High-powered actors, Jennifer Ward-Lealand CNZM and Anna Jullienne, will play the women behind the most powerful men in the world in Two Ladies by Nancy Harris, making its way to Hamilton's Clarence Street Theatre in March.
The show catapults two dynamic women into a high-tension global crisis. While their husbands, the Presidents of the United States of America and France, cross diplomatic swords, the real fireworks are down the hall, where bloodied Sophia and world-weary Helene are trapped together, distrustful of their husbands and each other.
Resemblances to the real life first ladies are more than coincidental - 2020 New Zealander of the Year Jennifer Ward-Lealand CNZM (Vermilion, Dirty Laundry, Funny Girls) plays the much older wife of the Pacific French President, while Anna Jullienne (Mean Mums, Falling Inn Love, 800 Words) is an Eastern-European-model-turned-America's-First-Lady. But that is merely a starting point for this deliciously deceitful pressure-cooker drama.
Auckland Theatre Company artistic director Colin McColl ONZM says, "Nancy Harris's play demands a superb cast, and to have Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Anna Jullienne pitted against each other in the lead roles will mean hi-jinks, high fashion and fireworks."
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"It's also a special treat to re-unite audiences with Rena Owen who has managed to take time out from her busy US career to play the pivotal role of Sandy, the US press secretary."
"Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming revealed just how corralled and controlled public life can be for these women and why they'd want to kick against it. The twists and turns of the plot make for an entertaining and intriguing night of theatre," McColl says.
McColl's vastly experienced creative team includes renowned stylist and costume designer Lucy Jane Senior (Six Degrees of Separation, Boys Will Be Boys, Other Desert Cities) who brings impeccable style and glamour to every production, set designer Rachael Walker (Black Lover, Angels in America, That Bloody Woman) and lighting designer Sean Lynch (Black Lover, Winding Up, Hudson and Halls Live!).
In a year when global travel is off the cards for most Kiwis, the Venue Consortium is ensuring the best international theatre can be found in Aotearoa regional theatres.
Following the New Zealand premiere in Auckland, the Auckland Theatre Company season of Two Ladies tours to Hamilton's Clarence St Theatre on March 5 and 6, Baycourt Community and Arts Centre in Tauranga on March 12 and 13, New Plymouth's TSB Showplace on March 20 and 21, and Toitoi Hawke's Bay Arts and Events Centre in Hastings on March 28.