Up On The Roof – The Carole King Songbook

Director: Elizma Badenhorst
Cast: Ashleigh Butcher (bass, guitar, ukelele), Louise Duhain (piano/keyboards), Angelica Hattingh (guitar), Sanli Jooste (cello), Neo Motaung (percussion) and Tiisetso Sefatsa (percussion)

Producer: VR Theatrical  

Cape Town- Theatre On The Bay, 1 Link Street, Camps Bay  
Date: October 5 – 21, 2023  
Show times: Tuesdays – Saturdays at 8pm with matiness on Saturdays at 3pm
Tickets:  R150 – R300 at Webtickets or contact Theatre On The Bay at (021) 438-3300/1

Johannesburg- Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, Montecasino, Fourways  
Date: November 1 – 26, 2023
Show times: Wednesdays – Saturdays at 8pm with matinees on Saturday at 4pm and Sundays at 3pm
Tickets:  R150 – R300 Webtickets or contact Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre at (011) 511-1988

Running Time:  2 hours, inclusive of a 20 minute interval.   No age restriction.  

Thrilling news is that VR Theatrical is presenting, Up On The Roof – The Carole King Songbook – in Cape Town at Theatre on the Bay (October 5 – 21, 2023) and in Johannesburg at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre (November 1 – 26, 2023). This musical tribute to the legendary singer/songwriter is a new production, conceived by VR Theatrical and is directed by Elizma Badenhorst. The show features an all-female cast of talented South African. They are singers and play a range of instruments: Ashleigh Butcher, Louise Duhain, Angelica Hattingh, Sanli Jooste, Neo Motaung and Tiisetso Sefatsa. This is the second offering in VR Theatrical’s Staged Songbook genre and follows its acclaimed Here’s To You – The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook. As with The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook, Up On The Roof – The Carole King Songbook, has been conceptualised around a narrative arc. The title, Up On The Roof, references Carole King’s hit song of the same name- which she wrote with Gerry Goffin and was recorded in 1962 by The Drifters. The song became a major hit in early 1963. In Up On The Roof – The Carole King Songbook, six friends “gather on a rooftop, observing the people below as they recount memories of yesteryear.” Consider lyrics from the song:

“When this old world starts getting me down,
And people are just too much for me to face—
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space …”

Ahh – we all need to go up on a roof – and just breathe and sing along to the stirring lyrics and melodies of Carole King. Read on for more. Info as supplied:

About Up On The Roof – The Carole King Songbook

Set high above the hustle and bustle of a city street, six friends gather on a rooftop, observing the people below as they recount memories of yesteryear. 

This original South African theatrical offering is a tribute to Carole King’s remarkable career, as songwriter and artist, featuring her iconic songs. The production sports an all-female cast of six talented multi-instrumentalists who will bring you the hits of Carole King to life like you’ve never heard them before

Behind the Scenes

If you walk into the back entrance of the Pieter Toerien Theatre at Montecasino in the next couple of weeks, you’ll hear the sounds of pianos, guitars and six heavenly female voices.  Rehearsals for a brand new production is underway…

From the producers that brought audiences the unforgettable Here’s To You – The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook, VR Theatrical proudly presents this year’s highly anticipated musical tribute: Up On The Roof – The Carole King Songbook; a second installment in the Staged Songbook genre. This extraordinary production pays homage to the timeless music of the legendary singer-songwriter, Carole King.  But it is so much more than a regular music tribute show.

Says Van Rensburg of VR Theatrical: “It is always exciting and scary in equal measures to create and develop new productions. You embark on a journey with a spark of an idea, but you have no idea where exactly it will lead.  When we auditioned for the production, we asked singer-musicians to sing two of Carole King’s songs and the response was overwhelming.  We hand-picked six extraordinary South African female artists and much of the development is happening in the rehearsal room without a script.  We are lucky to also have extraordinary humans as part of the creative team who are guiding the process expertly!”

The material

Carole King.  You know the name, but we’re sure you don’t know how many hit songs she wrote.  Her second album, Tapestry, has been certified platinum fourteen times and has sold an estimated thirty million copies, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.

But why a theatre production?  Up On The Roof – The Carole King Songbook – honours the Journey of a music Legend and storyteller.  In 1957, Carole King, a 15-year-old pianist donning a poodle skirt, embarked on her musical odyssey. She rode the elevator to the Manhattan office of a record label, armed with a stack of sheet music and a determined spirit, all in pursuit of an audition for her songs. As a Brooklyn teenager, King had witnessed the genesis of rock ‘n’ roll and wondered if she could be a part of it. Her determination and undeniable talent led her to sign her first contract with ABC-Paramount that same year.

Renowned for her extraordinary contributions to the music industry, Carole King not only wrote for herself, but wrote hundreds of hit songs for other artists.  Her compositions had left an indelible mark with iconic songs such as Aretha Franklin’s You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, Little Eva’s The Locomotion (long before Kylie would cover it) and the Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.

Up On The Roof – The Carole King Songbook promises to capture the essence of Carole King’s incredible journey and bring it to life on stage like never before. Audiences can expect to hear all of King’s greatest hits, each song a testament to her life experiences, including those composed while her children were asleep.

“I did not grow up with Carole King, but discovered her music and lyrics in my late twenties,” says Wessel Odendaal, musical director of the production.  “Her lyrics are meaningful and fragile and has a theatrical sensibility about them.  I liked the idea of turning each song into an episodic musical moment which our cast could then impress their own life experience on.”

The cast comprises six multi-talented South African women who have appeared in touring productions around the world.  They are Ashleigh Butcher (bass, guitar, ukelele), Louise Duhain (piano/keyboards), Angelica Hattingh (guitar), Sanli Jooste (cello), Neo Motaung (percussion) and Tiisetso Sefatsa (percussion).

Under direction of Elizma Badenhorst (A Christmas Carol, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rock of Ages) and with music direction by Wessel Odendaal (Here’s To You – The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook, Star+Crossed, Forever Plaid) this production promises to be an enchanting evening filled with unforgettable melodies and heartfelt lyrics, whether you are a longtime fan or new to Carole King’s timeless music.


Want to host a bachelorette party, ladies’ night or other event and turn an occasion into a theatrical event?  Block booking rates are available for 10 or more for Up On the Roof – The Carole King Songbook.

For more information, contact Geraldine on (011) 511 1988 or geraldine@montetheatre.co.za for more information  

VR Theatrical on social media  
Facebook https://web.facebook.com/VRTheatrical/
nstagram  @vrtheatrical
Website www.vrtheatrical.com  
Suggested further reading about Carole King and the Tapestry Album:  https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/carole-king-tapestry/  

✳ Sponsored content. Images supplied.