Presented by Cape Town Opera, ‘Show Boat’ is a musical of the old American South, rich with nostalgia, humour, love stories and well-loved melodies such as ‘Ol’ Man River’ and ‘Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man’. The ever-popular musical will be on stage at the Opera House at Artscape, for four performances only from May 16 to 18, before the production tours the United Kingdom from July 2 to August 2. Tickets for the limited South African season are on sale now at Computicket.
As a musical, Kern’s ‘Show Boat’ has all the flourish and glamour of the old American-style big family musical. Cape Town Opera’s production of ‘Show Boat’ has enjoyed several triumphant seasons since its South African premiere in 2005. The show has enjoyed nightly standing ovations at Artscape in the past, as well as the Nürnberg State Theatre in Nürnberg, Den Norske Opera House in Oslo, the Malmö Opera House in Sweden and Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Local audiences can look forward to Voice of the Nation Ensemble’s gutsy rendition of ‘Ol’ Man River’, over one hundred period costumes and a memorably stylish set.
Based on the novel by Edna Ferber, ‘Show Boat’ is one of the first American musicals ever written. Created in 1927 with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, it tells a story of the old American South as it follows the lives of the performers, stagehands, and dockworkers on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat, over a 40-year period from 1887 to 1927. ‘Show Boat’ is regarded as a musical with the most telling reverberations for South Africa. The show deals with the haves and have-nots, the arrogance of the advantaged and their ignorance of poverty. The musical also deals with racial discrimination and the historic fact that while change improves the lives of some, it usually passes by those who need it most.
The production is directed by award winner Janice Honeyman and she is assisted by the creative team of Mannie Manim (lighting designer), Johan Engels (set and costume designer) and Timothy le Roux (choreographer), with Birrie le Roux assisting with additional costume design.
In collaboration with Cape Town Opera, the Wales Millennium Centre will present its first UK tour, taking ‘Show Boat’ featuring an all-South African cast accompanied by the 30-piece Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Albert Horne and Gareth Jones (tbc) to theatres in Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin. Cape Town Opera already has close ties with the WMC thanks to South African philanthropist and businessman Sir Donald Gordon, after whom the main auditorium at the Welsh Centre is named. The opera company has previously staged ‘Porgy and Bess’ and the European premiere of ‘Mandela Trilogy’ on the Cardiff stage.
* For more information and details of Cape Town Opera’s 2014 season, visit www.ctoshowboat.com, or www.capetownopera.co.za.