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Tribute to Musicals in Hilton


Suter’s Showbiz Spotlight

Twenty-eight singers and 40 dancers have been assembled for an hour-long musical spectacle, This is Me: A Tribute to Musicals, to be presented at 7.30pm nightly, from March 25 to 28, at St Anne’s Diocesan College in Hilton.

The show by pupils is to launch and celebrate the newly built Theatre Centre at the school, says the school’s theatre director Lynn Chemaly, who has produced the spectacle.

In the picture, top: Soloist Catherine van der Merwe (centre) with members of the St Anne’s Dance Theatre Company, who are among the cast of This is Me: A Tribute to the Musicals.

Musical numbers featured are from theatre and film, and include tributes to The Greatest Showman, Hairspray, Mamma Mia, Sarafina, Sister Act, Mulan, Anastasia, West Side Story, Victor Victoria, The King and I, Moulin Rouge and Wicked.

This is Me: A Tribute to Musicals has a production team that includes choreographer Tegan Peacock, voice training specialists Elsa and Riaan Oosthuizen, and musicians Anthea Hibbert, Andri Potgieter and Rudi Engelbrecht, who will provide the live accompaniment. The technical director is Marcus Henning.

Timeless relevance

“The numbers have been specifically chosen to expose our talented female voices, as well as for their musicality, theatricality and timeless relevance to making brave, individual choices in the face of conformity,” says Chemaly.

“We have also chosen a few unusual songs that do not generally make the cut in musical reviews, but thoroughly deserve the limelight!”

Tickets cost R70 each (R50 concessions). To book, or for more information about This Is Me: A Tribute to Musicals, mail

The theatre and drama complex at St Anne’s has been built specifically to be a first-class educational facility for dramatic Arts teaching and training in theatre and performance, explains Chemaly.

“Girls often choose St Anne’s because of our drama, music, dance and theatre programmes. The premise under which we operate is that The Theatre is a practical laboratory for dramatic arts training, and thus all our theatre projects are directly linked to the dramatic arts curriculum, either in form, style or content. Our first priority focus is education and training.”

For my interview with Chemaly, who goes into detail about renovations for the Theatre Centre, click here

Durban guitarist Rowan Stuart is the headliner at the Music in the Hills event in Hilton on March 27.

Staying in the Midlands… note that one of KwaZulu-Natal’s most acclaimed and successful guitarists, singers and songwriters, Rowan Stuart, will be the headline attraction at the next Music in the Hills (MiTH) event, held fortnightly in a barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Drive, Hilton.

The next event is on Wednesday, March 27. Doors will open at 6pm and the music will flow an hour later. The entrance fee is R40 at the door.

Stuart, who will take to the MiTH stage at 9pm, is currently receiving much airplay with his new single, Fire, Water, following the success of his Survivor and Silver Balloon singles.


Rowan’s music was motivated by a search for something deeper and more soulful within the landscape of modern pop music. It has been said that he has a pure and effortless voice that recalls Thom York and Paul Simon, and a tastefully virtuosic command of the electric and acoustic guitar, reminiscent of John Mayer and Eric Johnson.

The Durbanite has multiple South African tours under his belt, and has previously collaborated with artists such as Tresor, Just Jinjer and Gangs of Ballet, and opened for many of South Africa’s top pop music acts.

The 8pm MiTH attraction on March 27 will be singer and acoustic guitarist Joshua Leon Strydom, who has played with Pietermaritzburg bands Now A Daze and has collaborated with Kaiti Faul and others. He will play originals and some unique covers of alternative rock from the 1990s.

Looking for more events in the KZN Midlands?

The 7pm spotlight will be filled by Evan Oosthuizen, whose acoustic style has been entertaining audiences for more than four years. He plays classic oldies, a few original songs, and has become one of the Midlands’ best-known itinerant musicians and gig promoters, doing good work to help build the local live music scene.

MiTH is a semi-open mic music club. It provides an opportunity for musicians to share the joy of their music with a friendly audience which includes fellow musicians. Non-musicians, of course, are welcome too.

For directions, or info on how to play at MiTH, contact

Meanwhile, lovers of flamenco music and dance have a treat lined up for 7pm on Saturday, March 23, when the Linda Vargas Company performs at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at UKZN, Durban.

The show, Latin Heat & Flamenco, will feature Vargas’s flamenco guitar master husband, Demi Fernandez, and their Spain-based dancer son, Ramon Fernandez, as special guests.

Members of the Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company in Latin Heat & Flamenco, in Durban at 7pm on Saturday, March 23. Picture by Val Adamson

Flamenco, in its purist form, comprises three elements: dance (baile), singing (cante) and guitar (guitarra). Latin Heat & Flamenco features dancing by the Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company.

Ramon will be accompanied by the true flamenco “cante” (singing) of internationally acclaimed performer Domingo Ortega. Domingo was born in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, and his performance with Ramon is a coup for Durban audiences.


Domingo grew up surrounded by flamenco and is regarded as one of Spain’s finest performers. He has toured with his own company since 1995 and continues to perform in Spain as well as around the world in countries such as Italy, Japan, Venezuela, Israel, Russia and Senegal (where he has been named a citizen of honour). This will be his first performance as cantaor in South Africa.

Providing the music will be Demi Fernandez alongside Neil Gonsalves on piano and Martin Sigamoney (sax and flute), Bryan Stone (percussion), Riley Giandhari (drums) and Micale Maduray (bass).

Tickets cost R150 each and will only be on sale for cash at the door on the night of the performance – entrance will be on a strictly first come, first serve basis.

Siyabonga Ngubane exhibition at Tatham Art Gallery

Still in Durban, if you haven’t seen it yet, make a point of catching the new show by The Reals, Rock Guitar Legends, which is being staged in Kloof at 8pm every Friday and Saturday , and at 1.45pm on Sundays, until March 31. The venue is the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel in Beryldene Road.

Rock Guitar Legends is a low-fuss but high-impact production that is special in that it marks the first show in many years from The Reals in which they are simply themselves – a good band in their own right.

The main spotlight is on singer-guitarist Barry Thomson working magic with four guitars, with excellent backing from Dawn Selby on keyboards, Mali Sewell on drum and Jason Andrew on bass.

Expect hits associated with Guns N’ Roses, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Queen, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, The Shadows and others. For my full review and booking details click here

Finally, movies new in cinemas countrywide this weekend include Kesari, the story of a Sikh warrior who participates in the Battle of Saragarhi while yearning for the respect of his estranged daughter. Directed by Anurag Singh, it stars Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra and Edward Sonnenblick.

Do you know? What famous singer-songwriter and pianist has Reginald Dwight as his real name? (Answer next week).

Last week’s question: What was the title of a Rolf Harris novelty song that spoke of a man with an extra leg? (Answer: Jake the Peg)


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