Filipina takes on a central character in ‘Avenue Q’

Editors choice



INVERCARGILL – A Filipina has been offered the role of Christmas Eve in Gore Musical Theatre’s production of ‘Avenue Q’, which will be shown at the Gore Town and Country Club next month.

Finding an Asian woman who could “sing and act with comedic timing” for the role of Christmas Eve was proving to be a challenge for the producers.

“I found out about the show when a friend, Jade Gillies, messaged me about ‘Avenue Q’ to see if I was interested,” says Shelly Amore Ballantine.

“I was drawn to the role of Christmas Eve, a mezzo-soprano Japanese immigrant with a Japanese accent who lives with like-minded people in Avenue Q. A Japanese or Asian part suited me fine, so I had no hesitation in accepting this role.

“I’m thankful to our amazing Director, Hamish MacGregor, for inviting me to take part in this hilarious show. It’s an honour to be with the Gore Theatre.”

Shelly came to New Zealand from the Philippines in 2001 and settled in Invercargill. “I’ve always had a passion for singing and acting. I’ve been singing since the age of 11. I was involved in a school choir competition and a Radio Amateur Singing Competition. I did some acting in my college years back in the Philippines.”

Shelly has been involved with musical theatre in Invercargill since 2004; the first Filipina to do so. In 2006 she was given the lead role in a local production, a theatre restaurant of ‘Simply the Best’.

“Avenue Q is a laugh out loud musical that has a multicultural focus,” says Shelly. “It explores several themes: the purpose of life, racism, love and hate relationships, friendship and so on, as it affects a bunch of people living together in Avenue Q in New York.”

The musical won the TONY ‘Triple Crown’ for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.

The show is for Adult audiences. Show dates are: November 10, 11, 12, 13 – 16, 17, 18 and 19 at Gore Town and Country Club.


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