Wait a Minim!

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Wait a Minim! is a musical review conceived by Leon Gluckman, and co-written with Andrew Tracey, Paul Tracey and Jeremy Taylor.

The original text

The piece started out as some songs the musicians had written for two musical reviews that played in Johannesburg and in Rhodesia in 1961, the original Wait a Minim and Minim Bili ("Minim the second" in Zulu). In 1963, the best items from the two shows were combined and taken to London under the original title of Wait a Minim!, thereafter touring many countries between 1964 and 1967. (The later text also referred to as Minim Export in some sources).


It was first performed in its final form at the Intimate Theatre in Johannesburg in 1962, opening on 17 January, directed by Leon Gluckman with musicians Andrew Tracey and Paul Tracey, Kendrew Lascelles and Jeremy Taylor, with designs by Anthony Farmer.

The production then toured the country for eleven months, visiting Durban’s Alhambra Theatre, Rhodesia, Cape Town, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth before returning to Johannesburg to play at the Alexander Theatre and the Colony in Hyde Park Hotel.

After more than two years performing in Africa, the show moved to London, where it opened at the Fortune Theatre on April 9, 1964. The London large production was billed as follows: Devised and directed by Leon Gluckman, musical arrangements and direction by Andrew Tracey, costumes by Heather MacDonald-Rouse, choreography by Frank Staff and Kendrew Lascelles and lighting and design supervised by Klaus Holm. The consisted of Andrew Tracey, Paul Tracey, Jeremy Taylor, Kendrew Lascelles, Michel Martel, Zelide Jeppe, Jeannette James and Dana Valery.

After more than two years in London, the show moved to Broadway, where it opened at the John Golden Theatre on 7 March 1966, to run for 456 performances until 15 April 1967. In this case the cast included Sarah Atkinson, Andrew Tracey, Paul Tracey, April Olrich, Nigel Pegram, Kendrew Lascelles, Michel Martel and Dana Valery.

The piece was ultimately performed all over the world between 1962 and 1968, including seasons in South Africa, Rhodesia, England, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and 461 shows spanning more than a year on Broadway in New York. The show had over 50 instruments on show, many of them African, and the ethnomusicologist Andrew Tracey helped educate the world about unique African instruments, including the kalimba - even appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson a number of times. This musical performance career put Andrew's ethnomusicology research on hold.

Translations and adaptations



Percy Tucker 1997. Just the Ticket. My 50 Years in Show Business. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.

Photographs by photographer David Sim of scenes from Leon Gluckman's production of Wait a Minim, including Michel Martel, April Olrich, Dana Valery and Jane Fyffe in the medieval scene and Jane Fyffe, Dana Valery and April Olrich in the Mexican scene held by NELM: Photograph collection; Photograph collection [Collection: GLUCKMAN, Leon]: 1995. 2. 7. 1. 44. 24.

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