New musical “Mandela” to hold reading

Quentin Earl Darrington

An invitation-only industry reading of the new musical Mandela will be held on March 14 and 15. Mandela has music and lyrics by South African composers and lyricists Greg Dean Borowsky and Shaun Borowsky, with a book by Laiona Michelle (Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical).

The reading is directed by Schele Williams (Motown), with music direction by Alvin Hough Jr. (Once on This Island). Fifth Estate Entertainment (Nathan Gehan and Jamison Scott) serves as general manager for the reading, which will be attended by Nandi Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, on behalf of the Mandela family who have officially partnered with the show.

The company includes South African and American performers: Quentin Earl Darrington (Once on This Island) as Nelson Mandela, Sasha Allen (Hair) as Winnie Mandela, and Jeremy Landon Hays (The Phantom of the Opera) as the Warden. The cast also includes Emmanuel Castis, Carrie Compere, Alvin Crawford, Emerson Davis, Ntomb’khona Dlamini, Jason Forbach, Alexa Green, Bonita Hamilton, Atandwa Kani, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, Micailah Lockhart, Jay McKenzie, Phindi Mkhizwe-Wilson, Danny Rothman, Antoine L. Smith, Vishal Vaidya, Antonio J. Watson, and Mia Mei Williams.

Mandela explores the epic story of Nelson Mandela’s political struggle to lead South Africa out of apartheid into democracy and freedom, as well as the exceptionally powerful, personal story of what Madiba and his loved ones endured as a family throughout the years of struggle for the liberation of South Africa.

This article was originally written for Theatre Mania by Bethany Rickwald