No business like show business!
20 November 2023
Among other famous characters, Powley resident Anthony (Ant) Carroll has played the Wizard of Oz, King Lear, Romeo, the Merchant of Venice and even a munchkin. The latter described as “a killer when you spend the entire production on your knees!”
For over 40 years Ant led a colourful show business career in various musical theatre societies around Auckland. As both a performer and a director, he helped produce more than 140 shows and plays for adoring audiences.
These days the audience isn’t as large. But Ant still gets just as much joy out of performing a live concert for his fellow residents and friends at Powley Village, as he did at St James’ Theatre in his 20s.
“Performing is not just pleasurable for me, but also for my audience. The warm applause at the end of a show is worth so much more than the pay cheque at the end of the week.”
A talented singer, Ant recently teamed up with local Green Bay High School music teacher and jazz pianist, Stuart Alan, to perform a live jazz concert for village residents.
“We played a lot of the classic stuff like ‘don’t get around much anymore’, ‘I’ve got you under my skin’ and ‘New York, New York’.
“I’d describe my style as a mix between Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublē, though they’re considerably more expensive than I am!”
Ant’s passion for theatre began in his early 20s. At the suggestion of his father, he responded to an advert by well-known Auckland actress and cabaret performer, Lee Grant, asking for students to join her drama classes.
Following two years studying with Lee, Ant went on become part of the Auckland theatre scene for the next four decades; performing in some of the city’s most famous theatres, including The Playhouse in Glen Eden and His Majesty’s theatre in K Road.
“Back then His Majesty’s was a creaky old theatre, but loaded with memories busting out of the walls!”
Having been dealt some seriously challenging health issues throughout his life, the art of performance has been a positive presence through the tough times.
“Performing for others fills my soul, as I feel like I’m giving something back to my audience,” says Ant.
Ant’s good friend, and fellow Powley resident, Lynne French would agree.
“He’s the life and soul of the place. He’s very talented and a natural entertainer. The jazz concert was so uplifting, it was just so good to have some live music!”