TV star and sensational songstress Sihle Ndaba has joined the cast of the King Kong – The Musical at the Fugard Theatre. She steps into the key role of Petal from 6 February, for the final extension of the run which is now to 4 March. Presented by Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre, this historic production has been nominated for an incredible twelve Fleur du Cap awards.
A top 18 finalist in M-Net’s Idols, Ndaba is well-known to South African audiences for her award-winning role as Smangele Maphumulo in SABC 1’s hit prime time soap Uzalo, for which she won the Simon Sabela Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2015. Some of her other TV credits include the role of Pru in Inkaba and Qiniso in the sci-fi drama series Room 9.
On stage she joined the touring company of acclaimed Broadway Musical The Lion King in Singapore, understudying the lead role of Nala. Ndaba has also worked with the National Children’s’ Theatre on various productions as an actor, singer, dancer and assistant director on shows including Under the Baobab Tree and has been seen on the Market Theatre stage portraying the role of Ntombi in Kwela Bafana.
Ndaba is in great demand as a voiceover artist for brands such as MTN, Discovery Health and SA Home Loans as well as commercials such as Joko Tea and Ford Fiesta.
“We are delighted to welcome Sihle to the Fugard Theatre stage for this phenomenal final South African leg of KING KONG’s journey,” says Daniel Galloway, the Executive Director of the Fugard Theatre. “With her powerhouse voice and seasoned acting experience, she is dazzling as Petal.”
“I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of such an iconic show. I first learned about, “King Kong” while I was still in University and have been obsessed with the show ever since… It is an honor to be a part of a legacy set out by Legends such as, mamaMiriam Makeba, bab’Caiphus Semenya, mam’Sophie Mgcina, mam’Letta Mbulu, bab’Hugh Masekela, and mam’Thandi Klaasen just to name a few,” says Ndaba.
KING KONG tells the story of heavyweight fifties boxing champion Ezekiel Dlamini whose self-appointed ring name was “King Kong” to the wildly exhilarating music of Todd Matshikiza.
The original production of King Kong in 1959 was South Africa’s first black musical. It toured South Africa, and was seen by 200 000 South Africans, playing to record-breaking and multi-racial audiences before transferring in February 1961 to London’s West End for a 200-performance run.
Ndaba joins Andile Gumbi (The Lion King, isiBaya) as King Kong and Edith Plaatjies (District Six: Kanala; Orpheus in Africa; Blood Brothers) as shebeen queen Joyce.
The Fugard Theatre’s King Kong cast includes Sanda Shandu as Lucky (Orpheus in Africa); Tshamano Sebe as Jack (Athol Fugard’s Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek; Master Harold and the Boys; Noem my Skollie); Desmond Dube as Pop (Dube on Mondays, No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Suburban Bliss); Ntambo Rapatla as Miriam (Menopause the Musical) and Sabelo Radebe as Caswell (West Side Story; Peter Pan).
King Kong is directed by Jonathan Munby who directed the Fugard Theatre’s production of A Human Being Died That Night with Noma Dumezweni (the only double Olivier award-winning Southern African actor) amongst many other international productions including the recent production of Shakespeare’s KING LEAR for the Chichester Festival in the UK starring Sir Ian McKellen.
The original production featured music by Todd Matshikiza, lyrics and original book by Pat Williams and book by Harry Bloom.
The revised book (with additional lyrics) is by Academy award nominated screenwriter and playwright William Nicholson (Shadowlands, Gladiator, Les Miserables, Sarafina, Long Walk to Freedom). South African choreographer star and recent French Legion D’Honneur recipient Gregory Maqoma choreographs KING KONG to the irresistible original music of the late great South African composer Todd Matshikiza.
The Fugard Theatre’s production sees Musical Direction by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder (West Side Story, Funny Girl, Cabaret) and Sipumzo Trueman Lucwaba with additional music and arrangements by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder.
Set design is by Paul Wills (A Human Being Died that Night, Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet, West End – Wyndham’s Theatre – David Mamet’s American Buffalo); Costume design by Birrie le Roux (West Side Story, Orpheus in Africa, District Six: Kanala); Lighting Design by Tim Mitchell (A Human Being Died That Night; Royal Shakespeare Company’s King Lear with Antony Sher – Associate artist RSC/Chichester Festival Theatre) and Sound Design by Mark Malherbe (West Side Story, Funny Girl). The associate director is Mdu Kweyama.
Also performing with the ensemble are Joel Zuma, JT Medupe, Athenkosi Mfamela, Shalom Zamisa, Monde Sibisi, Aphiwe Menziwa, Siphiwe Nkabinde, Lungelwa Mdekazi, Barileng Malebye, Rushney Ferguson, Given Mkhize, Siyasanga Papu, Ziyanda Yako, Masego Mothibakgomo and Jay Hlatshwayo.
A live 9-piece band, under the direction of Sipumzo Trueman Lucwaba, accompanies the action at every performance.
King Kong runs at the Fugard Theatre until 4 March 2018 Tuesday to Saturdays at 20:00 with a matinee at 15:00 on Saturdays and on Sundays at 16:00.
Tickets cost from R130 to R280. Bookings can be made at Webtickets www.webtickets.co.za and through the Fugard Theatre Box office on 021 461 4554.