Spooner’s show tunes with dinner

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Kiwi performer Rutene Spooner brings a semi-autobiographical collection of show tunes to a Queenstown restaurant this weekend.

Spooner is the latest musical theatre star to team up with Queenstown pianist Mark Wilson for the Broadway Comes To Queenstown series at Les Alpes French restaurant on Church Street.

“All the songs I’ll be performing have meaning to me,” Spooner, who is a National Academy of Singing & Dramatic Art graduate, tells Mountain Scene this week.

“There’s a song from my first ever singing assessment and others that reflect milestones in my life and career, certain shows I’ve done.”

The tenor – a star on the national musical theatre circuit and soloist at Christmas in the Park – is in town as a guest artist for Showbiz Queenstown musical La Cage Aux Folles which is being performed from September 1 to 7 during Gay Ski Week.

Spooner will be guest performer and assist the Wakatipu cast with their singing, acting and stage skills.

But the talented 24-year-old from Gisborne will first entertain Les Alpes diners with about 18 show tunes from a range of musicals.

Spooner: “There’s a variation of styles and genres, a bit of old and new.

“There’s Broadway versions made famous by Ella Fitzgerald, we’ve jazzified a few numbers and we have some classics – a number from West Side Story, some Steven Sondheim, even some modern musical theatre, one from Grease.

“We’re trying to do a real mix,” he says.

“But because it’s a dining experience it is relaxed – give them a bit of Broadway but not be belting in their ears,” Spooner says.

“The last thing you want is a big huge number while you’re having dinner.”

Spooner will be joined by Jill Derbie from the cast of La Cage Aux Folles and the show’s choreographer LeRoi Kippen for duets on the night.

They’ll be accompanied by Wilson, who also doubles as rehearsal pianist for the La Cage band.

Catch Broadway comes to Queenstown at Les Alpes French restaurant on Church Street, Saturday 8-10pm