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Uk’s Acclaimed ‘Beyond The Barricade’ Makes Debut In New Zealand This Month

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Uk’s Acclaimed ‘Beyond The Barricade’ Makes Debut In New Zealand This Month

Past principal performers from the West End's Les Misérables are preparing to dazzle audiences across New Zealand with their 21-venue tour of the musical spectacular Beyond The Barricade, from 20 September to 16 October, 2016.

This glittering concert of musical showstoppers will travel from Kerikeri in the north to Invercargill in the south, presenting favourite songs from the world’s greatest West End and Broadway musicals including The Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, Evita, Wicked, Miss Saigon, West Side Story, Mamma Mia, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King and many others, climaxing with a spectacular finale from Les Misérables.

From the producers of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Cats, The Sound of Music and Singin’ in the Rain, Beyond The Barricade is two hours of pure musical theatre brilliance.

Beyond The Barricade has been delighting audiences throughout the UK and Europe for 17 years, from the Royal Albert Hall to the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria Cunard cruise liners, and last year toured Asia for the first time with performances in Manila, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The former cast members of London’s longest-running musical, Les Misérables, include Andy Reiss, who has played numerous male roles including Jean Valjean; David Fawcett, who played Valjean; and Katie Leeming who played the role of Eponine. They are joined by Julie-Alanah Brighten who played the lead role of Belle in the West End production of Beauty and the Beast.

The four performers are accompanied by an ensemble of talented musicians to create an authentic live experience, capturing all the passions and orchestrations of the original shows.

Andy Reiss and David Fawcett met while performing in Les Misérables in the West End and then in Manchester, and in 1996 devised a charity concert comprised of musical hits. Over the next few years the show began to take on a life of its own and in 1999 was renamed Beyond The Barricade with the move to only cast Les Misérables principals. A major UK tour followed culminating in a Gala Performance at the Royal Albert Hall accompanied by a 100-voice choir of people who had worked with Andy on the numerous Les Misérables Masterclasses he had directed. Ten years later Beyond The Barricade celebrated its first decade of touring with a Gala Concert at the Birmingham Symphony Hall.

“Our aim was, and continues to be, to deliver these much-loved songs from the top musicals in a way that captures the feel of the original orchestrations, so the audience feels they are listening to the original performance,” explains co-founder Andy Reiss. “We don’t use backing tracks, so every musical note is played and sung live, giving a dynamic feel to the show.”

Andy Reiss landed his first professional role in musical theatre following an open audition for the first UK production of Les Misérables outside the West End – in Manchester. Not only did he stay with Les Misérables for its entire residency in Manchester, he ended up being the show’s Resident Director whilst performing in the show, and remains the only person ever to do this. Andy has also performed in Les Misérables in Dublin and Edinburgh, and after a two year break from the show he returned as the Resident Director for the 1st National Tour. Andy was also selected from the worldwide casts of Les Misérables to appear in the 10th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Andy has also performed in the musical Chess, and as Che Guevara in the UK national tour of Evita.

David Fawcett spent two years in the West End production of Les Misérables, where he played the Bishop of Digne and the lead role of Jean Valjean on many occasions, having previously spent 13 months in the original Manchester production. He also appeared in the 10th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. David’s other musical theatre roles include Jesus in the rock musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell, the Emcee in Cabaret and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls.

As well as performing various roles including Eponine in the West End production of Les Misérables for three years, Katie Leeming appeared in the Les Misérables 25th Anniversary concert at the O2 Arena in London, and was delighted to be asked to perform at The Royal Variety Performance 2010 at The Palladium Theatre. Her involvement with Les Misérables continued with the televised performance of The Classical Brit Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in May 2011, and as an ensemble vocalist in the 2012 Oscar-winning movie.

It was during her West End debut in Oliver! at the London Palladium that Julie-Alanah Brighten won the coveted role of Belle in Disney’s original London production of Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion Theatre. This led to several more leading roles in the West End, including Florinda in La Cava, Pam in The Full Monty, and the one woman show Tell Me on a Sunday.

Producer and CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, James Cundall, said “I was fortunate enough to see Beyond The Barricade perform last year in the UK and was bowled over by the quality of their performances, and the intimate ambience of the show. Having brought many of the top musicals to New Zealand over the last two decades, I instantly thought they would be warmly received by the many musical theatre-lovers here.”

Beyond The Barricade
Kerikeri - Tue 20 Sep - Turner Centre
Whangarei - Wed 21 Sep - Forum North
Rotorua - Thu 22 Sep - Rotorua Civic Theatre
Hamilton - Fri 23 Sep - Clarence St Theatre
Auckland - Sat 24 Sep - Auckland Town Hall - Great Hall
New Plymouth - Tue 27 Sep - TSB Theatre - TSB Showplace
Taupo - Wed 28 Sep - Great Lake Centre
Napier - Thu 29 Sep - Napier Municipal Theatre
Palmerston North - Fri 30 Sep - Regent on Broadway
Wellington - Sat 1 Oct The Opera House 
Paraparaumu - Sun 2 Oct - Southward Theatre
Blenheim - Tue 4 Oct - ASB Theatre Marlborough
Timaru - Wed 5 Oct - Theatre Royal
Ashburton - Thu 6 Oct Ashburton Trust Event Centre
Christchurch - Fri 7 Oct - Isaac Theatre Royal
Oamaru - Sun 9 Oct - Oamaru Opera House
Dunedin - Tue 11 - Regent Theatre
Gore - Wed 12 Oct - St James Theatre,
Invercargill - Thu 13 Oct Civic Theatre
Wanaka - Fri 14 Oct Lake Wanaka Centre,
Queenstown - Sun 16 Oct - Queenstown Memorial Centre