Stage set for young the­atre tal­ent

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Arts & Entertainment - Arts Cor­re­spon­dent

The an­nual The­atre Awards Young Tal­ent Devel­op­ment re­vue, now in its 29th year, will open, un­der the ti­tle Wood­lands Dairy Show­time 2019: Those Were the Days, in the Pe­mads Lit­tle The­atre on Jan­uary 27, run­ning through to Fe­bru­ary 2.

This time, fol­low­ing 2018’s smash hit salute to the 1950s, Let the Good Times Roll, the pop­u­lar re­vue, a launch pad for many lo­cal, na­tional and even in­ter­na­tional per­form­ers and direc­tors, chore­og­ra­phers and mu­si­cal and vo­cal direc­tors, will pay trib­ute to 1960s Broad­way and Hol­ly­wood mu­si­cals.

The decade is widely re­garded as the most cre­ative 10 years the Great White Way ex­pe­ri­enced in terms of mu­si­cal the­atre.

The nam­ing rights have been re­tained by Hu­mans­dorp's Wood­lands Dairy, which mar­kets its prod­ucts un­der the First Choice la­bel.

The Port El­iz­a­beth Mu­si­cal and Dra­matic So­ci­ety (Pe­mads) will again be col­lab­o­rat­ing in co-pre­sent­ing the stage pro­duc­tion in the the­atre that was its home for the first 11 years of its ex­is­tence, along with Wood­lands Dairy and Busi­ness and Arts SA (Basa), which an­nu­ally pro­vides a sup­port­ing grant to the over­all the­atre awards and young tal­ent re­vue pro­gramme.

Those Were the Days is once more de­vised and writ­ten by Bob Eveleigh, with Siob­han Day re­turn­ing from her 2018 com­bined de­but di­rec­tor­chore­og­ra­pher out­ing and guest chore­og­ra­pher Natasha Tait stag­ing some of the big num­bers with her dance acad­emy pupils.

Wayne Hughes re­turns as mu­si­cal and vo­cal di­rec­tor with Rocky Mann and Lance Bright con­tin­u­ing as tech­ni­cal con­sul­tants, Mari Sharp de­sign­ing the light­ing and Steven van der Merwe sound, pro­vided by Clear As a Bell.

Spe­cial cos­tumes by top PE de­signer Jo­han Wol­marans will be fea­tured, while past mul­ti­Show­time di­rec­tor Mar­lene Pi­eterse is the cre­ative con­sul­tant this time.

The score will in­clude salutes to Julie An­drews and Bar­bara Streisand, play­wrights Neil Si­mon and Ge­orge M Co­han, and songs from such hit Broad­way and Hol­ly­wood mu­si­cals as Bye Bye Birdie, Hello Dolly, Mame, Bells Are Ring­ing, Gypsy, L'il Ab­ner, The Mu­sic Man and a lengthy med­ley from Finian's Rain­bow.

Com­edy favourites Bob Hope, Dean Mar­tin and Jerry Lewis, are back, with the US’s one-liner king, Henny Young­man, mak­ing his Show­time bow.

The fe­male core cast has 2018's Kristin Labuschagne and Danielle Viljoen, joined by new­comer Keryn Gill­ham; with James van der Merwe (re­turn­ing from 2016, 2017 and 2018) and Jonathan Hughes (re­turn­ing from 2018), plus first­timer Matthew Perry among the males.

Lead­ing the ju­nior cast are An­gel­ica Sta­ples and Ka­lyn du Plessis while the Natasha Tait dancers are Anel Strauss, Chloe Van Rooyer, Gemma Oost- huizen, Karen Weyer, Lia Domin, Monya Meyer, and Te' Shan Ol­wage.

Ten Charlo Pri­mary School pupils again ap­pear as the Singing Kids En­sem­ble.

Spe­cial guest star will be award-win­ning Bay so­prano Liske Hem­ing­way, spe­cially fea­tured in the salute to Julie An­drews and sev­eral other solo spots.

Those Were the Days will run from the open­ing un­der­priv­i­leged mati­nee on Jan­uary 27, the se­nior cit­i­zens show on Jan­uary 28 at 7pm, and the Ju­nior and Se­nior Wood­lands Dairy Show­time Awards evenings at the same time on Jan­uary 29 and Fe­bru­ary 1.

Pub­lic per­for­mances are on Jan­uary 30, 31 and Fe­bru­ary 2 at 7.30pm. Tick­ets for the two awards evenings cost R70, while seats for the other nights are R70 for adults and R50 for se­nior cit­i­zens, stu­dents and chil­dren.

Book­ings open on Jan­uary 22 and tick­ets are avail­able from Phrosne Phillips on [email protected]

Usu­ally, with Show­time book­ing, any form of voucher or in­vi­ta­tion let­ter is only ex­change­able at the Com­puticket box of­fice at the PE Opera House but, with that the­atre closed un­til mid-Jan­uary, such book­ings can now only be done by e-mail­ing Phrosne.

Vouch­ers, at re­duced prices of R60 and R40, are avail­able from all Show­time com­pany mem­bers.

Pho­to­graph: CHRIS GERTSCH

FUN TIMES AHEAD: Show­timers, from left, Kayla Auld, Kayla Ja­cobs, Skye Phillips, James van der Merwe and Jonathan Hughes step it out in the fi­nale to 2018’s Wood­lands Dairy Show­time re­vue, ‘Let the Good Times Roll’. James and Jonathan are back in the 2019 edi­tion, ‘Those Were the Days’, at the Pe­mads Lit­tle The­atre from Jan­uary 27

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