Queenstown fighter turns thespian

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Ballsy Queenstowner Henry Youngman has gone from heavyweight boxing to the chorus line of a musical within a few months.

The 25-year-old thrilled a 1500-strong crowd at the Mountain Scene-sponsored Thriller in the Chiller charity boxing night in June.

Youngman’s blood-and-guts display against eventual winner Geoff Chapman was one of the highlights.

Now the local radio presenter steps into the spotlight again – to play gay stage manager Francis in Showbiz Queenstown’s production of La Cage Aux Folles.

“It’s difficult to compare the two,” Youngman says.

“It’s a similar sort of pressure, always nerves and a bit testing.

“Even though I don’t have a load of lines, and no solos for Francis, it’s still a wee bit nerve-wracking getting your cues and delivering them properly.

“I’d probably rather get punched in the face.”

Youngman’s character Francis is in an S&M relationship and suffers many injuries in Showbiz’s version of the Broadway and West End hit about gay relationships.

“He’s either a wee bit clumsy or quite adventurous with his boyfriend,” Youngman says.

“It’s going to be bloody entertaining.

“It’s extravagant, spicy and very comical – a fine blend of drag, love and laughter.” 

The cast has rehearsed almost every day recently as opening night edges closer.

“It’s a similar time commitment to Thriller but the warm-ups are a lot different – warming the vocal cords,” Youngman says.

“It feels a little bit like Glee at times.”

Multi-talented Young-man, who also plays flanker for the Wakatipu Premiers rugby team, was recently voted player of the season.

“I don’t know how that happened – it was a nice surprise,” he says.

“I’ve kept the musical under wraps but a couple of the guys found out yesterday afternoon and told me how good I’d be in the role.” 

La Cage Aux Folles is on at the Queenstown Memorial Centre from this Sunday till September 7.