Masterton musician Pat McKenna is leading a break-out entertainment event at Harlequin Theatre in Masterton called Harley's Lounge where guest musicians cover their favourite tune from American folk legend Bob Dylan.

McKenna believes "everybody has a Dylan song in them" and he had assembled a corps of Wairarapa musicians for the launch the first Harley's Lounge: Shelter from the Storm evening. He said all-comers were welcome to take the stage as well, but must have a modicum of performance experience.

Wairarapa performers who will help launch the evening include Elton Halford, Steve Trotman, Nick Wilsden, Bob Copper-Grundy and Kate Marshall. All renditions will be acoustic although there may be a single microphone onstage and musicians seated in a semi-circle.

"I've enlisted a whole bunch of people and want to help diversify the Harlequin Theatre and show the space can also embrace other forms of entertainment and performance besides plays.


"We want to diversify and let people know we're here and get it recognised that we're not just a theatre for plays. We want to do something different and have musical events, and workshops, as well as doing Shakespeare later this year.

"Junior Harlequin is working but we also want to get even more younger people involved. We need people to know theatre is about everything and that it's an important part of any community."

McKenna said depending on attendance the Harley's Lounge event could become a regular event and he was aiming to create an entertainment event similar to the popular North American Prairie Home Companion live radio variety show.

He was also launching another show at Harlequin Theatre next month called the Dixon St Piano Bar that will put to use a grand piano in the theatre lobby.

"That will be about having anybody who wants to up their musical and guitar skills a bit. The first night will be called Three Chords and Rising - coz that's all we're going to use. Nothing complicated, no showing off. Something like the Ukulele Orchestra - simple music, like the songs I learned when I was a kid."

Harley's Lounge kicks off at 8pm on Wednesday, March 2, and tickets will cost $15 with proceeds going to Harlequin Theatre. Tea, coffee and cold drinks will be available and tickets can be bought at Pat's Books next door to the Regent 3 Cinemas. The inaugural Dixon St Piano Bar - minus the alcohol - will run from 8pm on Sunday, March 6.