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'Tsotsi' to become musical for the stage

By Patience Bambalele | 2017-08-16 10:54:16.0

Oscar Award-winning local film Tsotsi has been turned into a musical production.

Adapted from Athol Fugard's fiction story published in 1980, Tsotsi was turned into a film in 2005 and went on to achieve top prize in the best foreign language category at the Academy Awards in the US.

The story is about a deadly gangster who suddenly develops a change of heart when he is forced to care for a baby he had unintentionally kidnapped. Kwaito star and composer Zwai Bala has been roped in to compose the music alongside Mkhululi Mabija.

Award-winning directors Neil Coppen and Khayelihle Dom Gumede will stir the production process.

Bala said it took him two years on and off to put together the 22 songs with lyrics by Mabija. "When we created the music, we wanted it to be able to live on for decades to come. We did not just want township music on stage, we worked on music that will take you to different phases when listening to it."

Gumede said Tsotsi was a fantastic and big project for the team.

"We are looking forward to turning the piece of literature into a beautiful musical. Tsotsi is a classic tale and I get excited to tell such stories."

Gumede said that when Gavin Hood turned the book into a film it became a beautiful story that entertained the whole world. "We hope the musical will be able to capture the imagination of theatre lovers and take it to another level. We just pray that we get a dynamic and exciting cast that will excite audiences."

He said their mission was to unpack the social issues facing the country that were being ignored like crime and the killing of people. "We are excited to turn this incredible black narrative into a reality. We are trying to unpack the psychology behind it."

Terry Pheto, who became a star of the film Tsotsi and won an award, applauded the directors who came up with the idea of a musical. "I think it is a fantastic idea. Classic stories like this should be celebrated. I know that the music played a big role in that film and I can imagine how it would sound when on stage."

The musical will be staged in February next year at the Cape Town Opera Theatre.