This year, it seems, lovers of theatre will still be spoilt for choice, if just the first quarter of the year is anything to go by.
First off on the list of productions to look out for in the Joburg and/or Pretoria theatre circuit is the local staging of The Colour Purple, directed by respected and internationally acclaimed Janice Honeyman.
The musical direction is by Rowan Bakker, choreography by Oscar Buthelezi, production design by Sarah Roberts, lighting design by Mannie Manim and sound design by Richard Smith.
The cast features established performers such as Lerato Mvelase and Aubrey Poo, to name a few.
The production will be at the Joburg Theatre from February to early March and one of the producers of the show, Bernard Jay, had this to say about what audiences can expect from the show: “I promise that South African audiences will laugh, will cry, will cheer,” Jay said, “but they will never forget The Color Purple.”
While not necessarily on local shores but certainly worth a mention, is the first completely local production of The Lion King that will be touring Asia in mid-January. The Broadway musical celebrates its 20th century milestone this year and the production has, to date, employed 263 locals and placed them all over the world since 2008. This production has the first all-South African cast and will return to our shores in 2020 to dazzle local audiences.
Also back by popular demand is the musical drama Hani: The Legacy, a production that combines hip hop ballad and traditional music to tell the life story of the revolutionary Chris Hani. It features a young cast and is a Standard Bank Gold Ovation award-winning musical.
It is directed by Leila Henriques and will be on at the Market Theatre from January 16. Explaining further about the production, Henriques said: “Although Hani’s name and the circumstances of his death are well-known, his life story does not often receive the same attention.
Hani: The Legacy takes the audience on a breathtaking journey of a rural boy who became a revolutionary, the freedom fighter who became a father, and the husband who became a hero. He stood stoically for his principles in a time when it meant certain death. What could have been if Hani was still alive is what could still be if his legacy is kept alive.”
This is just a snapshot of productions that audiences can look forward to in just the first quarter of the year.
However, while the above listed are all musical of various sub-genres, there’s plenty more where that came from in the theatre space.
With that said, see you in a theatre near you.