Press: Multiple award-winning star Desmond Dube joins cast of Fugard’s acclaimed KING KONG

Multiple award-winning actor and popular TV and film star Desmond Dube joins the cast of the Fugard Theatre’s hit production of the iconic South African musical KING KONG. From 2 January 2018 he steps in to the central role of Pop in the production, which is currently playing at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town until 18 February 2018.


Presented by Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre, this production of the historic musical KING KONG has received five star reviews and rapturous responses such as “a knock-out success”, “simply magnificent”, “a tribute to South Africa’s performance arts legacy” and “a theatrical treat”.


Dube joins the cast fresh from the success of an international tour and Johannesburg run of The Market Theatre’s production of The Suitcase, adapted and directed by James Ngcobo from the short story by Es’kia Mphahlele.


He was last seen on the Fugard stage in Mongiwekhaya’s I See You, which was presented by The Market Theatre, Johannesburg and the Royal Court, London in association with the Fugard Theatre, Cape Town.  For this role he won the Naledi Theatre Award for Best Actor and was nominated for a Fleur du CapBest Actor award.


Dube needs no introduction to South African audiences as a much-loved actor and presenter on TV and film. This includes an incredible seven series of Dube on Mondays, No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Suburban Bliss, Joburg Bluesand Dube Reloaded. On the big screen he has performed in films such as Hotel Rwanda, Love & Broken Bones, The Long Run, Millinium Menace, Hopeville and Mandela’s Gun. He is also well-known on TV as the face of Clientele Insurance.


His extensive list of theatre credits include Janice Honeyman’s Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, Julius Caesar (Nelson Mandela Theatre); You Fool How Can The Skyfall (Windybrow Theatre); Who Really Freed Nelson?, JoziJozi (The Market & The Baxter Theatres); Street Sisters (Stadsscchouwburg, Amsterdam); Scribble (The Baxter Theatre); Survival (The Johannesburg Theatre); Protest (The South African State Theatre) and NONGOGO (The Soweto & The Market & The Canadian Stage Theatres).


Dube’s many other awards include a Naledi Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actor (Nongogo), FNB Vita Award for Supporting Actor (Scribble) and an Avanti Award for Best actor in A Comedy Series (Joburg Blues).

KING KONG tells the story of heavyweight fifties boxing champion Ezekiel Dlamini whose self-appointed ring name was "King Kong" to the wildly exhilarating music of Todd Matshikiza.


“We are delighted to welcome Desmond Dube back to the Fugard Theatre stage, where he last captivated audiences in his award-winning performance in I See You,” says Daniel Galloway, the Executive Director of the Fugard Theatre. “It is a limited season to catch this incredible star on our stage.”


Dube joins Andile Gumbi (The Lion King, isiBaya) as King Kong and Edith Plaatjies (District Six: Kanala; Orpheus in Africa; Blood Brothers) as shebeen queen Joyce.


The Fugard Theatre’s KING KONG is directed by Jonathan Munby who directed the Fugard Theatre's production of A HUMAN BEING DIED THAT NIGHT with Noma Dumezweni (the only double Olivier award-winning Southern African actor) amongst many other international productions including the recent production of Shakespeare's KING LEAR for the Chichester Festival in the UK starring Sir Ian McKellen.


The original production featured music by Todd Matshikiza, lyrics and original book by Pat Williams and book by Harry Bloom. The revised book (with additional lyrics) is by Academy award nominated screenwriter and playwright William Nicholson (Shadowlands, Gladiator, Les Miserables, Sarafina, Long Walk to Freedom). South African choreographer star and recent French Legion D’Honneur recipient Gregory Maqoma choreographs KING KONG to the irresistible original music of the late great South African composer Todd Matshikiza.


The Fugard Theatre’s production sees Musical Direction by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder (West Side Story, Funny Girl, Cabaret) and Sipumzo Trueman Lucwaba with additional music and arrangements by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder.


Set design is by Paul Wills (A Human Being Died that Night, Royal Shakespeare Company's Hamlet, West End - Wyndham's Theatre - David Mamet's American Buffalo); Costume design by Birrie le Roux (West Side Story, Orpheus in Africa, District Six: Kanala); Lighting Design by Tim Mitchell (A Human Being Died That Night; Royal Shakespeare Company's King Lear with Antony Sher - Associate artist RSC/Chichester Festival Theatre) and Sound Design by Mark Malherbe (West Side Story, Funny Girl). The associate director is Mdu Kweyama.


The Fugard Theatre's KING KONG cast includes: Sanda Shandu as Lucky (Orpheus in Africa); Tshamano Sebe as Jack (Athol Fugard's Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek; Master Harold and the Boys; Noem my Skollie); Ntambo Rapatla as Miriam (Menopause the Musical); Josslynn Hlenti as Petal (The Lion King; South African Idols) and Sabelo Radebe as Caswell (West Side Story; Peter Pan).


Also performing with the ensemble are Joel Zuma (Sophiatown; Kwela Bafana - The Musical); JT Medupe (Hansel and Gretel; Peter Rabbit); Athenkosi Mfamela (In The City of Paradise; Bash or Be Bashed); Shalom Zamisa (Voices of Hope; Sarafina); Sibusiso Mxosana (West Side Story; Funny Girl; A Spartacus of Africa); Aphiwe Menziwa (Passage; Inexba Lomphillisi); Namisa Mdlalose (Rent); Siphiwe Nkabinde (Exit/Exist; Music in the Air); Lungelwa Mdekazi (African Angels; Phantom of the Opera); Barileng Malebye (Sophiatown; Making Mandela; Dogma; Emotional Creature); Rushney Ferguson (District Six: Kanala); Given Mkhize (Sacredspace; In The End is My Beginning); Siyasanga Papu (Marikana the Musical; Rhythm City); Ziyanda Yako (The Colored Museum; Ingoma); Masego Mothibakgomo (Festival of The Lion King; Romeo ‘n Juliet Unplugged) and Jabulani Gambu (The Lion King; Clash of the Choirs).


A live 9-piece band, under the direction of Sipumzo Trueman Lucwaba, accompanies the action at every performance.


KING KONG runs at the Fugard Theatre until 18 February 2018 Tuesday to Saturdays at 8pm with a matinee at 3pm on Saturdays and on Sundays at 4pm.


Tickets cost from R130 to R280. Bookings can be made at Webtickets and through the Fugard Theatre Box office on 021 461 4554.


Harrington Street car park is located at the corner of Caledon and Harrington streets and is available for the use of theatre patrons. Visit the cosy ground-floor bar, which opens two hours before all scheduled show times and stays open until last rounds are called… often as late as 1am. And if the weather is fine the bar on the fantastic rooftop terrace is opened, with its panoramic views of the city. Both bars offer a range of wines from some of the Cape’s top estates.   


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