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UPCOMING       |  cabarets:  Falling In Love Again | The Look of Love 


J E N N I F E R   W A R D - L E A L A N D
F A L L I N G   I N   L O V E   A G A I N

In 2002 Jennifer Ward-Lealand was approached by (potent pause) PRODUCTIONS to play the title role of Marlene Dietrich in the play Marlene by British playwright Pam Gems.  It opened in mid 2003 at the Herald Theatre in Auckland to a sold out season.

Following the success of this production, Jennifer was asked to perform a Dietrich cabaret for The Edge/AK03 Festival Club.  Falling in Love Again was devised in collaboration with musical director Grant Winterburn.  Singing highlights from Miss Dietrich's films, concerts and recordings, Jennifer features songs by Cole Porter, Edith Piaf, Frederic Hollander and Pete Seeger.  Jennifer and Grant are joined by bass player Aaron Coddel.

Beautifully lit by lighting designer Andrew Malmo, and featuring an exquisite recreation of one of Dietrich's famous gowns, this show vividly captures the style and glamour of a time gone by.

Falling in Love Again is now available on CD.  Click here for information or to order, or here to download a sample of a song.  The media kit is available is available here.


Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Townsville, North Queensland
1 August 2017

: "stunning show … nothing short of captivating … As Marlene, Jennifer captures her majesty, intrigue and dry wit … It was wonderful to overhear older members of the audience swooning excitedly after the show about how perfect every detail was".


Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, The Famous Spiegeltent, Havelock North Domain
4 November 2015


Theatreview: "The foot-stomping demand for an encore and standing ovation before the final notes had faded say it all ... Jennifer Ward-Lealand's audience is spell-bound".


Auckland International Cabaret Festival, Auckland Town Hall
5 June 2014

: "Falling in Love Again is a beautiful cabaret show that transports the audience to another time and place.  Jennifer Ward-Lealand is stunning in this role, moving easily from sensitive ballads to songs full of humour.  She proves that our Kiwi performers can stand up alongside the international acts here for the festival, and absolutely hold their own".

The 13th Floor:  "You'd be forgiven for thinking, given the quality of the performance and the stomping standing ovations of the audience, that you were in fact in the presence of a showbiz deity ... Simply put, even in costume as someone else, Jennifer Ward-Lealand is the real deal".


Concert for the Birds, Glen Eden Playhouse Theatre, Glen Eden, NZ
15 June 2012

" ... the audience was transported back in time to take in a selection of Marlene Dietrich's most iconic songs ... it was evident from the connection between the singer and accompanists, that they had spent many years honing the pieces to offer a show that was imbued with the spirit of, but not smothered by the stereotypes surrounding Marlene ... every detail of th cabaret performance was considered"


Nelson Winter Music Festival, Nelson School of Music, Nelson, NZ
9 July 2011

The Nelson Mail
:  "With a strong alto voice, she was equal to the Dietrich sophistication, switching easily from a gentle love song to the forceful challenge of Lola and The Boys in the Backroom ... this was a polished performance by an experienced entertainer".


Bay of Islands Arts Festival, The Centre at Kerikeri, Kerikeri, NZ
8-9 March 2008

The Bay Chronicle:  "Alluring, seductive, delicious, ambrosial, sultry, glamorous, naughty and just downright sexy – Jennifer Ward-Lealand is Marlene Dietrich incarnate. ... A superb evening of 22 of Dietrich's memorable songs from her films, concerts and recordings magnificently brought to life by the remarkable, stunning Jennifer Ward-Lealand".


Downstage Theatre, Wellington, NZ
28 July–4 August 2007
(season sold out; additional shows added)

Dominion Post
:  "When statuesque Jennifer Ward-Lealand first appears on stage wrapped in a long fur coat and wearing a reproduction of the famous dress that caused a sensation in the 1950's, reincarnation for a moment seems a possibility. ... Ward-Lealand neither sends up her subject by camp exaggeration nor attempts an exact replica of Marlene in voice and mannerisms. ... She pays tribute by suggestion, by singing 23 of Marlene's songs and by singing them with an energy and style that, if my memory of recordings and films is correct, are an improvement on the originals."

Theatreview: "Having perfected the statuesque stance in sheer beaded sheath frock and swans down coat, the sexy accent, the dry tone of wry humour, the angular gestures and conspiratorial 'you know what I mean' look, Ward-Lealand interprets each of the 23 songs ... with an emotional intelligence and subtle richness of musicality ... Jennifer Ward-Lealand makes the role her own, allowing her own inherent warmth, generous spirit and delight in her craft to imbue her performance as she explores a full palette of moods and emotions"


Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Town Hall, Christchurch, NZ
14 April 2007 (with orchestral arrangements by Russ Garcia) 


The Press
"When Jennifer Ward-Lealand makes her appearance as Marlene Dietrich in decolette and white fur, the audience is well and trully anticipating the chanteuse – and Ward-Lealand, one of New Zealand's top performers, knows this and doesn't disappoint.  Anyone doing 'die Dietrich' runs the risk of falling into cliche or caricature because of Dietrich's extraordinary character and vocal mannerisms.  ... Sensibly Ward-Lealand opts to interpret rather than duplicate, showcasing the songs and memories ... and evoking the goddess more thoroughly than any impersonation could – and I had no idea she could sing as well as everything else. ... The audience laughed, swayed and got moist in the eyes. ... Jennifer Ward-Lealand's performance was scintillating".


The Street Theatre, Canberra, Australia
30 March 2007

:  "'Glamour is what I sell; it's my stock in trade,' Marlene Dietrich once said.  Leading New Zealand actress Jennifer Ward-Lealand sold it in spades as she brought her impersonation of the legendary goddess of the silver screen and stage to a packed house at the Street Theatre. ... Ward-Lealand stood before her audience as a stunning incarnation of the sultry siren of the sung and spoken song. ... Ward-Lealand, superbly accompanied by Winterburn and Coddel, payed revered homage to Dietrich's idiosyncratic style, flavouring her renditions with a range of emotions from the seductive to the cynical".


Bay of Islands Arts Festival, The Centre, Kerikeri, NZ
8-9 March 2008

The Bay Chronicle
:  "Alluring, seductive, delicious, ambrosial, sultry, glamorous, naughty and just downright sexy – Jennifer Ward-Lealand is Marlene Dietrich incarnate. ... A superb evening of 22 of Dietrich's most memorable songs ... brought to life by the remarkable, stunning Jennifer Ward-Lealand ...
Superb music accompaniment by pianist extraordinaire Grant Winterburn and bassist Aaron Coddel.  Amazing how this music duo could produce such a big sound".


Auckland Arts Festival, The Famous Spiegeltent, Auckland, NZ
13, 20 March 2007 (first show sold out; second show added)

: "From the moment of her regal entry . . . Jennifer Ward-Lealand is in charge.  The audience is hers, the music is hers, and the night is hers.  Nothing is left to chance.  Every eye movement, gesture, posture, is timed to perfection, just as Dietrich herself did so instinctively.  It's clear that a lot of research has been done, but in the hands of anyone less formidably gifted, all the research in the world wouldn't have been enough, for genius, too, is required to produce a performance of this standard.  And the Voice – a far better instrument than that of the original owner and used to the fullest nuance, its rich timbre almost more seductive and certainly less sprecht and more gesang. ... The Famous Spiegeltent, the very one in which this show was played twice, actually hosted Marlene Dietrich in 1938, I was told.  What an amazing coincidence and what a frisson was felt upon experiencing her reincarnation whilst the ghost of her presence presumably hung around watching, probably nodding approval."

NZBLUES.COM:  "Jennifer Ward-Lealand was able to inhabit our idea of Marlene Dietrich and with perfect timing and voice, she performed great numbers including delightful versions of the show title song. After which the audience gave her a standing ovation, before they left the art deco authenticity of The Famous Spiegeltent. This was one of those spine tingling performances that holds the audience in a rapture where time becomes irrelevant. Ward-Lealand entered, stood in a great big white fur and jewels, still, and moved the audience, some, to tears".


Hastings Blossom Festival, PlayHouse Theatre, Hastings, NZ
22 September 2006


Hawke's Bay Today
: "Ward-Lealand’s interpretation of this chameleon of a woman is right on the money, and confirms to us why she is still classed as one of the nation’s leading actresses.  From the moment she stepped on stage looking gorgeous, she had the audience in the palm of her hands. ... the minute she walked through those curtains she was Dietrich."


Tauranga Arts Festival, Pacific Crystal Palace, Tauranga, NZ
27 October 2005

Bay of Plenty Times
:  "As one of New Zealand's foremost actors, we all expect Ward-Lealand to carry a character – and she did, complete with German accent and sizzling physicality.  But it was her voice that was truly impressive.  Ranging from deep growl to coquettish whisper, she delivered each song as if from Dietrich's own heart, with expert accompaniment from pianist Grant Winterburn and bassist Aaron Coddel. ... Picture Dietrich and those dreamy heavy eyelids immediately come to mind.  Ward-Lealand even managed to channel this detail by pausing at the end of songs with a dramatic look up as if waiting for the last notes to float down from the ceiling and settle on the enchanted audience."


Nelson Arts Festival, Theatre Royal, Nelson, NZ
23-24 October 2005

The Nelson Mail
: "A consummate performance from our fine actress, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, brought this magnetic screen and stage goddess to life.  The mannerisms, movements, phrasing, and husky smoking voice were all there."


Expressions Arts Centre, Upper Hutt, NZ
14-15 July 2005

Dominion Post
: "Ward-Lealand is wise in her choice not to break character; her dedication and conviction adds weight to her recreation of an icon and an era. ... She does a superb job in recreating the phrasing and tone – the very colour - of [Dietrich’s] voice; her clipped intonation on Cream in my Coffee ... and the drippy vowel sounds and buzzy consonants that surround her interpretation of Cole Porter’s The Laziest Gal in Town are highlights."

Capital Times: "Ward-Lealand is Marlene in gesture, mood and movement – masterfully capturing her alluring and seductive personality from stage and screen. ... Ward-Lealand’s ability to use Dietrich’s distinctive and unusual phrasing was magical to listen to ... This show is a stunningly good piece of sophisticated cabaret, hugely rewarding and enjoyable."


Hamilton Gardens Festival, Victorian Conservatory, Hamilton, NZ
22-29 February 2004
Waikato Times
:   “She displays styles from pert and coquettish, through poignant, patriotic and passionate, to the wry vamp we all recall . . . This glamorous cabaret salute is, above all, a night of wonderful music making."
(photo at right: Andrew Malmo)

Click here to download the media kit for Falling in Love Again, or here to listen to a sample of a song from the show (1 MB). 

Click here for contact information.






Art Deco Festival, Napier


Uxbridge Arts & Culture Centre, Howick

Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Townsville, Queensland

Noosa Alive!, Noosa Heads, Queensland


Hawke's Bay  Arts Festival


Auckland International Cabaret Festival


Concert for the Birds, Glen Eden


Nelson Winter Music Festival

Cambridge Autumn Festival


AK09, The Famous Spiegeltent


The Pumphouse, Takapuna

Hawkins Centre, Papakura

Queenstown Winter Festival

Bay of Islands Arts Festival, The Centre at Kerikeri (2 shows)


Downstage Theatre (10 shows)

Christchurch Town Hall, accompanied by Christchurch Symphony Orchestra

Gisborne Autumn Arts Festival, Bushmere Arms

Castlemaine State Festival (Australia), Theatre Royal (2 shows)

Street Theatre, Canberra (Australia)

AK07, The Famous Spiegeltent (2 shows)


Otago Festival of the Arts (Dunedin), Glenroy Auditorium (2 shows)

Civic Theatre, Invercargill (2 shows)

Hastings Blossom Festival

Fuel Festival, Gallagher Concert Chamber (Hamilton)

Lake Taupo Arts Festival, Pacific Crystal Palace


Medical Industry Association's Second National Conference on Disease of the Breast, Sky City Convention Centre

Nelson Arts Festival, Theatre Royal (2 shows)

Tauranga Arts Festival, Pacific Crystal Palace

James Hay Theatre, Christchurch; presented by Canberbury Opera

Expressions Theatre, Upper Hutt (2 shows)

"We'll Meet Again" Concert, Wellington Town Hall

WEL Academy of Performing Arts, Hamilton (2 shows)

Artworks Theatre, Waiheke


Hamilton Gardens Festival, Victorian Garden Conservatory


The Edge/AK03 Festival Club (5 shows)


J E N N I F E R   W A R D - L E A L A N D   O F F I C I A L   W E B S I T E