It’s great to see local stories coming alive on the stage. While Andrew Lloyd Weber and musicals the likes of Cats and Les Miserables are incredible to watch, it’s wonderful to see local productions making waves in the same arena. Durban-born Neil Coppen is currently in New York pitching his concept for Lazarus Man at the 2015 International Society for the Performing Arts Conference. The project, which is the work of a “cracker creative team” that includes Vaughan Sadie, Sihle Mthembu, Mpapa Mazola, Madala Kunene and Elizabeth Bradley, tells the story of the life and death of legendary maskandi musician, Khulekani ‘Mgqumeni’ Khumalo. Mgqumeni passed away in 2009 after consuming a poisonous potion brewed by a healer, but made headlines again in 2012 when someone claiming to be him said that he had never died, but had in fact been held hostage by zombies who were preparing a ritual to transform him into a tokoloshe! With certain family members saying that they believed the man (who turned out to be an imposter) to be the ‘resurrected’ Mgqumeni the story was featured in newspapers the world over.
Good luck to Neil and his team. We can’t wait to see Lazurus Man on the stage!