Main Index | Archives | images »

Recently in articles News & Multimedia

Rob Supports Petition For NZ Gun Reform

Make semi-automatic firearms illegal in New Zealand


Following the tragic massacre of 49 innocent people in Christchurch and years of inaction on gun reform, it's time for the government of New Zealand to change the law to protect the safety of everyone in this country.

In Christchurch we lost an innocence we took for granted and parliament needs to act to put in place laws to protect both New Zealand citizens and our international friends who are visiting Aotearoa. We take pride in the fact that New Zealand has a reputation for being a safe, friendly, and beautiful nation that doesn't struggle with violence and corruption in the way that many other nations do. This reputation is part of our Mana, who we are as a people, and we are, for the most part, proud of how we present ourselves and our values to the world. So when a tragedy like the one in Christchurch strikes we feel a sense of loss both through the physical toll it has taken on the victims and their families but also the impact on the trust we have in our own society.

The big issue we face isn't a matter of how this heinous act will affect tourist numbers or our economy, but how we, as the first nation of suffrage, the first to step on the roof of the world, and the first to split the atom, will respond in line with our own values. We claim to be a beacon of safety and personal freedom and now is the time to walk our talk. Lets not become like other developed nations who, when facing similar crises, try to follow their better judgement but are defeated by powerful forces lobbying for more of the same. We are better than that. This law change will never bring back those we lost but it will save others from becoming victims in the future.

Please Sign:





Rob Honored in 2019 New Years Honours With NZ Order of Merit

Image The 2019 New Zealand Honours have been announced and Rob has become an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the New Zealand film and television industries.

TAPERT, Mr Robert Gerard (Rob)
For services to the film and television industries

Mr Rob Tapert is a film and television producer from the United States with more than 50 production credits, who has been involved with New Zealand’s screen industry since 1993.

Mr Tapert has brought projects into New Zealand from major production studios including Universal Studios, Screen Gems, TriStar, and Sony. His production credits within New Zealand include the feature films ‘Boogeyman’, ’30 Days of Night’, and the remake of ‘Evil Dead’ and seasons of the television shows ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’, ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys’, ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’, ‘Legend of the Seeker’, and ‘Spartacus’. The shows ‘Hercules’ and ‘Xena’ provided more than seven years of continuous employment to hundreds of people in the industry and opportunities for New Zealand actors and crew to hone their expertise.

Due to the scale and duration of his productions, those starting out in the industry have had opportunities to gain valuable experience in technical areas of filmmaking. He has made a point of engaging New Zealanders as Heads of Departments on his productions, creating opportunities to contribute to critical production decisions and gain experience to advance within the industry. Mr Tapert has also kept post-production of his projects within New Zealand, further contributing to the advancement of the post-production sector of the industry.

The full honours list can be found here





ImagePress Release: SANTA MONICA, CA (May 23, 2018) – Legendary horror icon Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead Franchise) stars in the “truly insane, awe-inspiring, and gruesome” (Merrill Barr, Forbes) final season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”: Season 3, arriving on Digital May 25 and on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital) and DVD August 21 from Lionsgate. Experience the final season of the hilarious, critically acclaimed, most-watched comedy series on Starz® that follows-up the classic horror film The Evil Dead.

Alongside Campbell, “Ash vs Evil Dead”: Season 3 also stars Lucy Lawless (TV’s “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Spartacus: War of the Damned”), Ray Santiago (Meet the Fockers), Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas), and newcomer Arielle Carver-O’Neill (TV’s “Worst Year of My Life, Again!” and “Suburbs”).

“Ash vs Evil Dead”: Season 3 features Ash, who – having gone from urban legend to hometown hero –discovers that he has a daughter. And, when Kelly witnesses a massacre with Ruby’s fingerprints all over it, she returns to warn Ash and Pablo.

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • Audio Commentary with Executive Producer Rob Tapert on every episode
  • Audio: English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround
  • Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles for the show

The suggested retail price of $39.97 and $34.98, respectively.


Audio Commentary with Executive Producer Rob Tapert on every episode


Year of Production: 2018

Title Copyright: Ash vs Evil Dead © 2018 Starz Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2018 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Type: TV-on-DVD

Rating: TV-MA (for Adult Content, Adult Language, Graphic Violence)

Genre: Horror, Comedy, Action

Closed-Captioned: N/A

Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH

Feature Run Time: approx. 300 Minutes

Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition 16x9 Widescreen 1.78:1 Presentation

DVD Format: 16x9 Widescreen 1.78:1 Presentation

Blu-ray Audio: English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround

DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround


The first major new studio in decades, Lionsgate is a global content platform whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next generation audiences around the world. In addition to its filmed entertainment leadership, Lionsgate content drives a growing presence in interactive and location-based entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and other new entertainment technologies. Lionsgate’s content initiatives are backed by a 16,000-title film and television library and delivered through a global licensing infrastructure. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring and ground-breaking content created with special emphasis on the evolving patterns and diverse composition of the Company’s worldwide consumer base.





Confirmed: Ash Vs Evil Dead Has Been Canceled


Ash Vs Evil Dead has been canceled by Starz and will not progress further than three seasons. The last episode will go to air on April 29, 2018.

Starz programming president Carmi Zlotnik issued a statement on Thursday thanking the cast, crew and producers.

“Ash vs. Evil Dead has taken audiences on a wild ride for three seasons thanks to the fantastic performances and creative efforts of Sam [Raimi], Bruce [Campbell], Rob [Tapert], and the entire cast and crew,” Carmi Zlotnik, Starz’s president of programming, said in a statement. “We are proud to send the show out with a bang … and a splat.”

"Ash vs. Evil Dead has been the ride of a lifetime," Bruce Campbell said. "Ash Williams was the role of a lifetime. It was an honor to reunite with Evil Dead partners Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi to give our tireless fans another taste of the outrageous horror/comedy they demanded. I will always be grateful to Starz for the opportunity to revisit the franchise that launched our careers."






Pleasuredome the Musical's Debut Season Extended
to Christmas

Audiences have spoken and thanks to their overwhelming demand and support a further and final extension of the stellar season of Pleasuredome the Musical has been granted with the show now running up until December 23rd 2017.

Due to leasing agreements in the existing site, this date CANNOT be extended further and audiences are encouraged to book quickly as these new dates WILL sell out.

In addition to the five extra weeks, Pleasuredome The Musical will now run two shows on Friday and Saturday nights. An earlier performance at 7pm will take place before a special late-night show at 10pm with the venue licensed with live music and DJ's on the street till 2am. Christmas Party bookings are also now also on sale with special group prices and bespoke packages available.

The show has also seen a development reboot with fresh cast members and new musical numbers. The 1984 New York streetscape will also see a full Christmas makeover with the venue turning into a magical New York winter wonderland. Additional themed nights are also set to be announced in the coming weeks.

We are bringing Aucklanders the romance of Xmas in New York. No one does it better. We're transforming the PLEASUREDOME street into a winter wonderland. It's going to be a Holly jolly, and very funky Xmas. And you're all invited! Lucy Lawless

Pleasuredome The Musical runs in a purpose built entertainment space in West Auckland and stars an A-list cast, including Lucy Lawless (Xena, Chicago), Moses McKay (Sole Mio), Ashleigh Taylor (Wicked) and Vince Harder (The Lion King), plus 20 of New Zealand's best dancers and drag queens. The show is produced by Rob Tapert and Charlie McDermott and directed by Micheal Hurst. Performances run Tuesday - Sunday and tickets for all dates are on sale now from Ticketek.

Join the Conversation:


Tickets are available for shows up to 23 December 2017





pleasuredome-lucy01“Best show of 2017” - Newshub
"It was my 20s handed back to me on an 80's orange platter"- NZ Herald
"You’ll have a ball" - Theatreview

Over 15,000 kiwis have already immersed themselves in the time warping, booty-moving, sensory assaulting entertainment experience that is Pleasuredome the Musical, and due to overwhelming demand, today it’s been announced that the show will extend its epic run by two full weeks.

With many performances (including all current Friday and Saturday night shows) already sold out, news of the season extension will be music to the ears of those yet to experience the night out everyone has been raving about. Those who have attended Pleasuredome to date will attest to this being the most immersive extravaganza NZ has ever seen.

Entering through the subway car, audiences have been wowed as they strut onto a fully realized 1984 Manhattan Street, complete with New York food vendors serving hot dogs and donuts as well as bars, a barber shop, newsagent and movie theatre - all just 10 minutes from Auckland’s CBD. Friday and Saturday Nights have seen Pleasuredome quickly become one of the hottest places to be with the streetscape hosting incredible NY street parties, pride parades and drag performances which take place post show.

Pleasuredome The Musical runs in a purpose built entertainment space in West Auckland and stars an A-list cast, including Lucy Lawless (Xena, Chicago), Moses McKay (Sole Mio), Ashleigh Taylor (Wicked) and Vince Harder (The Lion King), plus 20 of New Zealand’s best dancers and drag queens. The show is produced by Rob Tapert and Charlie McDermott and directed by Micheal Hurst.

Performances run Wednesday – Sunday and tickets for all dates are on sale now from Ticketek.

Join the Conversation:


Tickets are available for shows up to 19 November





Starz has announced the premiere date for Ash Vs Evil Dead Season 3. Check out the press release from Starz below


Beverly Hills, Calif. —

Grab your chainsaws and watch out for Deadites because the grooviest show on TV returns in all its Ash-kicking splendor with more grisly battles, ghoulish banter and more blood-drenched fun than ever. The highly anticipated 10-episode third season of STARZ Original horror-comedy series “Ash vs Evil Dead” will premiere on Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 9PM ET/PT.

The wickedly gore-filled series stars Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, the chainsaw-wielding anti-hero tasked with saving the world from evil; Lucy Lawless as Ruby, the unpredictable foe and occasional ally who has strong ties to the origin of the “Necronomicon;” Ray Santiago plays Pablo Simon Bolivar, Ash’s loyal sidekick and eternal optimist; and Dana DeLorenzo returns as Kelly Maxwell, orphaned in Season One and ready to kick some evil ass. The upcoming season also finds Ash discovering his long lost daughter, Brandy Barr, played by newcomer Arielle Carver-O’Neill (“House Husbands,” “Suburbs,” “Conspiracy 365”).

The third season finds Ash’s status in Elk Grove, Michigan has changed from murderous urban legend to humanity-saving hometown hero. When Kelly witnesses a televised massacre with Ruby’s fingerprints all over it, she returns with a new friend to warn Ash and Pablo that evil isn’t done with them yet. Blood is thicker than water in the battle of good vs Evil Dead!

The Evil Dead original filmmakers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell serve as executive producers on Season Three along with Ivan Raimi and Rick Jacobson. Mark Verheiden serves as Showrunner with Producer Moira Grant. New and long-time Evil Dead fans can catch up on Seasons One and Two of the STARZ Original series “Ash vs Evil Dead” on the STARZ app.

And visit the official Ash Facebook Page and follow @AshvsEvilDead on Twitter and Instagram. Join the conversation with #AshvsEvilDead and #STARZ.

The gore-filled series stars Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, the chainsaw-wielding anti-hero tasked with saving the world from evil; Lucy Lawless as Ruby, his unpredictable foe and occasional ally who has strong ties to the origin of the Necronomicon; Ray Santiago as Pablo Simon Bolivar, Ash’s loyal sidekick and eternal optimist; and Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell, orphaned in Season 1 and ready to kick some evil ass.

The upcoming season also finds Ash discovering his long-lost daughter, Brandy Barr (newcomer Arielle Carver-O’Neill).





Message From Rob Tapert About Pleasuredome!

Rob sent the following note about Pleasuredome:

For years I struggled to get a movie made from the script Pleasuredome. But now it lives as a play and that is exactly what is should have always been. Over the coming months we will hone and build upon the current experience and play to make this the new entertainment the audience deserves and craves.

I am exceedingly proud of the tremendous efforts of all involved. Lucy's voice has never been better, the costumes and make up work of Barb and Stef are next level. Nick Bassett and his team have made a living breathing NYC in a warehouse. And Michael Hurst breathed life and molded the clay into a real thing.

I hope you all get a chance to witness this special entertainment event.


download Pleasuredome tickets can be bought from Ticketek

Starring: Lucy Lawless, Moses Mackay, Ashleigh Taylor, Vince Harder & Stephen Lovatt

Directed by: Michael Hurst

The Ultimate 80's Musical Experience.

Forget everything you knew about musicals, this is an immersive experience set within a fully realised Manhattan streetscape just off Rosebank Road, 10 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.

Running Times:

Times are approx. and subject to change at any time.
Doors into NYC street: 7:00pm
Doors into Pleasuredome Nightclub: 8:00pm

Show Days
From 28th September to 5th November

Wednesday 7:00pm-11:00pm
Thursday 7:00pm-11:00pm
Friday 7:00pm-Late
Saturday 7:00pm-Late
Sunday 5:00pm-9:30pm

Pleasuredome tickets can be bought from Ticketek





Business is Boring is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. Host Simon Pound speaks with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand, with the interview available as both audio and a transcribed excerpt. What do The Evil Dead, Xena, Spartacus and an immersive 80s extravaganza live theatre spectacular have in common? If you guessed Rob Tapert, you’ve got the chocolate fish.

It’s very exciting to get a chance to talk to a person who’s brought jobs and about a billion dollars of overseas investment to New Zealand. He’s helped build an industry and inspire local film and TV.

Which is no mean feat, especially when you’re doing it on the other side of the world from his native America. That’s the kind of extra challenge that Tapert has thrived on and had a track record of pulling off. The latest of these is Pleasure Dome. To find out about what that is and about show business, Rob joined me in conversation in a secret location in West Auckland.

Either download (right click to save), have a listen below, subscribe through iTunes (RSS feed) or read on for a transcribed excerpt.


For the full transcript go here





ImageThe pleasure, pain and 40-year wait behind this Kiwi musical spectacular
By Bridget Jones
Sunday Star Times / 16 September 2017

It was the spring of 1980 when Rob Tapert first had his mind blown in one of New York's gay clubs. He's been chasing that feeling all over the world for nearly 40 years, but thinks building his own nightclub in West Auckland might be the best way to relive the incredible experience.

The man widely known for swords and sandals, and blood and guts is swapping it all for divas and sequins in a new musical theatre production he says is unlike anything New Zealand has seen before.

"There are things that make this so much more than a play or a musical. But at the heart and the emotional core of it, people are coming to a nightclub to watch a play within a nightclub, set in a New York environment, in 1984," Tapert tries to explain. "But that's tough to get on a billboard."

Pleasuredome. Technically, it is a musical set in 1980's New York City, as a legendary underground nightclub faces demolition at the hands of a bigoted developer hungry for progress - all told through the power of sex, drugs and eighties music.

Tapert's long-time collaborator - and wife - Lucy Lawless is the show's sassy diva, complete with a troubling cocaine habit and an unexpected new love. She's joined by an eclectic cast that includes Moses Mackay from opera trio Sol3 Mio, The Lion King's Vince Harder, and Neighbours' star Stephen Lovatt.

And in a fairly bold move, Tapert and his team decided to build that nightclub to execute the action in. A nightclub and a life-size, functioning New York street.

Inside the party, there's a floating DJ booth and a standing pit that puts punters within spitting distance of the stage. There is a VIP table-service area and there are bleachers to dance on. But before you pass the club's velvet rope, there's a subway station to walk through, a gaming arcade to play spacies in, and bars and food stalls to feed and water at, making the unusual location fully self-sufficient for a complete night out.

It's full-immersion in feeling and full-on in size, but it needs to be - more than 800 people are expected to fill the Pleasuredome each night.

A live musical production is something of a departure for Tapert, but the scale is familiar to the man who brought the likes of Xena: Warrior Princess and Ash vs Evil Dead to the New Zealand film and television industry.

Tapert, 62, has been working in New Zealand since the early nineties, when he was commissioned to produce five Hercules movies. Since then, he's made eight film and television series here, including Spartacus, 30 Days of Night and Legend of the Seeker.


Spartacus alone screened in 14 countries, and employed 315 permanent and 150 casual crew per week, 5000 extras days and 20 key cast roles per season. According to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, filming generated more than $200 million of spend into the New Zealand economy.

With a long career and history in Hollywood, you assume Tapert could work anywhere. But there's something about New Zealand that really fits. While the hopes are for the production to tour the world, Auckland was the only place, he says, a show like Pleasuredome could have been created.

"Kiwis - and I count myself amongst them - tend to like something new. They seem to respond to those fresh entertainment experiences, so I think here is a good place to start."

Tapert remembers being locked up in a hotel room on just his second trip to New Zealand, working on the script for Xena, when he was distracted by a noise coming from the road below. Turns out, it was the starting point of the Hero Parade.

"In my entire life, I had never seen anything like that. It was day two in New Zealand. Auckland is far more a liberal city than most places."

But Pleasuredome is very much an American story which began that eye-opening night, almost 40 years ago.

Meeting a friend on April 24, 1980 - the evening President Jimmy Carter ordered a surprise (and ill-fated) US military operation to rescue 52 American diplomats and citizens being held hostage in the US Embassy in Tehran, so it stands out - Detroit-raised Tapert found himself in the middle of a gay bar in the Big Apple for the very first time.

"I had never even dreamt of it. It wasn't on my radar. And that was my first introduction in any way, shape or form, into gay culture. It was all undercover when I was growing up, but it was all exposed in New York City."

He was still a year away from the release of The Evil Dead - the horror film that launched his career as a Hollywood producer - but there was something about the colourful, inclusive world of the club that grabbed Tapert's attention.

Almost 20 years later he found himself immersed in it again at the invitation of a former assistant who was dancing in The Donkey Show. Essentially The Bard's A Midsummer Night's Dream set to disco music in a club, his imagination was sparked again. This time he couldn't simply file the experience away to use later on.

Over the next decade or so, Tapert and collaborator Mark Beesley, who has worked on Outrageous Fortune, Step Dave and Savage Honeymoon among other Kiwi productions, could not shake the idea of combining a story about the LGBT community with the iconic music of the time. Realising the dream proved so much harder.

"It almost got made so many times, but it was a fail," Tapert admits. "A fail on my part for not understanding how everything works, and people wanted to replace key elements."

The original plan was to set it in ancient times, incorporating it into the last season of Xena: Warrior Princess, which launched its star, Lawless, as an icon of the LGBT community. Just issues around the rights to use certain songs stopped it heading to television.

Then, it was going to be a movie. In fact, in 2006, Lawless spoke about Welcome to the Pleasure Dome in interviews, then pegged as a raunchy and high-camp film set in New York, with a script touted as "the hottest seen in New Zealand for some time".

But, among other setbacks, Beesley, who wrote the script and was attached as director, pulled out. He told Tapert he'd made the film so many times in his head, that it was perfect. He didn't want to ruin that. He also suggested his "furious" friend should talk to director Michael Hurst about what it would look like as a theatre production. It was good advice; Hurst is now behind the wheel of Pleasuredome.

"It drove me back to ask myself what I liked about The Donkey Show. What was eye-opening about that night in the gay club?" Tapert says.

"And the show, in a simple way, has a message of acceptance, which is as important now as it was five,10, 20 years ago."

The entertainment value and emotional experience Tapert longed to share with an audience couldn't be found behind a screen. And once he committed to making this as a theatrical show, the production he loving calls "Rob's folly" started to fall into place the way "the universe wanted it to".

Even some tricky song rights were cleared thanks to his "immensely talented" wife of 20 years.

"Yes, some were cleared by Lucy Lawless appealing directly to the artist. She's a committed artist, and people respect that and that she's willing to - despite her husband's objections - go out there and follow her heart."

It all adds up to something the veteran of the business thinks will change the shape of theatre in New Zealand.

"I'm so convinced that it's going to be so entertaining for the audience that it will be a night to truly remember - and life doesn't often have that.

"There was a good rugby game on Saturday night, and there will be another one next week, but this will be a night to remember for everybody.

"Entertainment is growing and changing and this is a step in theatre."

Even with his untraditional approach, Tapert admits filling more than 800 seats every night is "daunting". But after almost four decades of stops and starts, he is ready to see the Pleasuredome come to life.

"I've willed things, hard-headedly. Someone once said 'movies don't want to be born, they want to be ripped from the womb', and there's always a little bit of that. But you know when it's the right thing and when it's coming together.

"You've just got to keep trying, but once things get on the right track you realise it was always meant to be like this. In this case, it just took more than 30 years for all the pieces to fall into place."

Pleasuredome runs from September 28 in Avondale, Auckland. Tickets from Ticketek.


Originally published in Sunday Star Times 16 September 2017
Fairfax Media