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SCENE IT: FINDING THE LIGHT illuminates with musical hope in support of the Kolisi Foundation

Barbara Loots


Shakespeare’s memorable Twelfth Night quote, "If music be the food of love, play on”, keeps popping up in my mind after seeing the musical delight that is FINDING THE LIGHT - AN EVENING WITH MUSICAL STARS at the Artscape Opera House. Because at the end of it all, the music onstage is for love. Not only because of the beautiful musical ballads woven throughout this two-act production, but also because of the Kolisi Foundation: clearly a labour of love in pursuit of a better future, for which it is in aid.

The Kolisi Foundation strives to change the stories of inequality in South Africa to ones of hope, which aligns brilliantly with the storytelling power of theatre. When music and stories come together in this way, you undeniably find yourself in the realm of musical theatre!


The Finding the Light Foundation, an initiative to help unite and mobilise people who love South Africa in support of addressing challenges facing the country's youth (a vision that strongly mirrors that of the Kolisi Foundation), has brought international and local musical stars to the stage in celebration of the human spirit to raise funds for the Kolisi Foundation.

With the staging of FINDING THE LIGHT – AN EVENING WITH MUSICAL STARS, South African audiences for the first time have the chance to savour performances by Broadway and West End luminaries Kim Criswell (Annie Get Your Gun; 3 Penny Opera; Cats), Michael D. Xavier (Sunset Boulevard; Roman Holiday The Musical; Grantchester), David Habbin, (West Side Story, Les Misérables, Amici Forever, and co-founder of the Finding the Light Foundation) and Broadway Star Nikki Renée Daniels (Company; The Book of Mormon; Les Misérables; Hamilton), alongside beloved local stars Jonathan Roxmouth (Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Cats), Lynelle Kenned (West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Orpheus in Africa), Tshepo Ncokoane (Janice Honeyman’s Peter Pan Pantomine, Kinky Boots, We Will Rock You – The Musical World Tour)  and  Lucy Tops (Kinky Boots, Funny Girl, The Romantix).


What this production proves is that our South African performers can definitely hold their own when sharing a stage with their international counterparts, as they joined forces on equal footing to delight with numbers from musicals such as Into the Woods, Sunset Boulevard, the Color Purple, Dear Evan Hansen, Guys and Dolls, Annie, and Phantom of the Opera to name but a few.

The musical stars are accompanied by the phenomenal Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Brandon Phillips, and beautifully supported by an ensemble comprising of talented students from LAMTA and the Waterfront Theatre School.


The musical setlist is very cleverly put together to not only highlight the joy of musical hits, but also to subtly align with the mission of the Kolisi Foundation that does great work in the fight against gender-based violence (with the aim of empowering women) while also helping underprivileged children realise their dreams, with songs like the escapist ballad ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ from Little Shop of Horrors, the empowering ‘Back to Before’ from Ragtime and the cautionary ‘Children Will Listen’ from Into the Woods.

Comedian Marc Lottering is a marvel as the Master of Musicals. He definitely keeps things light, bright, and entertaining, while never losing sight of the reason Capetonians get the opportunity to experience the magic of this show. Lottering, the award-winning delight that he is, will have you laughing your teeth out (Marc will explain!) in between beautiful renditions of beloved showstopper numbers.

The whole production comes full circle, opening and closing with ‘Seasons of Love’ from Rent. The perfect message to echo the fundraising purpose of FINDING THE LIGHT - AN EVENING WITH MUSICAL STARS.


I could not stop smiling throughout (and my smile just grew bigger and bigger with every song) as I sat back and allowed the power of music to embrace me and make my heart feel lighter and happier at the joy of experiencing the pure talent onstage.


FINDING THE LIGHT – AN EVENING WITH MUSICAL STARS is billed as a show that “will leave you breathless” and it delivers on that promise, and then some!

What adds to all the feel-good-vibes that such a dazzling show gifts its audience is that 100% of the net proceeds from the show will go to The Kolisi Foundation to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing South African communities.


You can support this great cause by buying your tickets to see FINDING THE LIGHT – AN EVENING WITH MUSICAL STARS at the Artscape Theatre before the very short run ends on 21 April 2024 (tickets available through Webtickets), or you can also support the Kolisi Foundation by making a donation though this link and helping them improve lives “one by one”:


Why not do both, go see the show and make a donation, because music is the food of love.


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