The Playhouse Company has announced the cast for its festive season staging of ‘The Sound of Music’, which will open in the Playhouse Opera Theatre on November 24 and run until December 30. This fresh, sparkling, new production will be directed by award-winning theatre director and actor, Ralph Lawson.
This heart-warming production features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, as suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp.
Popular stage and television actor, Craig Urbani, will play Captain von Trapp, the Austrian naval captain who employs Maria Rainer to look after his children after the death of his wife. Musical theatre audiences will remember Urbani for his performance in the lead role in the smash hit ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ in South Africa and on London’s West End. After spending many years performing in Britain, Australia, Denmark, Singapore, New Zealand, France and Spain, he returned home in 2005 and has since featured in television’s ‘Binnelanders’, ‘Isidingo’, ‘The Wild’ and many others. He has also played other lead roles in theatrical productions locally and abroad, including ‘The Rocky Horror Show’, ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’, ‘Chicago’, ‘Grease’, ‘Fame’, ‘Annie’ and others.
He most recently performed in the one-man show ‘Morecambe’ for Pieter Toerien, as well as in eTV’s new series, ‘Ashes to Ashes’, and in Mzansi Magic’s ‘It’s Complicated’. He won a Vita Award and a DALRO Award for his performances in ‘Buddy’ and in ‘Hair’ in South Africa, was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in London’s West End, and won a SAFTA for his portrayal of Alec Mathews in SABC’s ‘Isidingo’.
The young, musical and tomboyish Maria who becomes a governess to Von Trapp’s seven children and who brings a new love of life and music into the home will be played by one of South Africa’s most dynamic and multi-talented entertainers, Lynelle Kenned. Well known to television viewers as runner-up in ‘Top Billing’s’ presenter search and now as a presenter of ‘Pasella’, Kenned is a graduate of the University of Cape Town’s Opera School, and won the prestigious 2015 Fleur du Cap Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical for her role as Maria in Artscape’s ‘West Side Story’, directed by Matthew Wild, as well as a Fleur du Cap nomination in the same year for her performance in ‘Orpheus in Africa’.
A current member of The South African Sopranos, Kenned is also well known around South Africa for her work as a voice-over artist, vocal coach, MC and motivational speaker.
The kindly, understanding Mother Abbess will be played by opera-trained singer, Arline Jaftha, who last impressed Durban audiences in The Playhouse Company’s Easter Concert in March. Jaftha is the Staff Soloist of the Cape Town Opera Company, with whom she has thrilled audiences across the globe. Britain’s Telegraph newspaper raved about her performance in ‘Porgy and Bess’, describing her “heartfelt, big-voiced Serena” as “shattering”.
Two of KwaZulu-Natal’s most popular actors, Liesl Coppin and Frank Graham, will also appear in this much-loved family musical. Coppin is set to play Elsa Schrader, a baroness of taste and elegance. Coppin is a multi-award winning actress and vocalist who has appeared in productions such as ‘Oliver!’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Othello’, ‘Glitter Girls’, Richard Loring’s original cast of ‘Girl Talk’ (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Malaysia), ‘Robin Hood and the Babes of the Wood’ and ‘Glitter Girls’.
Frank Graham will play loyal Von Trapp family friend, Max Detweiler. Graham has been involved in the entertainment world for nearly 50 years as an actor in radio, television, film and stage. On stage he has appeared in a number of productions for The Playhouse Company, ranging from Shakespeare to pantomime, musical comedy to farce, and garnering him two theatre awards.
Two more Durban favourites, Adam Doré, and Shelley McLean, will play Franz, the Von Trapp butler who is also a loyal Nazi, and Sister Sophia, respectively.
Thandulwazi Ncube will play the nun Sister Margaretta.
Chantel Adendorff will play Liesl, the eldest of the Von Trapp children, while her suitor, Rolf Gruber, will be played by Rory Booth.
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