Cross-continental Project MAMA AFRICA: THE MUSICAL Coming to South Africa, UK and Nigeria
MAMA AFRICA: THE MUSICAL, the bio-musical about Miriam Makeba, will be staged at Artscape Theatre Centre in South Africa this February, with tour dates booked for the United Kingdom in March and Nigeria in May.
Starting as a cross-continental cultural project, MAMA AFRICA: THE MUSICAL is a collaboration between the University of Missouri in St. Louis in the United States of America and the University of Cape Town in the Western Cape of South Africa, with the co-operation of the ZM Makeba Trust.
The story of the life and career of the Grammy Award-winning singer and civil rights activist is delightfully told in the musical, which is written and directed by Niyi Coker Jnr, who is the E. Desmond Lee Distinguished Professor of African/African-American Studies, Theatre & Cinema Arts at the University of Missouri and a winner of Washington DC Kennedy Centre Award for directing. Coker completed extensive research into Makeba's life and career, especially her role in the struggle against apartheid.
The production parades top performers. Jennifer Pau-Kakaza's credits include MACBETH, GIANNI SCHICCHI SUOR ANGELICA. She has also done voiceover work, background vocals, films, series and musical shows. Simangele Mashazi is a talented singer-songwriter who has performed on various stages at festivals such as the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Woordfees, the Artscape Youth Jazz Festival and Darling's Vooorkamer Festival. Most recently, she shared the stage with the Ramon Alexander Quartet at the 2016 Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Phelo Nodlayiya has performed in DIE , who performed roles including Osmin from DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL, THE TALES OF HOFFMAN and COSI FAN TUTTE.
The show, which features a cast of forty performers and international crew, premiered at The Great Hall at the University of Western Cape in South Africa on 25 May last year, running through 29 May. It later proceeded to tour to the United States of America, with a season from 15-18 September at The Anheuser-Busch Theatre in the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Centre on the University of Missouri Campus in St. Louis and a performance at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts in New York City on 3 October. After these successful runs, largely in academic settings, MAMA AFRICA: THE MUSICAL has been repackaged for wider public showing, starting with this run at the Artscape Theatre Centre.
MAMA AFRICA: THE MUSICAL illustrates Makeba's resilience, masterful artistry and her positive, forward-looking spirit. Tickets for the show - which runs from 2-12 February - range in price from R100-R120 per person and are available through Artscape Dial-a-Seat on 021 421 7839 and Computicket outlets nationwide.