• Patrick McBride


ABBA Tribute Show Confirms NZ Tour Will Go Ahead This Year

Producers of the hugely popular tribute Dancing Queen: TheABBA Show have risen to the challenges presented byCOVID-19 and have confirmed that their New Zealand national tour will indeed go ahead as planned this November and December.

At the time the tour was booked in December 2019 it was ‘business as usual’ for promoters Showtime Australia, but when pandemic restrictions took over the globe in March they knew it would take a lot of hard work to keep the show on the road.

The main concern was the strict border closure which has prevented some of the production’s international support cast from travelling to New Zealand, but DirectorJohnny Van Grinsven refused to let that stop the show and instead went on a nation-wide search for local musicians to fill the gaps.

For both Van Grinsven and The ABBA Show, this situation was a homecoming of sorts –Van Grinsven is a New Zealand native who founded his concert business in his hometown of Christchurch back in 1979.

The first show he produced there: The ABBA Show.“I still remember casting that show, scouting formusicians around Christchurch. To be back here doing itagain for the same show 40 years later... it’s weird how things come full circle,” said Van Grinsven, who now runs his group of internationally-successful entertainment companies from his home base and head office onthe Gold Coast, Australia.

This time he had aplethora of world-class talent to choose from when Coronavirus forced a flood of Kiwi performers to return home from cancelled international contracts.“We had people coming directly from Broadway and the West End to audition for us. There are a lot of artists without work, andfor who knows how long... we wish we could take everyone,”said Van Grinsven.

The list of lucky locals selected for the tour includes Auckland’s Bass Guitarist Nick Taylor and drummer Keagan Smith from Christchurch who will both join the show’s long-term touring cast-including lead vocalist Giselle Bouwer, multi-instrumentalist Hayden Baird and Dance Captain Clasina Hopper - on stage when the tour kicks off in Tauranga on 13 November.

Venues are hoping that New Zealand audiences will see the upcoming tour as an opportunity to let off some steam and enjoy a moment of lighthearted fun at the end of a difficult year, and at the same time support their local entertainment industry which has been so severely affected by COVID-19.

The two-hour concert features live performances of more than twenty ABBA hits, brought to life by state-of-the-art sound, lighting and effects.

The show will be on stage at the Regent Theatre in Greymouth Friday December 4 at 8PM.

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