Stepping Out

TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

23/07/2010 - 24/07/2010

Clarence Street Theatre, Hamilton

15/07/2010 - 17/07/2010

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

12/06/2010 - 03/07/2010

Hawkes Bay Opera House, Hastings

30/07/2010 - 31/07/2010

Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

08/07/2010 - 10/07/2010

Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga

05/08/2010 - 07/08/2010

Production Details

In June Suzanne Paul will lead a superb 10 strong cast in Auckland Theatre Company’s rollicking feel-good-comedy-meets-tap show STEPPING OUT by Richard Harris.

A tap dancer since childhood, Suzanne won over the hearts of New Zealanders and the judges with her brilliant dancing to win the third season of Dancing with the Stars. For the first time audiences will be able to see this dynamo live onstage in this side splittingly funny comedy.

About the show:

Each Thursday night ex-professional dancer Mavis Turner holds her weekly tap class for a mixed bunch of cheerful, if rhythmically challenged, women (and one very awkward man!). They’re there just for fun, no one’s watching, and no one ever will… that’s until they’re invited to put on a show with an audience of thousands!

Delight turns to sheer panic as the troupe set out on their exhilarating flight to fame. STEPPING OUT is a hilariously funny and heartwarming comedy about doing what you love – but doing it just a little bit better!

"Sure to have you grinning from ear to ear" – The Guardian

“As soon as I read the script, I desperately wanted the part,” says Suzanne Paul.

“It was my story, being told. When I arrived in New Zealand 19 years ago I didn’t know anyone, so I took night classes in all sorts of things; tap dancing at the local church hall was one of them, just like in the play. There were about a dozen of us, all ages, shapes & sizes and we used to have such a laugh every week, I loved it!”

To get the chance to dust off those old tap shoes and do a bit of the old soft, shoe shuffle again is fantastic, plus it’s a really funny play so that’s an added bonus.”

“Every now and again a show comes along and you can’t help but be swept up by its charm,” says Auckland Theatre Company Artistic Director, Colin McColl, adding “it’s a perfect heart-warming hot toddy on a cold winter’s night.”

“Television talent shows like X-FACTOR, NEW ZEALAND IDOL and BRITIAIN’S GOT TALENT just go to show that these days practically anyone has the chance to jump on the fame train. So when the spotlight turns on Mavis Turner’s weekly tap class, excitement and total panic go side by side as this bunch of amateur dancers realise that potential fame is one fabulous tap routine away,” he says.

Christchurch director and choreographer Sandra Rasmussen will take up the role of both ex-professional dancer Mavis Turner and the real life choreographer for the show.

Rasmussen is one of New Zealand’s finest musical directors having appeared in over 90 productions at the Court Theatre. She comes to the show fresh with ideas and all the new steps being tapped out on Broadway after a recent trip to New York.

Penny Dodd is a pianist, conductor, arranger, composer and musical director of over 30 years experience in NZ, Australia and the UK, making her professional debut in a speaking role as Mrs Fraser in this production of Stepping Out.

Penny is best known for conducting musicals, musically directing twelve seasons of Coca Cola Christmas in the Park, and as arranger/conductor for the APO and the CSO in Symphonic Rock concerts.

Highlights have included rehearsals for Opera New Zealand including Don Giovanni with Dame Kiri te Kanawa, dance classes for Limbs Dance Company, and London Contemporary Dance School. A particular highlight was playing for Tommy Tune (Tap Your Troubles Away) in rehearsals for Mack and Mabel at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and channelling Mrs Fraser by playing for community tap dance classes in Clapham, London in 1989.

After playing in Auckland the production will tour the upper North Island. Auckland Theatre Company hopes to build on the successful FOUR FLAT WHITES IN ITALY tour to further grow audiences for its work by continuing to work in partnership with local venues in each city.

The TelstraClear Season of STEPPING OUT plays the following dates:

Auckland:  Skycity Theatre,
Dates: 10 June – 3 July
Book: 0800 Ticketek (842 538),  
North Shore: Bruce Mason Centre
Dates: 8– 10 July
Book: Ticket Master, 0800 111 999,
Hamilton: Clarence Street Theatre
Dates: 15  – 17 July
Book: 0800 Ticketek (842 538),
New Plymouth: TSB Theatre
Dates: 23 – 24 July
Book: Ticketek, 0800 ticketek (842 538),
Hawkes Bay: Hawkes Bay Opera House
Date: 30 – 31 July
Book: Ticket direct, 0800 484 2538,
Tauranga: Baycourt Theatre
Date: 5 – 7 August
Book: Ticket direct, 0800 484 2538,

Suzanne Paul – Vera
Sandra Rasmussen – Mavis
Goretti Chadwick – Rose
Penny Dodd – Mrs Fraser
Hera Dunleavy – Dorothy
Sia Trokenheim – Andy
Michelle Leuthart – Sylvia
Christina Asher – Maxine
Olivia Tennet – Lynne
Jason Te Mete – Geoffrey

Designers: – John Parker, Bred Gledhill
Musical arrangements: – Penny Dodd

Dance crew tap into night of fun

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 14th Jun 2010

Auckland Theatre Company’s winter extravaganza hits all the right notes with a feel-good comedy that taps into our secret longing for a taste of the applause and exaltation that is showered on over-night celebrities.

The story spins around a motley collection of tap-dance enthusiasts who seek out the haphazard companionship of community night classes as an antidote to the misery, boredom or isolation of their everyday lives.

British playwright Richard Harris has created an ensemble of keenly-observed personalities representing a broad range of social classes and the cast has clearly had plenty of fun with the makeover that transforms the characters into instantly recognisable denizens of Auckland’s North Shore. [More
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Impossible to leave without a smile

Review by Joanna Davies 13th Jun 2010

It’s hard to drag yourself out of a warm, cosy house on dreary Auckland nights, but well worth it if you’re off to see Richard Harris’s Stepping Out. Auckland Theatre Company’s production is tight, pacy and full of laughs; a real crowd pleaser. And opening night’s crowd was huge.

The show’s tale is of a class of 8 seemingly incompatible people who gather together for beginners’ tap dancing lessons under the patient guidance of Mavis (Sandra Rasmussen), and to the piano accompaniment of a somewhat temperamental Mrs Fraser (Penny Dodd).

As the story unfolds and they work towards a number for the ubiquitous Christmas in the Park, more is revealed about their lives outside the community hall. And there are some surprises.

The script has been cleverly altered to place the action in Auckland’s North Shore. John Parker’s local hall set is instantly familiar thanks to the flyer-filled notice board in the foyer and Her Majesty’s portrait hanging over the piano.

Under Colin McColl’s direction no one cast member demands more attention than the others. Their patter is fast-paced and realistic with delicious insults, teasing and banter making up most of the exchanges. There’s a sense of real rapport and the audience is in no doubt everyone loves being part of the show.

No performer steals the show. They all own it, whether playing the dance-loving young nurse Lynne (Olivia Tennet), Vera the control-and-clean-freak housewife (Suzanne Paul) or Dorothy, the bike-reliant,uncoordinated WINZ worker (Hera Dunleavy) … Even the dancing janitor (Adam Gardiner) shines. And those who buy a ticket just to see Suzanne Paul on stage will love her.

As for the grand finale – I won’t give anything away, but will say that it’s impossible to leave without a smile afterwards. In fact, I’d see the show again purely to experience the magic a second time.
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. 


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