National School of Arts wows audiences with punchy musical

Published May 19, 2024


In celebration of South Africa’s musical icons including master of the theatre stage, Mbongeni Ngema, Mango Groove, Brenda Fassie, Jonas Gwangwa and other musical icons, the National School of the Arts (NSA) once again unleashed its dance and musical talent for all to see with a punchy musical production titled S’hot Left Broadway.

The Naledi Awards-nominated S’hot Left Broadway, which showcased at the Soweto Theatre’s Gibson Kente stage, is testament to the young local talent lurking in our midst.

It is one of those theatre productions that leaves you in awe of the talent in our households and neighbourhoods that sometimes goes unnurtured and unrealised.

The story itself is about hopes and dreams and some of the pitfalls young people go through in trying to achieve their aspirations.

The show not only celebrates the country’s 30 years of democracy, but tells the story of dreams, love, betrayal and redemption, while also giving props to the country’s rich musical heritage.

The play, whose limited run began on Thursday and ended yesterday, is written by Tshepo Ratona and directed and choreographed by Lesego van Niekerk.

Speaking to The Star on Saturday, following a standing ovation from the audience, Van Niekerk said having moulded a cast of young actors for just over eight weeks and seeing the end result has left her in awe of how far they have come together as a team.

“S’hot Left Broadway’ is about dreams and what it takes to achieve them. I think a lot of people can relate to that. But what is interesting about the Naledi’s journey (main character) is that she takes a s’hot left, and this s’hot left takes her into this world that many of us have thought about but do not know what this world is like. It’s about dreams, trauma, generational curses and generational blessings and dreams that are realised and not realised,” she said.

Overall, the ensemble production with music as a backdrop comes off as a typical, yet strongly formulated, musical cascade which pierces together themes of dreams, legacy and the quest for success against a backdrop of beloved South African musical repertoire.

The story line follows Naledi (Kelebogile Makhene), whose pursuit of her dream role as Sarafina ‒ juxtaposed against familial challenges and encounters with departed souls and iconic artists ‒ takes her to an otherworldly waiting room where she must figure out her challenges and dreams before she fully realises her fate.

It is here that she must confront her familial challenges while also meeting her soul mate.

Brenda Sakellarides, artistic director of the National School of the Arts, said the production underscores the significance of this debut at Soweto Theatre. “The NSA seeks broader exposure to share our unique creativity with a wider audience. Performing in the Gibson Kente Theatre is a crucial step towards showcasing our talents at a national level.”

The Star

[email protected]