Candida Mosoma transitions from shy girl to flamboyant musical star

Candida Mosoma transitions from shy girl to flamboyant musical star

PETER FELDMAN chats to Candida Mosoma, one of the stars of the ‘Sister Act’ musical which has had Joburg buzzing for the last month.

Candida Mosoma is one of the brightest stars in the theatre firmament at present and is a driving force in Janice Honeyman’s brilliant musical, ‘Sister Act’, at Joburg Theatre.

It has been a colossal undertaking for Mosoma, because she is the production’s key character and a great deal rests on her shoulders. She pulls it off with verve and style.

Asked what it was like stepping into the role made famous by Whoopie Goldberg, and receiving such critical acclaim, she told me: “At first it was daunting having to live up to the expectations of having to fill the iconic Goldberg’s shoes, but once I came to terms with the fact that I was selected because the production team and producers saw something in me that could help bring Deloris Van Cartier to life, I put my fears aside and began to breathe life into the character as best as I could. Never in a million years did I ever think my work would be celebrated in the manner that it has for this role. I am humbled and driven to continue working harder in all I do.”

Mosoma saw the movie when it came out in 1992 and a number of times afterwards. “It is such a feel good classic I’d guess only a few people out there haven’t seen or heard of it.”

One of the biggest challenges was making the role her own, she said. “With so many references I felt slightly oversaturated, as there was the movie and the original Broadway and London productions. I had to find a way to create an original blueprint of Deloris as I see and feel her to be.”

She admits she received incredible guidance from Honeyman and her co-star Kate Normington, who plays the strict Mother Superior.

“Janice gave me wings to fly when it came to creating Deloris,” she said, describing her as a “nurturing director who doesn’t inhibit the acting process and guides your growth.”

Mosoma regards Kate as a true master of her craft. “Through our conversations and purely from watching her at work I was offered a well of knowledge that many would pay good money to be exposed to. She always encouraged me, even when my confidence was shaken by insecurities.  She constantly gave me strength, and she still does.”

Mosoma is a graduate of Tswhane University of Technology Musical Theatre and it was purely by chance that she studied musical theatre.

She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life after matriculating and asked her parents if she could take a year off and be a missionary. They said no.

She had to study. She thought hard about what she would enjoy doing for the rest of her life and decided to tackle Fine Arts. “I applied all over the country at every university and Technicon and hoped someone would accept me.

Then one day I was paging through the TUT course book and stumbled across musical theatre. The requirements were singing, acting and dancing. I was intrigued. I’d never acted before and felt I had two left feet. I’d been in choirs most of my life, but I applied and thought it wouldn’t hurt to learn something new and exciting,” says the performer.

When asked to do an audition by TUT she was over the moon with excitement, but “frightened stiff and so nervous I thought I would die,” she recalls.

“I told myself whichever course accepts me first, that is what I am meant to do. Now here I am today playing the lead in a hit Broadway Musical at Joburg Theatre. Who would have known?”

Mosoma admits that she was pretty shy growing up. “Being on a stage and performing in front of people was the last thing I thought I’d be doing with my life. I’d been in choirs since primary school and was happy to hide behind my friends in performances, convincing myself that no one could see me,” she says.

When away from the stage, this dynamic performer enjoys watching movies, reading and spending time with her dog. And if she has enough time on her hands, she spends it with her family.

After ‘Sister Act,’ Mosoma will be playing the Good Fairy in Honeyman’s annual Christmas pantomime, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, also at Joburg Theatre.

In five years’ time, Mosoma hopes to be waving the South African flag high overseas by performing on international stages.

* To book for the last few performances of ‘Sister Act’, running until Sunday, August 16, visit www.joburgtheatre.com.