It's that time of the year when we’re all winding down from what has been an intense 12 months. To help theatre lovers with this, we have the vocal stylings of boy band Black Yoghurt in their latest musical theatre show, #Respect.
Created by director and choreographer Owen Lonzar, #Respect features music to be covered by three sultry voices by some of the world’s biggest female vocalists; Adele, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Nina Simone and Barbra Streisand, to name a few.
Speaking to Tonight, Lonzar said the idea to form the group came to him when he returned home from working overseas.
“I’d been working overseas and I found myself back home at the beginning of 2016. I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ I was driving along one day when Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Fight the Feeling came on.
"I then thought this would sound really cool sung by a boy group. So then I thought that maybe I should start a boy group.”
With 25 years in the entertainment industry, it didn’t take Lonzar long to have male vocalists knocking on his proverbial door. However, during the auditions, when he struggled to find the voices he wanted, he took a different route, which resulted in the birth of Black Yoghurt.
The final trio, comprising Itu Shabane, Donovan Yaards and Sean McGrath, displays a varied style of music, with Yaards being more attracted to the Prince and Beyonce style of music, while Shabane has a jazzy sound and McGrath is a fan of the Josh Groban sound.
According to Lonzar, varied interests makes an ideal band because most sounds will be represented, especially in a show such as #Respect, although this can also be a drawback as each member could sound very different. Lonzar explained how they managed these differences:
“I’ve had to find the songs that their three voices will blend well together in. For instance, when we do Beyonce, you don’t expect Sean to suddenly fit into all of that. I’ll let Donovan out front, let him go crazy, and the two become the frame to his picture.
“Or I will find songs that I want all of them to sing in and blend with one another. It’s about highlighting their strengths,” he explained.
He added that some of the numbers audiences can expect to hear include a medley of Whitney Houston songs such as I Wanna Dance with Somebody, How Will I Know, I Have Nothing and I Will Always Love You.
The show, while being light-hearted, gives praise to female vocalists, in light of the #metoo revelations and the stance that men took in with the #notinmyname social media movement.
“The show is an artistic answer to the #notinmyname campaign, I called it #Respect. It’s a fun show, there is no preachiness about it, but we’re also saying to women that we see you, we hear you and we recognise what you’ve brought to the table as artists. We are now paying our respects.”
For audiences who want to experience the sounds of Black Yoghurt, Lonzar said the show would be a wonderful way to let your hair down.
“It been a hard year for all of us; let’s let our hair down a little. The show is also not just a typical boy band – it will be a theatrical show with a set, lighting and that makes it a complete show,” Lonzar said.
Black Yoghurt will be live in #Respect is currently on until December 14 at the Theatre on the Square in Sandton.