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RADIO TODAY (article first published : 2003-11-16)

Radio Today presents a radio adaptation of Just the Ticket by Percy Tucker on his 50+ years in South African theatre on Sundays at 18h00 (repeated on Thursdays at 11h30) on 1485am.

The 18th episode (November 16 and 20) of this series deals with all the highlights which took place in the theatre during the period 1966/1968.

On October 24, 1966, the Civic Theatre was the venue for a most spectacular production of the musical Around the World in 80 Days designed and directed by Anthony Farmer. Anthony's imagination went into orbit and he created the most spectacular shows ever seen in South Africa, coining the phrase from arts critic Percy Baneshik as “Farmerama'”carried to the “nth” degree.

Pieter Toerien brought out his favourite pianist Peter Nero. ACT had a nightmare of a tour with Matt Monroe, who loved the bottle as much as he loved to sing hits like Born Free. 1967 saw the visit also for Pieter Toerien and Basil Rubin, of the world's most famous exporter of Gallic charm and a gentleman to his fingertips, Maurice Chevalier, star of Gigi, who was as polished and as young as ever.

JODS presented the wonderful musical Kiss me Kate for a very successful season at the Civic. Yango John burst forth on the entertainment scene with a tour by Trini Lopez, followed by Lainie Kazan (who recently appeared as the Mama in the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Due to illness her tour was cut short. Yango then brought out the Mexican band leader Xavier Cugat and his orchestra.

On October 27, Adam Leslie achieved his dream by opening his own theatre names after him in End Street, Johannesburg. The opening show was Music Hall Revue, designed and directed by Anthony Farmer, starring Adam and Joan Blake. Pieter and Basil brought out the Hollywood dancer-actress Cyd Charisse (star of such films as Singing in the Rain and Bandwagon) and her husband actor-crooner Tony Martin.

November 1967 saw the opening of another new theatre, The Academy, conceived by Hymie Udwin. This was to become the home of wonderful farces such as One for the Pot and Birds of Paradise.

In 1968, Percy Tucker achieved his ambition of bringing to South Africa Metropolitan opera star, Richard Tucker. He gave several recitals as well as performed with Elizabeth Vaughan in two performances of La Traviata. Prices were the highest ever seen in South Africa. R10 for the best seat!

All this and more on Ivan May's 'Kutcha Vultcha' on Sunday at 18h00 on Radio Today (re-broadcast on Thursday mornings at 11h30).




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