BWW Feature: 9 Shows To Look Forward To in South Africa in 2019
Fosse, Lauper, Sondheim, Lerner and Loewe: just a few of the names whose brilliant productions are gracing South African stages this year. From legendary musicals to captivating straight plays, here are 9 of the most talked about and anticipated shows to look forward to in 2019.
1. Chicago, Artscape Theatre Centre (15 March - 14 April), Montecasino (20 April - 26 May)
The name on everybody's lips since its announcement mid-2018, CHICAGO returns over a decade later to South African audiences. The production comes to South Africa after a superbly-selling international tour to New Zealand and China. With a cast that includes a large number from the original production as well as South African favorites of Carmen Pretorius and Jonathan Roxmouth, this beloved musical is sure to be a sultry smash hit in 2019.
2. Kinky Boots, Fugard Theatre, From 11 June
A winner of 6 Tony Awards, Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre present an all-star South African production of KINKY BOOTS this year. KINKY BOOTS first debuted on screen in 2005, making it somewhat of a lesser known musical among the older generations; but not the least less enjoyable. Based on true events, Cyndi Lauper's music and lyrics shine through this heartwarming story that has been running on Broadway and the West End since 2013 - and is welcomed to the Fugard in June.
3. Into the Woods, Theatre on the Bay (30 January - 2 March), Montecasino (8 March - 14 April)
Stephen Sondheim's captivating musical comes to life on the local stage as it intertwines magical fairy tales with an impressive score. Matching the all-star cast of the 2014 film adaption, the local production features the likes of Kate Normington, Earl Gregory, Ashleigh Harvey, Haylea Heyns, Schoeman Smit, and more well-known names. Presented by Pieter Toerien and Kickstart, INTO THE WOODS is described as "moody and magical, witty and wise" and stands as an unmissable two hour spectacle of South African theatre in 2019.
4. Richard III, Maynardville Open Air Theatre, 6 February - 9 March
With the recent announcement of Alan Committie in its starring role, the renowned RICHARD III comes as the much anticipated annual open-air Shakespeare production. Supported by a cast of 16, the Bard's historic dark comic tragedy explodes onto the Maynardville stage full of court intrigue, royal ramblings, and the timeless tale of a captivating villain.
5. Hairspray, Artscape Theatre Centre, 2 - 16 February
HAIRSPRAY stands as one of the most well-known musicals across all audiences since its film release in 2007, and comes to life at the Artscape Theatre early this year. Pinelands Players presents the timeless soundtrack and story against the energetic ambiance of the 1960s that will be sure to delight audiences for its 2 week run.
6. The Mousetrap, Theatre on the Bay (Until 19 January), Montecasino (24 January - 3 March)
International star Mark Wynter stands at the helm of Agatha Christie's much-loved mystery, THE MOUSETRAP. Directed by fellow actor Jonathan Tafler - whose recent acting accolade includes his own role in the West End production - THE MOUSETRAP sees suspicious characters combined with nail-biting anticipation to make for a murder mystery like no other. As the longest-running play in the history of London's West End, this iconic classic is not to be missed.
7. Kunene and the King, Fugard Theatre, From 30 April
South African legend John Kani returns to writing for the stage after appearing in box-office hit Black Panther and lending his voice as Rafiki in the upcoming adaption of The Lion King. KUNENE AND THE KING marks the 25th anniversary of South Africa's first democratic elections after apartheid, and stars powerhouse duo of playwright Kani and Sir Antony Sher with direction by Janice Honeyman. Dubbed as a "moving and funny two-hander", debuts at the Fugard in April after its world premiere in England.
8. The BFG, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, 20 - 31 March
Ideal for the Easter school holidays, THE BFG - directed by Greg King - returns to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre after great success last year. The Roald Dahl classic includes an incredible all-star local cast and features imaginative and inventive puppetry; making it the perfect family outing in 2019.
9. Michael Jackson HIStory Show, Artscape Theatre Centre, 17 January - 10 February
From the top-class, international entertainment company that brings the likes of The Beatles and ABBA to South Africa, Showtime Australia brings the King of Pop to the Artscape. Journeying through Jackson's musical development in the 80s to his influence in the early 21st century, impersonator Dantanio embodies incredible theatrics and musical talent in this 2 and a half hour spectacle.