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Starlight Express in South Africa  
At last! The race is on! Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express arrives in South Africa
Starlight Express

At last, one of the best loved and longest running musicals in theatrical history explodes onto the South African stage with a brand new production helmed by acclaimed, award-winning director JANICE HONEYMAN.

ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER’s sensational STARLIGHT EXPRESS races to The Mandela at Joburg Theatre for a strictly limited season beginning July 2nd 2013. 

Produced by the theatre’s Chief Executive Officer, BERNARD JAY, the all-South African company promises to take you on the ride of a lifetime – with two hours of speed, spectacle, energy, daredevil stunts and turbo-charged excitement, combined with dazzling sets and costumes, extraordinary roller-choreography and some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most memorable musical hits.

 STARLIGHT EXPRESS opened at the 2300-seat Apollo Victoria Theatre in London on March 27th 1984.  In April 1991, STARLIGHT EXPRESS became the second longest running musical in London theatre history at that time.  The record-breaking run in London eventually closed with its 7,461st performance on January 12th 2002, almost eighteen years after its opening.

Despite subsequent productions on Broadway, in Las Vegas, throughout the UK and USA and in many other countries – a production in Bochum, Germany, will celebrate its 25th year in 2013 – STARLIGHT EXPRESS has never been seen in South Africa.  Until now!

“We’re honoured and thrilled that Andrew has entrusted this gem of musical theatre legends into the hands of Joburg Theatre,” says producer Bernard Jay.  “To give South African creative and performing artists this unique opportunity to interpret one of the most successful and extraordinary musicals ever written is a compliment to us all.  Already, over a year ahead, the finest theatre talents in South Africa are clamouring to become involved with STARLIGHT EXPRESS.”

Light years ahead of the rest, this futuristic tale about love and hope in the face of adversity was originally written by Lloyd Webber for his children.  The plot features around a group of toy railway trains, portrayed by actors on roller-skates, who come to life inside the mind of a small boy.  The characters race to become the ‘fastest engine in the world’.

STARLIGHT was always meant to be fun, hopefully an entertaining piece of live theatre for a new audience,” said Andrew Lloyd Webber at the time of the original London production.  “We are all proud that STARLIGHT has spawned a new generation of theatregoers who perhaps have never considered going to the theatre before and who may have gone on to other, perhaps more conventional, things!”

ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER’s extensive credits include THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, EVITA and CATS.  His musicals ASPECTS OF LOVE and THE BOYS IN THE PHOTOGRAPH were also produced at Joburg Theatre in recent years.  His awards include seven Tonys, three Grammys, seven Oliviers, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, two international Emmys, the Praemium Imperiale, the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre and the Kennedy Center Honor.

JANICE HONEYMAN has directed many musicals in South Africa, including HAIR, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, CANDIDE and THE BOYS IN THE PHOTOGRAPH.  Her direction of John Kani’s play NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH was seen at the Grahamstown Festival, The Market Theatre, Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre, New York’s Lincoln Center, Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum, the Sydney Opera House and London’s Hampstead Theatre.  Her book and direction of JACK AND THE BEANSTALK later this year at Joburg Theatre will be her 23rd in the much-loved and hugely successful tradition of family pantomimes in Joburg.

KAREN BRUCE has been appointed as Choreographer of the production.  Karen previously directed and choreographed SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER at Gold Reef City and FOOTLOOSE at Joburg Theatre.  CLINTON ZERF has been appointed Musical Director.  Clinton was Musical Director for two previous Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals at Joburg Theatre: ASPECTS OF LOVE and THE BOYS IN THE PHOTOGRAPH.  The full creative team and casting for STARLIGHT EXPRESS in South Africa will be announced in July 2012. 

STARLIGHT EXPRESS will have its preview performances on the stage of The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from Tuesday July 2nd 2013, with its official Opening Night on Sunday July 7th.  The show will keep hearts pounding and feet tapping with its breathless energy until Sunday September 1st.

Tickets are now on sale exclusively for members of Joburg Theatre’s THE RED VELVET CLUB.  You can become a member of this prestigious group of theatre-lovers for as little as R45 a year.  Tickets for STARLIGHT EXPRESS from as little as R100 will go on sale to the general public on Monday May 28th 2012.

For membership of The Red Velvet Club, tickets and performance information, visit www.joburgtheatre.com or call 0861 670 670.

STARLIGHT EXPRESS in South Africa is brought to you by CITY POWER JOHANNESBURG – lighting up the stars of Joburg – and MNET.

Posted on: 8th May 2012

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