Press Release: Understudy Blues

April 22, 2014

“Mama… I got the lead role… well sort of… I’m in the ensemble, but I get to play the lead…well sort of… I go on if she’s ill… which may be never… but Mama… I’m gonna be a star!”


See Candice van whatshername, ensemble member of all those hit shows you loved, in Understudy Blues. A musical comedy cabaret about impressing the big-shots so much that you are always their first choice to be first runner-up.


Director: Richard Wright-Firth

Musical Director: Drew Rienstra

Starring: Candice van Litsenborgh with Drew Rienstra on piano



On line bookings at or call Sharon on 0827728867T

icket price - R100

The Galloway Theatre at Waterfront Theatre School, Port Road

21 – 31 May 2014

Wed 21, Thurs 22, Fri 23, Sat 24, Tues 27, Wed 28, Thurs 29, Fri 30, Sat 31



CANNED RICE PRODUCTIONS is co-owned and run by Richard Wright-Firth and Candice van Litsenborgh. Candice is a well-known face on South African and international musical theatre stages (Sunset Boulevard, Hansel and Gretel, The Little Mermaid, Evita, Showboat). Richard can currently be seen playing Muldoon on the Starz International series, Black Sails and was also a member of the BBC’s famed radio drama company as well as being a lecturer at Italia Conti, one of the most prestigious drama schools in the world. Joining them in making this a truly international collaboration is Chase the Sun’s Drew Rienstra, as musical director and accompanist (The Wedding Singer, Hairspray, Rent, Cabaret, The Sound of Music.)



Richard Wright-Firth is a British actor, director, teacher and voice-over artist. He trained at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London and graduated in 2002 with a first class honours degree in Acting. He represented his school in the 2002 William Poel festival at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to rave reviews.


In 2002, Richard received the Carleton Hobbs Award, presented to distinctive and versatile radio voices. Upon graduating he immediately joined the BBC’s famous Radio Drama Company. He completed over thirty radio plays and readings during his time with the corporation. Alongside his work at the BBC, Richard returned to Italia Conti as the schools Radio and Recorded Voice lecturer, and director of the final year radio productions.


Richard is also an accomplished theatre performer with over twenty productions under his belt, in various theatres. For two years, he was a member of an improvisation and devising company in Liverpool. He has also acted in a number of short films.


Since arriving in Cape Town he has played the Quartermaster in the acclaimed BBC war drama The Sinking of the Laconia. He has featured in a number of local and international television commercial campaigns including MTN, Kitkat, Euromillions Lottery, B&Q and FNB, and works as an accent and dialect coach.


He has narrated several film documentaries and series, including the 2010 World Cup Megastructures and The Cruise Ship Diaries Season 2 for National Geographic and The Secret Life of the Circler and The Chameleons of the World for the Natural History Unit Africa and Homebrew Films Wild. Richard has also been the voice for commercial and corporate campaigns including the J&B Met 2011, the Design Indaba 2011, Cape Town Tourism, Cape Times and Audi.


Most recently he completed Birdmen Racing, a 5 part film documentary on base jumping, he played a foreman in the US television series SAF3 and also works regularly as a dubbing artist on foreign language films and television series.


In 2012 Richard landed the role of Muldoon in the Starz Network International series Black Sails. He is currently shooting season 2.



Drew Rienstra has worked internationally as a musical director, pianist and vocal coach. His New York vocal coaching studio helped actors to book major productions in and around New York.


Credits include: In NYC: John and Jen (Revival), Broadway Dance Center. European premiere: Kander and Ebb’s Curtains. US Regional premieres: The Wedding Singer, Hairspray, Rent, The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee, The Drowsy Chaperone, Curtains, Jason Robert Brown’s 13, High School Musical, All Shook Up. US Regional: A Chorus Line, Meredith Wilson’s Here’s Love, Urinetown, Altar Boyz, Guys and Dolls, Man of La Mancha, Cabaret, Gypsy, Pippin, Yeston’s Phantom, My Fair Lady, Will Rogers Follies, The Sound of Music and more.


After moving to Cape Town, Drew launched the Play Club initiative under the banner of his production company, Chase the Sun. Play Club is a monthly initiative to bring together theatre professionals, students and theatre lovers. It’s a table reading which serves as a platform and catalyst for development and debate. The readings are open to anyone and provide a chance to see some of South Africa’s best actors working up close and personal. Readings have included South African premieres of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Good People and many more.


He is currently the head of music, and vocal coach at the Academy of Musical Theatre In Cape Town, where he has coached leading South African actors, recently appearing in Sunset Boulevard, The Rocky Horror Show and at Grand West.


Upcoming: Neil Simon and Cy Coleman’s Little Me (Upstate New York), Graduation (world premiere) and That’s What She Said premiering at the National Arts Festival 2014.



At the age of 6, Candice van Litsenborgh’s mom encouraged her to go to speech and drama lessons because she had a high-pitched voice and wanted to be an opera singer. She made her professional debut, a few months after Matriculating, playing one of Mrs. Noah’s Gossips in CAPAB’s production of the Benjamin Britten opera, Noye’s Fludde.


She is a double recipient of the Showtime Award for Best Actress in Musical Theatre for her work in musical revue shows, and is also won the Showtime Award for Best Actress in a play twice (Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Clytemnestra in The Golden Masque of Agamemnon).


Candice spent four years studying English, doing her teacher’s licentiate and taking every singing, dancing and acting course and class she could find, as well as working backstage and onstage as much as possible before she made the move to Cape Town, where she studied for a further four years, graduating from the University of Cape Town with a BA Theatre and Performance in 2004.


Her first professional role in Cape Town was as Ursula in Fred Abrahamse’s Maynardville production of Much Ado About Nothing. Since then she has appeared in a long list of musicals including four award-winning Pieter Toerien productions – Jesus Christ Superstar (understudy – Mary Magdalene), the South African premiere of Chess (understudy – Svetlana), Evita and Sunset Boulevard. She also toured internationally with Jesus Christ Superstar, performing in Athens, Greece as well as Seoul and Busan, South Korea.


She appeared as Emma Goldman in Sondheim’s Assassins, Kim Ravenal in Cape Town Opera’s production of Showboat (touring to Malmö, Sweden), Jennifer in I Love You, You’re Perfect… Now Change (Ovation Award 2010 National Arts Festival), as the drunken Lucille McKee in The Great Gatsby, the evil Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid and most recently she played both the stepmother and witch in Hansel and Gretel at the Baxter Theatre.


She is a member of Improguise: Players of Theatresports, and made her debut with them at the first ever Improguise Improvisation Festival at Kalk Bay Theatre in 2013.This June/July she can be seen at the Canal Walk Theatre playing multiple roles, including the Queen of Hearts, in Alice in Wonderland.


Press release provided by Canned Rice Productions.

Photograph by Pauline Du Plessis.



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