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Joe Danielson and Dama De Villalobos dance the Oscar- nominated Irving Berlin song Cheek To Cheek.

The red carpet will be rolled out and the songs and scores of the Academy Awards will take centre stage at the Ashburton Event Centre this week.

Variety Theatre Ashburton is presenting Born Free musical journey with more than two dozen songs featured at the Oscars over the last 90 years.

The first of four shows will be performed tonight, followed by shows on Friday and Saturday evening and a Sunday matinee performance at 2pm.

A cast and ensemble of 26 will tackle classics such as Born Free, which won an Oscar in 1967 and other academy winning songs like Unchained Melody, White Christmas, Someday My Prince Will Come, As Time Goes By and the themes from Titanic and You Light Up My Life.

The show’s director and musical director is Kathi Craig, while Jessie Thomson is the choreographer and assistant director.

Some top local talent will showcase their voices and performance skills, including Matt Williams, Chris Woods, Libby Higson and Murran Buller.

Jessie Thomson said the experienced cast and dancers included some new emerging local talent.

Rehearsals had started in April, but the production had been impacted by covid from the start.

A couple of cast members had been struck down with the virus recently, but may be back in time to perform, and others had been out of action.

“It’s the old adage, and it will. We’ve seen a number of people step up to cover roles and to support the show and it’s so exciting to be finally on stage.”

Jessie said two of her favourites in the show included a tribute piece to West Side Story and Adele’s Skyfall from the James Bond movie.

She said the cast and production crew deserved a great audience because of the hard work and team effort that had been put in and the quality of the show. “We’re rolling out the red carpet and inviting the audience to dress up for what will be a glitzy and fabulous occasion. The show will impress and it offers a very affordable night out at the theatre.”

Tickets are available from the event centre or centre’s website.

-By Mick Jensen