Transgender musical "People Like Us" set to push boundaries

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Two Ngāpuhi actors will be making history by starring in a transgender musical.  It's a play that pushes the gender boundaries, with a few giggles.  Lead actor Luke Bird says it's the first show of its kind in country. 

He's not your average singer, but Luke Bird has definitely got the x-factor.

He says, "I've been classed as all sorts of things, but I think vivacious is probably the word.  Vivacious, exuberant, I'm just out their and what you see is what you get, this is no act, it's just me being me with a microphone."

Luke is using his quirky personality in the lead role for a new musical.

"People Like Us is a new trans-musical and it's based on a true story, a NZ true story about a cross-dressing dad who decides to come out and explore his femininity.  In saying that, he also explores that he's in love with a transgender woman."

Ramon Te Wake plays a transgender woman in the play.  She says she can identify with the role because she is transgender.

"It doesn't really matter who you are or where you come from or who you identify, what matters is that you find love or that you are worth something and that you matter," says Te Wake.

"People Like Us" hopes to transcend all gender boundaries, with a few laughs.

"They're in out communities all the time, but we don't necessarily go, "Oh, did you see the transgender women today?"  We don't talk about it as much as we should.  But the story is one that has never been seen on stage before and it's never been a New Zealand stage show before so this is a first of its kind especially in New Zealand."

People Like Us opens at the Pumphouse Theatre in Auckland on Monday and will run for one week.