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Media Release from Mike Kelly at NCC (NZ) Ltd. Executive Director, NCC (New Zealand) Ltd, venue manager for the Westpac Centre & Christchurch Town Hall.

Guess Who's Coming to Entertain Christchurch?

It's full on! Entertainment in many forms is coming to Christchurch early 2004, with everything from the biggest name in world tennis and international basketball to one of Britain's favourite singers, from the world's best little opera company to New Zealand's best loved comedian and for all that, Las Vegas daring and glitter. The Westpac Centre for Sport and Entertainment and the Christchurch Town Hall are to play host to a variety of the world's greatest performers and events.

The NZ Breakers will be trying to keep their hot streak alive and to re-establish themselves in the hearts of the Christchurch public in front of home crowds on 14 Jan when they play the Townsville Crocs and then again on 28 January when they play the Perth Wildcats in the Australian National Basketball League. The first-year NZ Breakers won only two of their first 12 games, but they have put on a full court press since then with new import Mike Chappell, and led by top Kiwi stalwart Pero Cameron and Reefton's favourite son, Phil Jones.

From basketball to the world's biggest name in men's tennis, John McEnroe, will play the best of three sets against Pat Cash, Aussie's former Wimbledon champion, in the Mercedes Challenge on 2 February. A capacity crowd of 6200 is expected. The tennis court will be rolled up and packed away and the stage will then be set for Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, giving two sold-out Christchurch performances on 14 and 15 February as part of his Too Old to Die Young road show and tour.

Three days later, on 18 & 19 February, Christchurch's own singing star, Hayley Westenra, will be giving her concert Pure in the Christchurch Town Hall Auditorium. Then on 20 March The Pretenders will be performing to their loyal audience. Popular Pam Ayres makes a return visit to the James Hay Theatre on 25 February.

March is anchored by the darling of the sixties and current diva, Petula Clark. The entire Town Hall Auditorium audience will be, at some point, singing "..when you're alone and life is getting you down you can go Downtown.." - a song that swept the nation and became an anthem of the 60's with a message that resonates well into to the 21st century and is amongst the top songs ever recorded. More used to performing in the Royal Variety Show in front of the Queen and family, Petula Clark will share an intimate evening with close friends, for one night in Christchurch, in March.

Then it's a change of mood as Canterbury Opera presents Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music" in a five concert season starting 18 March, featuring some of Christchurch's favourite singers: Heather Begg, Geraldine Turner, Rima Te Wiata and Christopher Doig.

And on a hugely lavish scale, Cirque Dreams runs for three nights at the Westpac Centre, 18 - 20 March. This superbly polished, glittery and entertaining entertainment spectacle offers local audiences a glimpse of Los Vegas styled shows comparable to that wonderful mix of circus and theatre that has recently been available internationally.

Then Meat Loaf comes to Jade Stadium with a guaranteed long and loud welcome from his loyal audience, and undoubtedly from newer generation of young fans. And then we see again traditional favourite Michael Barrymore at the Town Hall on 29 March, just ahead of the smash 2002 hit Celtic dance show "Spirit of the Dance", playing this time in the intimate confines of the Town Hall. Word of mouth sold out five shows last time and you wouldn't want to miss this go round!