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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

NEW SEASON OF AFRICAN FOOTPRINT (article first published : 2008-07-20)

African Footprint, South Africa’s most successful touring stage musical of the past decade, is now back home in Gold Reef City but this time at the new state-of-the-art Lyric Theatre. During this season, organisers are negotiating offers to move into major theatre venues in the USA and London’s West End in 2009.

The production has played more than 3,800 performances since its debut at the resort’s old Globe theatre in May 2000. Nicknamed ‘The People’s Musical’ by reviewers in North America, Europe and the Far East, its cast has grown from the original 12 dancers and four drummers to today’s company of 34.

The non-stop, 90-minute musical story of Africa’s emergence onto the world stage is linked by the poetry of Sophiatown legend Don Mattera. Executive producer Richard Loring estimates the long-running hit has put more than approximately 200 South African performers into the international spotlight on the its way to opening in London and New York: “We’ve had offers before now to play on Broadway and in the West End,” he says. “Featuring in the Royal Variety Show in December 2000 to a TV viewership measured in tens of millions made us a global attraction overnight - just a few months after we opened in Gold Reef City.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen then. The British tour we planned thereafter was cancelled due to an economic slowdown caused by a ‘foot-and-mouth’ epidemic. But I don’t regret it. African Footprint’s reputation has continued to grow worldwide through our constant touring and highly acclaimed performances. We’re bigger and better than ever, and ready now to put South Africa on the biggest musical stages of them all, on Broadway and the West End.”

The show will tour North America and Europe between September and December, immediately following the South Africa run. Tour bookings continue to pour in for the rest of 2008 with more than 40 shows scheduled so far in Mexico, the USA and France, in the major centres.




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