Show Boat

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Show Boat is a musical in two acts by Jerome Kern (1885–1945)[1] and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895–1960) [2].

The original text

Based on a 1926 novel of the same name by Edna Ferber, it is generally considered to be the first true American "musical play". The show opened on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on December 27, 1927, where it ran for a year and a half.

Translations and adaptations

Janice Honeyman devised a local South African rendition of the play in 2005.

Performance history in South Africa

1963: Anthony Farmer directed and designed a production for JODS, with Inia Te Wiata, Marie van Zyl, Olive King, Ronnie Shelton, Shirley Arden and the Carpedium Choir at the Civic Theatre.

1964: JODS repeated the production at The Civic, and then took it to the Alhambra Theatre, African Theatre’s Cape Town venue, where the Eoan Group replaced the Capedium Choir.

1971: Staged by the Port Elizabeth Gilbert and Sullivan Society in 1971.

1979: Presented by CAPAB Music opening 13 October at the Nico Malan Opera House, directed by David Matheson with Gé Korsten and Joel Thomas, Suzanne Davies, Jean Dell, Sharon Lynne, Philip Godawa, Betty Mthombeni, Tom St Clair-Laing, Paddy Canavan and others. Musical director Gerry Bosman, choreography by Audrey Turner, sets by Bruno Santini, costumes by Penny Simpson, lighting by John T. Baker.

1984: Directed by Anthony Farmer for PACT Opera at the Pretoria State Theatre in December, with Bess Arlene, Mayo Miza, with Ed Barrett and Pieter Niemann alternating the role of Gaylord Ravenals. Chris van den Berg, (costume designs), Nic Michaletos (set design).

1994: Presented by PACOFS at the Sand du Plessis Theatre from 22 February to 10 March, directed by Philip Godawa, starring Judy Page, Sanet Allen, John Hussey, Phillip Kotze, Pinkie Mtshali and others. Choreography by Brian Hill, set designed by Keith Anderson.

2005: Cape Town Opera's South African rendition of the play was first premiered by Cape Town Opera in Cape Town, directed by Janice Honeyman, with Mannie Manim (lighting designer), Johan Engels (set and costume designer) and Timothy le Roux (choreographer), with Birrie le Roux assisting with additional costume design. The cast included Anton Luitingh/Pieter Tredoux (Steve/Jeb/Jim), Mauro Faraoni (Pete), Stella Magaba (Queenie), David Bennie (Windy), Mike Huff ("Capt. Andy"), Malcolm Terrey (alt. "Capt Andy"), Diane Wilson/Elizabeth Frandsen (Parthy), Maggie Benedict (Child), Genevieve Benny (Julie), Catherine Daymond/Dominique Paccaut (Ellie), Grant Almirall (Frank), Brad Drummer (Gaylord Ravenal), Graham Clarke (Sherriff Vallon), Angela Kerrison/Lindy Abromowitz (Magnolia), Kaiser Nkosi/Otto Maidi (Joe), Vuyisile Hlaka/Quintin Booysen (Rubberface), James Skinner (Backwoodsman), Albert Horne (Jake) and others. The show then went on to travel widely, including Norway, Sweden Germany and France, for a number of seasons.

2014: The Cape Town Opera version was revived for a short season in Cape Town, once more directed by Janice Honeyman with the same creative team, and went on tour to the UK.


Tucker, 1997. 177-8.

Theatre programme of the 1963 production held by NELM: [Collection: THEATRE PROGRAMMES]: 2016. 45. 157.

Show Boat theatre programme, CAPAB 1979.

Material held by NELM re PACT Opera producion, 1984.

Cape Town Opera theate programme, 2005.

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