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SHOO-BOP SHOO-BOP (article first published : 2008-03-15)

Shoo-Bop Shoo-Bop – the cult 50’s show which took Durban by storm during the heyday of the Cellar and Bistro theatres, has been re-worked and updated and returns to the Catalina Theatre in Wilson’s Wharf opening on March 16.

Writer / director / producer Themi Venturas has assembled a hot youthful cast especially for the production. Catalina regulars Rory Booth and Grant Jacobs who were in Sasol Fever and Motown Forever keep their names on the dressing room door. Joining them fresh from Hamlet is Marc Kay in a rare musical theatre role with musician / musical theatre actor Ricky McGregor who was most recently seen in the festive season production Guys and Dolls. Joining them as the female lead of Suzy is fresh-faced newcomer Samantha Kaye.

Shoo-Bop Shoo Bop was a defining production in musical theatre history long before themed tribute shows became as popular as they are now. Musical theatre luminaries cut their teeth in this production: Arnie Field, Gary McKenzie, John Didlick, Daryl Evan Fuchs, James Ngcobo, Clinton Philander, Luciano Zupa, Aaron McIlroy and the late Nelson Ngwenya. The female lead Suzy Johnson has had numerous incarnations, too. Over the years she has been played by Lisa Bobbert, Natasha Sutherland and Judith Silinsky.

Shoo Bop is the pre-cursor to the smash hit long-running Good Vibrations and Staying Alive. It features a line-up of 50’s songs, fabulous costumes, a delicious narrative and some wild dancing. It is the ultimate sing-along feel-good show harnessing memories and nostalgia. It was the first in the Suzy Johnson trilogy – Shoo Bop followed Suzy through the innocent fifties where bobby socks and Bobby Darren were the order of the day. Good Vibrations looked at the tumultuous sixties and that “unwholesome corruption” – rock and roll; and the trilogy ended with Suzy negotiating her way through the disco beat of the 70’s in Staying Alive.

The show also looks at the gradual corruption of innocence. It draws interesting parallels between America then and America now. That was an era defined by a “red under ever bed” – now the witch-hunt is on for terrorists reminding us that no matter how much society changes, on some levels, it all still stays the same….

Shoo-Bop Shoo-Bop is suitable for the whole family and runs at Catalina Theatre from March 16 to April 13 from Tuesday to Saturday at 20h00. Tickets R75 (R45 pensioners and students) with low price previews on March 19, 20 and 22. The official opening is March 25. For more information or to book, contact the Catalina Theatre on 031 305 6889.

Shows on Tuesday and Sunday at 18h00 offer “Buy one get one free”.




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