Cape Town – Mother City theatre, the Fugard’s production of the legendary South African musical – King Kong - is fully cast and rehearsals will commence on Monday, 12 June.
Eric Abraham produces and presents the local production, which runs from Tuesday, 25 July until Saturday, 2 September 2017 at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town and then at the Mandela Theatre in Johannesburg from Tuesday, 12 September until Sunday, 8 October 2017.
The production will have a week of previews and then have its official opening night on Wednesday, 2 August.
Here are four things you need to know about this new theatre production of a classic story:
1. What is the musical about
King Kong tells the story of heavyweight fifties boxing champion Ezekiel Dlamini whose self-appointed ring name was "King Kong." The 1959 production of South Africa's first black musical was set in Sophiatown in Johannesburg in the late-fifties. King Kong toured South Africa, and was seen by 200,000 South Africans, playing to record-breaking and multi-racial audiences - as apartheid was being implemented -before transferring in February 1961 to London’s West End for a 200-performance run. That production launched the international careers of Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela among many others.
2. Who are all the leads of the new production?
Cast in the title role of King Kong is South African star - actor, singer and dancer Andile Gumbi. Gumbi made his Broadway debut as Simba in Disney’s The Lion King and has starred in productions of this musical in London, Sydney, Melbourne and Shanghai.
TV viewers might know Andile as the character Zweli in the Mzansi Magic soap opera isiBaya, which was voted most popular TV soap at the 2017 SAFTA Awards.
Here’s a pic of sexy Andile, who along with being talented, works hard on his fitness:
Multiple award-winning actress and singer-songwriter Nondumiso Tembe will be recreating the role of Joyce, which propelled Miriam Makeba to international fame in the original production of King Kong. Tembe's extensive list of credits include HBO’s Golden Globe and Emmy-award winning True Blood, SABC’s Generations, the military drama SIX on the History Channel and Zulu Wedding opposite Darrin Dewitt Henson.
Here’s a video of the local actress showcasing her dance moves:
3. Who is making the magic happen behind-the-scenes?
The revised book (with additional lyrics) is by Academy award nominated screenwriter and playwright William Nicholson (Shadowlands, Gladiator, Les Miserables, Sarafina, Long Walk to Freedom). South African choreographer star and recent French Legion D’Honneur recipient Gregory Maqoma will choreograph the new production to the irresistible original music of the late great South African composer Todd Matshikiza.
4. Where can you see it and how much do tickets cost?
King Kong will run at the Fugard Theatre from 25 July until 2 September 2017, Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20:00 with a 16:00 matinee performance on Saturdays. The Fugard Theatre is situated in the heart of District Six, on the corner of Harrington and Caledon Streets, Cape Town. Tickets range from R130 to R280.
King Kong will run at the Mandela Theatre in Johannesburg from 12 September until 8 October 2017,Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20:00 with a 16:00 matinee performance on Saturdays and a 16:00 matinee performance on the Sundays. The Mandela Theatre is situated at 163 Civic Boulevard, Braamfontein. Tickets range from R150 to R350.