Enjoy a Christmas Celebration at the Playhouse

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BACK by popular demand, The Playhouse Company wraps up the festive season with A Christmas Celebration a star-studded extravaganza for the whole family that is set to light up the Playhouse Opera Theatre stage for a bumper six shows from December 19 to 24.

Choreographed by Sean Bovim, A Christmas Celebration stars multi-award winning international singer, Judith Sephuma (pictured above), with Damon Beard from East Coast Radio as Master of Ceremonies.

Featuring the full KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Lykele Temmingh, the Playhouse Chorale and the dancers from the Playhouse Dance Residency, this Christmas variety spectacular stars over 150 of the cream of South Africa’s musicians and dancers, including Bongani Tembe, Andile KaMajola, Neville D, Raphael Vilakazi, Filipa van Eck, Christopher Duigan and Nozuko Teto.

The show is being directed by South African theatre giant, Ralph Lawson.

Promising even more sizzle and spectacle than last year, A Christmas Celebration will feature all your favourite Christmas songs, as well as stunning dance and even an strength-acrobatics-dance display by Alex Ishchenko and Michele La Trobe from Cape Town.

Heading the line-up is Judith Sephuma, a multi-award-winning artist of international renown, who has performed to audiences across South Africa, Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom.

After seven albums that have reached gold and multi-platinum status, the queen of jazz and Afro-pop’s warm and sultry voice, enormous talent and versatility have won her the hearts of thousands of fans the world over. Her latest album, One Word, was released earlier this year (2015).

Ralph Lawson is well known to audiences for his award-winning work as both actor and a director. After over four decades in theatre, Lawson has performed in such landmark roles as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Mozart in Shaffer’s Amadeus and the Narrator in Sondheim’s Into The Woods.

At the Playhouse he has directed the musicals Annie and The Sound Of Music, My Fair Lady (Durban Theatre Award – Best Director), Masterclass (Durban Theatre Award – Best Director) and Cinderella (Durban Theatre Award – Best Director), and played several roles.

He recently directed The Playhouse Company’s Community Arts Mentorship Programme (CAMP) and wrote and starred in A Voice I Cannot Silence, a play based on the life of Alan Paton, at the Grahamstown Festival.

Award-winning choreographer Sean Bovim is the founder and Artistic Director of Bovim Ballet, whose meteoric rise since its inception in 2009 has won him critical and popular acclaim. He is best known for creating the hit shows Queen at the Ballet, SwingTime and, most recently, Private Presley – a Salute to the King.

Beloved by many as the voice of East Coast Radio’s afternoon show, The Drive With Damon, Beard is an accomplished and experienced host and compere for everything from exhibitions, events and live shows, to television and radio, and promises to inject A Christmas Celebration with his own delightful brand of humour and banter.

Bongani Tembe is internationally acclaimed as one of Africa’s leading artists and arts manager. After making history in 1987 when he appeared as Steurmann in Wagner’s Der Riegende Hollander – South Africa’s first nationally and internationally televised opera production – Tembe has played many leading roles, including that of King Solomon in Princess Magogo, which was broadcast live on radio in Chicago and across Europe.

He was also a producer on Disney’s The Lion King, which attracted record-breaking audiences of more than half a million to the Johannesburg production.

In A Christmas Celebration , Tembe shows off the voice that has made him one of South Africa’s most popular performers. Sephuma and Tembe blew audiences away at last year’s extravaganza, earning them a standing ovation.

A Christmas Celebration also starts the massively-popular Durban gospel sensation, Andile KaMajola, who wows gospel lovers wherever he performs with his soulful sounds and stunning voice.

KaMajola recently won the Best Gospel Artist and Best Male Artist awards at the SABC Crown Gospel Awards, and won Best Gospel Music Video for ÚJehova ungibiyele.  In addition to his music, KaMajola is a popular and dynamic preacher, one of the few whose sermons are sold commercially throughout South Africa.

Cape Flats-born gospel singer, Neville D, joins the cast with more of his formidable musical talents. Known for the contemporary focus of his lyrics, Neville D has released both English and Afrikaans albums, and founded the 75-member Beauty of Difference choir.

Also joining the cast is recipient of the 1992 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music and the coveted Vita Award in 1996, Raphael Vilakazi, an internationally acclaimed baritone who is a seasoned performer; and gifted young singer, Nozuko Teto, brings to the concert her exceptional vocal talents with popular Christmas songs.

Widely regarded as one of South Africa’s leading concert pianists, Christopher Duigan has performed extensively with all of South Africa’s leading orchestras, including several much-loved performances with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic.

Tickets for a special preview performance on Friday, December 18 at 7.30 pm are available at R100 each, For the rest of the run, tickets range from R100 to R200 if pre-booked, and are available from Computicket on www.computicket.co.za or from the Playhouse box office on (031) 369 9596/ 9540.

Playhouse patrons receive discounted parking at The Royal Hotel Parking and at the Albany Grove Parkade. The Playhouse coffee shop offers a variety of light meals and drinks, while the Playhouse bar is open for every performance.

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