“Mandela” On Broadway in 2010
A new musical about the South African struggle for freedom from apartheid and the leaders of that movement will be based in part on a forthcoming memoir by Zindzi Mandela, assisted by South African theater veteran Welcome Msomi.
The production will be co-produced by the Routh / Frankel / Baruch / Viertel Group and Raleigh, North Carolina-based PSE Broadway LLC. Director and creative team are to be announced.
“We’re delighted to be part of this thrilling project. The South African story is not only inspiring but also deeply dramatic and lends itself perfectly to musical adaptation. Great musicals always begin with the same element — a great story. We’re extremely proud to be bringing this particular great story to the Broadway musical stage,” said Steven Baruch on behalf of his partners, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel and Thomas Viertel.
“We began project development in 2003,” said PSE Broadway managing member Bill Futterer, “but we wanted insight from inside the apartheid struggle to supplement what is common knowledge. So when Zindzi and Welcome became excited about our concept we decided to move forward together.”
“I think it’s the right time for the story to be told, and PSE Broadway’s idea to take the story to the musical stage is exciting,” said Zindzi Mandela. “The freedom songs were so important to the morale of the people,” she continued, “so it’s natural for the story to be told with music as a cornerstone.”
The book recounts touching anecdotes from Zindzi Mandela’s youth, as she grew up during South African apartheid as the daughter of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela.
Nelson Mandela is South Africa’s most celebrated leader, becoming a world-wide symbol of freedom, equality and empowerment. After serving 27 years in prison for his activities against apartheid, he was released in 1990 and was inaugurated in 1994 as the first democratically elected State President of South Africa.
“The excitement that can be created by music on stage will be a wonderful way to celebrate the South African story,” said Msomi, recently awarded a lifetime achievement award at the Naledi Awards for Theater in South Africa. “Zindzi’s insight into those years and the powerful personal stories of the time will make for a rich theater experience.”
The Routh / Frankel / Baruch / Viertel Group has produced and managed a wide range of productions for 24 years. They are currently represented by Gypsy, Young Frankenstein, Hairspray, Sweeney Todd and Stomp. Previous productions include: The Producers, Company, The Fantasticks, Little Shop of Horrors, The Weir, The Sound of Music, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Angels in America, Oleanna, Love Letters, Driving Miss Daisy, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Penn & Teller and many others. Their upcoming projects are The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Leap of Faith and The Hudsucker Proxy.