The newly-invigorated Young Performers Project is re-staging a reprise of its very first musical production, "Curtain Up!"
The first production was done in 2001. Now it’s been re-written and updated by multi-award-winning actress Charon Williams-Ros, directed by Jaco van Rensburg and stars professional theatre actors Mthokozisi Zulu and Sbongiseni Shezi along with kids from the Road Safety Musical Theatre Academy based in Inanda, KwaMashu and KwaDabeka.
“Curtain Up! is the truth of the industry we work in. I identify with it so much. It reminds us how much we need theatre. Charon Williams-Ros did a very great job speaking our truth,”said Zulu about the production.
The show will feature show-stopping musical theatre numbers like a medley of South African songs woven into a script about a diverse group of talented young performers who take shelter from the rain in a derelict theatre where they discover the evocative remnants of past productions. Inspired by the idea of bringing the old theatre back to life, the performers appeal to the new owner, Siyanda, to re-open as a community theatre, only to learn that the theatre is to be knocked down to make way for a casino.
The passion with which the young performers fight to save the theatre leads Siyanda to the realization of where his true values lie.
Zulu, who also doubles as a drama coach said 14 children in the production come from the Road Safety Musical Theatre Academy which he is apart of.
“It has been a great experience because the young stars are not only talented but also a joy to work with. A lot of my coaching is inspired by what I learned in Germany. When I run my rehearsals, exercises I learnt they help me a lot. I share the knowledge through the Road Safety Musical Theatre Academy which I am part of. In fact, 14 kids in Curtain Up! come from this academy based in Inanda, KwaMashu and KwaDabeka,” he said.
Zulu urged people to attend theatre regular.
“Theatre heals and transforms. People should watch because we open up our hearts and transform to a far away land. Audiences get to join us on this journey,” said Zulu.
Some of the featured songs in Curtain Up! include numbers from The Wiz; Little Shop of Horrors; Cats; Cabaret; Fiddler on the Roof; Oliver!; Rent; Les Mis; Into the Woods and a medley of South African numbers.
"Curtain Up!" Runs until June 2 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN Campus. Tickets available at Computicket.