A colourful celebration of Broadway musicals heads to the Masque Theatre for a limited run from 13 to 16 September 2017. It promises to be a showtunes-infused delight as it pays tribute to the legendary Broads on Broadway, walking down memory lane with songs from shows such as Cabaret, Dream Girls, Chicago and The Sound of Music. One of the amazing talents adding her voice to this musical tribute, is the charming Nicola Date.
Date is truly embracing her life-passion every time she takes to the stage. She shares that her love affair with theatre started at a very young age. “My late gran and my mother used to take me to Janice Honeyman's Pantomimes when I was a small child. It was then that I fell in love with theatre. My parents always encouraged me to follow my own path. I actually went to Wits School of Arts to study costume design, but I enjoyed being a member of the musical theatre course while I was there.”
It is then no surprise that Date is excited to be part of Broads on Broadway. As a multi-talented performer, she knows that every show has the potential to turn someone into a theatre lover for life. She reveals that “the audience can expect a range of songs, both classics and less known numbers and a really unique premise and setting (no spoilers!). With loads of costumes, various quirky relationships and a range of personalities in our cast of 9, this is not your typical cabaret.”
Definitely not typical show if one takes into account the vision behind this insightful show too. It has all come together courtesy of director, Nawaal Howa, who Date shares –much like herself– grew up with a love for musical theatre. “It was her involvement in a soiree a few years back that inspired Broads on Broadway. Growing up in a coloured community, she saw that there is not much exposure to Broadway songs in this world. She wanted to bring her passion for Broadway to the stage, in an accessible way that speaks to a large South African audience. She also wanted to give young coloured performers a change to be 'the lead' in shows that are (and let’s be honest) generally written for white, hetero-normative females. On a personal note, her message resonates with me because as a short, curvy girl, I have always been aware of the fact that it would be unlikely for me to be cast as the 'romantic lead'. It feels wonderful to sing some awesome songs that may not necessarily suit my physical appearance.”
Breaking the musical theatre mould in a most marvelous way, Howa adds a further dimension to the show, in that it is “custom written to suit each performer". Date explains that through this approach, Broads on Broadway allows her to amplify her own performance style. “I naturally gravitate towards comedy. On stage and in life, I am usually the 'class clown'. My character is most definitely a heightened, no filter version of my most inappropriate self. There is also a moment in the show that brings in my being a mother, which is a very important part of my identity, but once again, I shall not give too much away!”
In this production, Date also shares the stage with an array of talented performers, “8 incredible women”. She regards this opportunity to perform alongside them as a great honour. “Our director Nawaal Howa performs as one of the singers. She has had an amazing career that includes an appearance as lead vocalist in The Centenary Pops at the Baxter Theatre with the Cape Town Philharmonic. Anray Amansure has a voice to die for and was recently seen in David Kramer’s District 6 Kanala and Janine Lewis has been the lead singer of the Feedback Dance Band for many years. Our choreographer Amy-Kay Klaasen has appeared in a range of local commercials and music videos and is currently a member of Sibonelo Dance Project. She also represents Western Province in Women’s Rugby and was recently chosen to be a part of the SA Rugby Squad! Chantelle Le Roux – Broads on Broadway’s feisty and dedicated dance Captain, has been a ballroom and Latin dancer for ten years, holding several SA Champion titles for both disciplines, she is also a World Champion in disabled/wheelchair dancing, both Latin American and Ballroom. Crystal Finck is a top Ballet, Ballroom Latin and Contemporary dancer. Roxanne Paulse trained classically with UCT and has been involved in multiple projects and Jay-Dee Lisa America is a sassy and accomplished dancer.”
Apart from the collective of amazing talent, Dates shares that the cast dynamics also brings a unique energy to the show: “Our genuine banter and friendship makes this show so special. We have created this baby with love, passion and joy.”
Date embraces every part of the theatrical experience as a lifestyle, and she happily declares, “My involvement in theatre has made me see how much joy and direction it can give to a person.” Then, as someone who clearly has a love for musicals –as is evident from her passion and commitment to this show– there must then be an iconic Broadway Broad that over the years most influenced Date as a performer? “Definitely the original Wicked leads Kristin Chenoweth and Adina Menzel”, she proclaims. “Kristin for her comic timing and Idina for her remarkable voice.”
An enchanting choice indeed, with Wicked being a go-to favourite of many a theatre fan, proving that the appeal of musicals as a genre of theatre has the power to strongly connect with audiences? Date relates that she believes that appeal to be rooted in the fact that “it is a magical place where you can escape from the negativity in this world.” The ultimate form of daydreaming in 3D.
Join Date and the rest of the musical-loving Broads on Broadway cast for a “quirky, vocal, fun” theatre night out at the Masque Theatre from 13 to 16 September 2017. Book your tickets at Computicket to secure a seat to see our own local amazing dames add their unique flair to the music that made legends.