Stars come out to play in Durban for Playhouse’s ‘A Christmas Celebration’

Stars come out to play in Durban for Playhouse’s ‘A Christmas Celebration’

Back by popular demand, The Playhouse Company will wrap up the festive season with ‘A Christmas Celebration’, a star-studded Christmas extravaganza for the whole family that is set to light up the Playhouse Opera Theatre for a bumper six shows from December 19 to 24.

Choreographed by Sean Bovim, ‘A Christmas Celebration’ stars multi-award winning international singer, Judith Sephuma, with Damon Beard from East Coast Radio as Master of Ceremonies. Featuring the full KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO) under the baton of Lykele Temmingh, the Playhouse Chorale and the dancers from the Playhouse Dance Residency, this Christmas variety spectacular stars over 150 of the cream of South Africa’s musicians and dancers, including Bongani Tembe, Andile KaMajola, Neville D, Raphael Vilakazi, Filipa van Eck, Christopher Duigan and Nozuko Teto. The show is being directed by theatre stalwart, Ralph Lawson.

Promising even more sizzle and spectacle than last year, ‘A Christmas Celebration’ will feature perennially favourite Christmas songs, as well as captivating dance and even a strength-acrobatics-dance display by Alex Ishchenko, Michelle La Trobe and Sven-Eric Muller from Cape Town.
Heading the line-up, Sephuma is a multi-award-winning artist of international renown, having performed to audiences across South Africa, Europe, the US and the UK. After seven albums that have reached gold and multi-platinum status, the queen of jazz and Afro-pop’s warm and sultry voice, talent and versatility have won her the hearts of thousands of fans the world over. Her latest album, ‘One Word’, was released earlier this year (2015).

Ralph Lawson is well known to audiences for his work as both actor and a director, after over four decades in showbiz. He recently directed The Playhouse Company’s Community Arts Mentorship Programme (CAMP) and wrote and starred in ‘A Voice I Cannot Silence’, a play based on the life of Alan Paton, at the Grahamstown Festival.
Award-winning choreographer Sean Bovim is the founder and Artistic Director of Bovim Ballet, whose meteoric rise since its inception in 2009 has won him critical and popular acclaim. He is best known for creating the hit shows ‘Queen at the Ballet’, ‘SwingTime’ and, most recently, ‘Private Presley – a Salute to the King’.

PETER TROMP caught up with SEPHUMA on the eve of this festive gig.

When did you first discover you had a gift and when did it occur to you that you could carve out a career for yourself in showbiz?
It goes back as far as I can remember. I think I made a decision about my future path at an early age when I realized that gift, and I remember never once being confused.

What do you count among your most treasured highlights so far in your career?
I have experienced an amazing journey in my career. Performances are different every time, and so are my highlights, from performing for heads of states – including our own presidents, to performing at intimate venues locally and then travelling to Washington DC and Turkey for some high profile functions.

You have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. Who has left the biggest impression on you as an artist, and who have you learnt from the most?
Jimmy Dludlu is one. He’s a hard worker, a quiet hard worker. And he’s a great musician. I’ve also learned from musicians I interact with on a regular basis. My band is a bunch of amazing musicians. We connect. We learn from each other always.

Do you have any vocal heroes that you look up to, or that has had a direct influence on your style?
I listen a lot to gospel music. They might not be my heroes, but they change lives. They transform lives. And it is a blessing to be able to do that.

Last night an album/performance changed my life…which album/performance?
I am a living testimony and my experiences live, in concert, has had a great impact on my life.

* Tickets for a special preview performance on Friday, December 18 (R100 each), and the opening performance on Saturday, December 19 (R250 each), both at 7.30pm, are available from Playhouse Marketing by calling 031 369 9407.
Book at Computicket; or via the Playhouse box office on 031 369 9596/9540.