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Scanning through the list of names of this year’s cast list, Timothy Moloi was the one that seemed to rattle something. He is cast as Jabulani Genie, which is the perfect fit – larger than life, flamboyant and ready to razzmatazz...
The reason his name is familiar is that he has been singing for a long time. Why it doesn’t immediately hit you between the eyes is that he studied in the US for quite a few years.
But he’s been back for almost a decade and he hopes to sing hopefully even more loudly than before. In fact, with these panto rehearsals he has discovered a new passion and, he hopes, the perfect fit. “It’s been fun,” he says, eyes twinkling and enjoying every bit of the character he has been tasked to play.
He’s having fun, this man who was obviously born to be on stage and many will recognise for his biggest moment on a world stage – the 2010 World Cup Opening Ceremony. He sang the song Hope and describes it as the most exciting moment of his life.
This is his second time round with director Janice Honeyman, the first a few years back was a part in Little Shop of Horrors.
“I felt as if I was coming to a familiar place,” he says about this return not only to the building but also to theatre and music. “I love that combination,” he says while also smiling broadly about working with Janice.
And while watching the rehearsals, it’s evident he will be someone to watch on stage. Honeyman has made sure that both the music and the story suits Moloi’s personality like a glove. He glides across the floor and even though he says he hasn’t done much dancing before, he has had some training and it shows. It’s also the manner of the man, someone who loves his craft and wants to share that out there.
But up to now, it is the singing that has dominated. He says his own style is R&B soul but he’s happy to swop styles in a second when required and is often described as a crooner. His debut album Love That Music was nominated for a double Sama in 2009 and he’s ready to work on his second.
Tonight’s own Therese Owen described the album as the “feel good album of the year” which captures this artist’s personality perfectly. “I grew up in church and not any church,” he says. “Baptist Charismatic Church,” which suits his flamboyant personality.
He’s a performer who likes to keep busy and enjoys swinging from one groove to the next.
When he talks about television appearances for example, it’s anything from the much loved Noot vir Noot to Afro Cafe. But for now he’s not thinking singing, that’s the bit he’s sure of. With these current rehearsals, he feels an actor has been born.
It makes him smile and it has given him a huge confidence boost.
“I’ve only done bit parts in the past, but this is giving me a taste,” says a singer who hopes to morph into something more with this current dream role.
“I’m playing a man who has been hidden away from the world, in a lamp, for a long time,” explains Moloi. It’s time to break out and what he loves is that his character can probably best be described as a bundle of joy. “It’s an extravagant role,” he says of Jabulani.
What Honeyman said to her charge was “Go big and have fun”.
That’s exactly what I anticipate on stage from Mr Showbiz, Timothy Moloi.