Principal cast announcement: Madiba the Musical to star Timomatic and more

Australian premiere of new Nelson Mandela musical will open in Melbourne in 2018.

In October this year, the first English language production of Madiba the Musical – A celebration of Nelson Mandela will open at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre before transferring to Sydney and Canberra for seasons in November.

The show’s Australian producer, Neil Croker, has today named an exciting line up of seven talented singers, actors and dancers who will star in this premiere production of MADIBA The Musical, however the actor playing the pivotal role of Nelson Mandela is yet to be announced.

Tim Omaji (Fame, In the Heights), also known by stage name Timomatic, will play the role of Sam Onatou, a young black activist who is arrested in South Africa. In prison he meets the man known as “Madiba”, Nelson Mandela.

“It is an honour to perform in a show about the triumphant life of a history-defining figure such as Nelson Mandela”,  Tim Omaji told today.

“His lifelong struggle for peace and equality was nothing short of miraculous. It is awesome to see a stage production such as MADIBA the musical pay tribute to his legacy.”

The role of Sandy, Sam’s fiancée, who works for the family of a white policeman will be played by Tarisai Vushe (The Lion King); Peter Van Ledon, will be played by Sydney-based actor Blake Erickson (Les Miserables, Grey Gardens); Madeline Perrone (Fiddler on the Roof) plays the policeman’s daughter Helena and Barry Conrad (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Violet) plays Sam’s younger brother William. Artists joining the Ensemble are Joe Gaudion; Courtney Bell; Riley Sutton.

Following her performance as Shirelles lead singer Shirley Owens in the successful national touring production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Ruva Ngwenya plays the role of Winnie Mandela.

Directed by Pierre-Yves Duchesne and Dennis Watkins, Musical Director Michael Tyack and Choreographer Johan Nus the musical was written to mark 25 years since the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, and the year that Mandela would have turned 100, if he was still alive.

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Full Cast Details:

Tim Omaji as Sam Onatou

Tim Omaji is an Australian singer-songwriter and dancer who secured his first leading musical theatre role as Tyrone in 2010 in the Australian touring production of Fame the Musical. Widely recognised by his stage name Timomatic, Tim rose to fame as a contestant on TV show So You Think You Can Dance in 2009. He was a top 3 finalist on Australia’s Got Talent in 2011 and released his 4 times platinum ARIA nominated single Set It Off through Sony Music Australia. His latest musical offering ‘Mash It Up’ premiered on Channel 7’s Dance Boss and he performed in In The Heights at the Hayes Theatre in March 2018.

Barry Conrad as William Xulu

Barry Conrad takes a leading role in Madiba The Musical following his performances in acclaimed production Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Barry also toured nationally playing Seaweed in Hairspray Arena Spectacular in 2016, and in 2017 he had the role of Kenickie in Grease: The Arena Experience. Barry made his musical theatre debut in the Australian premiere production of Broadway smash Violet which had critically-acclaimed seasons in Melbourne and Sydney.

Ruva Ngwenya as Winnie Mandela

Ruva is an Australian based singer actor of Zimbabwean decent. At age five she showed signs of exceptional musicianship and went on to study at Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. In 2013 she went on to the top 6 Girls Category of Australia’s X factor Series. Ruva’s was cast as Shenzi in the celebrated Disney musical The Lion King. She understudied Killer Queen in the Australian 2016 national tour of We Will Rock You, followed by The Production Company’s Dusty the Musical. Most recently, Ruva was seen in the original Australian cast of Beautiful: the Carole King Musical. In 2017, Ruva was a top 24 finalist for season 6 of The Voice and has released an original EP Humble Brag.

Tarisai Vushe as Sandy Xulu

Tarisai Vushe travelled from Zimbabwe to Australia in her mid-teens and studied music theatre at the Australian Institute of Music. Following her 5th place success in TV series Australian Idol she launched her debut single Head Over Heels in 2010. In 2017 Tarisai secured her first professional musical theatre role in the touring Australian production of Disney musical The Lion King.

Blake Erickson as Peter Van Ledon

Blake recently toured with the international production of Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Misérables. Prior to this he made his New York debut leading the cast of Stalker: The Musical at the Lynn Redgrave Theater. Recent credits include High Fidelity, Melba, and his acclaimed cabaret Hold Me Closer Logies Dancer, all at Sydney’s Hayes Theatre. For his performance in the title role of the one-man show Pearls Before Swine: An Evening With Orson Welles (Neil Gooding Productions), he won Best Actor at the inaugural Sydney Fringe Festival Awards before embarking on a national tour. 

Madeline Perrone as Helena Van Leden

Madeline’s involvement in the industry began at a young age, placing 3rd in Australia’s Got Talent at just 12 years old. Madeline’s training includes Film and TV at NYCDA and graduated from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Her first role out of college was Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde, winning a Broadway World Award of Best Actress in a Musical (regional, national and touring). Madeline toured Fiddler on the Roof (TML Enterprises) as Shprintze (Hodel Cover) after returning from shows in the USA as Wendy in Disney’s Peter Pan and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Other credits include Curtains (The Production Co.), Peppa Pig’s Big Splash (Life Like Company), Disneyland, Universal Studios, Rock Rhapsody (Good Egg Creative) aboard cruise lines and was a semi-finalist in the Rob Guest Endowment award (2016).

David Dennis as The Narrator

David Denis began dance training at fifteen years of age under the guidance of the Howard sisters at Sydney’s Brent Street studios where he later completed the certificate IV in performing arts. David wentona National Tour with The Ambassador group production Ghost: The Musical.

David appeared for Disney in The Lion King for four years in Australia and on The West End, London. For GFO he has played Boom-Boom Johnson in Legends! and the role of Tyrone in Kelley Abbey’s Fame: The Musical. For Opera Australia David featured as Seabee in South Pacific.

On screen David has played Jean-Michel Basquiatin Jim Sharman’s film Andy X, and he worked with Peter Jackson on King Kong in the role of Taps.

In recent years, David has had success as a contemporary dancer working alongside Kylie Minogue, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Taylor Swift and Guy Sebastian.  David is also a rapper, singer and song writer under the name Davey.

Matt Edwards

Matt is a past owner of AussieTheatre, working as digital director from 2011 to 2019. He is also a performer, most recently appeared in the Australian tour of Mamma Mia! and previously in the Australian/NZ tour of CATS and Enda Markey's acclaimed production of Blood Brothers. As well as performing Matt keeps himself busy in the digital side of the arts working with web design agency Emptyhead Digital

Matt Edwards

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