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Drumstruck Comes to Dodger Stages Beginning May 12

DRUMSTRUCK, the world's first interactive drum-theatre experience, direct from sold-out engagements in Johannesburg, South Africa and Sydney, Australia, makes its American debut off-Broadway at Dodger Stages Stage 2 (340 West 50th Street, NYC) directed by David Warren. DRUMSTRUCK begins preview performances on May 12, 2005 and the official opening date will be announced soon.

DRUMSTRUCK provides a 2-foot-tall drum on every seat - and the entire audience gets the chance to make music together. Featuring 11 South and West African percussionists, they start the show with a pulse-racing bang: song, dance and eye blurring drum performances. Then they lead the audience in an exhilarating experience of exuberant African drumming.

DRUMSTRUCK is the brainchild of drum enthusiast Warren Lieberman, who started the phenomenon in 1997 by inviting strangers into his Lieberman Drum Cafe in Johannesburg to join him in beating a drum. The fascination took hold and soon he couldn't contain the crowds. Lieberman's Drum Cafe has provided 25,000 drums for a drum circle at a South African rugby match, and audience members have included Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth and President George W. Bush.

DRUMSTRUCK is produced off-Broadway by Drum Café, Dodger Theatricals, and Visual Spirit in association with Globility Inc.

BIOGRAPHIES:

NICHOLAS "AFRICA" DJANIE began performing at a young age and in 1997, joined the Ghana Dance Factory where he was soon promoted to chief drummer. He's an experienced master drummer, dancer, instructor and composer, with an impressive record of performances and collaborations in Ghana, and around Africa, Europe, America, Australia and Asia. Africa compares himself to a young tree that must still produce a lot of fruit, and says his two loves are music and people.

AYANDA. With a rich musical history in the family, Ayanda earned a place as one of the top six contestants in the reality series "Idols" (South Africa's version of "American Idol"). Thereafter, Ayanda landed the lead role in the Sleeping Beauty pantomime at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre. In 2003, she made an appearance in an annual Norwegian TV Concert and in 2004, starred in the British musical, Boogie Nights. She was then field reporter for M-NET's Footprints and currently performs for corporate and private functions. Ayanda dreams of breaking barriers in the entertainment industry.

SEBONE "DZWANYUDZWANYU" RANGATA. As a member of the Katlehong Art Centre, Sebone began playing marimba, acting and composing. He joined the Africa Cultural Centre, where he became choir director and facilitator. He later studied drama at the Market Theatre. Sebone excels as a drumming stilt walker and loves composing music and poetry. He's performed in England, Paris and Belgium.

BAFANA ENOCK MAHLANGU joined the Drum Café in 2000 and furthered his skills in dancing and drumming. He has since become a lead facilitator, and his ability to hold an audience's attention, leading them through the drumming experience with confidence has landed him a lead role in Drumstruck since 2004.

Tiny Modise started dancing with Soweto Dance Theatre under the guidance of Jackie Semela, and in 2000, won Best Dancer award in Soweto's Arts Alive competition. In 2003, the talented Tiny joined Drum Café and has been a feature performer in Drumstruck and part of "Basadi Le Meropa" - an all-woman drum, dance and marimba group.

RICHARD CARTER graduated from UCT with a BA Performing Arts in 1979. He studied mime in Paris and moved to Amsterdam in 1982, where he danced on the European circuit. He created a theatre company and began performing as a percussionist. Richard has studied and toured with master drummer Adama Drame and Foliba in the Ivory Coast. He's taught percussion and performed with pop, jazz and African artists and collaborated with all of South Africa's major dance companies. He was a composer for the South African hit musical African Footprint and works from his own music studio as a composer and producer.

Nomvula Gerashe. At age ten, Nomvula became the lead vocalist of her school and church choir and performed during Johannesburg's Arts Alive Festival. She joined Amakhono we Sintu Art Organization in 1998, performing to great acclaim locally and abroad. She's touched Drumstruck audiences with her beautiful voice since 2001.

Themba Kubheka co-founded Amakhono We Sintu (African Talent) Art Organisation in 1997, specializing in gospel, African a capella song, traditional dance and poetry. Themba has toured jazz festivals in France and Belgium, and worked on projects, including the Art Ensemble of Chicago's European Tour. His Zulu dance piece, 'Isixaxa' won an Arts Alive award. He has been part of the Drumstruck crew since 2003.

THABO RONALD MEDUPE learned Tswana dance and culture from Isaac "Pinky"Ramagole and started teaching aspiring performers. He created Itsoseng Arts and Cultural Group, teaching and performing widely. He joined the Drum Café in 2000 and is now a talented bass drummer, marimba player and multi-faceted dancer. His dream is to develop arts and culture in his home province.

MOLUTSI MOGAMI. As a child, Molutsi was trained in Sotho and Tswana traditional dance and song. From 1992 he started performing and teaching, and formed the Motsweding Cultural Dancers, performing for Mandela. In 2000, Molutsi joined the Drum Café, began drumming and expanded his dance styles. Molutsi has performed in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Belgium and Africa.

MOLEBELEDI "SPONCH" MOGAPI. From 1992, Sponge was involved with Pinky Ramagole's Dance Theatre Company, where he won nine trophies. He facilitated the Step Africa International Arts Festival with youths from all over Europe. In 2000, Sponge joined the Drum Café, where his bass drumming talent emerged. Sponge's passion is to educate and train youth in South Africa's performing art forms.

Warren Lieberman (Creator) studied BSc Physics and Applied Maths at UCT and attained a BSc Honors in Electrical Engineering. He started the Drum Café from his home in 1997. During the past few years, the Drum Café has performed at the corporate functions of nearly every major company in South Africa. This work has instigated a shift in business practice from that which is centered on the individual to that which is centered on the group or community. The Drum Café has performed in France, Lithuania, London, Hawaii, Botswana, Kenya and Swaziland. This multi-cultural company is knocking on the door of international business with branches in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Kenya.

David Warren (Director). Broadway revivals include Holiday (Outer Critics Circle Nom: Best Revival) and Summer and Smoke. Off-Broadway revivals include Hobson's Choice (Lortel Award nom: Best Revival) and Misalliance. Premieres include Matt & Ben (NY, LA, Chicago, Toronto, etc.); Barbra's Wedding; The Dazzle; Hurrah at Last; Night and Her Stars; Fiction; Eros Trilogy; Raised in Captivity; Pterodactyls (Obie Award); The Altruists; Fit to be Tied; Minutes From The Blue Route; From Above; High Dive; Romance in Hard Times (Public Theatre); Mi Vida Loca; Gone Home; Gus and Al; and the new musical Harmony by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman. West Coast credits include Raised in Captivity and The End of the Day. Regional credits include Twelfth Night (Long Wharf), The Philadelphia Story (Hartford Stage), Griller, and Captain's Courageous (Goodspeed). He has received an Obie, an LA Weekly, three Dramalogue awards, and an LA Drama Critic's Circle nom.

The design team for DRUMSTRUCK is comprised of Neil Patel (Sets), Jeff Croiter (Lighting), and Tom Morse (Sound).

DRUMSTRUCK is recommended for ages 3+. The running time is one hour, 25 minutes with no intermission.

TICKET INFORMATION:

Tickets to DRUMSTRUCK are available at the Dodger Stages box office (340 West 50th Street) and by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200, (800) 432-7250 outside the NY metro area, or online at telecharge.com.

Ticket prices are $61.00 (Tuesday-Friday and Sunday Evening) and $66.00 (Saturday Matinee and Evening and Sunday Matinee). A limited number of $25 student tickets will be available, day of show only at the Dodger Stages box office, with valid student I.D.

For more information, check out the web site for DRUMSTRUCK.

www.DrumstruckNY.com

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