One of the great things about living in our nation’s capital is the tremendous access we have to theatrical art of all kinds. This includes Broadway national tours, but also over a hundred other resident professional theatre productions each year at our acclaimed regional theatres. Perhaps less known is the fact that Washington, DC plays host to at least several international theatrical productions each year - some of which involve internationally acclaimed performers. This month, for example, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is playing host to the US premiere of the Sibojama Theatre Company production of Songs of Migration, a jazz-infused tribute to the songs of late 19th century African migrants from all across the vast continent seeking new opportunities in South Africa.
Songs of Migration was conceived by lauded South African trumpeter, composer, and lyricist Hugh Masekela and James Ngcobo, a prominent South African television and stage actor who also wrote and directs this show. This musical tribute, featuring songs compiled and arranged by Masekela and Ngcobo, was first produced in South Africa to critical acclaim and is currently receiving a production in the United Kingdom before it arrives at the Kennedy Center on October 17. The piece will expose our local audiences to South Africa’s rich and transformative cultural history and highlight, through stories and songs, the experiences of those migrants that shaped South Africa’s cultural profile. A cast of nine, including Masekela himself and Sibongile Khumalo in the Lead Storyteller roles, and a five-member band showcase Masekela’s music as well as the works of other prominent African songwriters, including Mackay Davashe, Joseph Shabalala, Victor Ndlazilwane, Gibson Kente, Dorothy Masuka, and Miriam Makeba.
This production plays at the John F. Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre – 2700 F Street, NW in Washington, DC from October 17 to October 20, 2012. All tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 202-467-4600 or online.
Look for the Broadway World review of the production shortly after the run.
Photo: Provided by the Kennedy Center