‘The Color Purple’ returns with new Shug Avery

Lelo Ramasimong

Lelo Ramasimong

Ramasimong first wowed audiences as Darlene in ‘The Color Purple’, and now she has stepped up to take the lead.

It’s almost time for Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay’s second run of The Color Purple.

Popular actress and vocalist Lelo Ramasimong, who achieved great success playing the role of Darlene in The Color Purple in February, will step into the lead role of troubled blues singer Shug Avery.

“I’m delighted that we have such a strong performer to make her own personal mark as Shug Avery,” says the production’s director, Janice Honeyman.

“Audiences will enjoy watching this rising South African star in this challenging role.”

The role of Shug Avery was played in February by Lerato Mvelase and recently on Broadway by American Idols finalist and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, as well as Tony and Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Holliday.

Ramasimong became a household name when she made it into the top 10 on Idols SA. Since then, she has sung at venues all over the country and was voted by Seventeen Magazine as the Top Young South African Artist. She was also a finalist for the Cosmopolitan Most Awesome Women of the Year award.

Her theatre career has included award-winning performances in Little Shop of Horrors, Dreamgirls, African Footprint, Under African Skies and Burn the Floor.

She was the lead female vocalist in the popular television show Strictly Come Dancing and one of the artists in the new television series Coke Studio, collaborating with well-known producer 37MPH to create the hit single Shine.

Masego Mothibakgomo takes over the role of Darlene.

She obtained her bachelors of arts in drama from the University of Pretoria and has had roles in Disney’s The Lion King (as Nala and, later, the storyteller), Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), Alchemy of Desire/Dead man’s Blues, directed by Ball State University’s Wendy Saver-Mortimer, and Seussical.

Mothibakgomo is also a singer-songwriter in the commercial music industry.

Other artists returning to The Color Purple include Didintle Khunou (as Celie), Sebe Leotlela (as Nettie), Dolly Louw, Andile Magxaki, Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri (as Harpo), Namisa Mdlalose, Phumi Mncayi, Neo Motaung (as Sofia), Tshepo Ncokoane, Thokozani Nzima, Funeka Peppeta, Aubrey Poo (as Mister) and Senzesihle Radebe.

The Color Purple will reopen at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre on August 7 and will run until September 2.

To book, call 0861-670-670, go online at joburgtheatre.com or go to the Joburg Theatre box office. patrons can also book online and pay at selected Pick n Pay stores.

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