Michael Hurst Now.com

This website was created to showcase the post-Hercules career of New Zealand actor and director, Michael Hurst.  We will also announce the professional activities of Michael's wife, Jennifer Ward-Lealand . . . More


* 800 WORDS

Look beyond the homepage--use the links below to explore Michael's career:





Photo: Tracey Stevens



Michael and Jennifer at Jennifer's
te reo Maori graduation ceremony, 7 June 2017

For Michael news:



5 October  Added RadioNZ review of Pleasuredome to homepage

29 September  Added Otago Daily Times review of That Bloody Woman, Newshub, NZ Herald, Theatreview and Keeping Up with New Zealand reviews of Pleasuredome, and 800 Words New Zealand premiere date to homepage

21 September  Added Theatreview review of Super HUGH-Man to homepage

16 September  Added Super HUGH-Man to homepage

8 September  Added 'What is Pleasuredome' video and Australian premiere date for 800 Words to homepage

22 August  Added Provocation to homepage; created DEGNZ - Equity Power Panel page

20 August  Created The Good Word page

15 August  Added That Bloody Woman promo video to homepage

14 August  Added That Bloody Woman to homepage; created Duggan page (Michael and Jennifer had guest-starring roles, 1999)

13 August  Created Shortland Street page

10 August  Created Spartacus: Vengeance page

9 August  Added video interview of Michael talking about Lysistrata, and the connection between ancient and modern tragedy (particularly Edward Albee's The Goat) to Lysistrata page and The Goat page

8 August  Created Honey page (short film, 2002)

3 August  Added Pleasuredome to homepage

30 July Added Akaroa French Fest to homepage

16 July  Created A Basement Christmas Carol page

15 July  Created Hauraki Horror page and Nepal Memories page

13 July  Created Sister Wonder Woman page and Love Mussel page

11 July  Created As You Like It workshop at Howick Little Theatre page and The Good Times page

10 July  Created Michael Hurst: Arts in Auckland page and Michael profile on Campbell Live page

9 July  Updated Seeded interview page

8 July  Created Wild Animal Rescue page

6 July  Created Starlight Symphony page, Review Revue with Pride page, and Seating You fundraiser page

5 July  Created View from Olympus page and Hold the Anchovies page

4 July  Created Legend of the Seeker 'Revenant' page (acting), and Power Rangers Ninja Storm page and Power Rangers S.P.D. page (voice acting)

3 July  Created Jack of All Trades 'Shark Bait' (acting) page

2 July  Created Xena (directing) page and Macbeth (Young Auckland Shakespeare Company) page

1 July  Created 'The Director's Story' page, Jack of All Trades (directing) page, and Pericles, Prince of Tyre page

30 June  Created Jesus Christ Superstar page

29 June  Created The Almighty Johnsons (directing) page and The Brokenwood Mysteries page; added behind-the-scenes photos to Generation of Z page and Ash vs Evil Dead page

28 June  Created Legend of the Seeker (directing) page and Step Dave page

27 June  Created Ash vs. Evil Dead page

26 June  Created Tatau page

25 June  Created 800 Words page and Westside page

24 June  Created Club Mystique page

22 June  Created Chicago page

20 June  Created GAPS Arts talk page (including audio of Michael's talk), Dragons Cabtastical page, and The Women page

19 June  Created Verity George Variety Show interview page (including audio of Michael's interview)

11 June  Created The Blind Date Project page

6 June  Created Auckland Daze page

4 June  Created A Midsummer Night's Dream page, Second Afterlife page and Balloons page

3 June  Created Lysistrata page and Future Realities Workshop page

2 June  Created Republic of Waiheke Royal Command Performance page

9 May  Created King Lear (Circa Theatre) page

26 May  Added season 2 to Our Big Blue Backyard page; created High Road page

25 May  Created Amadeus page; added Michael's interview with Classical World New Zealand to homepage

11 May Added Jennifer's additional teaching to homepage

6 May Added 800 Words on Acorn TV to homepage

29 April Added Michael directing additional episodes of 800 Words to homepage

13 April Added Michael's cameo in Vermilion to homepage

3 April Added Jennifer's teaching to homepage

24 February Added cast and description of Vermilion to homepage

8 January Added Michael directing episodes of 800 Words season 3 to homepage

12 November Added Michael's Westside episodes to homepage

29 October Added Michael directing in third season of Westside to homepage

17 August  Added Westside dvd's to homepage

10 September  Created Spartacus Overview page, summarizing Michael's contributions to Starz' Spartacus series (with links to individual episode pages)





This is not an official site, but we will keep it current with news of Michael's professional activities, as well as an archive of his projects.  We will also announce the professional activities of Michael's wife, Jennifer Ward-Lealand; see her official site for more on her career.

See also:  Michael's curriculum vitae on his official website: www.michaelhurst.co.nz and his listing on IMDB.  Michael is represented by Johnson & Laird Management.



Forget everything you know about musicals, this is an immersive experience set within a full realized Manhattan streetscape just off Rosebank Road, ten minutes from Auckland's CBD.  Here your journey begins before being transported back in time to the heart-stopping, booty-shaking, mythical Pleasuredome nightclub.  This is the night you never dreamt possible.

Lucy Lawless is Sappho, the show's sexy, hedonistic diva whose lavish performances have made Pleasuredome synonymous with glamour and excess.  Also starring Moses Mackay (Sole Mio), Ashleigh Taylor (Wicked), Vince Harder (The Lion King), Stephen Lovatt (Neighbours), and a 20-strong cast of local and international performers all supported by a state of the art light and projection extravaganza.

This is a story of desire, addiction, greed, and the power of love, set on the dance floor to some of the biggest tunes of the era.

Directed by Michael Hurst (Chicago) and produced by Rob Tapert (Spartacus), Pleasuredome will be the most electrifying theatre experience ever staged in New Zealand.

Also featuring James Luck, Hannah Tasker-Poland, Byron Coll, Aeyla Samantha Duncan, James Gordon, Jaydn Burt, Todd Williamson, Shanelle Lenehan, Leighton Rangi, Olivia Tennet, Heidi Chen, Jane Strickland, Rebekkah Schoonbeek-Berridge, and Blaise Clotworthy.

Choreography by Momentum Productions, musical direction by Jason Smith and Joe LoDuca, costume design by Barbara Darragh, production design by Nick Bassett, AV design by Jon Baxter, and lighting design by David Eversfield, from an original script by Mark Beesley.  Rob Tapert is executive producer and Charlie McDermott is producer.


Newshub:  "Pleasuredome is the best show of 2017 ... it's everything you hoped it would be ... director Michael Hurst and producer Rob Tapert should hold their heads high, because they've delivered something I don't think we've ever experienced in New Zealand".

NZ Herald:  "It's fun, entertaining ... Pleasuredome delivers ... The dancers are engaging and superb ... Go early, dress 80s and party on".

Theatreview:  "Pleasuredome is a courageous extravaganza of a show that is hugely enjoyable.  It's a treat to see such risk taking putting on a show of this scale.  So, dig out your leg warmers and arrive early for some trashy NYC 80s street life. You'll have a ball".

Keeping Up with New Zealand:  "cheeky and sexy choreography ... Ashleigh Taylor excels as she blows the roof off with some of her high notes.  Lawless delivers a sassy and emotionally charged performance ... I had an absolute ball at  Pleasuredome".

RadioNZ:  "it's a very immersive production ... there's some great performers ... the story is a classic musical story ... that whatever happens ... love and music will conquer all ... it's a really, really fun night and it's exciting to see New Zealand theatre move into this stage".

Check out the great Pleasuredome website; click here to book.



Jennifer was rehearsal director for the 2017 tour of Luke Di Somma and Gregory Cooper's That Bloody Woman, originally directed by Kip Chapman and starring Esther Stephens as Kate Sheppard.

New Zealand's smash hit rock musical That Bloody Woman is back.  Our favourite daughter, suffragist, activist and cyclist Kate Sheppard is transformed from the face on the $10 note into a feminist firebrand raising hell and rocking out.  Fresh from sell-out seasons in Auckland and Christchurch, Kate takes the show on the road in 2017.

"Bursting with wit, verve and righteously rocking tunes," That Bloody Woman presents New Zealand's founding mother like you've never seen her before - loud, proud, and in your face.  Leading the charge to win women the vote, Kate takes on the patriarchy, public opinion, and even Prime Minister Richard 'King Dick' Seddon.

Stratford Press:  "a bloody good show ... delivering hilarity, wit and sadness in equal parts ... The songs cover a range of genres - from hard-hitting punk rock, to 80s pop, gospel, blues and folk.  The songs were so catchy you will find yourself singing them days later"

Theatreview:  "A spectacular show! ... From the opening through to the triumphant end the audience is challenged to think about what it means to be a feminist, what it means to be disenfranchised and powerless, what it means to be a feminist, what it means to fight with passion for a fairer society.  All of this is done with humour, irony, passion, wit, intelligence and fantastic musical numbers that span 20th century rock"

Stuff:  "a phenonenally powerful show that blasts onto the stage ... with clever songs that are witty, fun and often brash ... Both cast and band perform with infectious energy.  They dash about being musicians and actors or both.  Every chracterisation is brilliantly performed".

Otago Daily Times:  "This is a slick, polished show with loads of energy, striking costumes, plenty of noise and bright lights.  The combination of history, rock music and, if you look for it, comment on the contemporary scene is irresistible, and the standing ovation was well deserved.  That Bloody Woman stands a very good chance of becoming a national staple".


Taranaki International Arts Festival, 29-31 August  

Dunedin, Fortune Theatre, 26 Sept-8 Oct

Hawera Memorial Theatre, 2 Sept  

Nelson Arts Festival, 11-12 Oct

Hamilton, Clarence Street Theatre, 7-9 Sept


Napier, Municipal Theatre, 17 Oct

Wellington Opera House, 13-16 Sept


Tauranga Arts Festival, 19-20 Oct

Auckland Live International Cabaret Season, 19-21 Sept

Click here for info and to book.


In Australia, season 3 premiered 12 September on Channel 7.  Michael directed episodes 3.3 (aired 26 September), 3.4 (airing 3 October), 3.11 and 3.12.

In New Zealand, 800 Words will air Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. beginning 11 October 2017.

Season 2 is now available on dvd.  Michael directed episodes 2.3, 2.4, 2.9, 2.10, 2.13 and 2.14.  In North America, the first 2 seasons are available on Acorn TV.  Click here for Acorn TV.

800 Words is produced by South Pacific Pictures/Seven Productions.  It stars Erik Thomson, Melina Vidler, and Benson Jack Anthony.  Click here for info.



Westside season 3 has now completed its run in New Zealand, and is available on dvd. 

Michael directed episodes 3, 4, 7 and 8.


4 October 2017, workshop for New Zealand Secondary Schools Choir, Christchurch


Jennifer plays Darcy in feature film Vermilion, which completed filming on 10 April 2017. It also stars Theresa Healey, Goretti Chadwick, Peter Feeney, and Emily Campbell (and a cameo by Michael Hurst!)  It is written and directed by Dorthe Scheffmann and produced by Michele Fantl.

Vermilion tells the story of a group of women who are close to each other – mothers, daughters, friends and neighbors. Some of their relationships are good and some are broken. The events of one summer month changes their lives forever.

Click here for the NZ Film Commission's press release on Vermilion.




 Recent Projects    Future Projects
Note: We try to ensure that everything here is correct, but mistakes do happen,
and things can change, so please contact the venues directly for verification.

This site is non-commercial and no money is being made from it. No copyright infringement
is intended. All copyrighted materials remain the property of the original copyright holder.
We believe that everything on this web site falls within the legal description of "fair use".
The site has no formal affiliation with Michael Hurst.

For site update history, click here (latest update 7 October 2017).