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PRESS: Everyone has a story... this is Bryan Schimmel's

VR Theatrical


BRYAN SCHIMMEL: MORE THAN A HANDFUL is coming to the Western Cape for the first time!

This drama with music about overcoming obstacles to get what you want shines the spotlight on the inspirational true life story of award-winning music director Bryan Schimmel, who has been at the musical helm of blockbuster musical theatre hits such as JERSEY BOYS, WE WILL ROCK YOU, CHICAGO, RENT, ANNIE and THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW. From rock bands to Big Bands, string quartets to symphony orchestras, pop to hip-hop, he is also one of the top musical arrangers in the country, having orchestrated music for major high-profile events and numerous A-list artists. Bryan is probably best known for co-creating and performing in the original A HANDFUL OF KEYS in which he thrilled audiences with a dazzling display of pianistic virtuosity and his infectious sense of humour.

Twenty-five years later and a quarter century of life experience behind him, Bryan pulls back the curtain to reveal the real person behind the maestro. BRYAN SCHIMMEL: MORE THAN A HANDFUL takes the audience on an autobiographical 'rise-and-fall-and-rise-again' journey interspersed with Bryan’s unparalleled mastery at the piano.

After a successful developmental run at the Etienne Rousseau Theatre in Sasolburg in December of 2021, the production will premiere in Cape Town at a brand new venue, Gallery 44 and Theatre after which it will tour to Somerset West.

“18 months of Lockdown have been indescribably difficult for many of us in the live theatre industry. But it has also been an opportunity to be creative”, says Schimmel. “In 2016 I started giving TedTalk-type speeches about the events that have shaped my life. The reception to these speeches was extremely positive. So during lockdown, I used the luxury of time to create and develop a project that combines elements and content from those speeches with piano playing and entertainment, to create a unique live theatrical event”.

Schimmel reunites with award-winning designer Denis Hutchinson (A Handful of Keys, Freud’s Last Session, Forever Plaid) and highly acclaimed director Alan Swerdlow (A Handful of Keys, The King & I, History Boys), who has co-written the script with Schimmel. “I am going to be doing things in this show that I have never done before and look forward to the challenge,” adds Schimmel, excitedly.

The production is produced by VR Theatrical (Rock of Ages, Here’s to You, Avenue Q) who are renowned for getting behind new and developmental theatre projects. In the spirit of shepherding new producing talent, singer and actress Lorri Strauss (Rent, We Will Rock You, Loving You) joins the team of this show as Associate Producer.

To ensure a safe theatre experience, socially distanced seating, with all Covid-19 protocols will be in place and masks will be required for the duration of the performance. This production carries a PG rating and includes adult themes.

Schimmel’s unique mix of musicality, quirky dead pan wit, and an inspirational account of a fascinating life, make BRYAN SCHIMMEL: MORE THAN A HANDFUL a thoroughly engaging and entertaining show that will inspire audiences.

VENUE: Gallery 44 and Theatre | 44 Long Street | CAPE TOWN

DATES: 12, 13, 14 January at 20:00, 16 January at 15:00, 26, 27, 28, 29 January at 20:00


TICKETS: Quicket

GENRE: Live Performance, Play with music, Drama

LENGTH: 55mins | 15min interval | 50mins

AGE RESTRICTION: PG – Language and Adult themes

FEATURING: Bryan Schimmel

CREATIVE: Directed by Alan Swerdlow, Setting and lighting by Denis Hutchinson


VR Theatrical is an award-winning South African based Creative Producer and General Manager of live entertainment. The company is a full-service creative theatre development hub that divides their theatrical offerings between presenting blockbuster Broadway plays and musicals, and commissioning and developing original South African theatrical productions.

With extensive international experience and a penchant for blending music and narrative, it is no surprise that VRT has a special love for all things Musical Theatre. Visit for more information.


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