The creators of inspiring and energetic new stage show, Madiba The Musical – A Celebration of the Life of Nelson Mandela, have announced cast members for the show’s upcoming premiere Australian season.
With Direction by Pierre-Yves Duchesne and Dennis Watkins, Musical Direction by Michael Tyack and Choreography by Johan Nus, Australian Producer Neil Croker said an exciting line-up of talented singers, actors and dancers has been named, with the role of Nelson Mandela yet to be announced.
Popular Australian Actor and singer, Tim Omaji, also known by stage name Timomatic, plays the role of Sam Onatou, a young black activist who is arrested in South Africa. In prison he meets the man known as “Madiba”, Nelson Mandela. Tarisai Vushe plays Sam’s fiancée Sandy who works for the family of a white policeman, Peter Van Ledon, played by Sydney actor Blake Erickson.
Madeline Perrone plays the policeman’s daughter Helena, who Sam asks to help free Mandela. Barry Conrad, Sam’s younger brother William, falls in love with Helena. As a fictional parallel story to Mandela’s work as a lawyer and activist for peace, the romance between young artist Will and white Afrikaans girl Helena tells of the struggle and tragedy of the apartheid regimen.
Following her performance as Shirelles lead singer Shirley Owens in the successful national touring production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Ruva Ngwenya plays the role of Winnie Mandela. With David Denis as the Narrator, Courtney Bell, Joe Gaudion, Riley Sutton will feature in the Ensemble.
French writers Alicia Sebrien and Jean-Pierre Hadida said in creating Madiba The Musical, they wanted to tell the story of Mandela’s pursuit of peace and reconciliation in his homeland. They said the musical was also timed to mark 25 years since the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, and the year that Mandela would have turned 100 if he was still alive.
“There are no languages that are more universal than music and dancing to reconcile nations, cultures, religions and generations,” said the show’s creators. “We want to remember Madiba; Nelson Mandela is certainly the last providential figure of the 20th century.”
Madiba the Musical began its journey in France with its world premiere at Le Comedia Theatre in Paris in January 2016. The first English language production of the musical opens in Australia in October 2018, and will tour to New Zealand, the UK and the US in 2019.
Madiba the Musical plays Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from 3 October, before heading to Sydney’s State Theatre from 1 November and the Canberra Theatre Centre from 22 November 2018. For more information, visit: www.madibamusical.com.au for details.
Image: Tim Omaji plays Sam Onatou in Madiba the Musical (supplied)