Les Miserables first peek at $20,000 stage set

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Dunedin’s Peter King (left) was literally in the dark when asked to conjure up the gloom-laden set for Showbiz Queenstown’s ambitious Les Miserables production.

The professional set designer, pictured with stage construction manager Greg Thompson (centre) and technical director Glenn ‘Scooter’ Reid, admits he’s never seen the famous musical performed on stage before.

“I’ve [since] seen the film and read the book, and looked at the music – I haven’t seen a rehearsal yet,” King says.

“It’s like designing in the dark really. It’s quite bizarre. 
I’ve been winging it a little bit.”

After a comprehensive briefing with Showbiz and producer Doug Kamo last November “they just sort-of left me alone” to come up with concept drawings, design plans and a miniature model.

The $20,000 set depicting the streets of early 19th century France, complete with revolving stage, has been built over the last two months in Oamaru – and last weekend was erected at Queenstown Memorial Hall by King and a team of volunteers.

The set ownership and construction’s been a collaborative effort between Showbiz and Oamaru Operatic and 
Musical Society.

Ticket sales for the musical, opening May 13, are so far 150 per cent higher for the same period as last year’s record audience for Grease, says secretary Hilary Finnie.