A global story with far-reach­ing rel­e­vance

The Star Early Edition - - THEATRE -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG au­di­ences are in for a treat when the world premiere of the new and original mu­si­cal, Call­ing Me Home takes place on Au­gust 17 on The Man­dela Stage at Joburg The­atre. This is the sec­ond world premiere of an original South African pro­duc­tion that this the­atre is graced with within a month. After the spec­tac­u­lar Big City, Big Dreams, the much-an­tic­i­pated Call­ing Me Home is ev­i­dence lo­cal the­atre is alive and well.

Call­ing Me Home is a pow­er­ful love story of hope, courage, long­ing and com­pas­sion that will res­onate with peo­ple ev­ery­where.

The au­di­ence fol­lows the story of Grace, a young woman who flees her home­land due to the out­break of a civil war and is taken on an ex­cit­ing jour­ney that stretches from the splen­dours of the African con­ti­nent, across the ocean to a great for­eign city.

In this new, hugely di­verse and colour­ful com­mu­nity, Grace ex­pe­ri­ences joy and great dan­ger. She also falls deeply in love and most im­por­tantly, learns the true meaning of “home”.

Premier­ing in Women’s Month, Call­ing Me Home is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween two highly cre­ative and pow­er­ful women in the South African mu­sic and the­atre in­dus­try.

The book, score and li­bretto were writ­ten by com­poser and pro­ducer Alice Gill­ham, who is signed with EMI Mu­sic Pub­lish­ing / Sony/ATV. She ef­fort­lessly fuses the gen­res of clas­si­cal mu­sic, African hy­brid, jazz and tra­di­tional folk song to cre­ate evoca­tive mu­sic that brings the story to life.

Join­ing Gill­ham is cel­e­brated di­rec­tor Mag­da­lene Min­naar. Ac­cord­ing to Min­naar, this pro­duc­tion has the po­ten­tial to have a pro­found im­pact on the world.

“The con­tent is par­tic­u­larly cur­rent and we are blessed with in­cred­i­ble tal­ent in South Africa. One rarely gets a chance to be part of a brand new lo­cal pro­duc­tion of this cal­i­bre,” Min­naar says.

Call­ing Me Home de­picts the jour­neys of three women who each find their own per­sonal power. Grace (Lynelle Kennedy) a young African woman flees her war-torn home­land to try to sur­vive in a coun­try of con­crete cityscapes, crime and dan­ger. With her is her new friend Lindiwe (Zolani Ma­hola), who too has fled her home, but in Lindiwe’s case it is a flight from abuse and pain. Fi­nally, there is the beau­ti­ful but deeply trou­bled Is­abella (Samantha Peo), who finds the strength and courage to conquer al­most in­sur­mount­able chal­lenges when she over­comes ad­dic­tion, to take the moral lead in her com­mu­nity.

The work is a global story with far-reach­ing cur­rent rel­e­vance. Ac­cord­ing to Min­naar, choos­ing the right artists was crit­i­cal as they have the op­por­tu­nity to bring their char­ac­ters to life for the first time. “We have care­fully cho­sen hugely tal­ented singers who bring sto­ry­telling, cre­ativ­ity and a spirit of ad­ven­ture to this jour­ney. Their en­ergy is amaz­ing and their tal­ent world-class,” Min­naar says.

The south­ern African cast con­sists of some of the coun­try’s most cel­e­brated stage per­form­ers, well-known per­son­al­i­ties and some up-and-com­ing young stars. Kennedy, a clas­si­cally trained so­prano, is the ris­ing star of mu­si­cal the­atre in South Africa.

Ear­lier this year she blew South African au­di­ences away in the role of Maria in The Fu­gard’s pro­duc­tion of West Side Story.Peo has starred in nu­mer­ous pro­duc­tions from Thor­oughly Mod­ern Mil­lie, Cabaret to West Side Story.

An­thony Down­ing (Rafael) cap­tured the hearts of South African au­di­ences as Raoul in Phan­tom of the Opera.

“What grabbed my ini­tial in­ter­est was the op­por­tu­nity to work with the phe­nom­e­nally tal­ented Mag­da­lene Min­naar again, hav­ing worked with her on Phan­tom of The Opera. But even more so, as a cre­ative per­son my­self, to have the chance to cre­ate a show right from in­cep­tion is such an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity, one that I couldn’t pass up,” Down­ing says.

Call­ing Me Home is on un­til Sep­tem­ber 3. Book online at www.joburgth­e­atre.com or by call­ing the Box Of­fice on 0861 670 670 or through Webtick­ets.

Lynelle Kennedy as Grace.

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