NEW CAST MEMBERS FOR THE COLOR PURPLE
On 31 January this year, the musical The Color Purple premiered in South Africa on The Nelson Mandela stage at Joburg Theatre with an all South African cast.
On 31 January this year, the musical The Color Purple premiered in South Africa on The Nelson Mandela stage at Joburg Theatre, with an all South African cast.
During its first run, the South African production of this Tony and GRAMMY Award-winning musical wowed audiences. For the talented cast members, this journey has been a career highlight. Theatre journalists and audience members raved about the Janice-Honeyman-directed production. Due to public demand for hard-to-come-by tickets, Joburg Theatre and Executive Producer Bernard Jay have announced that the show will give 32 additional performances during Women’s Month in August 2018. The 31 000 additional tickets are already selling quickly.
As arts journalist Leon van Nierop stated in his review of the show: ‘This was a life-changing and sweeping experience that will go down as one of the best and most thoughtprovoking of the past few years… a brilliant and touching production… This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience… You will never forget it.’
Seventeen of the original 20 cast members have signed on to reprise their roles, including acclaimed performers Didintle Khunou as Celie and Aubrey Poo as Mister. To find the three necessary replacement cast members, Honeyman, Jay and musical director Rowan Bakker embarked on another round of auditions.
After several auditions, the creative team identified three highly talented people to join the cast: Masego Mothibakgomo, Terrence Ngwila and Lebo Borole.
Well-known actress and vocalist Lelo Ramasimong, who initially played the role of Darlene in The Color Purple, will now be stepping into the leading role of Shug Avery. Ramasimong created her own fan base during The Color Purple’s first season with her spine-chilling vocalisation of the role of Darlene. Now her fans can’t wait to experience her play the gutsy, blues singing star, Shug Avery.
Masego Mothibakgomo takes over the role of Darlene from Lelo Ramasimong. Mothibakgomo obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the University of Pretoria. Her theatre work includes roles in Disney’s The Lion King (in which she played Nala and later the storyteller), Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man’s Blues, directed by Ball State University’s Wendy Saver-Mortimer, and Seussical. Mothibakgomo is also embarking on a career as a singer/songwriter in the commercial music industry.
Terrence Ngwila will be playing the role of Grady. He is trained in Latin dance, basic tango, and jazz but he describes himself mostly as a hip-hop and dubstep dancer. Ngwila was also trained and awarded an introductory teaching certificate in Jazz-Ed by one of South Africa’s dancers on Broadway, Pinto Ferreira. He was part of the award-winning South African soapie Generations: The Legacy and worked with Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom on The President’s Man. Ngwila played the lead in the production 1606, which received a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in 2015. Other theatre roles include Marikana – The Musical, Freedom the Musical and Sophiatown – all at The South African State Theatre in Pretoria.
Lebo Borole also joins the company. Borole studied drama and performance at the National School of the Arts and continued her studies at the University of Witwatersrand, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. She has worked as a radio personality at Trans World Radio and performed in an a cappella music group called Blacklace. She toured Hong Kong with Disney’s The Lion King as Nala. Borole was also cast as the lead in the musical Milked Voice and is currently featured in the new production Tsotsi, the Musical in Cape Town.
‘I continue to be thrilled with the levels of talent displayed by South African artists,’ says Honeyman. ‘Masego, Terrence and Lebo will fit beautifully into the wonderful family we have brought together on stage for The Color Purple.’
The Color Purple will reopen at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre on 7 August and will run until 2 September 2018.
To secure your tickets now before they’re sold out again, you can call 0861 670 670 or go online at www.joburgtheatre.com – or book in person at Joburg Theatre’s box office. Theatre patrons can also book online and pay at selected Pick n Pay stores.