Sing for joy - there are musicals for everyone on stage in Auckland this year. Here are five to look out for.
CABARET DE PARIS
Moulin Rouge star Marissa Burgess leads 15 of the creme de la creme of showgirls from around the world; dancers who have graced the stages of France's most famous cabaret revues. Described as a "burlesque-hip-hop-circus mash-up, a glamorous package of exotic dancers, illusionists, adagio performers and a razor-sharp resident clown", the show includes more than $250,000 worth of lavish costumes. At the Civic Theatre on May 27.
MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
A hit Broadway and West End jukebox musical that celebrates the moment in rock 'n' roll history when, on December 4, 1956, there was an unplanned get-together of the four most popular rock icons of the time - Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins - in Sun Studios, Tennessee. The outcome was one of the greatest jam sessions of all time. Jason Donovan plays the legendary Sam Phillips. At the Civic Theatre from June 9-18.
The first musical adaptation of a Charles Dickens book to become a stage hit. Lionel Bart, who wrote the music and lyrics, stripped back the story and watched his reworking become an enduring favourite. It comes to town courtesy of the National Youth Theatre Company (NYTC), an Auckland-based, not-for-profit organisation that runs training and stages musical productions with those aged 7-21. The cast comprises 235 of Auckland's finest young talent, directed by Jonathan Alver. At the ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre from June 8-10. NYTC will stage Peter Pan in August.
WEST SIDE STORY
Inspired by William Shakespeare's tumultuous teen love story Romeo and Juliet, ground-breaking choreography and a gritty story - vicious rivalry of teenage gangs in 1950s New York - made this musical a hit from the get-go. Now a vibrant new stage production brings the classical dance musical, with hits such as Maria, Tonight, Somewhere, America and I Feel Pretty, to Auckland. Guaranteed to pack a punch dramatically and musically. At the Civic Theatre from June 22.
It's played to sellout audiences since its 2010 UK debut, been staged on the
West End and Broadway and won nearly every major award. Produced by The Royal Shakespeare Company, this Australian production of the Roald Dahl classic is one of the most entertaining and slickest shows you'll see. Tim Minchin wrote the music and lyrics then was joined by Tony Award winners to bring to the stage the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her destiny. At the Civic Theatre from August 18. Tickets on sale from Monday.