Songs for Guy

Limelight Lounge, Aotea Centre, Auckland

07/09/2010 - 11/09/2010

TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland

19/02/2014 - 23/02/2014

Auckland Pride Festival 2014

Production Details

An evening of eclectic stories and love songs about gay men living in a small country on the edge of the world.

Songs for Guy brings together some extraordinary stories about ordinary gay men’s lives in New Zealand and presents them alongside some of the world’s favourite love songs. Part humble storytelling and part sleek, bold cabaret, Songs for Guy is an evening to celebrate who we are and where we live.
The show explores all the aspects of our lives – from young love, to profound loss, to that guy you never quite got over – all presented alongside hits from Gershwin and Sondheim, to Springsteen and Wainwright.
This is your night. Come along. Laugh, smile and share your stories, in a musical evening made entirely for you.

If you have a story about what it is like to be a Gay man living in New Zealand we want to hear from you! Contact to tell us about your story.

An evening of eclectic stories and love songs about gay men living in a small country on the edge of the world.

Songs for Guy brings together some extraordinary stories about ordinary gay men’s lives in New Zealand and presents them alongside some of the world’s favourite love songs. Part humble storytelling and part sleek, bold cabaret, Songs for Guy is an evening to celebrate who we are and where we live.

The show explores all the aspects of our lives, from young love, to profound loss and to that guy
you never quite could get over.

This is your night. Come laugh, smile and share your stories, in a musical evening made entirely for you.

Songs for Guy 
7-11 September
Limelight Room
Aotea Centre, THE EDGE
Running time: 70 minutes, no interval 
Ticketing information
Concession: applies to Students, Actors Equity Card Holders, DANZ Card Holders, Seniors and Beneficiaries (Valid ID required)
Group bookings (6+) call 09 357 335409 357 3354  


Auckland Pride Festival 2014  

Discount applies if you book tickets to two or more productions in the Queer@TAPAC Season

DATES: FEB 19-23

$30 GROUPS 6+



Performed by Todd Emerson, Andrew Laing and Stephen Butterworth (2010)

Script Advisor:  Shane Bosher

Performed by Andrew Laing, Todd Emerson and Martyn Wood 

Theatre , Musical ,

1hr 10 mins, no interval

Capturing our hearts with truth, honesty and a big dose of love

Review by Johnny Givins 20th Feb 2014

The Pride Festival has launched another extraordinary show at TAPAC with Songs for Guy. There are four gay men singing songs, telling stories and capturing the lives and loves of gay men in our county with the highest professional skill and craft. 

It is an excellent cabaret show. It takes “those silly love songs” and tweaks them so they more accurately reflect gay experiences.  The “girl who can’t say no” (from Annie Get Your Gun) becomes “I’m just a boy who can’t say no”; “Someone to watch over me” has evolved into one man’s cry from the heart for a man to love.  

For generations gay men have loved Torch songs, the Broadway show stoppers and the poignant ballads sung by women to, about, and for their men. The male singers sang about their love and sorrow for a special lady. The gay audience simply swapped the lyrical “her” for “him” in their heads because they identified with the story and the true emotion in the songs.  They could see that these love songs were really about their lives and loves.

Songs for Guy simply develops this process in performances of a wide range of songs with style and passion. 

There are three superb actors who extend themselves in a range of difficult and complex songs.  Paul Barrett is the Musical Director and the accomplished pianist for the show.  He has brought Andrew Laing, Todd Emerson and newcomer from Wellington Martyn Wood to new levels of technical and musical performance. 

All the men are baritone voices but they extend to high tenor and soft sultry bass when needed to fulfil a range of gay experiences.  They perform solos, duets and trios. There are songs from Billy Joel with great harmonies, vicious acrimony from the show Mack & Mabel by Jerry Herman, theatrical fun from Chess the musical, and a touching reflection on age and memory in a solo by pianist Paul Barrett from La Cage aux Folles,to mention only a few of twenty numbers. The high energy cry from the heart ‘Being Alive’ (by Sondheim from Company) is a show triumph. 

What makes the show more than a recital is the addition of verbatim stories from the lives of our gay men.  Director Kip Chapman called for volunteers to tell him stories from their lives love and sexual experiences.  He must have a treasure trove of stories to call upon. He has cleverly edited them into short vignettes which capture the highs and lows of the gay experience.  Each of the actors tells the stories between songs.  The laughs of recognition and recall of memories ripple around the theatre … and they are all true!

Songs for Guy is a welcome return of the hit cabaret show performed for a short season in 2010.  It has been re shaped, with new songs and new stories, and it is a better show.  Working on a wonderful set designed by Dan Williams, there are three stages with cabaret style table seating for the audience.  You do have to swing around in your seat the follow the action at some points but the amplified sound from the three voices and piano is excellent. 

Songs for Guy is a thrilling night as spunky lean and hungry Martyn Wood, crooner and sparkly eyed Andrew Laing, and sensitive and lovable Todd Emerson sing and perform their way into our hearts.

This show is essential viewing for those who want highly skilled professional gay performers showing their chops with truth, honesty and a big dose of love. 

Songs for Guy has a short season, this Thursday, Friday at 8pm (no show Saturday as they will all be at the Pride Parade) and finally Sunday at 7pm.  Approx 1 hour 30 minutes, no interval.


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Yearning, tender, vulnerable with humour and just a smattering of sleaze

Review by Nik Smythe 08th Sep 2010

Three barstools, three mic stands. Paul Barrett, in a black suit, white shirt and red bowtie positions himself before the black grand piano. To a Claydermanesque piano-by-candlelight type classic I can’t quite pinpoint, the rest of the cast arrive. They hit the ground lounging with a dulcet rendering of Some Enchanted Evening

The vocal trio of Todd Emerson, Andrew Laing and Stephen Butterworth comprises an impressive range of pitch and harmony; powerful but more accessible than formidable. Their distinct wardrobes set them up as sort of casual archetypes: Laing the urban socialite, all in black with the suede jacket; Butterworth the Bohemian, also in black with big turned up cuffs and anarchically spotted party pants; Emerson the baby-faced dandy in a light pink shirt, grey pants and vest (with a black lapel) and a patterned bowtie.

Slightly cramped by the ceiling notwithstanding, Songs For Guy makes for a classy, laid back early evening’s entertainment, taking a sweet, sentimental journey through moments in the lives of a collection of gay men. Between them the four players portray a medley of roles based on men around Auckland who they interviewed for the purposes of the production. 

Every short scene is a glimpse into someone’s experience in the field of love and relationships, touching on various classic scenarios such as first love, profound lifestyle changes, catching up with an ex, being left for a woman, et cetera. The cast’s delivery is smooth and natural, and each personal vignette is punctuated by a well-chosen show tune and/or pop song. 

The array of musical numbers reflects the diversity of the storytellers’ personalities. I recognised most of the songs but could only name a few, e.g. Irving Berlin’s I Hear Singing, Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man, and the centrepiece single, the immortal Gershwin Brothers’ 1926 classic Someone To Watch Over Me

The catchword of the proceedings is Class. There’s none of the bawdy, shock value drag queenery or bitch-slapping trash talk that might spring to mind when one thinks of gay revue. Instead we are privy to a wholly more earnest, romantic aspect of gay love – yearning, tender, vulnerable, replete with humour and just a smattering of sleaze. Like earnest romance in any spectrum, it all goes that much better with a song.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


John Smythe September 15th, 2010

This is a strange place to put that query, ‘anon’, however … Given I am probably the person who receives more 'abuse' than anyone else on this site (not least from you under various pseudonyms), I’m not exactly sure what your point is. 

Theatreview generally accepts the use of pseudonyms while understanding the views of those who object to them when named individuals are being criticised. And short of libel, free expression is allowed on this site. All are welcome.

The 90 posts to the ‘Some thoughts on Pseudonyms’ forum can be found here.

By the way, no reviews are written under pseudonyms.

Theatreview is not asking for charity, it is advertising a service to professionals with the PAD and gratefully accepting donations from those who value the services theatreview offers and want to support its survival without – or as well as – becoming professional members.  

Anon September 15th, 2010

 I see that Theatreview is in trouble and that you are requesting help and donations.  Will help be accepted from everybody?  Even those who use pseudonyms, and who are constantly abused on this site for doing so, and made to feel extremely unwelcome?

nik smythe September 11th, 2010

I'm sorry for any offence I might have caused.  I meant nothing pejorative whatsoever in my generalisation.  In fact I've often enjoyed the flambouyant bawdiness of classic drag, and laughed guiltily at amusingly portrayed gay stereotypes.  I've also witnessed a lot of gay theatre which explores much deeper, more personal themes. 

The point I'm attempting to make is that as a gay revue, in my experience Songs for Guy has an unusual, and appealing aspect to it.

Hetero Norm September 11th, 2010

Also, there is a difference between a review and a revue and what you are critiquing is Nik’s reference to gay revue. I have seen plenty of “bawdy, shock value drag queenery or bitch-slapping trash talk” in gay revue and my gay friends would delight in calling it that.

hobo September 11th, 2010

Dear homo, please note the inclusion of the word 'might' in the sentence you question.

homo September 10th, 2010

Hi Nick not to be critical of your reviews, but could you please look at the way you discuss gay artistic endeavors as the languge used in this review displays a very heteronormative, almost homphobic attitude to what is perceived as "gay reviews". I refer to your scentence in which you discuss "gay reviews".

I have asked other members of the gay community for feedback in regards to the scentence in question, and have universally been agreed with, the choice of words is at best clumsy, and at worst shows an ignorance of gay culture that you perhaps shouldn't express in a review.

nik smythe September 8th, 2010

D'oh! I am embarrassed to reveal what ought to have been patently obvious: The opening instrumental refrain was not Clayderman, but rather Elton John's 'Song for Guy!' Wholehearted apologies to the company, and Elton!

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