The Piano Men
Though similar in concept, this South African production is not to be confused with a similarly conceived and titled show created and performed in the USA between 2017 and 2019, or the range of specific tributes entitled inter alia The Piano Men: A Tribute to Elton John & Billy Joel (created by in early 2015 by pianists, Micah Snow and Chris Smallwood), Piano Men: The music of Elton and Billy (a chamber concert by Chris Eastburn and Joe Boucher, 2019), and so on - all probably deriving their concept and title from the 2009 album of the same name featuring Elton John and Billy Joel themselves.
The original text
Originally conceived and produced Jackie Cunniffe, the text was written by Wendy Watson and the first production in 1994 was directed by Kenlynn Ashby. In the show, three singers take turns at a grand piano, to provide a showcase of piano-based chart-toppers, ranging from songs by Nat King Cole, George Gershwin and Fats Waller to contemporary pop artists such as Freddie Mercury, Billy Joel, Bruce Hornsby & the Range, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Phil Collins.
Translations and adaptations
Performance history in South Africa
1994: Staged at the Billboard Dinner Theatre in Durban, going on to performances in Pietermaritzburg, the Grahamstown Festival and in Stellenbosch.
2000: Restaged by Jackie Cunniffe at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban, June 13 to 25, with Tim Wells, Brendan Jury and De Wet Wraight. Music direction was by Chris Letcher, new choreography by Dean Bennewith and set and lighting design by Stephen Woodroffe.
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