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In celebration of her 25th anniversary in the entertainment Industry, Collett Dawson of The CoLab Network launches a series of concerts entitled Gone Too Soon – shows that will pay homage to iconic music legends who have left us before their time, but still live on through their music.
The first in this series; Gone Too Soon – The Gents; will be staged in spectacular fashion at The Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City for four performances only from Thursday 4 May – Saturday 6 May.
Gone Too Soon will delight audiences old and young as they celebrate the powerhouse male singers that became legends through their music over the past few decades.
Tribute is paid to a diverse selection of artists including Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Prince, Marvin Gaye, David Bowie, Al Green, The Righteous Brothers, Ray Charles, Leonard Cohen, Michael Hutchence, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and many others.
A fitting medley will also be included of a selection of South Africa’s own legends who are no longer with us, but still evoke unforgettable memories.
Direct from New York and taking centre stage will be the insanely talented Broadway and West End star and international recording artist MiG Ayesa.
Ayesa was catapulted into stardom through the global reality television series Rockstar: INXS where he went through to the final three. Added to this his countless lead roles on the West End and Broadway and other international stages including amongst many others, We Will Rock You, Rock of Ages, Thriller Live, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, RENT, The Bridges of Madison Country, The Music of Queen : The Rock and Symphonic Spectacular and Tenors of Rock, makes him the ideal headliner for Gone Too Soon.
He has a close affinity with South Africa, last here ten years ago when he joined the South African cast for rehearsals of the international tour of We Will Rock You, and has long desired to return.
Says Ayesa; “I am beyond thrilled to be heading back to perform in South Africa for the first time. Ever since I rehearsed with the super-talented cast of the international tour of We Will Rock You in Joburg in 2007, I swore I would come back.”
He continues; “To have been able to come back to perform at Collett’s 25th Anniversary Show was a double celebration. I fulfil my promise to return and also got the chance to celebrate the achievements of the sweetest person in showbiz, my beloved Collett Dawson. I cannot wait to share the stage in May with these incredible South African talents and to explore a little more of your spectacular country!”
MiG Ayesa will be joined on stage by the equally talented local voices of singer/songwriter Connell Cruise, now based in New York but also returning to perform in Gone Too Soon – The Gents while releasing his brand-new album; as well as Kurt Herman, instantly recognisable as a member of 101, winners of Coca Cola Popstars and more recently as one of the country’s foremost record producers. Continuing The CoLab Network’s commitment to showcase young talent wherever possible, Gone To Soon – The Gents will be introducing the smooth soulful sounds of 18-year old John Tsenoli, a Born To Perform prodigy who makes his professional theatre debut.
With the vibrant arrangements by the world-class creative team Bluberry Entertainment of Kurt Herman and Tima Reece, along with a dynamic live band led by music director Llewellyn George, audiences will thrill to instantly recognisable hits including Show Must Go On, Man in the Mirror, Hallelujah, What’s Going On, Unchained Melody, Mercy Mercy Me, Everything She Wants and many more.
Gone Too Soon – The Gents is the ultimate concert experience, honouring a selection of the many men who’ve made an indelible mark on the local and international music industry.
While the show pays homage to these music icons who have left us too soon, the focus will be strongly on the uplifting atmosphere of inspiration that continues to live on through their music, the memories they still evoke, as well as the impact that so many of them have made on the industry and world as a whole.
Executive Producer, Collett Dawson of The CoLab Network, states “With the company now celebrating 4 years of producing in South Africa and along with this being a tandem celebration of my 25 years in the entertainment industry, I wanted to extend my footprint further in the industry by fulfilling a new vision of bringing out a selection of phenomenal international artists that I have worked with previously, in a variety of shows, to join and collaborate with our local talent. Through technology, the world is now so small that I feel it’s a wonderful next step to bring these collaborations together, not only to provide a top-notch show here in South Africa and to give the local audiences an opportunity to enjoy their talents, but also to open doors for future collaborations for our local artists internationally through these shows.”
Dawson explains the reason for MiG Ayesa being the first of these international headliners; “I first met MiG in Hong Kong when I visited the South African cast of We Will Rock You there in 2008. He not only blew me away with his exceptional talent, but also the interaction he had with the South African performers and how much they were able to glean from his international stage experience. We have stayed in close contact since then, and was truly humbled at how quickly he came on board when I explained my vision of the cross-continent collaborations and my concept for Gone Too Soon. Already seeing the chemistry between MiG, Connell, Kurt and John as well as the Creative Team during the time in studio preparing for my 25th Anniversary Celebrations has proven to me that I’m totally on the right track, with the guys already talking about possible future collaborations after this show.”
Dawson continues; “Ayesa has already also committed to giving back to the South African community by attending a rehearsal at National School of The Arts on Saturday 25 February and imparted some valuable words of wisdom to the young performers. When he returns to Johannesburg for the show in May he has also committed to giving a workshop to young industry hopefuls giving them first hand experiences of life in the industry and most especially, on the West End and on Broadway. I am thrilled and honoured to have him on board and hope that it’s the first of many return visits to South Africa.”
Gone Too Soon – The Gents is proudly produced by The CoLab Network with staging by Gemma Marinus and lighting by Oliver Hauser with grateful thanks to the Creative Team of BluBerry Entertainment.
Gone Too Soon – The Gents is being staged in loving memory of two South African legends Matthew Stewardson and Gugu Zulu – both close friends of Collett Dawson and whose untimely deaths inspired the concept.