South African and American artists confirmed in lead roles for CALLING US HOME!
After a thrilling audition process and nationwide search in South Africa as well as New York, Shy Music are delighted to announce that the leading roles in Calling Us Home – The Musical have been confirmed for the premiere season in Cape Town in February 2023, before the grand-scale musical heads out on its international tour.
Playing the lead role of Grace is Cape Town based Devonecia Swartz, with the roles of the American leads Rafael and Isabella being performed by Míchel Castillo and Monica Tulia Ramirez respectively, both residing in New York, USA.
Grace (Devonecia Swartz), an African Princess - fleeing a devastating war in her homeland, arrives penniless, in the freezing, grimy docklands of an American city…
Rafael (Míchel Castillo) is young, strong and bold and the natural leader of a group of construction workers. Born of immigrant parents in America, his greatest ambition is to create a better life for his men, himself and his sister Isabella. But is fate stacked against him?
Isabella (Monica Tulia Ramirez), Rafael’s passionate and reckless sister is determined to do whatever it takes to achieve her dreams. But will her warm-heartedness and loyalty be enough to triumph over the forces of darkness that gather around them all?
Alice Gillham, author and composer of Calling Us Home; explains why they couldn’t have cast better than these three world-class performers; “Devonecia Swartz has a beautiful, fresh, clear voice with lots of colour and depth. Add to that, she is also an accomplished young actress, and we have a really exciting and lovely new 'Grace'.”
Gillham continues; "Calling Us Home is a global story that reaches across from one great continent to another and we wanted to tell it in the most authentic way possible. We wanted to work with artists who could personally understand this story's meaning from within their own lives, their own history and context, while also having the generosity of spirit to explore with us how the great human desires for Love, Hope and Home will always unite us all.
Míchel Castillo and Monica Tulia Ramirez each bring with them a unique and authentic perspective and they both bewitched us, right from the very first moment with their phenomenal craftsmanship and talent, their passion and charisma and their deep engagement with the story. We are proud to be able to include them into our amazing cast and into our Calling Us Home family and I look forward to us learning together and sharing many great experiences."
South African Devonecia Swartz had this to say about being the artist to lead this multinational cast:
"I am both incredibly excited and absolutely terrified to play Grace. I'm honoured to bring my flair to a beautifully powerful character and I cannot wait to collaborate with all involved to contribute to the journey of Calling Us Home."
You can get an advanced taste, both of the talents of Devonecia as Grace as well as an inside peek into Calling Us Home, with the teaser of the song and music video Fire In His Kiss from the upcoming album Friends Of 'Calling Us Home' - The Album.
Fire In His Kiss is sung in Act II Scene 15 (Calling Us Home):
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Director of Calling Us Home, Peter Flynn, USA, concludes:
“I am really excited Devonecia Swartz is leading our production of Calling Us Home. When she first auditioned, she captured both the power and vulnerability in the character ‘Grace’. Her voice is magnificent and she interprets Alice’s lyrics with insight and care. She is a genuine leading lady and I can’t wait to get to work together.
“ am so very excited to bring Monica Tulia Ramirez and Michel Castillo to the company of Calling Us Home. Both actors have a wonderful balance of power, passion, and authenticity in their performances.
Monica is commanding, compelling, and vulnerable in her portrayal of Isabella. She is a consummate actor as well as being a powerhouse singer. She’s a real leading lady.
Míchel is one of a kind: funny, smart, charming, and a born leader. He has a brilliant singing voice and a real star quality that makes him a perfect fit for Rafael.
Both Míchel and Monica will fit in gracefully and collaboratively with our very talented South African cast. I can’t wait to get started with all of us together.”