WHAT'S NEW ON THE SITE?
Jennifer and Michael are the Patrons of Q Theatre;
seen here at One Night with Q,
7 June 2012.
Follow MichaelHurstNow on Twitter
NEW ON THE SITE
12 December Added Nelson Mail and Yahoo! Entertainment reviews of Auckland Daze, Michael's episodes of Auckland Daze , and Jennifer's article in NZ Woman's Weekly to homepage
1 December Added A Basement Christmas Show to homepage
20 November Added Chicago named "Best Show" of 2013 by Metro magazine; news of Jennifer's Auckland Daze article in TV Guide, and Auckland Daze cast photo; and Brel returning to Auckland to homepage
19 November Added Express review of Chicago and airing date for season 2 of Auckland Daze to homepage
17 November Added Stuff review of Chicago to homepage
13 November Added 20/20 video, reviews from Diversions and Scuba Nurse of Chicago to homepage
9 November Added Lumiere Reader review of Chicago, link to watch 20/20 feature on Chicago, and Step Dave to homepage
7 November Added Libel Music review of Chicago to homepage
6 November Added Keeping Up with New Zealand and Listener reviews of Chicago to homepage
5 November Added Metro and TV3 reviews of Chicago to homepage
4 November Added NZ Herald and NBR reviews of Chicago to homepage
3 November Added Theatreview review of Chicago and Michael's program notes for Chicago, and Brel going to NZ Festival
21 October Added Nelson Mail and Theatreview reviews of Brel in Nelson to Brel page
18 October Added Chicago extension to homepage
11 October Added End of Daze, Almighty Johnsons season 3 dvd's to homepage
30 September Created Spartacus: War of the Damned 'Decimation' page, with screen caps, cast list, etc.
22 September Added James Luck and Katie Fisher to the cast of Chicago on homepage
20 September Changed closing date for Chicago on homepage (season extended)
10 September Created Spartacus Overview page, summarizing Michael's contributions to Starz' Spartacus series (with links to individual episode pages)
30 August Added Chicago, and download of Auckland Daze season 1 to homepage
10 August Added Brel to homepage
25 July Added pic of Jennifer as Karen in The Almighty Johnsons to homepage
23 June Created Global Bloomsday Gathering page
21 May Added Michael on Summer Noelle features 'True Stories Told Live' and 'Songs I Could Listen to Again and Again' to Radio Interviews page
12 May Created Actors' Program stage combat class page
18 April Added more production photos to King Lear page
2 April Added cast and crew pic to King Lear page
1 April Added rehearsal photos to King Lear page
31 March Created King Lear page
10 March Added Te Aupikitanga ki te Reo Kairangi to homepage
3 February Added new headshot and The Almighty Johnsons to homepage
18 January 2013 Added Theatre Scenes year-end kudos to Brel page
6 December Added Chicago to Future Projects
26 November Created The Trees Beneath the Lake page and Brel Open Dialogue page
25 November Created Brel page with info, pics, reviews, year-end kudos
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE,
DETAILED SITE HISTORY
This is not an official
site, but we will keep it current with news of Michael's professional
activities, as well as an archive of his projects. We will also announce the professional activities of Michael's
Ward-Lealand; see her official site for more on her career.
See also: Michael's curriculum vitae on his official website: www.michaelhurst.co.nz and his listing on IMDB. Michael is represented by Johnson & Laird Management.
MICHAEL AND JENNIFER IN A BASEMENT CHRISTMAS CAROL
Michael and Jennifer are members of the rotating cast for A Basement Christmas Carol which runs 4-21 December 2013 at The Basement. Michael is scheduled to perform 7, 12 and 19 December (subject to change); Jennifer will perform 16, 18 and 20 December.
Ebenezer Scrooge is in the business of Christmas, and what a business it is…
After skulking back to his Coromandel bach on Christmas Eve to count the profits from the sale of his barely edible Scrooge Co. Christmas hampers, Scrooge discovers that this year he has some uninvited guests for the festive season. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, Future and Patrick Swayze are here to scare up some good old fashioned Christmas spirit and you’re invited to the party!
Join Gareth Williams as Scrooge and a revolving cast of stars of the stage and screen as they gather together to unwrap the secrets of this timeless Christmas tale told with The Basement’s typical disregard for copyright.
Has the Mad Butcher sizzled his last sausage? Can Kate Sheppard atone for the secrets of her herstory? Will John Campbell get to the bottom of this very current affair? And just how many diseases can Tiny Tim take?
From the writers of last year’s smash hit MegaChristmas comes another irreverent, sing-a-long spectacular to tickle your funny bone and remind us all of the true meaning of the festive season: getting plastered and laughing at pop culture references.
Written by Nic Sampson and Barnaby Fredric, music by Joseph Moore. directed by Sophie Roberts, designed by Simon Coleman.
Click here to book.
METRO NAMES CHICAGO "BEST SHOW" OF 2013!
In Metro magazine's annual "Best of Auckland" issue, Chicago was named "Best Show" of 2013 (click here):
"Colleen Davis, lungs open to the heavens, belting out "Maaa-maaa!" Shane Cortese, arriving on stage as lawyer Billy Flynn, wearing a hips-short dressing gown and the most mischievious grin - and very little else - accompanied by the lanky strutting James Luck in black rabbit ears, a black corset and jock strap, and platform shoes. And absolutely nothing else. Lucy Lawless and Amanda Billing eating up the stage as the feuding Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart; Andrew Grainger stealing out hearts as the innocent husband with his beautifully sad rendition of 'Mr Cellophane'. And the band, belting their way through John Gibson's brilliantly reinvented score. And the chorus, worked up by choreographer Shona McCullagh into the slinkiest, most dangerously febrile set of dancer/singers to subvert an Auckland stage since Freda Stark strutted her stuff at the Civic during the war.
"Michael Hurst was the maestro who put it all together, reimagining a Broadway and Hollywood classic into something far more urgent and thrilling. He directed our 'best of the year' show last year too (Brel, presented by Silo) - right now, he's on fire.
"Favourite moment? Impossible to say. But we loved the way chorus member Mike Edward, kicked in the face by Hannah Tasker-Poland, performed a backwards flip. Later, his feet looped in a sash, he swung upside down over the audience. It was that kind of show".
Chicago has been extended one last time, closing on Saturday 21 December 2013. Click here to book.
Catch a glimpse of Chicago in the 20/20 feature story on Amanda Billing (below) which follows her transformation from Shortland Street's Sarah Potts to Chicago's Roxie Hart. It includes interviews with Michael and Lucy Lawless, rehearsal scenes, and video from the show's opening night.
NZ Herald: "With this fabulous, fast-tempoed spectacle of sizzle and sass, Michael Hurst once again proves himself an exceptional director of musical theatre, an auteur of clever, sexy noir with strong conceptual vision and stylistic flourish".
Theatreview: "Michael Hurst's inspiring take on this classic musical is daring, fresh, dynamic, and bristling with sexual energy. His fearless direction and John Gibson's genius musical direction make the show look and sound as if it was written this morning. This is a totally new take on a classic musical ... A daring, world-class production".
Theatre Scenes: "If this triumphant production played in the main theatre centres of the world, I suspect it would be heralded as a major new revival. Hurst plays fast and loose, allowing us to discover a Chicago that is immediate and cynical. More importantly: it is startlingly entertaining..."
Lucy Lawless and Amanda Billing (photo: Mike Smith)
Lumiere Reader: "This is Chicago swallowed whole and spat out looking like gold ... Hurst's directorial brilliance ... I was stunned at every turn and never left wanting ... the most fun I've had in a theatre in a long time"
NBR: "Director Michael Hurst knows how to use actors and dancers to great effect and has created a scintillating show of sexual beauty, energy and tension".
Metro: "Director Michael Hurst has modernised and re-interpreted this seninal work ... Shona McCullagh's choreography is demanding and glorious ... A ticket to this vibrant, take-no-prisoners and cheering show set in other difficult times is a worthwhile extravagance".
TV3: "The Auckland Theatre Company's reimagining of the Broadway classic ... is executed with director Michael Hurst's trademark flair ... Hurst has taken the much-loved story and injected it with that winning trifecta: sex, drugs and rock 'n roll".
Listener: "Director Michael Hurst and his team of collaborators bring bucketloads of the old razzle-dazzle ... well served by a staging that's superb"
Keeping Up with New Zealand: "There’s a big buzz around this show, and the hype is to be believed ... Congratulations have to go to Michael Hurst for creating this sexy spectacle of murder, money and media manipulation".
Libel Music: "this production charts the slippery rhythms of lust, celebrity and scandal with a practiced eye ... Hurst's adaptation of Chicago is a production that seeks to provoke and entertain and it is an immersive, intimate experience".
Express: "Directed by Michael Hurst, Chicago is easily ATC's best show since Hurst's 2010 Cabaret ... From Hurst's direction to John Gibson's incredible re-imagination of the music, Chicago is an anarchic, fearless, fast-paced ride ... There's a a big buzz around this show at the moment and it's completely justified".
Scuba Nurse (blog): "There were several layers of bravery to this production ... sexy in so many ... ways. Mostly talent. Talent is incredibly arousing, and from the lighting in the ceiling to the painted stage, and all the skills used in-between, this show was pure talent"
Diversions: "This production has taken the story to a whole new level, it’s unforgettable and breathlessly amazing ... couldn’t believe that a show that was over 2 hours long roared along so quickly".
Stuff: "it's bloody good fun ... The cast are all wonderfully slimy and engaging ... the show is edge-of-your-seat-tapping-your-leg good times from start to finish. Go see it".
Michael directed the Kander, Ebb & Fosse musical for Auckland Theatre Company at Q Theatre. It has been extended a second time, now running 1 November- 15 December 2013, featuring Amanda Billing, Lucy Lawless, Shane Cortese, Colleen Davis, Andrew Grainger, and Sandra Rasmussen, with Mike Edward, Hannah Tasker-Poland, Will Barling, Stephen Butterworth, Lavinia Uhila, James Luck, Katie Swift, and Rebekkah Schoonbeek; choreography by Shona McCullagh, musical direction by John Gibson, set design by John Harding, costume design by Leslie Burkes-Harding, and lighting design by Sean Lynch.
From Michael's program notes:
" ... we have given CHICAGO a bit of a shake. We should always be seeking to provoke, to surprise and to stimulate, as well as to entertain. Productions that preserve ideas in a kind of theatrical aspic do little to transport audiences.
It was with this in mind that I invited John Gibson and Shona McCullagh to work with me on CHICAGO, and we have had a fabulous time making it together. Without Shona's choreographic genius and John's musical brilliance, there would be no show, and I am deeply grateful to them for both their commitment to the idea and their willingness to take things further.
I want to thank John Harding and Lesley Burkes-Harding too, set and costume designers, with whom I spent many stimulating hours working through the possibilities for this production. Their well-honed sense of theatre and story development, and their invigorating approach to problem solving were invaluable in developing both the look and flow of the work.
Then there is the talened, scintillating and at times absolutely crazy cast. It's been a joy and a privilege to explore this material with them. We've worked really hard, we've had fun (what point would there be to it if we didn't?) and we've made something that I believe will resonate with audiences".
Click here to read the Chicago preview article in the Weekend Herald, including interviews with Michael, Shona McCullach, and Lucy Lawless.
Shane Cortese talked with Andrew Dicken about doing Chicago on Newstalk ZB; listen here. Lucy Lawless talks about doing Chicago in the 27 October Herald on Sunday; read it here.
SEASON 2 OF AUCKLAND DAZE AIRING THURSDAYS AT 10:05 ON TVONE
The second season of Auckland Daze is airing on Thursdays on TVOne. Jennifer reprises her role as the inimitable Wanda and Michael guest stars in episodes 5 and 6. See an interview with Jennifer in the Nov 30-Dec 6 NZ TV Guide (not online).
Nelson Mail: "Ward-Lealand is a national treasure and has been towering over New Zealand comedy ever since she joined forces with Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair in a late 1980s incarnation of The Front Lawn. She is clearly enjoying chewing the scenery as Millen's overbearing mother ... there is fun to be had with poking Auckland's celebretainment figures in the eye".
Yahoo! Entertainment: "Auckland Daze is almost a local satire of Entourage, minus the glamour ... as Millen's mum Wanda, Jennifer Ward-Lealand once again proves why she is a national treasure".
The first season is now available to download; click here to purchase. Jennifer is in all of the episodes; Michael guest stars in episode 6.
In the meantime, Auckland Daze produced a Halloween special, End of Daze, which is available for download on Vimeo beginning 31 October; click here. Here's what it's about:
"When Millen's mum Wanda - a celebrity real estate agent - buys a new house, the boys think it's haunted and decide to film themselves throwing a Halloween party and scaring some TV stars in the hope that it'll make them famous.
But they soon realize the house is haunted by the spirit of a dead woman whose child died in the bathtub and that the house has mistaken Jimmy for her child, claiming him for herself. What will the boys do? Fight to protect their friend or run for the hills?"
MICHAEL DIRECTING NEW TV SERIES STEP DAVE
Michael is directing episodes 3, 4 and 5 of new Kiwi tv series, Step Dave, from mid-November 2013 to mid-January 2014. From the press release (read more here):
"Created by well-known New Zealand writer, Kate McDermott (Go Girls, Outrageous Fortune) and produced by South Pacific Pictures, Step Dave follows Dave, a 24-year-old Kiwi slacker whose life is turned upside down when he meets the woman of his dreams, Cara - 15 years his senior with three kids and some serious baggage in tow.
"The show will star Sia Trokenheim (Siones II, This Is Not My Life) as Cara and Jono Kenyon (Go Girls) as Dave".
The show will air on TV2 in 2014. Watch a teaser here.
BREL GOING TO NEW ZEALAND FESTIVAL & RETURNING TO AUCKLAND FOR 'ONE NIGHT STAND'
Jennifer, Tama Waipara, Jon Toogood and Julia Deans will perform Silo Theatre's Brel at the New Zealand Festival in Wellington, 26 February-2 March 2014; click here to book. Brel will also return to Auckland for a "One Night Stand" at Auckland Town Hall, 4 March 2014; click here for info.
The show premiered, under Michael's direction, in November 2012 at Auckland Town Hall. It was named by Metro as the #1 Best Cultural Experience of 2012:
"If Silo's November show was a person, we would not have been able to keep our hands off them.
The exquisite musicianship of Tama Waipara and Jennifer Ward-Lealand, the seething, brooding energy of Julia Deans and Jon Toogood, the witty, subtly beautiful arrangements of Leon Radojkovic, and the whole show - 22 songs by Beligan chanteur Jacques Brel and no fluff between - crafted into the sexiest, most gloriously romantic incitement to life and to love by director Michael Hurst. Few shows ever are as good as this".
See photos and all reviews here. Click here to book.
| THE ALMIGHTY JOHNSONS SEASON 3 DVD'S NOW AVAILABLE IN NEW ZEALAND
Season 3 of The Almighty Johnsons premiered on 4 July 2013 in New Zealand and Canada, and 28 August 2013 in the UK.
Jennifer played Michele's mother Karen in episode 3.4-3.6, and Michael directed episodes 3.7 and 3.8. Click here for more info on the show.
Michael was a guest star in season 2; click here for screen caps.
The Almighty Johnsons has been picked up by Syfy in the US and is expected to be shown in 2014.
SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED AVAILABLE ON DVD AND BLU-RAY
Spartacus: War of the Damned is now available on dvd and Blu-ray. Click here for info on features and extras. Michael directed episodes 3.4 'Decimation' and 3.9 'The Dead and the Dying'.
In 2011, Michael was a producer for Spartacus: Vengeance and directed ep. 1' Fugitivus' and 6 'Chosen Path'. He also had a cameo in ep. 9 'Monsters,' playing a Roman soldier. See screen captures here.
He previously directed Spartacus: Blood and Sand episodes 5 'Shadow Games,' 9 'Whore,' and 12 'Revelations'; plus Spartacus: Gods of the Arena episode 3 'Paterfamilias'. See our pages for screen captures and other info for 'Shadow Games', 'Whore', 'Revelations', and 'Paterfamilias'.
JENNIFER STUDYING TE REO MAORI
Following several years of evening classes, Jennifer has been accepted into the Maori language programme Te Aupikitanga ki te Reo Kairangi at Te Wanaga o Aotearoa. The programme runs from mid-March until mid-December 2013. See the article about Jennifer's studies in the 16 December 2013 New Zealand Woman's Weekly.