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Pop CultureMarch 20, 2017

There’s a stage musical based on Shortland Street coming and it’s going to be great


We sent local Ferndale fanatic James Mustapic along to preview snippets of Shortland Street: The Musical live on stage, because that’s a thing. 

Big news: there’s a Shortland Street musical in the works and from what I’ve seen of it, it’s iconic. Premiering a rough teaser show as a part of the Auckland Arts Festival, Shortland Street: The Musical covers highlights from the first two years of the TV series (1992-1994), everything from Lionel’s muffins to the legendary Guatemala quote gets the song and dance treatment.

I hadn’t even been born when Shortland Street began, so going into this show I really had no idea what was happening, or who most of the characters were; but I loved it. When you think about it, a Shortland Street musical makes quite a lot of sense, not just because of its popularity but because Shortland Street has already had a number of iconic musical moments.

When I really thought about it, I realised there have been countless examples of cringe-worthy musical numbers on Shortland Street over the past 25 years. For example, in 2001 Shortland Street actually had a musical episode of its own. There was a storyline where Chris and Rachel both took part in a production. I know it sounds great on paper, but it was basically a whole episode of Chris singing “I’ve found a pot of gold… It’s you” to Rachel, whilst wearing way too much guyliner.

Please tell me that is not your liner

NO thank you.  

Unfortunately, there has been far worse than Warner guyliner on Shortland Street. I recently found a clip from 2007 and quickly realised how far the show has come in a mere 10 years. In the final episode for 2007, the Emergency Department team sings ‘The 12 days of Christmas: Shortland Street Edition’ at the I.V. bar and bistro Christmas party.

The song starts with “On the first day of Christmas, the triage sent to me: a skull fracture from a party”. This humorous song continues with great gags such as ‘Two bleeders spraying, Three sad old people, Four families feuding.’ On the fifth day of Christmas though, the triage sends them ‘five beaten wives’. I was pretty mortified to see such a horrific line from a show I was watching when I was only 11 years old.

In 2010, Shortland Street made a ‘Summer Fling’ music video in which TK gives smouldering looks at the camera and also holds up a starfish at one point. NO thank you. Chris Warner singing ‘Anchor Me’ on the 2013 cliffhanger was thoroughly ridiculous too, and I could never tell if musical bits like these were supposed to be serious or not.

Though Shortland Street: The Musical takes place in 1992, they’ve updated it with modern day flair. The show includes musical numbers about feminism, bed-hopping and the glass ceiling, and it was super exciting to see how they’d reinvented the TV show whilst still staying true to the original episodes. Shortland Street is a super progressive TV show, especially these days, and it’s awesome to see that the musical will be bringing this to a big theatre audience.

The Shortland Street Musical was super funny, and not in the ‘not sure if this is a joke’ kind of way. It’s aware of how ridiculous some of the early storylines were (Rachel being struck by lightning), and it uses them to celebrate how amazing this show was, whilst still bringing in some contemporary, progressive ideas that we need. Oh, and there are promised celeb cameos every night (we got Boyd). I can’t wait to see more.

Follow the progress of Shortland Street: The Musical here on Facebook

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