What is on - Love, Loss and What I Wore
(20 Jun 2011)

Love, Loss and What I Wore

Today's Show:
The cast of Love, Loss and What I Wore will be joining us in studio to chat about the production, their careers and Gaynor Young's theatre accident.

An intimate collection of stories by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron - based on the book by Ilene Beckerman.

Directed by Moira Blumenthal
Starring: Kate Normington, Rika Sennett, Anne Power, Christel Mutombo and Sharon Spiegel Wagner

Like the popular book, Love, Loss, and What I Wore uses clothing and accessories and the memories they trigger to tell funny and often poignant stories that all women can relate to!

A selection of South Africa’s finest fashion designers including Marianne Fassler, Hengwani Nenghovela, Vesselina and JJ Schoeman, have combined their exceptional talents to design the stunning costumes for the show. Love, Loss and What I Wore is currently playing at The Westside Theatre in New York, where it opened in 2009, as well as in Paris and Sydney.

Nora Ephron is best known for her romantic comedies and is a triple nominee for the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay; for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattle. Her most recent is film Julie & Julia.

South African Production of Love, Loss and What I Wore

Venue: Theatre on the Bay
Date: 15 June - 2 July
Tickets: R80 – R150
Book at Computicket or Theatre Box office on 021 438 3300

Rika Sennett
Rika Sennett studied drama at the University of Stellenbosch. She has been acting professionally for 38 years, appearing in over 65 theatre productions in all the genres. Comedy highlights: nominations for Arms and the Man (G,B. Shaw), A Month in the Country (Turgenev), The Cactus Flower (Barillet) and As die Kat Weg is (P. van Pletzen)l. Drama; nominated for her role as Portia in Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare) and she won the Computicket Best Actress Award for her role as Varya in The Cherry Orchard.

She's been in 10 feature films: most recently as Helen Joseph in Mrs, Mandela for the BBC and Roepman released in May. And in 22 television series as an actress or presenter: highlights as an actress include her roles in Agter Elke Man (Franz Marx) and Feast of the Uninvited (Katinka Heyns). She's married to the actor, James Borthwick and they have two daughters, Kate (26) and Hannah (24).

Christel Mutombo
Despite her clear passion for music and stage, Christel was well on her way to a medical future with a BSc Human Physiology and Psychology at the University of Johannesburg. She yearned to perform and took a leap of faith and in spite a lack of formal training; her raw talent led her to be accepted to the UJ Song and Dance Company, where she began performing whilst completing her studies.

With the company, she played roles a diverse as Maria in West Sade Story, Zenzi in Ian von Memerty's Jump for Joy, Madamme Fortuna in The Heart is Round and Fraulein Schneider in the classic Cabaret. All to rave reviews and attracting the attention of future directors.

Christel made her professional debut in the South African production of High School Musical in the principle role of Taylor McKessie and continued on to the very successful Asian tour. She understudied the role of Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Boys in the Photograph and recently played Ali in Mamma Mia. Apart from theatre, Christel is also a songwriter and lead singer of the acoustic band Dodgy Barcode.

Kate Normington
Kate studied speech and drama at Wits. She won an FNB Vita Award for excellence in Comedy and a Fleur du cap award for best actress for her role as Sister Mary Amnesia in "Nunsense" in 1987.

Productions include, Joanna in "Sweeney Todd" and Niki in "Sweet Charity" for Napac; Josephine in "Romance Romance"; Guinevere in "Camelot" and Eliza in "My Fair Lady" for Pact in 1990. "A touch of Webber and a taste of Rice"  and "Tell me on a Sunday" for Richard Loring in 1992 and 1996 respectively. Kate also played Janet in the Colin Law's production of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" in 1993.

In London, Kate understudied and performed  the role of Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" 1995, followed by the Bakers wife in "Into the Woods' in Leicester, Rose Vibert in "Aspects of Love", Hampshire, and Grace Farrell in "Annie" at the Victoria Palace, West End, London (21 years commemoration production). Since returning to South Africa, Kate has appeared in Hazel Feldman's productions of "Fame", and "Menopause". Kate won a 2007 Naledi award for best actress for Pieter Toerien's production of "Bombshells" and a 2008 Naledi for her portrayal of Velma Von Tussle in Richard Loring's production of "Hairspray".

Kate most recently played the part of Miss Darbus in 'High School Musical", and has been cast as Tanya in Hazel Feldman's production of "Mamma Mia" for 2010. Television includes, "Scandal", "The Res", "Backstage", "Shado's", "Hard Copy", and “The Lab". Kate was also one of the Laugh Out Loud scam team! Kate has two solo albums "Mother's Daughter", and Richard Loring's "Tell me on a Sunday"

Anne Power
Besides the traditional avenues of Stage, Theatre and Film, Anne is an accomplished Singer, well known on the Cabaret circuit and in the Corporate Market for launches and specialized shows.

Anne has a career that has spanned 30 years. Most of her best theatrical work has been for Pieter Toerien Productions. Her first show for Pieter being in 1982 in "It's a Hoy". Many plays followed. One for the Pot, The Foreigner, Black Coffee to name but a few. Anne has her own production company - African Power Projects- which specializes in utilizing the many talents of South African artists for the corporate market.

Anne performs with tenor Agos Moahi in their show "From Ia Scala to Broadway" primarily for the European market. Anne has played the leads in Musicals such as Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, A Touch of Webber, A Taste of Rice etc. The highly acclaimed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for Pieter marked her return to the stage after more than a decade. "Stepping out, "The Good Body" , "Nunsensations have followed,

Sharon Spiegel Wagner
At 9 years old Sharon was cast in Puccini’s opera La Boheme. Two years later she was cast in the musical The King and I. Throughout school, Sharon studied classical singing and piano and entered several competitions winning her numerous medals After school, Sharon went to study Dramatic Art at WITS with Honours, winning top performance awards.

In training performances include: Deborah in Sexual Perversity in Chicago; Ariel in The Tempest; Lulu Levine in Love, Crime and Johannesburg; Erzulie, goddess of love in Once on this Island. Sharon began working in children’s theatre writing, producing, directing and composing music. She played a witch in Macbeth which played at the Tesson theatre and then played the romantic lead in lron Love at the Grahamstown Arts Festival.

She sang lead vocals in Sun City's Let there be Rock and was later cast in Fiddler on the Roof. Sharon was also cast in the musical, Hairspray. She is active in corporate entertainment; industrial theatre; television; voiceover work; and teaching workshops. She recently played two principle roles: Jenny Dillingham in the musical Aspects of Love and Frenchy in the musical, Grease which toured to Hong Kong and New Zealand. Sharon recently also performed an adaptive version of Godspell. Sharon dedicates her performance in Love, Loss and What I wore to her mother for all her love and support.

Gaynor Young
Interview on Carte Blanche
As we know, most of life's biggest battles are fought outside the public arena, and our next story is about a woman you haven't heard too much about over the least decade. More than 10 years ago actress Gaynor Young plunged five stories beneath the stage of the State Theatre and was left deaf, brain damaged and spastic.

Her horrifying accident on December 9th 1989 sent shock waves around the country as news of her terrifying five-story offstage fall while understudying the lead role in a production was released.

At first, close friends were notified that she was all right, but as the days after the accident wore agonizingly on, Gaynor remained in a coma, and it became obvious that she had suffered serious damage.

Amazingly Gaynor survived, and her story of hope and courage leaves audiences around the country marveling at her inner strength and determination to get over her unfortunate accident. The fall left Gaynor 60% blind with partial brain damage, 2% hearing in one ear and no peripheral vision at all. But with grit, determination (what she calls sheer stubbornness) and faith, she has survived these devastating odds.

Four and a half years after her accident Gaynor fulfilled a promise she made to herself, appearing once more on stage, this time to tell her incredible and heart-warming story in her production "My Plunge to Fame".

Her story is about frustration, agonizing acceptance and bravery. It is poignant, hard-hitting and terribly funny. There are moments of incredible sadness, but there are also moments of pure joy as she recalls her work in the theatre; as she relates with great humour her search for the right job; the memories she has of the sea and constant tunes and melodies that play in her head. There are some wonderful one-liners, apt and to the point, where you find yourself laughing uproariously with her. Gaynor Young's story is one of hope. She will make you laugh through your tears. She will move and inspire you with the infinite courage of the human spirit. She will change your life.

In July 2000 her book My Plunge to Fame was published. In May 2004 Gaynor's second production Gaynor Rising - The Celebration of a Life was put on at Theatre on the Square in Sandton to standing ovations.

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