Joseph Gerassi for Redhill School in association with &CO is proud to present the first international production of the off-Broadway family favourite Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical, premiering at RedFest 2018. Since 2016 Redfest has become the premier arts festival in Johannesburg, allowing performers and audiences alike to experience the festival vibe and see quality productions “close to home”.
Polkadots follows Lily Polkadot who just moved to the “Squares Only” small town of Rockaway. As the first Polkadot to attend the all-Square school, Lily faces an almost impossible task of gaining acceptance from her peers. From daily bullying, to segregated drinking fountains, Lily’s quest seems hopeless until she meets a shy Square boy whose curiosity blooms into an unexpected friendship.
This brand-new production is led by an award-winning team: director and choreographer Shelley Adriaanzen, with musical supervisor Rowan Bakker and production designer Sarah Roberts. &CO began producing in 2017 with their unique take on Seussical Jr, which was the talk of the festival. Since then their special brand of entertainment has included cabarets featuring award-winning actress Kate Normington and Binnelanders star Germandt Geldenhuys. Audiences will also remember their “Barely Legal Showtunes”, featuring some of SA’s hottest up and coming performers.
Polkadots is produced by Joseph Gerassi for Redhill School, in association with &CO producers Drew Bakker and Rowan Bakker and associate producer Matthew Counihan.
The show stars Andrea Shine (Sister Act, Beauty and the Beast) as Mrs. Square/Mama Square, Kirsty Marillier (Freckleface Strawberry) as Penelope Square, Bonginkosi “Jay” Hlatshwayo (King Kong) as Sky Square and Danelle Cronje (&CO’s Seussical Jr.) as Swing and Dance Captain. Polkadots will be introducing one of South Africa’s newest rising stars, WITS student Gugu Dhlamini as Lily Polkadot.
Polkadots features a book by Melvin Tunstall III, lyrics by Douglas Lyons, and music by Greg Borowsky, and Douglas Lyons. The show is based on an original concept by Lyons. The show is presented by special arrangement with playscripts.com.
The show is taking the United States by storm and we are thrilled to bringing the show to South African audiences, making this the first production outside of the U.S. The story was originally inspired by the story of Ruby Bridges and The Little Rock Nine students, who were the first African-American kids to be integrated into an all-white school in America.
South Africa’s own Greg Borowsky, the man behind the hit show’s music, says “it’s about the hardships they encountered and had to overcome in order to make history. As a South African growing up during the transition from apartheid to democracy, the parallels struck me. I knew it was an important story to tell. We’re certainly living in one of the most divisive times in America and the world, and the more children, parents, and teachers we can reach with this story, the more we can remind them never to forget, and never to repeat.”
Polkadots is the winner of the 2018 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Family Show, tackling themes of diversity, inclusion, racism and bullying head-on, all the while celebrating “what makes us different make us awesome!”
The World Premiere Album of Polkadots released by Sony Masterworks features Alex Newell (Glee), Shanice Williams (NBC’s The Wiz), Lilli Cooper (Spongebob The Musical), Alysha Deslorieux (Hamilton) and many more and is available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.
This family favourite will run 28-30 September 2018 as part of RedFest at the Redhill School Auditorium and will continue an encore week of schools and public performances from 2-6 October 2018. Tickets for RedFest will be on sale through WebTickets towards the end of July. School bookings can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, follow Polkadots South Africa backstage on Facebook @PolkadotsSA, and use our official hashtag #PolkadotsSA.