BY BILLY SUTER
ONCE again talented pupils, both in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, are readying to present stage musicals in Durban – first up being a contingent of pupils from Northcliff High School in Johannesburg which annually tours a musical to the Playhouse Drama theatre.
The KwaZulu-Natal team has still to be chosen – auditions are being held in Durban this Saturday, June 17, to select a cast for a revival of the hit Footloose, to be staged at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre later in the year.
Northcliff High School is touring its annual musical to Durban’s Playhouse Drama theatre for the 19th year. This year the school is presenting the offbeat Spamalot The Musical, based on the hit movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Once again, Johannesburg audiences are voicing their praise and hinting that this might well be the best offering yet from the school that has achieved renown in their brave initiative to be possibly the only school to tour a full musical production to a far-off city.
Spamalot the Musical centres on Arthur, chosen as king in the mysterious Lady-of-the-Lake Excalibur ceremony, gathering knights from every corner of the land to sit at his Very, Very, Very Round Table.
He and his knights are then charged by God, in those troubled times, to go on a quest to find the Holy Grail. The result is a cavalcade of ridiculous nonsense offering much humour.
The show has a book and lyrics are by Eric Idle, with music by John du Prez and Eric Idle, and this is all from the original screenplay by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.
The Northcliff production has been produced and directed by versatile Nick Jourdan, who has produced and directed the annual show for Northcliff for decades.
The colourful musical will run at the Playhouse Drama Theatre from July 4 to 9. Performances are at 7.30pm on July 4, 5, 6 and 7; and 2pm and 7.30pm on July 8. The final performance is scheduled for 3pm on July 9.
Tickets are priced from R50 to R100, depending on which night you attend. Booking is at Computicket outlets.
As for Footloose, that will be staged at Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from September 7 to 17, instead of July as has been the case in previous years for shows created by the Young Performers Project which, founded in 2001, is celebrating its 16th anniversary.
This annual development project is open to all high school pupils wanting to gain exposure to a major musical theatre production staged by a professional team. These teenagers are trained to sing, dance and act by industry professionals, with the aim of putting on a fully staged musical theatre production.
Working under the supervision of theatre luminary Themi Venturas, the professional team engaged by The Young Performers Project NPC will be Daisy Spencer (director), Des Govender (vocal coach), Jarryd Watson (choreographer) and Dawn Selby (musical director).
Footloose is based on the 1984 film of the same name, starring Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer and Chris Penn. It centres on a city teenager moving to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned – and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace.
Auditions for the 2017 stage production, which are open to all pupils who are still in high school, will be held at the Durban North Baptist Church this Saturday (June 17) – from 11.30am (registration from 10am).
All those wishing to audition must be available for the whole day and must prepare a song to display singing ability.Teenagers will also be required to do dancing and acting auditions for which no preparation is necessary.
There are traditionally 23 roles available but this could change relative to the quality and number of young musical theatre performers that turn up and do well in the auditions.
Rehearsals will be held at the Durban North Baptist Church from June 23 to July 2 (vocal only); then from July 17 to 22 July (Monday to Saturdaty), followed by weekends from July 29 September 3. The final dress rehearsal is set for September 6.
All enquiries can be directed to Riaan Timson at firstname.lastname@example.org