Scrapbook: Amra-Faye & Shelley

Durban’s Shelley McLean in 1998, when she starred in Banned at the Wild Coast Sun casino complex.

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Scrapbook memories… every now and then BILLY SUTER dips into scrapbooks that piled up during his 24 years as Arts Editor of The Mercury newspaper in Durban (he took early retirement in December 2016) and, just for fun, dig out reviews and interviews from yesteryear. Today he glances back at articles from 1998 and 1999.
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It’s back to June 22, 1998, to reflect on the early career of celebrated Durban vocalist, actress, pianist, musical director and voice coach SHELLEY MCLEAN.

The interview pictured above was to publicise Shelley’s run as featured vocalist in the song and dance cabaret, Banned, which enjoyed a run of a few months r at the Wild Coast Sun casino complex.

Among fun discussion was Shelly recalling an incident that left her red-faced – performing Unforgettable on stage with a coathanger still clinging to the back of her dress. Another unforgettable moment, she recalls, was almost losing a rock ’n’ roll skirt during another show.

The interview below, which appeared in The Mercury on November 19, 1999, is the first I ever did with international sensation AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT, who has spent recent years filling the role of Velma Kelly in the Broadway production of the sexy musical, Chicago.

The interview here was to publicise the lavish The Elvis Las Vegas Extravaganza, which, staged at Durban’s Playhouse Opera theatre, also introduced Durban audiences to the talents of ever-busy singer Tim Moloi.

East London-born Amra-Faye explains how she did her first show at the age of 27, has been singing since 1984, has two children and is not a natural blonde. She also chats about appearing in four Sun City extravaganzas, and lists among “Irresistible” items: Reeses peanut butter cups and matching bra and panties.

She has obviously met a lot of celebs since those early days, but at the time of the interview she had met included Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Paul Anka, MC Hammer, Prince Albert (“sincere and gentle”).

Amra-Faye Wright when she appeared in The Elvis Las Vegas Extravaganza, at Durban’s Playhouse Opera theatre. It was in November 1999.

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