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Be rocked and perhaps a little shocked this year at the Joburg Theatre, which has loads of music in store, as well as sell-out Australian comedian, Jim Jefferies.
WITH the new year already in full swing for most Joburgers and the holidays just a pleasant memory, the Joburg Theatre has pulled out all the stops to keep audiences entertained over the next 12 months.

Michael JacksonKenny Wizz is Michael Jackson in History - This Is It“As the city’s own theatre, it is our goal and our obligation to entertain Joburg audiences throughout the year,” notes Bernard Jay, Joburg Theatre’s chief executive officer. 
“Some shows have proven success in South Africa and many are visiting the country for the very first time during their world tours. Dance, musicals, ballet, opera, comedy, tributes – and the biggest all-star pantomime of them all – come together in the most exciting Joburg Theatre theatrical season yet presented,” he says.

First up in the first quarter is a show that will delight all Michael Jackson fans. History – This Is It runs from 19 January to 13 February, making its South African debut. The show is a tribute to the king of pop, tracing his life story from the early days in The Jackson 5. More than 20 songs are featured, all performed by the acclaimed Jackson impersonator, Kenny Wizz.

Direct from Las Vegas, the show recreates a Jackson concert, complete with a full international touring company of musicians, dancers, authentic costumes and one of the biggest lighting rigs ever used at the Joburg Theatre.

 

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Pop music
After its overwhelming success in 2010, Hannah & Miley: The Best of Both Girls is back to the delight of tweens all over the city. It runs from 4 to12 February. Pop star Miley Cyrus became a worldwide phenomenon after taking the lead in the Disney hit show, Hannah Montana.

New Zealand-born Clasina plays Hannah, a girl who lives a double life. By day she is an average American teenager named Miley Stuart; but at night, she is the famous pop star, Hannah Montana. Hannah & Miley: The Best of Both Girls will be performed as matinees only.

Another musical follows hot on the heels of these two performances. Spirit Productions, which brought to the Joburg Theatre two of its highest-grossing and most popular shows of the past decade, Spirit of the Dance and Le Grand Cirque, brings Strictly Tap Dance Fever to the theatre this year. It runs from 15 February to 6 March.

MummenschazThe Swiss theatre troupe Mummenschaz makes its debut season at the Jobrug Theatre in AprilIt is a whirlwind journey of the top tap dance moments in show business history, featuring classic tunes mashed with modern day beats. Afrikaans pop princess Amor Vittone, the African Tap and Modern Dance Champion for seven consecutive years, will put in a special guest appearance. 
Another first for South Africa is Simply the Best, in which Rebecca O’Connor promises to dazzle audiences with her Tina Turner impersonation. O’Connor won the 2002 European impersonation competition, Stars in Their Eyes.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Tina Turner herself has commented: “Rebecca is so good, she’s scary. If I only had her energy today, I’d still be touring!”Simply the Best runs from 10 to 20 March.

 

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Opera
From pop music to opera, the theatre next puts on Bizet’s enduringly popular Carmen. Since its world premiere in Paris, France in 1875, Carmen has consistently delighted audiences worldwide.

Carmen runs from 1 to 10 April, and features an impressive international and South African company. The production is headed by American conductor Timothy Myers and acclaimed director James Marvel, and features the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

But it’s not all music – there are also a few laughs to be had at the Joburg Theatre this year. Globally renowned Australian stand-up comedian, Jim Jefferies, takes to the Mandela Stage for the first time on 7 and 9 April in his one-man comedy show, Jim Jefferies Alcoholocaust.

With five Edinburgh Fringe sell-out shows, numerous television appearances, an HBO hour-long comedy special and phenomenal critical acclaim, the controversial comic is expected to have local audiences rolling on the floor.

 

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Illusion
The extraordinary Swiss theatre troupe, Mummenschanz, which received standing ovations in South Africa in 2008, makes its debut season at the Joburg Theatre from 12 to 17 April.

JeffriesFunnyman Jim JeffriesMasters of illusion, the troupe uses everyday objects and materials, such as cardboard boxes, rolls of toilet paper, masking tape and refuse bags, to create ingenious costumes and expressive masks that transform into fascinating beings. 
With 35 years in the industry and having performed in over 60 countries, the imaginative visual show is guaranteed to awe and humour audiences of all ages and cultures.

Then it’s back to music, with the voices of eight sopranos singing timeless classics from opera and Broadway to contemporary rock. The Sopranos – Live in Concert runs from 19 April to 1 May. The talented ladies will pay homage to the world’s greatest divas, putting their own spin on the best-loved and most instantly recognisable music of all time.

The full symphony sound that will be accompanying the sopranos was created by New Zealand’s, Wellington Sinfonia and the show features a seven-piece on-stage band starring the sassy all-girl string quartet, The Glamrocks.

For more information about any of these shows, log on to the Joburg Theatre website or call 011 877 6800. Bookings can be made for all shows at the Joburg Theatre Complex or through Computicket.

 

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