Rock of Ages
More about the show
The biggest, wildest and most unforgettable year end party is set to hit Johannesburg with the insanely funny, high energy, feel good smash hit musical stage production of the year: Rock of Ages. It’s a sing-along, dancing-in-the-aisle, party show with tons of humour all supporting a charming love story! The South African premier of this multi Tony award-nominated Broadway musical will be live at our Lyric Theatre from Friday, 17 November to Sunday, 10 December 2017.
Have you booked your tickets yet? The smash hit Broadway musical that’s gonna rock the city starts in:
- “Insanely fun!” - (Time Out, New York)
- “Impossible to resist” - (New York Times)
- “Raucous and outrageous fun” - (Las Vegas Sun)
- “High energy feel-good nostalgia” - (Sunday Express)
- “Rock and comedy in perfect proportion” - (Time Out, New York)
- “The power-ballad decade in all its glory” - (Entertainment Weekly)
Meet the talented performers we have lined up and meet the creative team from behind the scenes.
Rock of Ages Main Cast Biographies
It was in his last year of high school in Zimbabwe that Josh discovered that the world of performing arts held a career opportunity for him. With the support of his biggest fan, his father, he set off on the journey of a lifetime.
It was the rush he felt from screams and cheering as he walked out onto stage as Kenickie in his high school production of Grease that convinced Josh that he could be doing this for the rest of his life. He landed a part in the Harare production of Jesus Christ Superstar and for 5 years to follow he burned the candle at both ends performing in just about anything and everything.
Boyband Blockbusters followed. He joined a group called 5STAR, Zimbabwe’s very own pop boy band.
Josh has since appeared in musical theatre productions, sung with numerous rock bands, opera companies, improvisational comedy shows and even recently starred in an Independent Short Film which garnered him a nomination for his portrayal of a United States Marine.
Although Josh never attended any form of tertiary education in music or theatre he has spent ten years honing his craft as a vocalist, musician and an actor and is striving towards earning revere as a world-class singer and entertainer. Josh was recently voted runner-up for the South African smash-hit TV reality show, The Voice.
Claire has performed in theatres from Singapore and China to New Zealand and Hong Kong, has worked with an array of international Directors and Choreographers and received a Fleur Du Cap Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Sally Bowles in the Fugard Theatre’s production of Cabaret. Claire was recently seen in the South African national touring production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Other theatre credits include West Side Story, The Sound Of Music, Sunset Boulevard, Dirty Dancing And Urinetown: The Musical.
Zak completed a National Diploma in Musical Theatre at Tshwane University of Technology. Since graduating he has developed into a multii-talented performer and creator, who has worked under the umbrella of numerous companies as Choreographer, Dancer, Singer and Actor.
His film and TV credits include Bakgat 3, Leon Schuster’s Mr Bones 2, Tremors 5 (Universal Pictures), Donkerland, Sterlopers, Laugh Out Loud 5, My Perfect Family and SABC 2 and 3’s sitcom ASKIES! He was recently featured as the notorious villain, Gavin Greeff in the film adaptation of Ballade Vir ‘n Enkeling.
Recent theatre credits include Liefling – Die Musical, Starlight Express, Footloose directed by Karen Bruce from the UK, Mysterious Skin, Dalliances, Spongebob Square Pants – The Musical, The Rocky Horror Show, Grease, Hair and the Dentist in Little Shop Of Horrors which earned him a Naledi Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He has toured extensively and, when not performing, likes to work as Director and Writer.
| Dennis |
One of South Africa’s veterans of the stage, Craig has had an international career spanning more than 3 decades. After initial work in South Africa, Craig moved to London’s West End where he performed leading roles in musicals for over ten years, most notably Buddy in The Buddy Holly Story and Trevor Graydon In Thoroughly Modern Millie and two Royal Variety performances. He also performed alongside Sir Cliff Richard at the London Palladium and for Sir Paul McCartney at Buddy Holly Week in London. Other theatre credits include The Rocky Horror Show, Hair, Fame, Grease, Contact (Laurence Olivier Award nominee), Annie, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Kiss Me Kate and ROMANCE among others.
When Andrew first played Buddy in the musical The Buddy Holly Story at the State Theatre in 1998, it was only his second theatre production. His first was playing Cookie in Return To The Forbidden Planet, which he performed in his hometown Durban, with follow-up shows in England and Scotland.
Since then, highlights of his musical theatre career include the role of Thomas Crawford in the original South African musical Ons Vir Jou, principal roles in Saturday Night Fever, The Rocky Horror Show, The Doowah Boys, Uptown Guy, Let’s Rock, Boogie Nights and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Andrew also appeared in Janice Honeyman’s hugely successful pantomimes Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty at the Joburg Theatre, as well as cabarets all over South Africa, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Mauritius and Bahrain. Andrew is also a regular Performer, Writer and Director for the Barnyard Theatre, and since 2002 has been involved with hit shows like Glory Days, Forever Young, The Final Countdown, Those Where The Days, Surfing Safari, Born To Run, Harvest Moon, Summer Of Love, Big Top Rock, Sixties Revolution and Hollywood Rocks.
Besides being a busy singer, guitarist and songwriter who’s songs range from commercial to pop, Andrew is also an accomplished screen actor and appeared in Random FireDelta Force 5. He also works as TV presenter on CRUX on SABC1 and Lifestyle on SABC 2 and he has also guest starred as Kevin in Generations on SABC1.
Andrew has more than 2 decades of theatre experience to his credit.
Regina (and Dance Captain)
Natasha van der Merwe
Natasha is a multi-talented Actress, Singer and Dancer with extensive experience in the South African theatre and television industry. She is a versatile Voice Artist, an elegant Emcee and a captivating Choreographer. She achieved distinctions in Drama and Musical Theatre through Trinity College London and dance through ISTD at the Waterfront Theatre School in Cape Town. She is also a qualified Tap and Modern Dance teacher.
Over the last six years, Natasha has performed lead roles in various stage productions, both English and Afrikaans, including Die Van Aardes Van Grootoor written and directed by acclaimed actor Pieter-Dirk Uys, Saturday Night Fever, Peter Pan The Pantomime, directed by Janice Honeyman, Doringrosie directed by Weslee Lauder, as well as Mamma Mia!, Spamalot, Sister Act, Aspoestertjie, Robin Hood And The Babes In The Woods, Aladdin Jnr, Big Bad Musical and Pop Quiz in South Africa.Natasha successfully debuted as Writer and Producer for Dragging 30, which played to sold out houses in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. She has also Directed and Choreographed musical theatre productions for numerous high schools. Natasha has starred in several national and international TV commercials and presented on 101.9 Chai FM & 2Oceans Vibe Radio.
Nompumelelo is an actress and singer. At the tender age of 13 she was selected as 1 of 12 South African youths to partake in a cultural exchange in the arts, performing at the Freud Theatre in LA and Apollo Theatres in New York. She matriculated at the National School of the Arts and went on to acquire a BA Honours Degree in performance from AFDA.
She played a supporting role in the Darrell Roodt film Little One which was featured at the 2013 Oscar Academy Awards. She also played alongside South African legend, Leon Schuster, in his film Mad Buddies. She's had supporting roles in TV shows such as SABC 1's My Perfect Family, SABC 2’s Mhuvango and SABC 3’s Erfsondes, High Rollers and Roer Jou Voete.
On stage she has worked on productions including Songs From Jazz Town, Too Much Punch For Judy, Beautiful Creatures and toured more than 9 countries with AFRICA UMOJA.
| Hertz |
Over the last 18 years, Neels has performed leading roles in Rent, We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia and Annie. He has appeared on local television in Blikskottel and the hugely successful, multi-nominated Kompleks I & II for the SABC. Other highlights include a one-man show and John Proctor in The Crucible. He directed local greats, including Tobie Cronje and Lizz Meiring and was responsible for staging the annual music spectacular Skouspel in 2013. Neels also recently co-wrote and directed his full-length feature film, Land of Milk And Money. Most recently Neels walked away with the Naledi award for Best Director for his work on Altyd In My Drome.
Rock of Ages Other Cast Biographies
Schoeman earned his Vocal Arts Diploma from Tshwane University of Technology and holds a B.Mus Degree with Piano as first instrument from UNISA. After graduating, he travels the world as part of Opera Africa where he also performs solo work. A one-man performance follows in South Africa and he falls in love with working in Musical Theatre. Picture Incomplete, The Adventures Of Oliver Twist and Sweeney Todd follows. Schoeman also works as Musical Director and teaches Music and Interpretation at Oak Youth Theatre and Oakfields College Faculty of Dance and Musical Theatre.
Thokozani Nzima, also known as Zano, was born in eMbalenhle – a mining township in the Mpumalanga province. He has had an extensive career in Musical Theatre, having been featured in Soweto Story, an original South African take on Romeo and Juliet, The Full Monty for Creativentertainment, the South African premier of Rent: The Musical, directed by Anthony Rapp, Knights of Music, The European Tour of Under African Skies for The Barnyard Theatre Group, the Pantomime Robinson Crusoe & The Caribbean Pirates for Janice Honeyman and Sister Act: The Musical for Joburg Theatre. His TV credits include Mthunzini.com for Penguin Films, Sestop La for Black Brain Productions on SABC 1, Generations: The Legacy for Mfundi Vundla Productions on SABC 1.Currently Zano is enjoying a solo music career with an album, “Colours Of My Soul ”, and a Soul/R&B EP, “The Emily EP ”, under his belt. He’s the Creative Director of his own music production house “Klean Kut Kreatives [Pty] Ltd”.
Stefan van Huyssteen
Stefan performs as vocalist with Il Divo in Minorca in 2008. He joins the Bravo Classical Ensemble for a year before moving into the local Barnyard Theatre Circuit where he works as featured vocalist in Big Top Rock, The 7 Wonders And Time Warp. He plays Brad in The Rocky Horror Show, Gaston in Beauty And The Beast and Galileo In We Will Rock You. He has also featured in daily TV Soaps and recorded his first album.
Having graduated with a BA in Dramatic Arts from Wits University in 2014, Yamikani has notched up several stellar amateur theatre performances in his short career thus far including The Julius Caesar Project, The Pillowman and Red, Hot And Cole. His professional debut came with Swingin' Christmas at Gold Reef City's Lyric theatre. His highlights include being cast as Mandela 2 understudy in The Mandela Trilogy for Cape Town Opera which toured to Germany, Italy, Ireland and the U.K. He also played Donkey in the People's Theatre production Shrek Jnr, and was part of the ensemble in Janice Honeyman's Pantomime, Robin Hood and The Babes In The Wood at the Joburg Theatre.
Born in Belgium, Louise moved to South Africa in 2001 at the age of nine. She completed her studies in Musical Theatre at Tshwane University of Technology in 2011. She was featured in The Varga Girls for Montecasino and sings with her Rock Band, Wild Alpha. Theatre Credits include: Ensemble in the TUT productions of Spring Awakening and Sarafina, Vivienne in the TUT production of Legally Blonde, the Princess in The Man and The Mouse and onstage swing/ Alternate Narrator in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for Pieter Toerien Productions that also toured to New Zealand.
Chantal Stanfield is a South African-born Actor, Singer, Dancer, Voice-Artist and all-round performer on stage, small and big screens. She graduated with a BA Theatre and Performance degree from the University of Cape Town in 2005.
Television credits include various lead roles on the TV soap 7de Laan and TV Series’ Montana, S.I.E.S, Geraldina Die Tweede and international series The Philanthropist. Her leading film work includes the new feature film Farewell Ella Bella, Kyknet films Die Staat Se Bul, Gelukbringer and Hondelewe, and short films Coke Town and Tamarind.
Numerous cabaret and tribute shows include brief stints in the Seychelles, London and Turkish tours of 80’S Mania and Queen, Spanish tours of 80’s All Stars and her own one-woman cabaret about South African divas Ladies First, directed by long-time mentor and cabaret doyenne Natalia Da Rocha.
Theatre work includes Annie Jr The Musical, drama Mixed Metaphors and seasons at Cape Town’s burlesque supper club Vaudeville. She headlined the new Afrikaans musical Die Sideboard and played the Stepdaughter in Luigi Pirendello’s Six Characters In Search of an Author at the Market Theatre.
Her most recent and personal work is From Koe’siestes To Kneidlach – her one-woman show, co-produced by her company Kizara Kreative and Theatre on the Square, which tells the cross-cultural story of a girl from the ‘Cape Flats’ getting involved with a Jew-ish boy.
Kyra studied Musical Theatre at Tshwane University of Technology where she performed roles in Sarafina In Black and White And Believe in The Magic. Her professional stage experience includes the People's Theatre production of Shrek Jnr where she played the roles of the Wicked Witch and Teen Fiona in 2015. She was then cast in Storybook Theatre where she played numerous characters. She was also featured in James and The Giant Peach at the National Childrens Theatre, the Broadway musical Shrek and played Gretel in Janice Honeyman’s 2016 pantomime Robinhood and The Babes In The Wood.
Ashleigh studied Musical Theatre at Tshwane University of Technology and Oakfields College, receiving her National Diploma in Dance and Musical Theatre in 2013. In the same year, she received a distinction for her Trinity ATCL Diploma in Musical Theatre Performance. She is currently completing her Honours Degree in Art History. While studying, Ashleigh had the privilege of playing romantic leads in Spring Awakening, African Adventure and Hot Mikado. Her professional theatre credits include Dawid - Die Musical, Liefling- Die Musical, African Adventure, both the Cape Town and Johannesburg seasons of the Fugard Theatre’s The Rocky Horror Show, Shrek – The Musical and Tigerbay. She has also been featured in two TV Commercials for McDonald's and Maggi Senses.
Rock of Ages Creative Team
Jaco van Rensburg (VR Theatrical)
Jaco completed his B.Tech Degree in Musical Theatre at the Pretoria Technikon in 2005. He worked as an actor in numerous international musicals, namely Cats, Chicago, Jersey Boys, Janice Honeyman Pantomimes and many more. He also worked as Choreographer for the Joburg Theatre and Resident Director for Pieter Toerien.
Jaco has always been interested in the business of show business and completed numerous Arts Administration courses online and in New York City, under leadership of Broadway producer, Ken Davenport (Tony© Award-winning producer of Kinky Boots, Spring Awakening and Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America).
VR Theatrical was selected by the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship as one of the businesses to be mentored by Richard Branson’s unique Business School in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Jaco honed his marketing and advertising skills.
VR Theatrical acted as General Manager for UK based female impersonator extraordinaire, Ceri Dupree and co-produced the blockbuster National Tour of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, the SA Premier of Hedwig And The Angry Inch and self-produced a revival of the hilarious quick-change comedy, The Mystery Of Irma Vep with Jonathan Roxmouth and Weslee Swain Lauder.
Elizma completed her studies Cum Laude in Musical Theatre at the Pretoria Technikon in 2005. She has performed, produced and directed various productions around the country. She likes to divide her directorial ventures between existing international work and original South African stories. Her directorial highlights include South African premieres of Urinetown – The Musical, Parade, Hot Mikado, Carrie – The Musical And The Cradle Will Rock. When not directing, Elizma is a yoga instructor and also lectured in Musical Theatre at Oakfields College Faculty of Dance and Musical Theatre.
Elizma devised Naledi, an extravagant South African choral spectacular which was performed in France at the Choralies Vaison la Romaine Festival.
Most recently, Elizma directed the National Tour of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change for VRG Theatrical which ran to rave reviews, as well as the South African premiere of the smash Broadway hit, Hedwig and The Angry Inch. Her latest directorial venture was the national tour of The Mystery Of Irma Vep for VR Theatrical. She currently resides in Cape Town where she acts as Artistic Director for Gate69.
Choreographer & Assistant Director
Weslee LauderBorn and raised in Johannesburg, this creative, multi-talented performer obtained a B-Tech Degree in Musical Theatre (Cum Laude) from Tshwane University of Technology. In 2010 Weslee made his professional debut in Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story at the State Theatre. In 2011, Weslee Choreographed the South African Premiere of Spring Awakening! Weslee put on his creative hat directing Jonathan Roxmouth in both Stage By Stage and From The Footlights, was Creative Director and Choreographer for the Ghoema Music Awards and directed Cinderella – The Pantomime at Emperors Palace which garnered him a Naledi Theatre Award Nomination for Best Director of a Musical. Weslee also premiered a critically acclaimed, neo-contemporary ballet: J’ZEL at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival later that year. Weslee returned to Emperors Palace in 2016, directing Snow White – The Pantomime, choreographed Songs For A New World for Oakfields College and The University of Oklahoma for the Grahamstown National Arts festival. He also choreographed Saturday Night Fever at the South African State Theatre. Weslee was most recently seen on stage as Lady Enid in VR Theatrical’s The Mystery Of Irma Vep alongside Jonathan Roxmouth.
Wessel completed a year of Musical Theatre studies at Pretoria Technikon, South Africa, before graduating at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, with a B.Mus degree (Cum Laude) in 2006. Wessel is a Musical Director, Composer, Arranger, Vocal Coach, Pianist and Musical Theatre practitioner.
Theatre Credits as Musical Director and Arranger include: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Hedwig and The Angry Inch (South African Premiere); Songs For A New World (Oakfields College, NAF Grahamstown 2016); Passing Strange (Oakfields College) The Cradle Will Rock (Oakfields College, South Africa); The Sound Of Music – Children’s MD (South Africa, Singapore, New Zealand and China); Avenue Q (South Korea); Ragtime: The Musical; Dawid: Die Musical (An original South African Musical); The Purr Factory (An original South African Children’s Musical); Ultimate Broadway (Shanghai, China)
Theatre Credits as Assistant Musical Director include: The Sound of Music (South Africa, Singapore, New Zealand and China); Jesus Christ Superstar (International Tour to Greece and South Korea); Saturday Night Fever; The Full Monty; High School Musical (South Africa, China and Indonesia); Aspects Of Love; Cats; Boys In The Photograph; Mamma Mia; Stepping Out.
Other Theatre Credits include: Jersey Boys (South Africa and Turkey); Phantom Of The Opera (South Africa, Philippines, South Korea); Fiddler On The Roof and vocal coach for the ‘Lion King’ Cubschool (a Walt Disney initiative to train the younger members of the cast).
A career highlight thus far, was working on the opening of the new Culture Square Theatre in Shanghai, China in 2011 where he worked with international West End and Broadway theatre stars including Lea Salonga, Eden Espinosa and Ria Jones. Wessel not only performs, but has also lectured in Musical Theatre at the Tshwane University of Technology and also lectured in Repertoire and Ensemble at the Oakfields College Musical Theatre and Dance Faculty. Most recently Wessel composed an original score for VR Theatrical’s The Mystery of Irma Vep. Wessel also acts as Associate Producer for VR Theatrical.
Nadine Minnaar graduated from TUT (Tshwane University of Technology) with Cum Laude, specialising in Scenic and Prop Design. As part of her degree she designed the set and wardrobe for the Opera, Cosi Fan Tutte (Mozart). Over the last 8 years Nadine has made a name for herself, working in the Theatre, TV and Film Industries on productions such as Egoli (Franz Marx Productions), Disney’s High School Musical, Winnie - The Opera, Mamma Mia!, Ester - Die Musical, Dawid - Die Musical, Liefling – Die Musical, Kyknet Fiesta Awards, Pieter Toerien Productions and more. Nadine owns Scene Visual Productions, a creative company that focuses on set design, scenic painting, set building and set coordinating.
Pierre du Plessis
Pierre has been working as a fashion designer for the past decade and has been involved in many aspects of Entertainment. He recently completed designs for Naledi – An African Tribute which toured internationally to France. He specialises in high fashion design, but allows himself the freedom to dabble in the theatre every now and again. Previous corporate clients include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, FNB, Stuttafords, VISA, Nissan, Edgars and ABSA, to name but a few. Most recently Pierre designed costumes for VR Theatrical’s The Mystery Of Irma Vep.
Oliver HauserOliver Hauser’s passion for lighting, his creativity, integrity, ambition and energetic work ethic has become well known in the South African industry in a remarkably short period of time. Oliver has designed, co-ordinated and managed lighting for productions at prestigious international venues in Barcelona, Paris, Zurich, Berlin, Beijing and more. He has worked on more than 100 productions since 2007 across a wide range of genres: drama, comedy, opera, musicals, avant-garde dance, contemporary music, conceptual performance & corporate functions. Hauser is carving a niche for himself as one of the country’s most respected talents in lighting design. Oliver currently works as Principal lighting designer & technical manager at Hauser Lighting Design (Pty) Ltd. Career highlights include lighting designs for The Crucible and Marat/Sade at the UJ Arts Centre, The Coloured Museum at the Market Theatre, Athol Fugard’s Boesman and Lena for the Baxter Theatre Complex, African Footprint on the China Tour and Associate Lighting Designer on Disney’s High School Musical. Most recently Oliver worked on VR Theatrical’s The Mystery Of Irma Vep as lighting designer.
The impressive 28 nostalgic rock anthems will be performed by an incredible live band, and led by acclaimed Musical Director, Wessel Odendaal. Catch the 80's greatest hits Cum on Feel the Noize, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Renegade and more in this spectacular show.