Don’t tell us that you never get what you want, Hello Joburgers. We’re delighted to reveal that the Fugard Theatre`s smash hit musical, West Side Story will light up the stage at the Joburg Theatre… and we ‘re counting down the days.
Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, West Side Story is an infamous stage productions. Set in the Upper West side of New York City in the mid-1950s, it tells the tale of two rival teenage gangs – the Jets and the Sharks, who are from different background. Taunts and jibes soon turn dark and nasty as a member of one gangs falls for the sister of a rival.
“West Side Story is one of the world’s most successful musicals of all time because, partly, the themes are so deeply universal. It is a story of love and hate, division and common humanity, to which we can all relate. The score is arguably one of the finest ever written, and when you put an orchestra of 30 together, with a sensational cast of 40, you are set for one truly glorious live theatrical experience,” explains co-producer Daniel Galloway.
And what a cast it is! Fleur du Cap Theatre Award winner, Jonathan Roxmouth brings the role of Tony to life, while the gorgeous Lynelle Kenned (spotted in The Sound of Music) stars as Maria. Bianca le Grange returns to reprise her role of Anita. Top Billing presenter and lead actor from Janice Honeymans’ Sleeping Beauty, Christopher Jaftha leads the Sharks as Bernardo, as Zolani Shangase (who also starred in the incredible stage production of The Lion King) takes on Chino. “There is a handful of South African producers, and it’s our first time working with The Fugard Theatre. Daniel Galloway and his team have been wonderful. I’m looking forward to working together on future productions,” explained Claire Pacariz, executive producer at Joburg City Theatres.
The production comes to Jozi after having an incredibly successful stint at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town. “I saw [the show] in Cape Town last year, and absolutely loved it – I worked hard with The Fugard Theatre so we could bring it to Joburg!” Pacariz revealed.
“Hours of selfless dedication has been poured in to this project by the entire team and we simply cannot wait to be on the Mandela Stage.”
Galloway revealed that the original set concept was created by the legendary South African design Johann Engels who sadly passed away before being able to complete the work. Apparently, his one-time apprentice, Conor Murphy, stepped up to complete the vision. “The set is just spectacular! It is simple but beautifully breath-taking,” He gushes. Birrie Le Roux, one of South Africa’s most prolific costume designers, is responsible for the costumes in the production. “We were keen to not set the show in any one particular time and I think the costumes offer a perfect timelessness.”
So what can you expect from this re-made classic? “A universal story, which touches your heart, told passionately and on a truly remarkable grand-scale. The set alone is worth coming to check out – not to mention the very best theatre talent this country has to offer!” Galloway reveals… and we can’t to set eyes on it.
West Side Story will be showing at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from 24 January to 5 March. Tickets range from R190 to R470. Tickets available from Computicket or 0861 915 8000.
Hello Joburg was first published in April 1980 as a monthly restaurant and entertainment magazine. Over the years we have developed a network of patriotic Joburgers that love nothing more than sharing their experiences in this beautiful city!