OVER THE TOP: Anton Luitingh has gone all Elvis Presley in his portrayal of Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, now on at The Theatre on the Bay. Jonathan Roxmouth who has received a Fleur du Cap nomination for Pharaoh in a previous run, takes over the role on March 13. Picture: Allison Foat
In a prolific career in musical theatre spanning two decades, Anton Luitingh has worked multiple sides of the curtain – performing, directing and running musical theatre workshops.

It is shaping up to be a busy year for this multi-talented performer, who has been nominated for a Fleur du Cap Theatre award for his role as Daddy Warbucks in Annie.

Luitingh is wowing audiences as Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, directed by Paul Warwick Griffin, which is on at the Theatre on the Bay until April 8.

This is the second Cape Town run of this successful production which has been nominated for five Fleur du Cap Theatre awards. In the show's first in October, Pharaoh was played by Jonathan Roxmouth and he has received a FDC nomination for the role.

In this production, Luitingh is playing Pharaoh until March 11. Roxmouth, who is wrapping up a run of West Side Story in Joburg, will step into Pharaoh’s bling shoes from March 13. (There are no shows on Sunday March 12).

As with Roxmouth, Luitingh is making audiences swoon with his Pharaoh as Elvis incarnate. Elvis has always been part of the Pharaoh character of Joseph but, for this production, the references have been heightened - from the costumes to make-up and shoes.

CAST FOR THE FUTURE: Anton Luitingh with youngsters who attended The Musical Theatre Workshop, which he runs in the school holidays. 

Luitingh said: “It’s a busy time for me. I perform in the evenings and by day I am the resident director on Priscilla Queen of the Desert which is in rehearsal.” (Priscilla is on at Artscape from March 26 to April 24.)

Luitingh relishes stepping into Elvis’s shoes. “I played Pharaoh in Paul Warwick Griffin’s 2005 version. As a director, Paul has always given me the freedom to think out of the box. This works well with his re-imagined productions of Joseph. In 2005 I played Pharaoh like a rock-god, worshipped by his fans: with subtle elements of other ‘rock-gods' like Elvis, Freddie Mercury, Robbie Williams and Mick Jagger.

"Since then, Andrew Lloyd Webber has added a new song for Pharaoh - King of My Heart - so the character is even more Elvis based now. This time I have I have approached Pharaoh like a buffoon with a lot of power so I decided to add a subtle touch of Donald Trump to my Elvis-laden Pharaoh

"Pharaoh comes on stage for about seven minutes at the top of Act 2 and he makes a big impact. There’s nothing subtle about this character. I do my own make-up. The bling and his magnificent costume plays a big part in giving him an aura of greatness.” (Niall Griffin has been nominated for a FDC for best costume design.)

In addition to his numerous roles and gigs as resident director on international productions (with local casts), in 2010 Luitingh and his partner Duane Alexander (the choreographer on Joseph, established The Musical Theatre Workshop (MTW).

Run in the school holidays, MTW provides scholars, students and emerging professionals access to practical training in musical theatre, including vocal training, repertoire, dance classes, acting, audition prep and improvisation.

The successful MTW has also been rolled out in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. (Sign up at www.musicaltheatreworkshop.co.za)

After Joseph - what is next? “After the Cape Town and Johannesburg runs of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, we are touring with the production to Bangkok and Hong Kong. Then Duane and I will be taking MTW to New Zealand and Singapore. Then there will be a new big musical towards the end of the year for South Africa and abroad.”

In addition, Luitingh and Alexander are staging and performing in Rent in Concert, which is on on May 15 in Joburg.

* Tickets for Joseph are R95-R350. Book at www.computicket.com/0861 9158000.