Interview: Terry Fortune’s Golden Oldies on the Lawn concert and picnic, is sold out for its inaugural event at the Baxter, on Saturday February 26, 2022, at 5pm
|What: Terry Fortune’s Golden Oldies on the Lawn – concert and picnic in The Baxter Garden |
When and where: Saturday February 26, 2022, at 5pm in the garden at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town
Bookings: Through Webtickets – but the concert is sold out
Baxter website: http://www.baxter.co.za/
Featuring: Terry Fortune, Sylvia Mdunyelwa, Leslie Kleinsmith, Vernon Castle, Erica Lundi, Zelda Benjamin, Deziray, Neesa Abrahams, Madeegha Anders and Phillip Swales
Band: Under the musical directorship of Sammy Hartman, comprises Lionel Beukes (base), Denver Furness (drums) and Darryl Andrews (guitar)
Host and DJ: Mark Banks is master of ceremonies and Stan The Jazzman is DJ
Terry Fortune’s Golden Oldies on the Lawn – concert and picnic in the Baxter Garden – is sold out – for its inaugural event – on Saturday, February 26 at 5pm. Terry Fortune – aka Tyrone Robertson or should we say Tyrone Robertson aka Terry Fortune –keep reading – is thrilled that the concert has received a rapturous response- a week ahead of the event. There was a booking frenzy, last weekend (Feb 19, 20) and tickets were snapped up. It is the time of Covid. As per lockdown regulations, seating capacity has to be strictly enforced, even though it is an outdoor event, so there are no more seats available.
Terry Fortune is the stage name of Tyrone Robertson. Terry Fortune was the name that Robertson conjured up when he launched his career as a drag artist, in 1971. Robertson pivoted swiftly into the persona of Terry Fortune, when he was invited to try his luck at talent competition, in a hotel in Johannesburg. Hiring a green sequined dress and wig, from a costumier, he presented himself as Terry Fortune – and won. It was a leap from his former life as a social worker. He was hooked on showbiz. [Source: TheCapeRobyn interview, 2007]. Terry Fortune always sang and did not lip synch. In addition to performing drag, he has also performed, sans makeup, costumes and makeup.
In 2007, when he was preparing for his role in David Kramer’s The Kramer Petersen Songbook, at the Baxter (a tribute to the late Taliep Petersen),Tyrone Robertson told me that he was reserving Terry Fortune for the stage. Tyrone was taking over- away from the limelight. That didn’t exactly transpire as people have become so attuned to Terry Fortune that the lines have blurred between Tyrone and Terry. What is in a name? Terry Fortune/Tyrone Robertson: It adds up to a human of tremendous talents who has made an impact as a drag artist and as an iconic singer – and vital legend- with awards and nominations for major awards (such as the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award). He received the kykNET Fiëstas Legend award in 2021, for his acclaimed performances and contribution to the entertainment industry. He last performed at the Baxter, in Remembering The Lux and is excited to return to the Baxter, as a performer.
For this interview, as he prepares for the Golden Oldies Concert, on Saturday, it is Tyrone talking, he tells me. Still, I slip back to calling him Terry. Never mind the name, Tyrone/Terry is passionate about the launch of Golden Oldies: “Everyone had difficult times in Covid but it was particularly tough for senior citizens in their 60s 70s and 80s. We had to be careful to stay indoors because of our age and health concerns. That was very isolating. Never mind the pandemic, senior citizens in the arts are often side-lined and not acknowledged. The idea behind Golden Oldies is to take back our dignity and remind people that we may be yesterday’s heroes but we are a vital part of the arts community and going forward we have a role to play as the arts industry revives. So with this concert, Golden Oldies, we are paying tribute to senior citizens in our community, who are revered artists and we are showcasing the incredible talent. All artists and the band members, DJ and MC and sound technicians, are over 60. The youngest person is Madeegha Anders. Leslie Kleinsmith is the 2nd youngest at 68. Our oldest is 88: Zelda Benjamin. We hope to develop the concept and host other events. We envisage an ongoing platform to showcase and pay tribute to the senior contingent of artists. Everyone has equal status on this show. There are no stars. I am just one of the artists.” For the Golden Oldies Show, he will not be performing in drag. He is one of the singers; part of the company of artists. They will treat the audience to favourites like This is My Life, On the Wings of Love, Spain, My Funny Valentine, Inside So Strong and It’s Raining Men.
At the age of 73, Tyrone/Terry is very much on the boards. His birthday is on January 12 and true to his Zodiac star sign, Capricorn (apparently the ‘strongest’ star sign), he is a creative force, performing and out and about at events, supporting other artists. He keeps threatening to retire. It hasn’t happened- yet. In lockdown, he was a guest artist on numerous shows, live and streamed, online. Currently, he has several projects on the boil. He would like to take some time out- maybe- switch off his WhatsApp – for at least a few days.
* For Golden Oldies on Sunday, February 26, at the Baxter, people are invited to bring picnic baskets and blankets. Note: Only alcohol purchased from The Baxter’s bar will be permitted. Patrons are asked to arrive early for Covid check-in – temperature checks, sanitising etc. Featured image – some of the artists involved in Golden Oldies. Pic: Fahiem Stellenboom.