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'A Nice Night Out' at The PumpHouse with Grant Bridger

Veteran entertainer Grant Bridger’s career spans some 40 years and has seen him take his versatile talents to stage and screen, here and abroad - and now to The PumpHouse in September. We asked him some stuff. 

Q: Grant, you’ve done a bit of everything performance-wise – singer, actor, stage, TV, movies. When was your first TV appearance and in what show?
It was a TV talent quest while I was working as a DJ for Radio New Zealand- or Radio Announcer as we were called then. I can't remember the name of the show but I know I sang, or 'mimed' to a recording of Elton John's Your Song. Needless to say I didn't win, but it was a beginning.

Q: You were involved in hosting the legendary Nambassa and Sweetwaters festivals of the 1970s and early 1980s. What was your favourite memory from those events?
I  think it was just the feeling of having so many, well - hippies I guess  we were, all gathered together in one place and feeling like we were at NZ's version of Woodstock, which of course it was really. It was peace personified and the music was great. Standing on stage looking out over all the colour and long hair and swirling dervishes dancing to the bands - very special experience.

Q: Have you ever performed at The PumpHouse before and what are your impressions of the historic theatre venue?
Yes - quite a few years ago, I did a concert with some friends and we had a great night.  I love that it is still there, its location, and most of all the intimate nature of the space. I enjoy the fulfilment that comes from actually being up close and personal with an audience. One of my passions is the local Community Theatre and Hall phenomena you see all around the country - wonderful spaces with little stages and if you're lucky a honky tonk piano( usually badly in need of a tune).  They must be used and preserved.

 Q: You’ve worked on some big Australian musicals. What is your favourite song from the musical theatre genre?
If I Loved You from Carousel is my all time favourite.  Rodgers and Hammerstein - marvellous writers. It’s a magical heart-felt melody and a wonderful set of lyrics.  That's one of the joys of creating a show like A Nice Night Out.  I get to choose material that thrills me and touches my heart. My special guest Sharon Emirali, who is married to our pianist Stephen Small, will bring another dimension as well with her great jazz focus.

Q: What music genre is your favourite?
Easier for me to say what I don't like, which is rap.  Some pop or contemporary, opera, classical, theatre music of course and evergreen jazz standards by the likes of Sinatra and Nat King Cole. These days Michael Buble is doing a great job of keeping them 'alive'.

Q: What is the most recent show you’ve been performing in?

I had the honour of playing Grandpa Maurice in the new Roger Hall musical play You Can Always Hand Them Back at Fortune Theatre in Dunedin.  A sell out success I have to say.

Q: Can you give us a taste of what the audience can expect at The Pumphouse?
Some wonderful musical theatre songs from shows I have been in - Superstar, Chicago, Carousel, Godspell, Chess, Phantom. Beatles to Bach - Sondheim, even an original or two.  A ukulele and gumboots may also feature in the mix.  That's all I will say. Except that I'd like to die singing. And I promise we will leave people feeling better than when they arrived at the theatre. So I suppose I’d better not die singing at The PumpHouse.

Glengarry Glen Ross
This year’s crop of Rosmini College’s senior drama students have taken on the challenge of Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet’s multiple award-winning gritty play about the New York Real Estate business. We asked their teacher and director Robert Owens why this sometimes confronting play was chosen. “I chose the play because I have an intuitive group of senior students who get bored easily. For them to achieve like adults, they have to taste the adult reality. Via Mamet’s powerful and sometimes profane dialogue, the students have taken on board some of the darker realities in the adult world and understand some of the characters’ desperate motivations. Maybe they’ve been keeping up with what’s been going on in the overheated Auckland property market.”
Glengarry Glen Ross is only on for two nights and it’s free. Put down the Property Press and come along to The PumpHouse to see young local talent tackle the script of one of the most important playwrights of the modern era. NB: Language warning.

Back to the Future
North Shore Concert Band presents a range of music from the 17th Century to the modern era. With special guests Birkenhead College Vox Choir and Jazz Combo.

What's on @ the Pumphouse
September 6 @ 5pm
Friday Forum

Guest Speaker Tim Bray
Entry $5

September 4 & 5 @ 7pm
Rosmini College Seniors present

Glengarry Glen Ross
Entry free/by koha

September 8 @ 2pm
North Shore Concert Band presents
Back to the Future

Adults $15, Family rate (4+) $40, Senior/Student/Child $12

September 15 @ 6.30pm
Grant Bridger & Friends present
‘A Nice Night Out’

Adults $30, Senior/Student $28
September 23 – October 12
Tim Bray Productions presents
Mrs Wishy-Washy
By Joy Cowley
Various session times
Adult $21 - $24, Child $21 - $24, Senior $21, Family rate (4+ seats) $19.75 - $21

by Channel Editorial