#CallMeLee

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

I had the great pleasure of being invited to the rehearsals of #CallMeLee a while ago with my blue eyed boy wonder son @LJ_Cadger, who is a huge @WesleeLauder fan.
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At one point @ianvonmem @JonathanRox and @_RoelofColyn was all in one room with me. I literally held my breath.  This is the cream of the crop, the cherry on top of gifted pianists! Such joy! #blessed!!!!

Enter my fabulous friend @WesleeLauder who introduced me to @samuel_26_hyde and my day was made.

@ianvonmem sitting a few chairs away directing #CallMeLee… I thought to myself, nothing compares to the feeling that watching,  experiencing and seeing a box of theatrical tricks unfold before me.

It is an excitement filled with expectation and wonder.  I am Dorothy in my red shoes,  Alice in Wonderland going down the rabbits hole… and on the other side –  I am whole.  Content. Fulfilled.  Fed. My soul rejoice. I feel with sincerity sorry for people who do not have something in their lives that is that fulfilling.

I had no idea what to expect from #CallMeLee.  Thankfully I am always in for a treat when the visible and invisible curtain raises… and by the end I cried and gave these talented performers a standing ovation. WOW!
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The following is from the official press release:

Multi-award winning theatre star Jonathan Roxmouth is back with his new piano show, CALL ME LEE! Following the success of A HANDFUL OF KEYS, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and most recently, SUNSET BOULEVARD, Roxmouth pays tribute to Mr. Showmanship – Liberace – “Lee” to his friends – in this concert biography with lighting by Denis Hutchison and direction by Ian von Memerty.

In CALL ME LEE, Roxmouth traces the journey of the man who became Liberace through the well-known classics that made him a showbiz icon and popular pianist for more than 40 years. Everything from the Boogie Woogie to the Beer Barrel Polka, Tchaikovsky to Chopin and of course nostalgic hits like “I`ll Be Seeing You” and “I`m Always Chasing Rainbows” make up a selection of music that guarantees something for everyone.

Joining Roxmouth as Liberace onstage are two exciting new talents. Weslee Lauder and Samuel Hyde play all the colourful characters in Lee`s life from his brother George to his long-time manager Seymour Heller all the way to Frances Liberace: Lee`s “Mom”! CALL ME LEE also features some of the most lavish, glittering costumes (and fur coats) seen on the Theatre on the Bay and Montecasino stages by glittering designer Lena Olivier worthy of the memory of Mr. Showmanship.

Music. Glitter. Laughter. What more do you need for a great night out at the theatre?

Jonathan phoned me yesterday while I was in the bath tweeting as one does…. and this is the interviewed that followed :

1.  Why the need for #CallMeLee? Where did the birthing process start?

I have always wanted to do a show about him and never understood why there wasn’t one out there already. He was a completely unique theatrical phenomenon and it cried out to be brought to the stage. I finally took the leap and am so proud of what has come out of it. 

2.  How difficult was it to prepare for such a complex character as the man himself was? During rehearsals, you make it look effortless. 

Surprisingly difficult actually. He has been parodied by everyone from comedians to the recent film starring Michael Douglas. People single out the “camp” factor and turn him into a treacly joke. He was more than that. He exuded child-like joy when in front of an audience and was regarded as one of the nicest people in show business. To try and capture the truth of the man was my goal. Not the curtain calls, the moments after those backstage and with his family.

3.  In my view,  you are one of the most outstanding pianists in our country.  What drew you to the piano?

That’s very kind of you. It was just one of those things. I saw it in primary school and just knew it was for me.

4.  What stood out about Weslee and Samuel that they got the multiple supportive roles that they play? 

Weslee gave the best audition I have ever seen. He was Liberace’s mom, brother and agent. I knew he had to be in the show. Samuel came in and sang beautifully and I knew we had found the best Scott for our show.

5. What do you personally enjoy most about the production #CallMeLee? 

I love watching the audience fall in love with the charm of Liberace. We hardly changed any of his “performance” bits and even now – 27 years later – it has them grinning and laughing all over again.
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I look forward to seeing #CallMeLee next week at @Monte_Theatre! All those gorgeous wardrobe changes!
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I wish you enough,
Wenchy

#QueenAtTheBallet

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

Last night I had the privilege to attend @SeanBovim ‘s #QueenAtTheBallet at @joburgtheatre.

I have been pondering my review all day. How do I capture the profound performance of a ballet company so unique, merged – but never over powered by the music of Queen and exploring the raw fire inside The Great Pretender,  Freddie Mercury?

Perhaps some may experience this masterpiece as a flawless performance by a talented ballet company, to the music of a legend that ended too soon.  I would suggest we did not experience the same performance.

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For me,  it was far more gripping and personal.  The talented Henk Opperman’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury was beautifully intense. Breathtaking in depth,  soul destroying in thought. I could feel the struggle,  the torment as to Freddie Mercury’s exploring sexuality with passion and yet with ease.

I could tell you the company was formed in 2009, that @SeanBovim is a genius,  that the show has had two sold out runs in Cape Town and will no doubt experience the same success here at @joburgtheatre. The company makes you both drool and sign a gym membership immediately …. 

It is not seeing a show.  It is witnessing the gift of the arts,  in all its greatness and splendour.

Do you want to live forever?

I wish you enough,
Wenchy

They playing your song!

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”
– Edward Hopper”

Wouldn’t the above quote be so apt if I was not a writer?  I actually sang a small Elton John song when I read it to be honest.  (If I was a sculptor,  but then again,  no…. Or a man who makes potions..)

There was a time last year,  I seriously questioned my own sanity.  More than usual that is… which in itself depletes a medical aid.

I was blinded by my passion,  excitement,  stars,  lights, action! at having found people who spoke my language. I saw opportunities to learn when I should have listened to my inner voice when my husband and daughter on separate occasions said ‘Run Wenchy,  run..!’  (Then again the thought of me running is truly too far-fetched so I can see why my inner voice got silenced with ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’)

To be fair, I learned many things about my new found vocabulary! Good things… and bad things, but an experience it was. One I am thankful for.

I was also reminded that people are self centered,  ego hungry and quickly threatened.  Do not get me wrong,  the threat is perceived. Not REAL – but the emotional reaction is very real. I should know!  I am threaded by billions of woman whom I perceive to be perfect because they thin! How shallow is THAT!

I am under no ILLUSION. I am not a threatening personality!  Loud,  vulgar,  over the top,  highly inappropriate at times,  sincere, loving,  complimentary, emotional,  caring,  funny and  insulting all pretty equally but not a threat. 

But,  as evil does,  you start believing lies.  You are a failure.  You are not good enough.  Without me,  you are nothing.  A bit like an abusive relationship really – tango with the devil darling.  Terribly predictable to people looking in from the outside,  but from the inside,  you are clearly idiotic and deserve to feel crap about yourself.

Then suddenly the veil is lifted and life starts making sense.  Yes I made mistakes but nobody died or promised their soul to the evil Queen in exchange for legs (think mermaids) .  Hey!  You human after all! You apologised.  Move on.  There is no need to beat yourself with a stick. There is no medal for self mutilation.

It took me some to come to terms with the failed tango,  but instead of being an outcast for being a crappy dancer,  I was embraced.  I slipped back to the comfort of being me… And surprise,  surprise – I am loved.  Accepted…. Above all,  I like myself truckloads more.

Yeah,  Wenchy is a tad rough round the edges and you never know what may come out of her mouth…. and apparently that is just the attraction! Imagine that! I was more surprised than anyone. I am sincere.  Passionate. Sjoe,  so people actually do like me as I am.  Yay for them!

Don’t you find following your authentic self so much more alluring than pretending to be what people want you to be? Drama is one thing but  pretending is not acting love. Don’t be silly.

It’s in the details…. As little as making a booking and saying Wenchy… surname?  Nope.  Just Wenchy.  Like Cher or Madonna.  No I cannot compare but I love fake eyelashes!! Silence on the other side.  I’m good with that.

Be your authentic self.  Dance the tango only with a partner who thinks the moon comes alive in your eyes…. and seriously?  Buy the red lipstick.  Tattoo if you like.  Life is too short to care if fitting in will get you noticed.  Live abundantly –  out loud. Sing badly in your car,  but still,  Sing!

Take that shackles off your feet so you can dance… and THAT will be enough.

Wenchy

How to have coffee with an influencer (or me)

I much prefer tea. Cake is good too!

Debby Edelstein

I don’t much like the term influencer. Partly because it’s the kind of label that many people seem to attach to themselves in their twitter bios, not unlike guru and thought-leader.

Still, as sure as I love sour jelly beans there will always be people we want to get to see because of their perceived value to us. But by the law of meeting karma there are always people who want to see us too.

In the democratic world of the social media universe you see, we are all influencers and schmoozers to a greater or lesser degree.

So take comfort dear coffee-hunter in the knowledge that whoever you are chasing, they are chasing someone too. That’s the law of meeting karma. (just check out anyone’s twitter feed for proof)

Considering I have insight from both sides – as hunter and hunted, as influencer and as schmoozer – here are…

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