Cape Town Opera, Africa’s Premier Opera company is pleased to announce its stellar cast for the upcoming production of Show Boat which will be on stage at the Opera House, Artscape, Cape Town for one weekend only from 16 to 18 May 2014, prior to its four-week tour to the United Kingdom. Tickets for the local season are on sale at Computicket.
South Africa has a wealth of talent equal to and in some instances better than international performers who grace the stages of major theatres in Europe, Asia and America. The positive response by both audiences and critics to the many productions staged locally and internationally by Cape Town Opera is testament to the high levels of qualitative performances our homegrown talent has to offer. Show Boat is no exception. The highly talented 48-member cast and the international award winning Cape Town Opera Chorus is accompanied by the 30-piece Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Albert Horne and at some performances, Gareth Jones.
The multi-talented SA soprano, Magdaleen Minnaar (Rigoletto, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute) is cast in the principal role of Magnolia. A recent Kyk-net Fiesta and Fleur du Cap nominee and SAMA winner, Magdaleen Minnaar has entertained audiences locally and across the globe. The role of Magnolia is shared with Robin Botha, who like Magdaleen Minnaar also graduated from the University of Cape Town and interestingly, both singers have played the coveted role of ‘Christine Daae’ in Phantom of the Opera. These two exceptional singers are known for their commanding stage presence and versatile voices that has earned them recognition and awards. Robin Botha received the 2012 Fleur Du Cap Award for ‘Best Actress in a Musical” for her debut as a musical theatre performer in “Phantom”.
The role of Gaylord Ravenal is played by visting Australian tenor, Blake Fisher (Les Miserables, Don Giovanni, La Traviata) and South African born Tim Walton (Evita, Starlight Express, Stephen Ward) who now resides in London. The well-loved melody, Ol’ Man River and the unforgettable character, “Joe” is synonymous with Show Boat and the old American South. This “gutsy” vocal number requires a special deep vocal sound which local singers, Otto Maidi (Show Boat, Winnie The Opera, MacBeth) and Paul Madibeng (La Bohème, Princess Magogo kaDinizulu, Show Boat) accomplish with ease.
The role of “Julie” is revisited by Angela Kerrison (Princess Magogo, The Beggar’s Opera, La Didone, Tito Manlio) who previously performed with the Cape Town Opera’s 2011 production of Show Boat at Le Chatelêt, Paris. The role of Julie is shared with Pasella presenter, Lynelle Kenned (Le Nozze di Figaro, La Bohème, Il viaggio a Reims) who is also a member of the award-winning singing group, the South African Soparanos. Lynelle most recently starred in David Kramer’s adaptation of Willy Russell’s musical, “Blood Brothers”.
The character Parthy is played by multi Fleur du Cap and multi Vita Award winner, Anthea Thompson whose talents as a director, writer, performer (Cabaret, title role of Evita, Romeo & Juliet) has earned her a host of nominations including a SAFTA and Fiesta Award and the Best Actress Award for her performance in Mooi Maria at Aardklop.
The show also features Graham Hopkins as “Captain Andy”, Nobuntu Mpahlaza (Rent, Cinderella, Diamonds & Dust) as “Queenie”, Catherine Daymond (Cats, Hair, High School Musical) returns to Show Boat as “Ellie”; Brandon Lindsay (Urinetown, Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express) is “Frank” and Stephen Jubber (Mamma Mia!, Sunset Boulevard, Jersey Boys Singapore, South Africa, Korea) is “Steven”. Featured roles are played by Caitlin Clerk (Phantom of the Opera, Annie Jr.) as Kim; Graham Clarke as Windy (Show Boat, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line); television, film and stage performers Jaco Muller (Erfsondes 3, the King & I, Liefling – The Musical) as Pete, and Delray Burns (Autobahn, What’s in a Name - Boo, Face the Music) is the landlady.
Show Boat is directed by well-known award-winning writer, actress and director, Janice Honeyman who works with creative team comprising of assistant director, Shelley Adriaanzen; Timothy Le Roux who returns to Show Boat as Choreographer (he also performed the role of Frank in the previous season of Show Boat); Johan Engels (Set and Costume design); Birrie le Roux (assisting with additional costume design); Mannie Mannim (Lighting Designer) and Marcel Bezuidenhout (Sound Designer).
Created in 1927 with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Kern’s Show Boat is a large-scale family musical with wonderful operatic songs and colourful jazz numbers played to the sounds of a large orchestra combined with dazzling choreography and 100 stylish costumes to present an evening of great entertainment.
The epic story begins in Mississippi during the 1890’s when racial and social changes were making American history. From the deep South to Chicago and then on to Broadway during the roaring ‘20’s, Show Boat features Magnolia, a young aspiring actress, who eventually goes on to become a major star and the irresistible Ravenal, a gambling rogue who deserts her when his luck runs dry. The show tells the stories of the performers, stagehands and dockworkers on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat. Resonating with South Africa’s history, Show Boat deals with the haves and have-nots, the arrogance of the advantaged and their ignorance of poverty as well as racial discrimination and the historic fact that while change improves the lives of some, it usually passes by those who need it most.
Since its South African premiere in 2005, Cape Town Opera’s production of Show Boat has enjoyed several triumphant seasons at home and abroad. In collaboration with Cape Town Opera, the Wales Millennium Centre presents its first UK tour of Show Boat featuring an all-South African cast accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra to theatres in Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin. This tour is an extension of the strong business relationship between Cape Town Opera and the Wales Millennium Centre and for local performers, a wonderful opportunity to showcase South Africa’s wealth of talent.
Show Boat is a winner wherever it tours and with only a weekend of Cape Town performances before touring the UK, musical theatre enthusiasts are encouraged to book soon at Computicket. For further information and details of Cape Town Opera’s scintillating 2014 season, visit www.ctoshowboat.com or www.capetownopera.co.za.
Press release provided by Debra De Souza.
Photo credit: Courtesy Cape Town Opera, Photographer Malin Arnesson.