MUSICAL THEATRE, Cape Town, Silver Screen at Theatre On The Bay, June 5-8, 2019.

Silver Screen –inspired by music from classic and contemporary film

Performers: students of LAMTA – Luitingh Alexander Musical Theatre Academy, Cape Town

Directors: Anton Luitingh and Duane Alexander

Choreographers: Adele Blank, Brigitte Reeve, Hope Maimane, Michelle Reid, Duane Alexander, Ilona Frege, Ashley Searle, Robin van Wyk and Sven-Eric Müller

Tickets: R100 at Computicket or at Theatre on the Bay

INTERVIEW: Anton Luitingh

Silver Screen is the maiden production of LAMTA – the music theatre academy that Luitingh heads up with Duane Alexander on the premises of Pieter Toerien’s Theatre on the Bay.

LAMTA opened its doors early this year (January 27, 2019) and here they are – 28 students singing and dancing in a showcase inspired by music from classic and contemporary films.

Films with music seem to be exploding onto the big screen. Following on the success of Bohemian Rhapsody – based on the extraordinary life of Freddy Mercury and Queen- there are a spate of musically enhanced films in the wings. Saw Rocketman – the Elton John story – at Labia Theatre on the weekend. Other musical/biopic music-maker films to look out for are: Aladdin, Cats, The Lion King and Yesterday (as in The Beatles).

Anton Luitingh talks …

TheCapeRobyn: Can you tell us about Silver Screen. Is the whole class on stage? All 28?

Anton Luitingh: We aim to do three productions per year at LAMTA that celebrates the diversity and triple threat skills of our students, so usually this means a dance production, an acting piece and something musical theatre. For our very first LAMTA Production we have chosen to go the dance route and we wanted to include every student in it. So, yes every LAMTA student has an opportunity to showcase some aspect of their dance training. There are some students with vast dance experience and others with very little, this didn’t matter to us, we wanted everyone to be involved in our first LAMTA Production and so we therefore commissioned a number of choreographers to create works that celebrate the passion, inspiration, work ethic and dreams of our students, whilst simultaneously showcasing their talents. We chose a theme that appeals to everybody: the silver screen – aka the movies – and our choreographers have created a celebration of powerful and exciting dance to some of your favourite movie-music hits.

TheCapeRobyn: Amazing list of choreographers. Are these existing choreographic pieces or have the choreographers created the choreography specifically for Silver Screen?

Anton Luitingh: We couldn’t be more excited about the line-up of choreographers we have assembled for our first production. They are all established leaders in the South African dance industry. We are honoured to have them work with our students and the students are having the time of their lives learning from these remarkably talented and inspirational individuals. With the exception of Robin van Wyk’s repertory piece Funeral Blues, all of the pieces have been choreographed specifically for our LAMTA production which is another exciting reason to come and see Silver Screen.

TheCapeRobyn: Amazing that four months into the academic year – the LAMTA students are performing on the Theatre at the Bay stage?

Anton Luitingh: It was more than a dream come true when Pieter Toerien Productions suggested that LAMTA opens its doors on the top of the Theatre on the Bay. This theatre has a special place in the hearts of many audiences, performers, theatre makers, South African theatre legends and international stars – so to be able to introduce this very special space to a new generation of future talent is extraordinary. To think that many of our students will return to perform on this stage in time to come as fully-fledged professionals is an extremely exciting prospect both for the industry, LAMTA and for the TOTB itself. The opportunities that the symbiosis between the TOTB and LAMTA offers students is unique and endless.

TheCapeRobyn: LAMTA students have popped up already in two Theatre on the Bay productions – 4 Love – cameo roles and in Offbeat Broadway – a fabulous opening Broadway audition number?

Anton Luitingh: We try our best to give the students as many onstage experiences as possible if it feels appropriate, as we are also wary of putting them onto the stage half-baked. However, the official LAMTA productions like Silver Screen are intended to give the students an opportunity to implement their work on their ‘home’ stage at the Theatre on the Bay, to work in the environment that they see professionals working in on a daily basis and to showcase their awesome talents.

TheCapeRobyn: In addition to on stage work, students are getting technical experience– lighting, sound etc?

Anton Luitingh: Oh yes! We are great believers in our students getting their hands dirty on all aspects of theatre craft. There is so much to learn about in this industry of ours and to actually get an opportunity to work practically on both the technical aspects as well as performance elements within a production, will serve all our students in the long run, even if it just to respect the role that everyone plays in the theatre, because they have been there and experienced it for themselves in some way.

*Rehearsal pics on this post by Duane Alexander.

*Silver Screen is on at Theatre on the Bay, June 5-8, 2019. Tickets: R100 at Computicket or at Theatre on the Bay