When born and bred Howickian, Blaise Clotworthy was 10-years-old, he told his grandmother he one day wanted to be paid to tap dance.
Now 15 years later, Blaise will tap dance his way across the stage in the musical debut of New Zealand’s iconic soap opera – Shortland Street the Musical.
The former Macleans College head boy says the show is a celebration of who we are as New Zealanders.
“It’s a celebration of an absolute popular culture icon for Kiwis, focussing on the original 1992 series of Shortland Street and we are working with the original iconic moments.”
He says the audience will enjoy the famous storylines of humanitarian Dr Hone Ropata arriving in town and ruffling the feathers of a young, playboy Chris Warner, the iconic love triangle between Lionel Skeggins, Kirsty Knight and Greg Feeney and when bratty teen Rachel McKenna gets struck by lightning.
And he says even those who are not fans of the soap will find something to love in show.
“They have some really universal themes that I think everybody can get behind.
Blaise will be part of the ensemble playing an injured All Black, a nurse and a tap dancing muffin – but he’s keeping tight lipped on the context behind that particular part.
This is Blaise’s fourth show with the Auckland Theatre Company and says working on this Kiwi classic has felt like “coming home”.
Now a full time performer, Blaise credits his love of musical theatre to his time at Macleans College and one of his teachers, Lesley Shepherd.
“The experiences I had at high school really forged my path as a performer,” he says.
Blaise says with the help of Lesley as his mentor, he was introduced to the magic of musical theatre and was given opportunities to work with the Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ to kick start his career in the arts.
From humble beginnings in Howick, Blaise has gone on to perform in an array of musical theatre shows as well as a quick acting stint on the real Shortland Street TV drama.
Blaise says he is proud to be part of an all-Kiwi story, something he says isn’t seen often enough in theatre.
“There needs to be more of an emphasis on telling our own stories and putting those stories in a commercial space,” he says.
“Seeing a big commercial musical about Kiwi stories and Kiwi accents and everything is a great experience for the modern NZ audience.”
The musical opens at the ASB Waterfront on November 17 as part of the Auckland Theatre Company’s 2018/19 season.