12 Naledi nods for KickstArt hit

Kate Normington as The Witch with Earl Gregory as The Baker and Jessica Sole as The Baker’s Wife. A scene from KickstArt’s Into the Woods, which has received 12 Naledi Theatre Award nominations. All three performers have been nominated for awards. Picture by Jesse Kramer.

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BY BILLY SUTER

DURBAN’S KickstArt Theatre company production of Stephen Sondheim’s celebrated musical, Into the Woods, a huge success in Durban in 2016 before it toured nationally early last year, has been nominated for 12 coveted Naledi Theatre Awards.

This year’s nominations for the awards, which recognise outstanding productions staged in Gauteng, were announced live, by Des and Dawn Lindberg, on Facebook on Sunday evening after the nominations reveal planned for March 24, at the Lesedi Theatre, was cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions. The award winners are expected to be announced in June, subject to Cornavirus restrictions.

The judging panel for the Naledi Theatre Awards, now in its 17th year, have nominated KickstArt’s Into the Woods as Best Production of a Musical, while Durban’s Steven Stead has been nominated as Best Director of a Musical for the work.

The production also stands to win awards for Tina le Roux’s lighting design, as well as Best Ensemble, and Best Lead Male Performance in a Musical (Earl Gregory as The Baker). In addition, both Jessica Sole (as the Baker’s Wife) and Kate Normington (as The Witch) have been nominated for Best Female Lead Performance in a Musical.

Zak Hendrikz has been nominated for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for his dual role as the Prince/Wolf in Into the Woods, while Drew Bakker stands to win the award for Best Musical Director and Greg King is a Naledi nominee for his atmospheric set design. Neil Stuart Harris is nominated for costume design and Mark Malherbe for sound design.

Steven Stead, reacting to the nominations, today told SoSuterBill: “Into the Woods was a wish-fulfillment production. It is my favourite musical and it is very rarely seen on stage because of its difficulty and complexity. Just working on the show would be rich reward in itself; to have worked on it twice, with such a wonderful bunch of people,  and then receive all these nominations, is beyond gratifying.”

He added: “Woods ultimately is about people coming together and forming a community in the face of a peril that lays waste to their land and their lives: not all of them make it. But ultimately they prevail, they learn and come into the light. It couldn’t be more apt for the time we live in.

“One day in the not too distant future, when we can go back into our theatres, I am going to stage this show again. The resonance will be deafening.”

Durban’s Steven Stead, a nominee for his direction of Into the Woods, which has 12 Naledi Theatre Award nominations.

Among other shows that have raked in multiple Naledi Theatre Award nominations are Aunty Merle The Musical, Equus, Chicago, Angola Camp 13, Rock of Ages, Xova, Metamorphosis, Gertrude Stein and a Companion and Shakespeare’s R&J.

“This year we are happy to announce three new categories to the mix,” said Dawn Lindberg, founder and CEO of the Naledis. “These are: Best Production for Independent/Fringe Theatre, Best Contemporary Dance/Ballet Production and Best Production Tertiary/Incubator Theatre.

“The addition of the new categories was inspired by the incredible quality and calibre of these exciting genres over the last five years and the Naledi executive felt that it is important to celebrate the excellence in these fields, as well as the more conventional genres of plays and musicals. We have also decided to include Tertiary and Incubator productions, as often these are the theatre makers to watch for the future.”

This year the Naledis fielded 50 judges, all from or associated with the industry, who were divided into six panels best suited to their fields of expertise,” said Renos Spanoudes, chairman of the judging panels. “Between them, Naledi judges saw more than 100 productions. They were tasked with ensuring the eligibility of each of the productions under scrutiny and to ensure that these productions adhered to the criteria as laid down in the rules.”

“We judge productions against a set of criteria that we re-examine every year and adjust, if necessary, to ensure that the Naledis remain up to date with the ever changing and dynamic theatrical landscape that shapes our industry,” said Lihan Pretorius, executive director/legal of the Naledis.

“2019 again proved to be an exceptional year for theatre in South Africa,” said Kgomotso Christopher, chairperson of the Naledis. “We are seeing some really amazing, ground-breaking and uniquely South African work across all genres, which is being watched by an increasingly diverse and emerging theatre audience. What is heartening to see is that whilst the traditional theatre audiences may be diminishing in some areas, we are seeing a growing and very discerning young audience enjoying Live theatre, and this is what will keep theatre alive in South Africa,” said Christopher, herself an award winning television and stage actress.

Dawn Lindberg concluded: “I would also like to assure the theatre community that we are doing all we can to host the awards ceremony live on the Nelson Mandela Stage at The Joburg Theatre. We firmly believe that after the difficult times theatre has faced this year, we need to celebrate our wonderful Industry of which we are all so passionate. As soon as we are able to after the lockdown we will announce the new dates, tentatively set for June.

Samantha Peo as Velma Kelly in Chicago, for which she has been nominated for a Naledi Theatre Award.

The  full list of nominations for the 2019 Naledi Theatre Awards are:

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL

Angola Camp 13 – (Prod. The State Theatre in assoc with Manti Makhulu)

Aunty Merle the Musical – (Prod. Anwar Mc Kay & Marc Lottering)

Chicago – (Prod. Showtime Management in assoc with Barry& Fran – Weissler and David Ian)

Forever Plaid – (Prod. VR Theatrical)

Into the Woods – (Prod. Pieter Toerien and Kickstart)

Rock of Ages – (Prod. Montecasino in assoc. with VR Theatrical)


BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY

Equus – (Prod. Pieter Toerien)

Gertrude Stein and a Companion (Prod. Daphne Kuhn and Authentik)

Metamorphosis – (Prod. UJ Arts and Culture)

Pockets of Knowledge – (Prod. The Soweto Theatre)

The Fisherman – (Prod. The Market Theatre)

Xova – (Prod.The State Theatre in assoc. Ozone Felaz)


BEST NEW SOUTH AFRICAN SCRIPT

Currently (G)old – (Written/developed by the Kwasha Company)

Ekasi Lam’ – (Written by Jefferson Tshabalala)

Strange Land – (Written by Prof Anton Krueger)

VAN WYK: The Storyteller of Riverlea (Written by Zane Meas)

Venus vs Modernity – (Written by Lebo Mashile)

Xova – (Written by Joseph Komani)

BEST CONTEMPORARY DANCE/BALLET PRODUCTION

Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero – (Prod. The Joburg Theatre & Vuyani Dance Theatre)

Exit/Exist – (Prod. Vuyani Dance Theatre and The Market Theatre)

Giselle – (Prod. Joburg Ballet)

I am Simon – (Prod. Thami Tshabalala in assoc with The State Theatre)

Unbound: I think therefore I am,
Wakanda, Transcendence,
The Angel Trilogy
– (Prod. Joburg Ballet)

BEST PRODUCTION FOR INDEPENDANT/FRINGE THEATRE

Born Naked – (Prod. POPart Theatre in Collab with. Hijinks Theatre – & ZikkaZimba Productions)

Cottonwool Kid
– (Prod. POPart Theatre)

Dick or Date – (Prod. MoMo Matsunyane Productions)

No Easter Sunday for Queers – (Prod. The National Arts Festival & The Market – Theatre)

Unlearn – (Prod. MoMo Matsunyane Productions)


BEST PRODUCTION TERTIARY/INCUBATOR THEATRE

Eclipsed – (Prod. The Market Theatre)

Frontières – (Prod. The Market Theatre & The Dept Arts and – Culture Incubation)

Little Red Riding Hood and the
Big Bad Metaphors
– (Prod. Prof Marié-Heleen Coetzee & UP Drama)

Nailed – (Prod. The Market Theatre & The Dept Arts & Culture – Incubation)

Rhinoceros – (Prod. Kwasha! Theatre Company supported by The – Market Theatre Lab. Windybow Arts Centre, – The French Institute of SA, Mazars by arr Samuel – French)

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL: FEMALE

Carmen Pretorius as Roxie Hart – (Chicago)

Jessica Sole as The Baker’s Wife – (Into the Woods)

Kate Normington as The Witch – (Into the Woods)

Phethile Sibanyoni as Sizwe Manzine – (Angola Camp 13)

Samantha Peo as Velma Kelly – (Chicago)

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL: MALE

Earl Gregory as The Baker – (Into the Woods)

Josh Ansley as Drew – (Rock of Ages)

Marc Lottering as Aunty Merle – (Aunty Merle the Musical)

Musanete Sakupwanya as Cat in the Hat – (Seussical)

Soyiso Ndaba as Majoro Mnisi – (Angola Camp 13)

BEST LEAD PEFORMANCE IN A PLAY: FEMALE

Charmaine Mtinta as Zukiswa – (Xova)

Dorothy Ann Gould as The Mother – (Family Secrets)

Lebo Mashile as Saartjie – (Venus vs Modernity)

Lynita Crofford as Alice B Toklas – (Gertrude Stein and a Companion)

Shirley Johnston as Getrude Stein – (Gertrude Stein and a Companion)

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A PLAY: MALE

Graham Hopkins as Dr Martin Dysart – (Equus)

Siyabonga Thwala as Obembe – (The Fisherman)

Sven Ruygrok as Alan Strang – (Equus)

Warren Masemola as Ben – (The Fisherman)

William Harding as Gregor/Beetle – (Metamorphosis)


BEST FEATURED/SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Ameera Patel as the Sister – (Metamorphosis)

Khutjo Green as the Mother – (Metamorphosis)

Nondumiso Mabuza as Themba – (Xova)

Nonhlahla Dube as Lady in White – (Xova)

Zimkhita Nyoka as Thozama – (Xova)

BEST FEATURED/SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Craig Morris as the Father – (Metamorphosis)

Matthew Lotter as Christopher Wren – (The Mousetrap)

Sello Sebotsane as Oompie Tselapedi – (Call Us Crazy)

Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri as Mr M – (My Children my Africa)

Zolani Shangase as Thami – (My Children my Africa)

BEST FEATURED/SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Lois du Plessis as Justice – (Rock of Ages)

Marlee van der Merwe as Ursula Koekemoer – (Aspoestertjie)

Noni Mkhonto as Henrietta Hen – (Jack and the Beanstalk)

Siyasanga Papu as Michael/Mama – (Santa Clause is coming to town)

Tankiso Mamabolo as Lydia – (Aunty Merle the Musical)

BEST FEATURED/SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Anzio September as Carl – (Aunty Merle the Musical)

Craig Urbani as Dennis – (Rock of Ages)

Grant Towers as Amos – (Chicago)

Loukmaan Adams as Denver – (Aunty Merle the Musical)

Matthew Counihan as Franz – (Rock of Ages)

Zak Hendrikz as the Prince/Wolf – (Into the Woods)


BEST BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE

Abongile Matyutyu as John Motokolo – (Angola Camp 13)

Anele Nene as Malusi – (Pockets of Knowledge)

Ann Masina as Venus – (Venus vs Modernity)

Menzi Mkhwene as Sihle – (Pockets of Knowledge)

Jessica Wolhuter as Young Tracy – (Brutal Legacy)

BEST ENSEMBLE

Angola Camp 13 – (Prod. The State Theatre in assoc with – Manti Makhulu)

Currently (G)old – (Presented by the Kwasha Company in – assoc with the Market Theatre Lab and – Windybrow Arts Centre)

Into the Woods – (Prod. Pieter Toerien and Kickstart)

Shakespeare’s R&J – (Abrahamse & Meyer Productions)

Woza Albert! – (Prod.The State Theatre in assoc with – The Playhouse Company)

BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE IN A PRODUCTION MALE/FEMALE

Ben Pienaar as Karl – (Net – Deurnis)

Billy Langa as Narrator – (Tshwalo)

Ignatius van Heerden as Performance Artist – (Droom – Deurnis)

Pieter-Dirk Uys as Himself and various alter egos – (#HETWO)

Renos Nicos Spanoudes as Dimitri Tsafendas – (Strange Land)

Zane Meas as Chris van Wyk – (VAN WYK: The Storyteller of – Riverlea)

BEST PRODUCTION FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG AUDIENCES (0-15) SUPPORTED BYASSITEJ SA

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – (Prod. by National Children’s Theatre)

Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat – (Prod. by National Children’s Theatre)

Seussical Jr. – (Prod.by People’s Theatre)

Tiny the Tokoloshe & other African Tales – (Prod. by VR Theatrical @ Pieter – Toerien’s Studio Theatre)

Three Little Pigs – (Prod. by Pretoria Youth Theatre (Tshwane)


BEST PERFORMANCE IN A PRODUCTION FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES (MALE/FEMALE) (SUPPORTED BY ASSITEJ SA)

Jaques de Silva as The Cat in the Hat – (The Cat in the Hat)

Jay Hlatshwayo as Duck – (Duck for President)

Roberto Pombo as Willy Wonka & Narrator – (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Teekay Bally as Genie – (Aladdin)

Thokozani Jiyane as Marty the Zebra – (Madagascar, A Musical Adventure Jr)

BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

Albie Michaels – (Metamorphosis)

Fred Abrahamse – (Equus)

James Ngcobo – (The Fisherman)

Joseph Komani – (Xova)

Pamela Nomvete & Koleka Putuma – (Venus vs Modernity)

Matthew Counihan – (My Children my Africa)

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

Jaco van Rensburg – (Forever Plaid)

Neels Clasen – (Aspoestertjie)

Sello Amos Maseko – (Angola Camp 13)

Steven Stead – (Into the Woods)

Timothy le Roux and Elizma Badenhorst – (Rock of Ages)

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR

Bryan Schimmel – (Chicago)

Cromwell Modise Modungwa – (Angola Camp 13)

Drew Bakker – (Into the Woods)

Wessel Odendaal – (Forever Plaid)

Wessel Odendaal – (Rock of Ages)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY IN A PLAY OR A MUSICAL

Craig Morris – (Metamorphosis)

Grant Van Ster – (Aunty Merle the Musical)

Mduduzi Vincent Nhlapo – (Angola Camp 13)

Mpho Maifadi – (Xova)

Sinenhlahla Mgeyi & Aalujah Zamm Matinela – (Currently (G)old)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE/ARRANGEMENT/ADAPTATION

Clint Lesch – (Aida Abridged)

Cromwell Modise Modungwa – (Angola Camp 13)

Nebo Mafabatho – (Xova)

Tarryn Lamb & Marc Lottering – (Aunty Merle the Musical)

Kholofelo Sewela & Major Mockery – (Venus vs Modernity)

BEST THEATRE SET DESIGN

Fred Abrahamse – (Shakespeare’s R&J)

Greg King – (Into the Woods)

Nthabiseng Malaka – (Strange Land)

Sheldon Marema – (Xova)

2nd year faculty Arts, (FADA)mentored by Sarah Roberts – (Metamorphosis)

BEST COSTUME/PROPS DESIGN

Koketso Kekana – (Xova)

Marcel Meyer – (Shakespeare’s R&J)

Marcel Meyer – (Equus)

Neil Stuart Harris – (Into the Woods)

UJ Design Academy – (Metamorphosis)

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN/ANIMATIONS

Fred Abrahamse – (Equus)

Mbongeni Clement Mabila – (Angola Camp 13)

Oliver Hauser – (Metamorphosis)

Tina le Roux – (Into the Woods)

Wandile Mgcodo – (Xova)

BEST SOUND DESIGN/SOUNDSCAPE

Blessing Jiyane – (Angola Camp 13)

Kholofela Sewela – (The Lion and the Lamb)

Mark Malherbe – (Into the Woods)

Nebo Mafabatho – (Xova)

Yogin Sullapen – (Strange Land)


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