According to Magdalene Minnaar, choosing the right artists was critical as they will have the opportunity to bring their characters to life for the very first time. “We have carefully chosen hugely talented singers who bring storytelling energy, creativity and a spirit of adventure to this journey. Their energy is amazing and their talent world-class,” Minnaar stated. The complete Southern African cast consists of some of the country’s most celebrated stage performers, well-known personalities and some up-and-coming young stars.
Introducing the leads of Calling Me Home
Lynelle Kenned (Grace) a classically trained soprano, is the rising star of musical theatre in South Africa. Earlier this year she blew South African audiences away in the role of Maria in the Fugard’s production of West Side Story. Growing up with a love of musical theatre, it was inevitable for this young star to make the jump from classical music to theatre.
‘Tomorrow’ sung by Lynelle Kenned
Samantha Peo (Isabella) needs no introduction to musical theatre audiences. She has starred in numerous productions from Thoroughly Modern Millie to Cabaret to West Side Story to Aspects of Love – and everything in between, making a name as one of South Africa’s most sought after leading ladies. She returns to the musical theatre stage after a five-year break and is known as someone who is highly selective in the roles she accepts. She is looking forward to the “whole Calling Me Home experience”.
Anthony Downing (Rafael) captured the hearts of South African audiences as Raoul in Phantom of the Opera in 2012. He relocated to London, where he became part of the UK touring company of Phantom and has been touring it for the past four years. He returns to South Africa to woo audiences once again, in Calling Me Home. Downing stated the at first day of rehearsals; “What grabbed my initial interest was the opportunity to work with the phenomenally talented Magdalene Minnaar again having worked with her on Phantom of The Opera. But even more so, as a creative person myself, to have the chance to create a show right from inception is such an incredible opportunity, one that I couldn’t pass up. Thespians don’t often get that chance to be part of something brand new so I’m daunted, but excited at the same time. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into the character of Rafael”.
…the most anticipated musical opera to be hitting the South African stages this year!” – Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Zolani Mahola (Lindiwe) is the lead singer of popular group Freshlyground. This will be Mahola’s debut in a musical theatre on stage. Mahola relishes the opportunity to bring her two passions of acting and singing together. As with most cast members, the chance to bring to life a brand new and original production strongly resonates with her. “I needed a new challenge – and this is quite a challenge,” Mahola laughs. “I’m excited at the thought of a brand new African musical production. To be part of many voices, part of an ensemble. For me, it is incredible to be on stage acting – a discipline which I studied.”
‘Calling Me Home’ sung by Zolani Mahola
Another rising young star, Michael McMeeking (Ben) – recently starring in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat – will join the group of leads. He says he is looking forward to honing his craft while working with established and experienced professionals and showcasing something original on such a large scale.
This is a story that will not only resonate with South Africans, but to the world at large and we are confident that the production has all the critical musical and storytelling components needed to ensure its worldwide success. – Rowlin Naicker, Managing Director – Sony / ATV South Africa
Musanete Sakupwanya (Nelson) is a well-known jazz singer from Zimbabwe, currently living in South Africa. He has performed with the Charl du Plessis Trio, Nataniël, Magdalene Minnaar, Corlea Botha and the Capital Symphony Orchestra. Sakupwanya is a vocalist with the Rockabilly Ravens along with fellow Calling Me Home cast member, Samantha Peo. Calling Me Home will be his professional debut in musical theatre.
Supporting the leads will be Carly Graeme, Christiaan Snyman, Tankiso Mamabolo, Pierre van Heerden, Luigia Casaleggio, Clint Lesch, Isabella Jane, Sebastian Zokoza and Saxola Ketshengane.
The ensemble includes Annemarie Steenkamp, Richard Gau, Zion Zuke, Len-Barry Simons, Vasti Knoesen, Given Nkosi, Sarah-Anne van der Merwe, Conroy Scott, Yollandi Nortjie, Manda Ndimande, Thiart Li, Laura-Lee Pitout, Anja van den Berg, Kgomotso Makwela, Dihan Schoeman (Calling A Star winner), Tannah Levick (Calling A Star winner), Michaela Preston (Africa Voices Trust Participant) and Shaun Thomas (Africa Voices Trust Participant).
With a stong emphasis on the music being new and original, composed specifically for the production, Calling Me Home will be releasing a selection of the songs to the public throughout the season.
Calling Me Home runs at Joburg Theatre from 17 August – 3 September 2017. Performances are Tuesdays to Fridays at 20:00; Saturdays at 15:00 and 20:00 and Sundays at 14:00. Ticket prices range from R180 – R420. And can be booked online at www.joburgtheatre.com or by calling the Box Office on 0861 670 670 or through Webtickets. For group bookings of 10 or more tickets, contact Joburg Theatre’s ticketing office on (011) 877 6853/4. The duration of the show is 2 hours 20 minutes excluding interval. There is an age restriction of 12 due to the sensitive nature of some of the themes included in the show.
Calling Me Home can be found on the following social media platforms:
Director: Magdalene Minnaar
Composer: Alice Gillham
Musical Director: Stefan Lombard (co-directorship with Gillham)
Set Design: Nadine Minnaar
Lighting Designer: Joshua Cutts
Choreography: Shaun Oelf
Wardrobe Designer & Coordinator: Juanita Køtzé
Illustration and Animation: Werner Burger, Louis Minnaar
Assistant Director: Grant van Ster
Technical Director: Alistair Kilbee