Share this article


Music is the thread running through the spectacular productions lined up for the Joburg Theatre, starting with The ABBA Show.
THE Joburg Theatre Complex will be sizzling hot this year, its fiftieth year of bringing top notch entertainment to the city, with an array of shows, ballets, operas and much more.

The ABBA ShowThe ABBA ShowKicking off the year is the best of the music of the Swedish supergroup in The ABBA Show. Audiences will relive the 1970s and ’80s through renditions of much-loved tunes like Dancing Queen, Waterloo, Fernando, Mama Mia, I Do I Do I Do and many more.

The musical is by Showtime Australia, and will be on the Mandela Stage from 18 January to 5 February.

It overlaps with another musical tribute, again from Showtime Australia. From 26 January to 19 February, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: Dusty – The Story, will be at The Fringe. The show is a musical biography of the great British soul singer, Dusty Springfield, starring PJ Powers in the title role.

She is supported by a South African cast and an international live band. Springfield racked up a string of hits from the 1960s onwards with her oddly erotic, throaty voice.




Next in the line-up is The Tallest Man on Earth, a show by Swedish singer Kristian Matsson. He will be performing in Joburg for the first time, at the Mandela Theatre on 11 February.

A soft-spoken guy who stands somewhere around five-and-a-half-feet tall – a rather short 1.68 metres, Matsson has had sell-out performances in the UK, Europe and Australia for his latest album tour, The Wild Hunt.

PJ Powers is DustyPJ Powers is DustyNot to be missed is American Anthems, a spectacular rock musical. The storyline is about the search for a legendary rock star who disappeared in the early 1990s at the height of his fame.

Some of the most iconic American music from artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Eagles and Elvis Presley are included, in hit songs like Walking in Memphis, We Built this City, Bat out of Hell, Born to Run, America, St Elmo’s Fire, Sweet Child of Mine and Proud Mary, among many more.

Featuring a sensational cast of singers, dancers and musicians, the musical will be on the Mandela Stage from 21 February to 11 March.




Next on the list is the Ilan Smith with Imagine. Smith is a magician and illusionist who promises to enrapture his audience with a variety of tricks at The Fringe from 22 February to 4 March.

And then it is time for ballet. The renowned Universal Ballet of Korea will perform the beloved classical ballet Swan Lake. There will be four performances from 16 March to 18 March.

The Universal Ballet of Korea has given a total 439 performances in 18 countries outside its home base in South Korea.

Later in the month, Opera Africa will present a glittering tribute to everyone who has made a contribution to its growth and success over the past 18 years. Opera Africa has invited the crème de la crème of singers to participate, and the show will include choruses and ensemble pieces.

Korean Swan LakeThe Universal Ballet of Korea will present Swan LakeThe first half, Bravo Opera Africa – A Vocal Triumph, will feature extracts from the company’s most memorable productions, including Princess Magogo, Aida, Carmen, Faust, The Magic Flute and La Traviata. The show will be held on the Mandela Stage from 23 March to 31 March.



For an evening full of laughter and fun, don’t miss That’s Life, which is about a frustrated actor called Freddy who looks at life in general and realises how funny it really is. In his travels back in time, the audience will get to meet his first girlfriend, Regina; his sassy old grandmother, Granny Esther; and his childhood neighbour, Oom Fanie.

It will be on at The Fringe from 28 March to 1 April.

National treasure Pieter-Dirks Uys will make an eagerly awaited return to The Fringe from 3 to 29 April with a new onslaught against a politically correct regime with Adapt or Fly.

As usual with Uys, Adapt or Fly was inspired by politics. This phrase was coined by the ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema – who is appealing his suspension from the ANC on disciplinary charges – when he frightened many people with talk of nationalising mines and grabbing farms.

From 12 to 29 April, the South African Ballet Theatre will perform the beautiful classical ballet, Giselle, supported by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. The ballet will be on the Mandela Stage.

Giselle is about a prince who falls in love with a peasant girl and of her love for him, which is stronger than betrayal and death.



A programme would not be full without a circus, and the Joburg Theatre is coming to the party with not one, but two astounding circuses. First up will be the Moscow Circus on Ice. Renowned for their amazing agility in the rink, the performers will juggle, leap and spin their way through a series of balletic acts on the points of their blades, so transforming circus acts into art.

This year's panto is the story of Jack and the BeanstalkThis year's panto is the story of Jack and the BeanstalkThe ice circus will be on the Mandela Stage from 2 to 13 May. It will be followed a week or so later by Le Grand Cirque’s Adrenaline. Audiences will be treated to a jaw-dropping feast of the most thrilling and exciting acts, combined with physical comedy, from 23 May to 17 June, again on the Mandela Stage.

Featuring a cast of over 40 extreme athletes from around the world, Adrenaline will be chockablock full of explosive, death-defying and edge-of-your-seat acrobatics.

Try the nail-biting Globe of the Death for size: three daredevil motorbike riders will race around inside a giant cage. Or marvel as identical twins bend their bodies in incredible feats of physical plasticity.

Ireland will be brought to the Mandela Stage, from 18 September to 7 October, in Essence of Ireland. The show will combine breath-taking dance with the very best of Irish music and a touch of Irish craic, all cleverly woven into a heart-warming tale.



And finally, to end the year with the best of magic, the annual Janice Honeyman pantomime will open on 31 October and run until 30 December on the Mandela Stage.

This year, she will be bringing us Jack and the Beanstalk, the classic tale of Jack who is tricked into trading his cow for some magic beans. But the beans grow into a beanstalk leading to a magical land ruled by a giant.

For information and ticket prices for all shows, call 0861 670 670 or visit the Joburg Theatre website. For group bookings of 10 or more tickets, contact the theatre’s ticketing office on 011 877 6853/4.



Related stories:

Joburg Theatre turns 50
Ibrahim returns to Joburg
Market steered by new captain
Border war is retold
Joburg concert for Kem Owens
Classical music on the agenda
Sublime season at JPO
Film talent on show


Related links:

Joburg: arts, culture and heritage