DO or DI?

Expressions Arts & Entertainment Centre - Upper Hutt, Wellington

05/10/2012 - 05/10/2012

Various venues - on tour, New Zealand wide

05/10/2012 - 04/11/2012

Nelson School of Music, Nelson

06/10/2012 - 06/10/2012

Arts On Tour NZ 2012

Production Details

Touring Do or Di? 5 October – 4 November – a whodunit musical game show spoof

Note it in your diary now – Anna Rugis’s whodunnit musical game show spoof tours the country with Anna and Linn Lorkin ( Jews Brothers Band, French Toast) as the divas – Herschel Herscher (JBB, FT) as the game show host.

Remember those musical divas, Doris Day and Dinah Shore and their chart topping songs of the Billboard era? Linn, Anna and Hersh have great fun singing the songs in a non-stop presentation that spoofs the television game show format of the 50’s.

With Herschel Herscher as game show host, Do or Di offers two hours of audience participation and prizes interspersed with outrageous musical and comedic talent – expect jazzy arrangements, three-part harmony, piano and accordion solos. Which diva was the hit maker? Attend the show and find out. 

About the artists

Anna Rugis

New Zealand born singer Anna Rugis began her career as a backup singer for Cat Stephens, Cliff Richard, The Kinks and Van Morrison, touring the US with these artists. She is also a composer and a poet, gaining a reputation for originality and power. She recently released the first of a series of environmentally friendly children’s music CDs that adults enjoy as well. Island Dreams has a sound track of songs about rare creatures found only in New Zealand that need to be saved from extinction.

“Anna Rugis is a brilliant composer as well as a fine lyricist and singer with an enchanting voice. Beautifully crafted, light hearted and at the same time, as deep as it gets.” Women in Music (USA)

Linn Lorkin

Singer songwriter pianist extraordinaire Linn Lorkin has performed at the famed Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London and regularly tours in Europe, US and Australia as the lead singer in The Jews Brothers Band and French Toast. She sings in several languages and has recorded twelve albums for her own label, Rouge Records, including five CDs of original songs and two of French chansons. Her show, ‘Hey Piano Lady’, gained four stars at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011 and an invitation to appear again this year (3 – 25 August).

“Lorkin is a national treasure.” William Dart, NZ Listener

Herschel Herscher

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Herschel Herscher was a pianist, accordionist, arranger and bandleader with various well known New York Latin music groups before moving to New Zealand in 1985. On arrival in this country, he immediately set about creating a musical life for himself, including founding Nairobi Trio, then creating The Jews Brothers Band and (with partner Linn Lorkin) French Toast. His newest musical adventure is the group Charanga Amadeus, dedicated to presenting authentic Cuban music from the 1950s. He was recently awarded the Tony Rodriguez Award for Excellence for services to Latin music.


Friday 5 October Upper Hutt
Expressions Arts & Entertainment Centre 7.30pm
Adult $30, Friends/Concession $25
Book: Expressions 04 527 2168

Saturday 6 October Nelson
Nelson School of Music 7.30pm
$10 (plus booking fees)
Book: Nelson School of Music, 03 548 9477

Sunday 7 October Takaka
The Playhouse, Park Ave 7.30pm
$18 pre-booked, $20 at the door
Book: Paradise Video and Laundrette

Tuesday 9 October Reefton
Working Mens Club 7.30pm
Adults $10, Students $5, Family $20
Door sales or Phone 03 732 8542

Wednesday 10 October Westport
NBS Theatre 7.30pm
Adults $20, Seniors $15, Students $10
Book: NBS Theatre or 

Friday 12 October Geraldine
St Marys, Talbot St. 7.30pm
Adults $25, Students $20
Book: Tresjoli Giftware 03 693 9339 

Saturday 13 October Waimate
Criterion Hotel, Queen St. 7.30pm
$25 Book: Westside Gifts, Information Centre

Tuesday 16 October Ranfurly 
Town Hall 7.30pm
$20 Book: Maniototo i-Site 

Wednesday 17 October Alexandra
The Orchard Garden Dunstan Rd 7.30pm
$20 Book: Alexandra Information Centre

Thursday 18 October Cromwell
Golden Gate 7.30pm
Adults $25, SuperGold $20, Student/Child $5
Book: Cromwell i-Site

Saturday 20 October Twizel
Events Centre 7.30pm
Adults $20, Students $10
Book: Twizel Information Centre 

Tuesday 23 October Gore 
James Cumming Wing 8pm
$25 Book: Eastern Southland Gallery

Wednesday 24 October Riverton
Community Arts Centre 7.30pm
$20 members, $25 non members
Book: Riverton Arts Centre

Friday 26 October Oamaru 
The Inkbox, Oamaru Opera House 6.30pm
Adults $25, Seniors $20, Group bookings 8+ $18
Book: or 0800 4 TICKET 

Tuesday 30 October Waverley
Waverley Community Centre, Chester St. 7.30pm
$25 Book: E.C. Dallisons (cash or cheque only)

Thursday 1 November Opotiki
Senior Citizens Hall, King St. 7pm
$20 Book: The Travel Shop

Friday 2 November Coromandel 
Anglican Church Hall 7.30pm
$25, Concession $20
Book: Coromandel i-Site or door sales 

Sunday 4 November Kerikeri 
Turner Centre 7.30pm
Adults $35, Seniors/unwaged $30, Students 18 & under $5
Book: Turner Centre 0800 200 411

Arts On Tour New Zealand 
Arts On Tour New Zealand (AOTNZ) organises tours of outstanding New Zealand performers to rural and smaller centres in New Zealand. The trust receives funding from Creative New Zealand and liaises with local arts councils, repertory theatres and community groups to bring the best of musical and other talent to country districts.  

Increasing desperation

Review by Gail Tresidder 08th Oct 2012

What a disappointment for both cast and audience when an initial hitch triggers a chain reaction. Things start to unravel and then what could have been a good night turns bad.

In this case, at the Nelson School of Music, the catalyst was a head microphone that didn’t mike, even after several anxious enquiries to the audience from Anna Rugus, the only singer aiming for amplification.  Anna has a gentle little voice – lovely tone – but in this large auditorium we had to strain to hear her. The sound was low overall and amplification for all three performers would have improved things considerably. 

Most of us seemed to know the words of these vintage Dinah Shore and Doris Day numbers. (For me, happy memories of my mother high-stepping around the living-room, our state of the art wooden radio turned up high and Dinah belting out ‘Buttons and Bows’.)  We wanted to sing; from the outset we really did want to sing.  Apart from any other benefit our voices would have bulked up the volume in what felt like a virtually empty space, given the rows of vacant seats behind us.  Instead we were handed out a ‘Do or Di sing-along sheet’ and had to wait until the very end of the show to get into it. 

As a suggestion, either move this to the beginning of the performance or intersperse it throughout the twenty-three numbers from the troupe.  Future audiences could also be invited to join in all the songs – it is unlikely they would need much encouragement. People around me, somewhat surreptitiously, were singing along anyway, albeit sotto voce. 

And that is the next thing: the venue.  A friend remarked that this revue production would suit a church hall.  She was right.  It would also have been excellent in our local yurt where it could have been performed in the round; although the performance took place in the front of the auditorium rather than on the stage, this attempt to encourage intimacy didn’t really work.

As the evening wore on, one could sense the increasing sense of desperation from the three performers.  Their smiles became more fixed; they spoke faster and faster in an attempt to broach the invisible screen between them and us. 

Some performers do have a special talent in engaging their audiences.  (The Topp Twins get their fans to do increasingly silly things with uninhibited delight and I well remember Barry Humphries inspiring a packed house in the West End to unite by waving gladioli over their heads.) 

However fine they are as musicians, for Anna Rugis, Linn Lorkin and Herschel Hersher this part of their performance is a work in progress.  Perhaps they could be less tied to the script and get out amongst the audience – always fun.

The format of the evening, inspired by those American TV game shows of the 50s, is a clever idea and we enjoyed choosing either ‘Do’ or ‘Di’.  What became increasingly tedious were the repetitive singing of the jingle and minutiae of where each number had ended up on what list – it was too much information. More details of the two stars’ personal lives would have been interesting; also pictures of Doris and Dinah, even back-projected if possible, to bring them to life.

The dresses are lovely and of the time.  Pin-tucked bodices, gathered skirts, little boleros – perfect. 

Herscher’s piano-accordion gives a different dimension to the music and is a wonderful addition to the piano.  His swooping chords accompanying Linn Lorkin’s singing and playing at the piano about the naughty Lola is a highlight, and again with Linn in the tender ‘You’d be so nice to come home to’.  With excellent backing harmony from the two women, his confident singing of an upbeat version of ‘My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time’ is again excellent. 

Sadly, sung by the ensemble, ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’ was flat and ‘Crazy Rhythm’ was dreadful. 

There is a lot of tour ahead for Do or Di.  Although one night stands are never easy, practice makes perfect and I wish these three excellent musicians good luck in adapting their production. 


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Fun, humour and music

Review by Maryanne Cathro 06th Oct 2012

I gave up a free ticket to WOW to head out to Upper Hutt and review Do or Di?! If you are wondering why, it’s because the chance to see Linn Lorkin, Anna Rugis and Herschel Hersher live won out, no contest. These performers are the crème de la crème of New Zealand talent, and thanks to Arts on Tour New Zealand, it is regional New Zealand who get to see this delightful, boutique show. 

Do or Di was Anna’s idea. Loosely based on a 1950s game show (very loosely!) it is a fun evening where the audience have to guess which singer had a hit with each song performed – Doris Day, or Dinah Shore? 20 songs are performed by the trio in various configurations, with gorgeous harmonies and accompaniments.

I want to talk about the songs, but I don’t want to encourage future audiences to research in advance which diva had which hit! Perhaps sticking to the easy ones – a great sing along of ‘Que Sera, Sera’, a sweet and soulful ‘Secret Love’ with bonus pub version afterwards?

With piano played by both Linn and Herschel, who also breaks out the accordion to great effect (nothing puts a lump in the throat like a well played accordion) and glorious harmonies, this evening is a treat for lovers of the performers, or of those sweet mid century singers and their hits.

Lucky for us – my sister and me, who sing in close harmony,* and my musical niece – the performers encourage singing along, which we cannot resist doing, often. Given the vintage of the music (1940-1965), it is not surprising that the audience ran to the autumn years, yet the fame of these hits has them resonating through our modern culture.

I earned a not unimpressive 15 points – interestingly I know most of the songs word perfect, but not who recorded them – but the clear winner had accrued an impressive 21 points and earned her prize well.

If you go see this show, and I hope that it comes to your town and that you do, sit close to the front. It is SO nice to go to a musical show that does not make one’s earwax tingle painfully, and there is so much affectionate and open interaction, the show works best without the usual Kiwi ‘empty first three rows syndrome’. In the second half we left our allocated seats to sit much closer and the benefits were well worth it.

A lovely, accessible, entertaining night of fun, humour and music. It has its own WOW factor, as far as I am concerned!

*A quote from Linn Lorkin’s song ‘At the Beach’ from 1986 album In the Land of Music. A prized musical possession.


Editor October 15th, 2012

The Arts On Tour NZ van had to brave storms and snow to deliver Linn, Hersh and Anna to Waimate for their performance of Do or Di? over the weekend. Now they're on their way to Ranfurly, for a show Tuesday 8pm in the Ranfurly Town Hall. [Lifted from FaceBook - ED] 

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