BY BILLY SUTER
THE cast and creative team of the ground-breaking 2007 South African production of Hairspray will reunite in a one-night-only special today (Saturday, April 25) to raise funds for the Theatre Benevolent Fund,
Hairspray: Together Again will be shown from 6pm (SA time) when it will be livestreamed on &Scene Facebook Live and YouTube Stream (direct link on www.andscene.live
A network for theatre folk, by theatre folk, &Scene is a new online venture by Johannesburg-based theatrical production company &CO. This evening marks its official debut.
Hairspray: Together Again, hosted by Natasha van der Merwe, will not only reunite cast and crew from the South African production of this early ’60s-set musical about dance and bigotry, but also the International team from the US: Marc Shaiman (Music & Lyrics), Mark Sendroff (Sendroff & Baruch LLB), Matt Lenz (Director), Lon Hoyt (Music Supervisor), and Greg Graham (Associate Choreographer).
They will be joined by the South African team members who made it happen in this country– Steven Joffe (then CEO of Gold Reef City Resorts), Richard Loring (Executive Producer), Debra Batzofin (Associate Producer), and Denis Hutchinson (Theatre and Lighting Designer).
The live stream will feature members of the show’s all-star 2007 South African cast: Harry Sideropoulos (Edna), Marah Louw (Motormouth Maybelle), Kate Normington (Velma Von Tussle), Mike Huff (Wilbur), Elizca Coetzer (Tracy), Vicky Friedman (Penny), Jo Galloway (Amber), Kyle Grant (Link), Earl Gregory (Seaweed), as well as Nonhle Beryl Makhaya, Pulane Rampoana and Ntambo Rapatla (The Dynamites).
The special event promises to be an unforgettable and nostalgic experience with personal stories and songs from the show.
Throughout the special, audiences will be able to donate directly to Theatre Benevolent Fund via a QR code or directly at andscene.live/donations
“We are a live-streaming network that brings together all facets of the theatre industry in a curated online streaming performance space, creating a sense of community between audiences and artists,” says a spokesman for &Scene.
“We are empowering artists with unique opportunities to earn income as well as encouraging creative growth in creating unique network content. We believe that the digital trend, and all its potential, is to be embraced.”
The network will stream for 12 hours daily, and is free to stream on Facebook and YouTube.
“We offer a variety of content from weekday morning workouts (offering yoga, workouts and choreography), to family content (baking classes, kid-centric classes offering such activities and singing and dancing and storytime), industry workshops from industry professionals (in acting, singing, dancing, producing, etc.), wellness hours (focusing on the mental and physical well-being), chat shows, play readings, open mics and special content.”
Weekends are set to include a show for young performers to shine, as well as a rotating Saturday afternoon special broadcast and the Together Again experience, reuniting members of South African favourite productions for one night only, to benefit the Theatre Benevolent Fund.
“We are proud to be home to new content (Bake a Leg! with Andrea Shine, Bromance with Naledi award nominees Musanete Sakupwanya and Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri, Shore Shape with Jonathan Blaine Shore) and (Duck and Covid with Grant Towers, Matthew Lewis and Doug White).
“We wholeheartedly believe that we are purely a platform. All work generated by artists remains the full property of the artist, moving forward. Every show will host a QR code, which connects to SnapScan and allows for viewers to made immediate donations to the artists.
The Theatre Benevolent Fund was started more than 50 years ago and raises money for all those who have worked professionally in the entertainment industry and for whom the spotlight has faded, no matter how it has faded. It receives no government grants and is run by volunteers from within the industry. The reunion is the first of many shows on the &SCENE network in aid of the Theatre Benevolent Fund.
&SCENE can be found on:
Facebook: And Scene (https://www.facebook.com/AndSceneLive)
YouTube: And Scene (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCefCWgAP–fEdYv-pQdcTKg/)
Instagram: And Scene Live (https://www.instagram.com/AndSceneLive/)