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

MARILYN AT CASCADES (article first published : 2001-09-22)

There’s an exciting new venue on the block. The Durban beachfront “block”, to be precise, with the Blue Waters Hotel offering supper theatre at its brand new elegant Cascades. The first show to grace the Cascades stage is Marilyn Live – a sophisticated tragi-comedy about the life of phenomenal larger-than-life screen icon – Marilyn Monroe.

Scripted and directed by Lisa Melman and David Fleminger, the production examines the remarkable life of a remarkable woman. The production recently had a season at the Mixer in Melville featuring Angela Kilian in the title role, winning her a VITA Award for best actress. The Durban season features the welcome return to the city’s theatre scene after three years of the vivacious and talented Julie Hartley.

“It is so apt that it will take place in Durban as this is where my musical career started with Singin’ in the Rain and John Moss’s Cinderella,” says Julie. “My first lead, Singin’ in the Rain, was when the late Geoffrey Sutherland got the idea to involve me in a Marilyn show as they had a huge cut-out of me in the foyer at the Playhouse in a blonde wig and showgirl outfit. Many people walked by this poster saying, “I didn’t know Marilyn Monroe was in Singin’ in the Rain. My mom was able to put a few people straight, telling them the poster was of her daughter and not of Marilyn Monroe!

Geoffrey’s show never came to fruition and Julie admits that, while very much a Norma Jean look-alike at 16, she could never have understood the complexities of Marilyn Monroe then. Now a good deal older with more life experience, she’s ready to do justice to the actress’s life.

About ten years ago, Julie met Lisa Melman who was also intrigued by the thought of Julie playing Marilyn. “Now she has provided the vehicle along with David Fleminger,” adds Julie. “Their script is superb and thoroughly researched and I am so excited to make my return in Durban, where the dream of playing Marilyn all began. I hope this will be a fantastic run for all of us - quite aptly, in a wonderful brand new venue!!” said Julie.

Marilyn Live takes a probing look at the star’s career, colourful life, much-publicised relationships and amazing screen career as well as the allegations concerning conspiracy theories and her dramatic death. Her sexy breathy voice has immortalised songs such as My Heart Belongs to Daddy, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, I Wanna Be Loved By You and Heatwave.

Marilyn starts previewing on October 2. Tickets R120 per person Wednesday to Saturday performances which include a three-course meal. Special discounted performances on Tuesday and Sunday for R95 (two-course meal)

Book through the Blue Waters Hotel on (031) 332-4272 or through Computicket, credit cards on (011) 34-8000/083 915-8000 or visit www.computicket.com




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