Article Title:QWU to bow out on a high note
Category:Performance
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:14th July 2012 - 12:31 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
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Story ID:11988
Text:After nine years, the curtain will fall on the hilarious drag pageant Queen of the Whole Universe in just one week. Why has creator Jonathan Smith decided the show is over? And what does he have in store next?   Queen of the Whole Universe is billed as a pageant like no other, and it really is unique. The community participation-driven show has brought us some of the best in high camp and mind-blowingly polished performances from a collection of passionate amateurs. It’s raised many tens of thousands of dollars for HIV support charities, emboldened countless participants, claimed and reclaimed a Guinness World Record, and probably given creator Jonathan Smith a few stress lines. So why is it ending? Quite simply because Smith wants to go out on a high. “It’s actually getting more difficult to get sponsorship, so that side of it weighed up against the artistic side of it and putting the show on, it’s getting a lot harder to balance it,” he explains. “But my main reason is the fact that I want to finish on a high and a tenth show is a really good way to finish it.” As such there will be plenty of extra special additions to the show, which will be a combination of new material, improved dancer ability, and memoirs from the past. “We want to acknowledge the past and the journey that we’ve been on,” Smith says. “But I think the opening will be the thing that will blow the audience away.” Smith is trying not to even talk to the cast about the fact it’s the last show, or think about it. “I’d probably be in a worse state that the cast would I think,” he laughs. “I try not to go there too often. “It’s going to be very emotional,” he says of next Saturday night. “Especially at the end when we say the last little group of thank yous. It will be the last time we say it. “And of course at the end of every night we always say ‘we look forward to seeing you in such and such a date in Auckland or Wellington’, well this time we’re not going to say that, so it’s going to be a bit hard.” However the Queen of the Whole Universe story is not yet over, with Smith planning to turn it into something entirely different. “Over the past nine years and ten shows, we’ve built up quite a story,” he says. “There’s a story there about how I first created the show. We’ve actually got some very strong characters who have been part of the show, so there’s stories there. “So my aim is to spend two years rewriting it as ‘the QWU musical’ or ‘QWU the story’ or something like that. I’m thinking of something in between Chorus Line and Priscilla, along those sort of lines. “That’s my goal and it might take me two to three years to do it, but I feel I can actually pull it off.” Saturday’s show is nearly sold out, Smith is confident the Guinness World record will be broken again, and the amount donated to charity will climb beyond $200,000. It certainly will go out on a high. Jacqui Stanford - 14th July 2012    
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