11 Sep A Christmas Celebration Concert 2019
Starts in 11 Days, 22 Hours
December 21, 2019 to December 22, 2019
FESTIVE SEASON CHRISTMAS CRACKER!
Few festive season events in Durban are likely to better encapsulate and celebrate the season of good cheer than the latest version of The Playhouse Company’s ever-popular and always spectacular production, A Christmas Celebration.
This year’s show, directed by Ralph Lawson and featuring a diverse line-up of artists accompanied by the KZN Philarmonic Orchestra under the baton of Lykele Temmingh, will be presented in the large Playhouse Opera Theatre at 7.30pm on Saturday, December 21, and 2pm on Sunday, December 22.
A Christmas Celebration is among highlights of the Durban arts body’s jam-packed Christmas season programme which includes a sumptuous ballet, a comedy show, a new musical-comedy penned by Clinton Marius, a must-see jazz concert and a wildlife-themed Gcina Mhlophe production for the young.
As usual, the slick, tinselly treat will showcase an extravaganza of song and dance highlighting favourite carols, gospel greats and a collection of classic Christmas songs – all performed by The Playhouse Chorale and star guest vocalists Shelly McLean, Wayne Mkhize, Audrey Poo and Joel Zuma.
Also adding to the fun will be performances by the versatile and vibrant dancers of Phakama Dance Theatre.
Shelley McLean, a dynamic and versatile performer, has long been a Durban darling, her experience as a singer, pianist and musical director having won her wide acclaim and awards.
She has featured in many Playhouse Company, KickstArt and Barnyard Theatre productions. As a singer and pianist she has also entertained guests on board luxury liners and at hotels including the Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, Hilton and Oyster Box.
McLean has, on numerous occasions, been invited to sing with the KZN Philharmonic and has enjoyed a long association, as featured vocalist, with Durban’s Platform Jazz and KZN All Stars bands.
As a musical director, her work on successes such as Sweeney Todd, Beauty and the Beast and other large-scale musicals has received rave reviews.
Wayne Mkhize is a 30-year-old, freelance opera singer and voice trainer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban. He recently played the role of Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata, in Cape Town’s Opera op Mamre, organised by Thys Greef; and visited London in September to perform excerpts from the Ucu lwegodi opera by South African composer Qinisela Sibisi.
Kimberley-born Mkhize, who completed his Bachelor of Practical Music degree in 2012, at UKZN, sang the solo tenor role in Handel’s Messiah at the Playhouse Opera theatre in April, accompanied by the KZN Philharmonic; and he performed in the KZNPO Spring Season at the Durban City Hall, singing the tenor solo in Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C.
In 2017, he sang the role of Parpignol and understudied Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème at the Playhouse; and is also noted for his tenor solo in Beethoven’s Mass in C with the Yale University Choir and the KZNPO, at the Playhouse in the same year.
Mkhize has participated in ATKV classical competitions and appears frequently with the KZN Philharmonic in concerts and also education and development outreaches for schools.
Aubrey Poo is an actor, singer and dancer who, while certainly no stranger to the stage, is noted for his many television roles – including pastor Gabriel Mathusi in SABC3’s Isidingo, Pelo Mohale in SABC2’s Muvhango, Lefa Letswalo in e.tv’s Scandal and as the host of the SABC1 game show, All You Need is Love.
Poo completed his National Diploma in Drama at Pretoria Technikon in 2000 and went on to feature in the musical Annie and present On Track, a television youth programme.
In 2002, he won an award for Best Performance by a New Actor for his role in the critically acclaimed Play@Risk, directed by Megan Wilson. He then landed the lead role of Gabriel in the musical Far From the Madding Crowd at the Playhouse, before going on to Spain to feature in a musical tribute to Motown.
He later co-wrote the most successful of all touring Barnyard Theatre productions, Diamonds and Dust, in which he filled the lead role. His many other theatre roles include The Genie of the Lamp in Janice Honeyman’s pantomime, Aladdin, and Tom Collins in the musical Rent.
Joel Zuma, originally from Pietermaritzburg, is a versatile performer who has been singing, acting, writing and directing since 1998, and earlier this year appeared as a contestant on the third season of The Voice South Africa.
He started out in showbiz appearing in Ukhozi FM radio dramas that included Soul City, Ingoma Kamama, Hhayi Bo, Sibhekephi and Ngavuka Kwabafileyo. He presented the career guidance slot on the Ukhozi FM drive-home show and was also the voice behind the social commentary news, Izindandaba. (Izindaba)
Zuma’s stage work has included Barnyard Theatre shows and musical theatre, and the soulful crooner was nominated for Naledi Awards in the categories of Best Comedy Performance (That Will Be the Day in 2005) as well as Best Newcomer and Best Singer (The Young Ones in 2004).
He was twice nominated for the FNB Vita Award for best actor in a supporting role – for Hamlet in 2003 and Peace in the Valley in 2000 – while his TV credits include the SABC1 drama Gaz’lam and e.tv’s Let’s Fix It.
Phakama Dance Theatre is a professional dance company based at the Playhouse. It was developed by KZN Dance Production, a non-profit company formed by three Durban-based professional dancers: Leagan Peffer, Nkanyiso Kunene and Sandile Mkhize, all former Playhouse Dance Residency performers.
Phakama Dance Theatre was developed as a training company for graduate artists or previously disadvantaged individuals to bridge the gap between amateur and professionals platforms.
The Playhouse Chorale has appeared in several Playhouse Company productions and is a crack team of 40 talented voices representing a truly diverse South Africa.
The company, which has featured in all A Christmas Celebration spectacles at the Playhouse, impressed earlier this year alongside the KZN Philharmonic and various soloists in the Playhouse Company’s Easter Sunday staging of Handel’s Messiah.
Tickets for A Christmas Celebration cost R120 and R150. They can be bought at the Playhouse box-office – phone (031) 3699 596/40 – or online and at Pick N pay outlets via WebTickets (the customer support line is 086 111 0005).