Up On The Roof – The Carole King Songbook, is currently on at Theatre on the Bay. Presented by VR Theatrical, directed by Elizma Badenhorst and with musical direction by Wessel Odendaal, this vibrant production captures the essence of Carole King’s incredible journey and brings it to life on stage like never before. Audiences can expect to hear all of King’s greatest hits, each song a testament to her life experiences, including those composed while her children were asleep. “I did not grow up with Carole King, but discovered her music and lyrics in my late twenties,” says Odendaal. “Her lyrics are meaningful and fragile and has a theatrical sensibility about them. I liked the idea of turning each song into an episodic musical moment which our cast could then impress their own life experience on,” he added.
Not many people know just how many hit songs Carole King wrote. Her second album, Tapestry, has been certified platinum fourteen times and sold an estimated thirty million copies, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. But why a theatre production? Up On The Roof – The Carole King Songbook honours her journey as a music legend and storyteller. In 1957, King, then a 15-year-old pianist, embarked on her musical odyssey, a Brooklyn teenager who had witnessed the genesis of rock ’n roll while growing up, and wondered if she could be a part of it. Her determination and undeniable talent led her to sign her first contract with ABC-Paramount that same year, a remarkable achievement in anyone’s (song)book!
Renowned for her extraordinary contributions to the music industry, Carole King not only wrote for herself, but also wrote hundreds of hit songs for other artists. Her compositions have left an indelible mark with iconic songs such as Aretha Franklin’s You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, Little Eva’s The Locomotion (long before Kylie would cover it) and the Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.
The cast comprises six multi-talented South African ladies whom have appeared in touring productions around the world. They are Ashleigh Butcher (Bass, Guitar, Ukelele), Louise Duhain (Piano/Keyboards), Angelica Hattingh (Guitar), Sanli Jooste (Cello), Neo Motaung (Percussion) and Tiisetso Sefatsa (Percussion). Under Badenhorst’s direction (A Christmas Carol, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rock of Ages) and Odendaal musical prowess (Here’s To You – The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook, Star+Crossed, Forever Plaid) this production is an enchanting evening filled with unforgettable melodies and heartfelt lyrics, whether you are a longtime fan or new to Carole King’s timeless music.
Performances run Tuesdays to Fridays at 8pm until 21 October 2023 with two shows on a Saturday at 3pm and 8pm and tickets costing from R150 to R300 through Webtickets. After the Cape Town season, the production will transfer to Pieter Toerien’s Theatre at Montecasino in Johannesburg from 1-26 November 2023.