theatre Unleashed

Sun 16 June, 6.00pm
Wintergarden, The Civic
$25 – $35*

Battle Chorus

Fri 14 June, 6pm
Wintergarden, The Civic
$15 – $25*
 *service fees apply.


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