A popular comedic musical show will be hitting Rotorua shores next month, with veteran actor George Henare a part of the cast.

Librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Sir Arthur Sullivan's HMS Pinafore will play in 21 venues around New Zealand during April and May.

Directed by Geraldine Brophy and produced by Ben McDonald, the show is set aboard the sailing vessel, the HMS Pinafore, and tells the story of how the captain's daughter is in love with a lower-class sailor.

However her father wants her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty (played by Henare).


HMS Pinafore's humour focuses on love between members of different social classes and lampoons the British class system in general.

Henare, known for roles in Once Were Warriors, The Legend of Johnny Lingo and The Dead Lands, spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post ahead of the show at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre on April 15.

The actor said the cast would be rehearsing for a "full on" two and a half weeks right up until the first show in Blenheim on April 8.

He said this sort of show was great fun to do and, like many plays, held up a mirror to society.

It was written for Victorian times and was "frolicky" to give it a lighter touch, but there as a much more serious message behind it, he said.

Henare said the first time he ever saw the work of Gilbert and Sullivan was at Gisborne Boys' High School and he thought it was wonderful.

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Henare said he thought people around New Zealand would enjoy the music of HMS Pinafore, and as Gilbert and Sullivan were well-known, people would be very familiar with the songs.

"There are some wonderful singers in there, beautiful singers."

There is a cast of about 14 and the comic opera features a lot of dialogue and musical songs.

"I think it's going to be fantastic."

After the HMS Pinafore tour, Henare has a role in the stage show Educating Rita in Christchurch and will fly to Australia to play the Sultan in a musical theatre of Aladdin.

-Tickets can be bought from Ticketmaster.