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Saturday, June 17, 2023



(The full cast. Second row - dead centre: 
Georgie Mabbett Kelly and  Aaron McIlroy as the Pharaoh, a 70’s inspired Elvis lookalike)

(Photos by Val Adamson)

The 2023 annual Young Performers Project (YPP) will have the biggest cast yet: 167 children aging from 5 to 19 years from more than 50 schools throughout KZN will be participating in the production of the fabulous, iconic musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, coming to the Playhouse Opera from July 8 until July 16, 2023.

This brilliant initiative, which started in 2001, was created to empower learners to explore musical theatre in a professional context. Joseph is the 21st YPP production. 

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a sung-through musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the character of Joseph from the Bible's Book of Genesis. 

The show boasts some fabulous musical theatre numbers sung in a variety of styles: from Elvis-themed rock and roll, to country and western, jazz, Charleston and 1970s go-go. Stand out numbers include Any Dream will Do; Close Every Door and One More Angel in Heaven.

Some top stars have appeared in Joseph: in the title role, performers include Donny Osmond, David Cassidy, Andy Gibb and Jason Donovan. Will Young has been Potiphar; Denise van Outen and Joan Collins have both appeared as Mrs Potiphar – even U2’s Bono has done a turn as the Pharaoh!

This year there are two professional performers: Aaron McIlroy as the Pharaoh, a 70’s inspired Elvis lookalike; and Georgie Mabbett Kelly as the Narrator.

Joseph will be directed by multi-award-winning, Johannesburg-based actor, producer/ director and choreographer, Jaco van Rensburg. This is his third time at the helm of the YPP Production Team. The production team includes musical direction by Des Govender (who has led the team since 2017), choreography by Simone Mann, set design by Chris Taylor, costume design by Kathy Singery, lighting by Dylan Heath, sound by Megan Holder.

The enormous cast includes primary school learners for the first time. Historically YPP focused exclusively on high school learners, but following the choice of musical for 2023, the attraction of a live on stage massed children’s choir led to the decision to audition primary school learners to create two on-stage choirs of 55 children each, who alternate performances.  This is quite possibly the first Joseph production in South Africa to feature a large, live on-stage children’s choir.

(Right: Georgie Mabbett Kelly as the Narrator, with some of the cast members. There are 167 children in the cast this year.)

Together with the choir, there is a core cast of performers, as well as 24 “mini” brothers. The cast jointly represents virtually 50 schools across all locations, demographics and languages representing private, government, independent, rural, online and township schools – as well as home-schooled individuals.  

 The first musical, Curtain Up! and many subsequent YPP productions were directed by the late Themi Venturas – an integral part of the YPP family over the years. Some noteworthy YPP productions include: One Voice, Grease, Annie, The Wiz, Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof, School of Rock SA, Big River, Hairspray, Seussical, Can you Feel it?, Footloose, Soldiers in the City, Legally Blonde, The Buddy Holly Story.

The musical is staged by Go Durban! Academy (eThekwini Municipality) in association with The Playhouse Company and DALRO.

The show runs at 90 minutes, with an interval. It is suitable for age four and above.

Public tickets: R150 to R250 booked through Webtickets. OAPS:  10% Discount on all seats.

Block bookings of 10 and more - 10% Discount

Parking available at Albany and Royal Hotels.