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Stars line up for Kolisi Foundation fundraiser: A celebration of musical theatre

International guest artists boost the cast list for ‘Finding the Light – An Evening With Musical Theatre Stars’, with all net proceeds going towards Siya and Rachel Kolisi’s efforts to support local communities

By Debbie Hathway

‘Finding the Light – An Evening With Musical Theatre Stars’ opened at Artscape Opera House on April 17, 2024, with Marc Lottering hosting what promises to be a feast of musical theatre accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of resident conductor Brandon Phillips.

Multitalented MC and comedian Marc Lottering

Local audiences can look forward to being entertained by Broadway and West End luminaries Kim Criswell (Olivier-award nominated for Annie Get Your Gun; as Lucy opposite Sting in 3 Penny Opera; Cats); Michael D. Xavier (as Joe in Sunset Boulevard opposite Hollywood film star Glenn Close; Joe Bradley in Roman Holiday The Musical; ITV’s Grantchester); David Habbin, (West Side Story, Les Misérables, Amici Forever, co-founder of the Finding the Light Foundation) and Broadway star Nikki Renée Daniels (Company; The Book of Mormon; Les Misérables; Hamilton).

David Habbin and Michael Xavier

The South African contingent includes Jonathan Roxmouth (Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Cats), Lynelle Kenned (West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Orpheus in Africa), Tshepo Ncokoane (Janice Honeyman’s Peter Pan Pantomime, Kinky Boots, We Will Rock You – The Musical World Tour) and Lucy Tops (Kinky Boots, Funny Girl, The Romantix).

“We are honoured to present, for the first time in South Africa, this powerhouse group of international performers, who join us in celebrating our common humanity through the magical force of music and live performance,” says Jessica Ross, executive producer of the show and co-founder of Finding The Light Foundation. “Proud to be associated with the Kolisi Foundation in this fundraising drive, we unite in giving South African audiences an evening of world-class entertainment, while providing an opportunity for them to invest in making a tangible difference in local communities.”

Daniel Galloway, who is producing the event alongside Ross, adds: “Sport, music and live performance bring us together in ways which no other mediums can. For one week only, we present some of the world’s best performers right here on the Artscape Opera House stage, in a celebration of talent and our much-loved musicals!”

Nikki Renée Daniels and Lynelle Kenned

The production will be staged by the UK’s Paul Robinson (Singing In The Rain – Olivier-nominated) with musical supervision by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder (West Side Story, King Kong) and musical direction by Dawid Boverhoff (Kinky Boots, Funny Girl, Sound of Music). Siya and Rachel Kolisi established the Kolisi Foundation with a vision to reshape narratives of inequality in South Africa, aiming for vibrant, thriving communities. Their mission involves collaborating with partners to effect change, prioritising the mantra of “remembering the one, one by one” to positively influence the nation’s landscape.

Michael Xavier and Lynelle Kenned

Similarly, the Finding the Light Foundation serves as a unifying force, rallying South Africans and Africans in the UK and South Africa to support initiatives addressing frontline challenges in the country. Both organisations share a common goal: to make a lasting impact and bring about enduring change in South Africa. Tickets start at R190 and can be booked at Webtickets. The production runs until April 21, 2024. Evening performances are at 8pm, with matinees on Saturday at 3pm and Sunday at 2pm. VIP experience packages are available and include welcome sparkling wine, reserved underground parking, a donation to the Kolisi Foundation, and prime seating.

Patrons who would like to pledge their support for the cause can make donations via bit.ly/FTLDONATE until 31 May 2024.

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