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SPOTLIGHT: Q&A with LAMTA's Duane Alexander about VINTAGE JUKEBOX

Barbara Loots

 

LAMTA opens their new dynamic dance production, VINTAGE JUKEBOX, at Theatre on the Bay on 14 June 2023. It's a celebration of the spirit of the Roaring Twenties, the era of the speakeasy, flappers, prohibition and jazz music! In between the final rehearsals and opening night excitement we asked the Alexander in Luitingh Alexander Musical Theatre Academy (LAMTA) a few quick questions to get you as excited about the production as they are, and Duane kindly responded with the same lovely energy one always expects from one of their shows.

TSCT: Where did the dream of LAMTA start?


DA: My partner, Anton Luitingh and I have been running holiday workshops with young performers, aged 5-25, for about 15 years and we realized that we needed to extend this into a vocational training program to help train future generations of musical theatre performers in South Africa. Around this time (2017/2018) we had five international tours on the go with mainly South African performers, and we were finding that we were actually running out of talented performers in the country and needed to be active in training up some good Triple Threat Talent. All of this coupled with our and Pieter Toerien‘s vision to create an Academy at his beautiful Theatre On The Bay timed out so beautifully and so it seemed to all just makes sense.


TSCT: Where did the vision for VINTAGE JUKEBOX come from?


DA: We had such incredible success with our Dance production last year called ‘Come Together’ and really felt the pressure of producing something completely different but equally as good. Anton and I threw around a few ideas and concepts, and finally settled on VINTAGE JUKEBOX, which felt like it had a lot of scope for really delicious choreography set to wonderful music, giving us a completely different feel and landscape from our previous show.


TSCT: What about the show excites you most?


DA: There are many things that excite me about the show: the catalog of music, the styling, the celebration of the roaring 20s and the opportunity to create an immersive experience for our audience. I also love that our students get to show off more than just their dance skills by adding a few vocals and some instruments into the mix. But I guess what excites me most is seeing our Students working with esteemed and very establish choreographers and learning from them, and being mentored by them, and taking on the challenges of this ambitious and exciting production.


TSCT: What has been the biggest lesson working with young creatives that LAMTA has taught you?


DA: I guess the biggest lesson is that while these young and talented creatives come to LAMTA to train in musical theatre, singing, acting and dancing, they end up learning a lot more! Together, we help them discover more about themselves, the world around them, about life! - and while it’s not what anyone necessarily signed up for, it’s always really interesting and rewarding to see to their growth and to know that you’re a part of that. We are all always learning!


TSCT: It is a student production, but a LAMTA show is always of a high professional quality too. What would you say to encourage people to come and see the new show?


DA: Anton and I have been working professionally for over 20 years and we try and bring that into all of our LAMTA productions, so while it might be performed by students, there is always a level of production, support and professionalism: professionals, choreographers, award-winning lighting designers, costume designers, experienced guest artists - all these things help elevate the production to something that everyone can enjoy. These elements also give our students a taste of the real world out there, and regardless of whether they are first, second or third year students, the caliber of the production, and the caliber of some of the dancing, is really top-notch. Audiences always comment that they cannot believe that this is a ‘student’ production! We prefer to call it a production performed by ‘emerging young professionals’. 


VINTAGE JUKEBOX runs from the 14 to 24 June 2023 at Theatre on The Bay in Camps Bay. Evening performances start at 8pm with two performances on Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm. Tickets cost R250 per person and R150 for student groups of ten or more, via Webtickets. To make a group booking email pr@lamta.co.za.

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