Meet Chicago’s Matron Morton

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Oamaru Operatic Society’s Chicago, chin deep in dirty deeds and all that jazz, opens at the Oamaru Opera House on Friday night. In the countdown to the opening night of the hit musical, Oamaru Mail reporter Jessie Waite catches up with some of the principal cast members…

Bruna Oakes has lived in Herbert for almost 33 years, coming originally from Far North Queensland.

She and husband John are the owners and directors of Central South Island Helicopters Ltd.

Bruna performed in her first show (Grease) in 1996, playing the part of Rizzo and became hooked on performing arts.

Other performance experience includes Rocky Horror, Jesus Christ Superstar, Broadway and plays for the Oamaru Reparatory Society. Last year, she wrote and directed the Oamaru Operatic Society’s Club Dread theatre restaurant.

Who do you play in Chicago?

Matron Mama Morton. She runs the Cook County Jail. Nothing happens in that place without her knowing what’s going on and whose palm to grease. She has a bit of a dark side too, but enough said about that.

Have you found any similarities between yourself and the character?

My husband would say I am bossy like the matron, but I find that hard to believe. Wait, I am bossy like her and shy – oh dear.

What have you enjoyed the most about being a part of Chicago?

Anneke de Geest’s baking. Yum! We have a lot of fun and everyone gets on really well. Did I mention Anneke’s baking?

What has been the biggest challenge for you during rehearsals?

It’s stepping out of my comfort zone getting used to some aspects of Matron Morton. Maybe I am also a teeny bit jealous everyone else gets to look fabulous in their amazing costumes, but the plus side to that is I don’t have to stress about costume changes. Well, only once.

When you aren’t busy at rehearsal or working, what do you enjoy doing in the Waitaki District?

Where do I start? I sing in a local band Pressure. The boys have kindly taken a back seat to the show for now – thanks boys. John (my hubby) and I have bikes so we like to cruise round the district; Kurow is great for an ice-cream stop, then back home via Duntroon. When I say bikes, I don’t mean the pedaling type either. John has a Triumph Rocket3 and I have a Harley (1996 Dyna).

If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?

Now that’s a good question. Do they have any chunky superhero women? I think I will leave being a superhero to someone who can cope with the responsibility. I have rehearsals to worry about – don’t have time for saving the world.

Tickets for Chicago are avaliable at www.ticketdirect.co.nz or at the Oamaru Opera House. The season runs from September 20 to 28.