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By Ben Doy
Award-winning Australian actor and singer John Waters (Offspring, All The Rivers Run, Godspell, Hair) is heading to Auckland with his show Lennon: Through The Glass Onion. Taking place at the Civic Theatre from August 10 - 14, the show is part spoken word, part concert – a celebration of one of the most distinctive voices of his generation: John Lennon.
We caught up with John ahead of the Auckland run of Lennon: Through The Glass Onion.
How did the idea for Lennon: Through The Glass Onion come about?
I would say this show was born out of unemployment. I actually had a pretty good career going but I was in one of those downtimes and I was thinking there’s not much happening. So I thought I’d like to do a show that was small and contained, but it has to have music. That goes back to my roots as a singer and musician in bands, which is what I started out as, and add to it what I’d learned as an actor.
I thought of putting together a show with condensed thoughts and music of John Lennon as nobody had done anything since he had died; this was 1992 at the time so 12 years after he had died. So I put it on in a small club in Sydney and people went berserk! I thought ‘What have I done here’? So it’s sort of grown and come back in various seasons since then and is still on now.
Was it quite an emotional thing to put together?
I didn’t think I’d be here in this stage of my life singing Strawberry Fields Forever and talking like John Lennon on stage. It was the last thing that occurred to me to be honest. It’s fun and it’s engaging, and it has some kind of emotion to it because of the man John Lennon was and is the secret to the show being so successful.
You had the support of the Lennon estate to do this as well?
Yes, for many years it was just an application made in England, and then when we wanted to do the show in New York in the 90s Yoko had a look at ours and thought this is the one I’ll go with. We played the show at the Union Square Theatre in New York City, and that in itself was quite moving.
You’re bringing the show to New Zealand….
Yes! We’ve neglected New Zealand all the time that we’ve been doing the show. The exception was a tour by New Zealand singer Daryl Lovegrove in the early 200s. I don’t know if many people will remember that but it was called ‘Look Into The Glass Onion’. But he’s the only other person that has sort of licensed the show.
But I’m really looking forward to this Auckland season!
So you’ll be bringing some talented cast members and musicians with you?
Well it’s a two man show… actually it’s a four man show. So there’s myself and Bill Risby playing piano. And we’ve got lighting and sound technicians who are part of the show - so we are a four person touring unit.
Following the Auckland season, what are your plans after that?
We’ve got plans to take it to Tokyo where we’ve already been last year and there is some talk about us going back to the United States. I’ll also be doing some concerts on my own.
Lennon: Through A Glass Onion
August 10-14: Civic Theatre, Auckland
Tickets via Ticketmaster