Press: A First for South African Musical Theatre

November 8, 2015

Cape Town’s new musical theatre production company Mixing Bowl Productions presents South Africa’s first ever three day New Musical Theatre Festival, No Jazz Hands Allowed, at the Alexander Bar from 12 to 14 November.


After premiering at the National Arts Festival in July, Mixing Bowl Productions furthers its endeavor to promote New Musical Theatre in South Africa. Entitled No Jazz Hands Allowed the New Musical Theatre festival runs for three days at the Alexander Bar on Strand Street from 12 to 14 November. Each concert comprises of 15 premier musical theatre pieces, exploring three different themes, sung by a stellar cast of 9.


Led by director Keenan Tyler Oliphant, a recent jazz honours graduate from UCT, the cast includes both established artists and upcoming performers. The cast includes musical theatre stars Stephen Jubber and Claire Taylor, award winning jazz singers Zoe Modiga and Amy Campbell and the exceptional talents of Richard White, Georgia Bailey, Frances Shalto-Douglas and Stuart Brown. Jubber, recently seen as Riff in the Fugard’s production of West Side Story, has this to say about the challenge of the project,


‘It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done. New musical theater. Songs you’ve never heard before that move from touching to funny to tragic to sexy to absurd and hitting all the notes in between.’


New Musical theatre is a fresh, new and underground style of musical theatre, which has been developing for the past 10 years.New Musical Theatre encompasses a wide variety of composers whose works have not been published or produced by commercial producers. The movement began with composers performing individual songs in concert form in an effort to showcase and promote their individual style and work. It draws on influences of contemporary music such as jazz, rock and pop and infuses the music with extremely intricate and developed narratives, which creates a style which is irresistibly familiar while still thoroughly engaging.


Writing team Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, winners of the prestigious Jonathan Larson award  and who’s work is featured in No Jazz Hands Allowed explain the New Musical Theatre movement,


‘New musical theatre writers are experimenting with the constraints of the form, testing its limits, and trying new things – stylistically, with sound, with subject, and beyond. Of course, “traditional musical theatre” writers were doing the same thing but their experimentations became the musical theatre canon. We’re building on everyone who wrote musicals before us, we’re informed by our contemporary context just as they were, and we’re trying to push the boundaries of what is considered musical theater.’


Oliphant explains the motivation behind the festival,


‘The theatre scene in Cape Town is growing at such a rapid speed and exploring theatre in such interesting ways that the one medium of theatre I feel is getting left behind is musical theatre.  Yes we have amazing, spectacular productions but musical theatre isn’t only that-it can exist in a small space with one performer and a piano. That is what the main motivation behind the festival- to push the boundaries of what’s expected of musical theatre but also to show that the possibilities of musical theatre exists far beyond lights and set.


Mixing Bowl Productions is a theatre production company focusing on small-scale alternate musical theatre. Mixing Bowl strives to produce musical theatre, which is cutting edge and pushes the boundaries of traditional musical theatre. Mixing Bowl Productions’ recent debut at the National Arts Festival, with their new musical theatre production, was met with high critical acclaim


‘The work of the cast is exceptional. This is a layered, lyrical pieces with strong vocalists who take you on a journey of their experiences.’ CUE 2015


No Jazz Hands Allowed runs at the Alexander Bar 12, 13 and 14 November at 21:00. Bookings at


For further information on new musical theatre, the festival or Mixing Bowl Productions contact



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