Thursday September 7, 2017
Ali invites theatre-goers for a day with Doris After a successful season of Legendary Divas at Circa last year, stage singer Ali Harper returns with her highly-acclaimed show A Doris Day Special. Doris Day was America’s singing sweetheart of the silver screen during the 1950s and 1960s. She was for many years ranked as the world’s number one female box office star. The show is set in 1971 when Doris hosted her TV series The Doris Day Show. The audience is invited to play the television studio audience to help celebrate her life and songs. Ali has included many of the Doris Day hits including Que Sera Sera, Secret Love, Sentimental Journey as well as some lesser known songs. Last year Ali and her director Stephanie McKellar-Smith flew to Carmel to celebrate Doris’s 94th Birthday. “Not only did we get to meet many of Doris’s fans and co-stars but I got to personally sing to her.” Ali sang a couple of phrases from Doris’s iconic song Secret Love. Ali said Doris’s response was one of amazement and the feeling was mutual. “It wasn’t so much her response to my singing, it was that I actually had a one-on-one conversation with her. “That for me was incredibly
Seasoned stage performer Ali Harper returns to Wellington as Doris Day. PHOTO: Supplied
special.” The Big Band and Strings ensemble recording will be conducted by Rodger Fox. Ali said wherever she went, everyone loved Doris Day. “Her freshness, her vivacious personality, beautiful clothes and gorgeous films and songs are all pure escapism for so many.” Christchurch-based Ali has a strong connection with Wellington - she went to Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School and lived in Newtown before, during and after that time for several years.
She also has a daughter who lives in Newtown. Her career has spanned 25 years in New Zealand and abroad – her New Zealand tours include Chess, Evita, Pirates of Penzance, Oklahoma and the award-winning one-woman play Bombshells. She performed at The Metropolitan Room in New York in 2013 and 2014 with her cabaret show A Down Under Diva! As well as being an entertainer on cruise ships she was also a resident singer for four years on TV One’s Dancing with the Stars.
Wellington’s dark history revealed at AGM The Wellington Southern Bays Historical Society held its 14th annual general meeting on Monday August 21. Guests included the Hungarian Ambassador Laszlo Szabo and local councillor David Lee, with the keynote speaker being local artist and NZ history specialist Gabor Toth. Gabor’s speech “Crime and Punishment in a Utopian Society” talked about how Wellington was envisaged by the founding New Zealand Company as a planned utopia. However early Wellington was soon afflicted with all the social problems and crimes the early settlers had hoped to leave behind in Britain, Gabor said. “The population was predominantly young pakeha males – women were in short supply and Maori left the Port Nicholson area for the Hutt Valley and more rural areas. “Poverty was rife, alcohol consumption excessive, and as a result incidents of drunkenness, theft and brawling were common. “In addition police were not well paid and it was not easy to get suitable recruits.” The Terrace jail off the top end of Vivian Street, today a Victoria University playing field, was by 1900 big enough to house 160 prisoners, with a separate wing for women. “Children were also incarcerated there – borstals were a later devel-
Guest speaker Gábor Tóth. PHOTO: Supplied
opment.” Gabor said prison conditions were similar to or even better than those of the very poor, but a prime occupation – picking oakum for use as insulation - was disliked by men for being women’s work. Examples of the hard labour of male prisoners include the creation of the Cable Car tunnels and the excavation of Woodward Street. Three public hangings are recorded as taking place at the Mount Cook prison, probably on a scaffold in Buckle Street, he said. “They apparently attracted large crowds, including women, who were served refreshments by enterprising tradesmen. “An act was passed in 1858 requiring executions to take place inside prison walls but public interest in executions remained high.”
Cook Strait News 07-09-17