Showcasing new musical theatre

Amanda Kunene, Lyle Buxton, Samantha Landers and Tshepo Ncokoane star in Cabaret and Beyond, to be staged in Durban from October 15 to 24. Picture by Charles Dlamini.


……BY BILLY SUTER……

NEW, original musical theatre works will be showcased in Durban soon in a showcase for theatre songwriting talent, Cabaret and Beyond, directed by Steven Stead and starring Lyle Buxton, Amanda Kunene, Samanatha Landers and Tshepo Ncokoane.

Accompanied on piano by the show’s musical director, Wessell Odendaal, these versatile and talented singers will perform at the Seabrooke’s Theatre, at Durban High School, on October 15, 16,17, 22, 23 and 24. Performances are at 7pm, except Sundays, when curtain-up is at 11am.

Featuring 20 new songs, from 21 local theatre composers, Cabaret and Beyond is is described as an exciting evening of original theatrical songs; each telling their own story. The showcase is the culmination of a three-month writing collective, the Cabaret and Beyond Festival, facilitated by Roland Perold, at the behest of the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The director of the CCA, Ismail Mahomed, saw this as the perfect venture that would allow the organisation to add a live music theatre event to its bouquet of festivals.
 
“By adding this new festival to our already-successful bouquet of festivals we want to play a role in rekindling a cultural economy that has been seriously affected by the national lockdowns. Musical theatre straddles easily between entertainment and social commentary. It can be both playful and relevant” says Mahomed.
 
Steven Stead, of KickstArt fame, said of the showCase: “As a director, especially of musical theatre, it is very rare to get to work on material that is entirely new and original. It is tremendously exciting to be discovering and helping to develop new work and new South African composers! There is so much diversity of style in this programme, such range of expression. And some really fabulous music!”
 
The show has been designed by Karabo Legoabe Mtshali, recently recognised in the “Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2021” as a talent to watch out for.
 
Composers for this project come from Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Gqeberha, where a partnership with the Mandela Bay Theatre Complex sees two full-length one-act musicals being premiered in that city in March next year.

At the showcase, two composers (or writing teams) whose work shows promise for future development will be identified and will receive grants to develop their ideas into a project that will be realised in conjunction with the CCA.
 
Tickets for the Cabaret and Beyond showcase cost R70 at all performances except those on October 22 and 23 (tickets then are R100 each). There is a two-for-one concession available to students. Booking is online via WebTickets.


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