Durban musical up for 10 awards

A scene from the Durban production of KickstArt’s touring Shrek The Musical. The Johannesburg production, which featured many of the original Durban cast, stands to win 10 Naledi Awards on Monday, June 5.


DURBAN’S Steven Stead is right now in Johannesburg for two reasons – one being to start work on reviving his hit Durban pantomime, Puss in Boots, for a July run at Johannesburg’s Lyric Theatre.

He will also be at the same Gold Reef City venue at 6pm for 7.30pm on Monday night (June 5) for the 13th Naledi Theatre Awards, for which his Gauteng production of Shrek The Musical has earned 10 nominations.

Tickets, available at Computicket outlets, cost R200. This includes cocktails, wine and the show.

Good news for those unable to be there is that the event will be filmed for showing on DStv’s M-Net and Mzansi Magic at a date still to be decided.

Among entertainers scheduled to perform at the big event will be former Idols judge Mara Louw and Kings of Harmony, performing with the cast of a new stage production of Mbongeni Ngema’s Sarafina, as well as a 10-voice rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine, led by Timothy Moloi.

Nominations for the awards, established 13 years ago to honour productions staged in Gauteng, were recently announced in Johannesburg.

Shrek The Musical, originally staged in Durban, is nominated for best musical, director of a musical/music revue (Steven Stead), actor in a musical (Lyle Buxton), actress in a musical (Jessica Sole), supporting actor in a musical (both Jacobus van Heerden and Rory Booth), costume design (Greg King and Shanti Naidoo), sound design (Lee Brune), choreography (Janine Bennewith) and musical direction (Rowan Bakker).

Rory Booth (left) and Darren King in the Durban production of Puss in Boots. Steven Stead is restaging the panto in Johannesburg from the end of June.

Other Durban representatives at the awards are KickstArt’s Greg King – nominated for best set design for Suddenly the Storm – and Charon Williams-Ros, nominated as best lead actress in a musical, for her role as Miss Hannigan in Annie.

Taryn-Lee Hudson, originally from Durban, is a nominee for her high-voiced screen star, Lina Lamont, in the touring production of Singin’ in the Rain.

“The list of nominees is evidence that theatre is alive and very well in South Africa, and we so look forward to honouring these actors, producers, technicians and other thespians at the awards this year,” says Dawn Lindberg, executive director of the Naledi Theatre Awards.

Over the past 13 years, the Naledi Theatre Awards has honoured more than 60 Lifetime Achievers, veteran artists, technicians and administrators who have dedicated their lives to local theatre, while also paying tribute to people in the arts who have taken their final bows during the year under review.

The Naledi Theatre Awards cover all mainstream professional productions from the period January 1 to December 1 of the previous year, and the Naledi judges typically evaluate more than 100 productions in some 27 categories.

The Naledi panel of judges consists of informed and regular theatre-goers, academics and members of the media covering the arts in Johannesburg.

Puss in Boots, staged to great success at Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre over the 2015 festive season, runs from June 30 to July 23 at the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg.

Set on a mystical, magical Caribbean island, the panto is a laugh-a-minute spectacular that features great audience participation, breathtaking sets, gorgeous costumes and fun tunes. .

Written and directed by Stead, and designed by Greg King, the story of Puss in Boots is brought to life by a stellar cast –  Earl Gregory as the booted feline; Ilse Klink as the good fairy Calypso Honeybunch; Michael Richard playing the evil shape-shifting goblin wizard, Grimbsy Withergood; an \d Sean John Louw as the hapless miller’s son, Tom Marzipan.

Durban’s Darren King plays Mother Merry Marzipan, while others in the cast include Zak Hendricks, Londiwe Dhlomo-Dhlamini, Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri and Caitlin Kilburn.

This extravagant stage production is choreographed by Janine Bennewith, and  is under the musical direction of Rowan Bakker. Ticket prices are from R150 to R269.

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