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'King Kong' was a pioneering South African musical which portrayed the life and times of the heavyweight boxer, Ezekiel Dlamini, known as "King Kong". Born in 1921, after a meteoric boxing rise, his life degenerated into drunkenness and gang violence. He knifed his girlfriend, asked for the death sentence during his trial and instead was sentenced to 14 years hard labour. He was found drowned in 1957 and it was believed his death was suicide. He was 36. 

Billed as a 'Jazz-Opera', 'King Kong' featured music by Todd Matshikiza and lyrics by Pat Williams. The production was first staged at Johannesburg's Witwatersrand University Great Hall, opening on February 2nd 1959 and went on to take South Africa by storm. Nelson Mandela attended the opening night and is on record as highlighting the show as his favourite musical. The original South African production starred Nathan Mdledle, Ruth Nkonyane, Dan Poho and Miriam Makeba, helping launch Makeba's international career.

West End theatre impresario Jack Hylton was determined to bring the ground breaking South African musical to London, insisting that as many of the original cast members as possible transfer with the production. 'King Kong' subsequently opened at London's Princes Theatre on February 23rd 1961 and ran for 201 performances. Critics praised 'King Kong' for its inventive staging, stand out performances and vibrant score and despite initial plans for a Broadway transfer, these failed to materialise. 

In more recent times, 'King Kong' has been recognised for the pioneering role the production played in breaking down racial barriers, defying the colour bar and uniting black and white South Africans at the height of the apartheid era. In 2017 the musical was profiled by BBC Radio 3 and later revived in South Africa by the Fugard Theatre Company.

Stage Door are pleased to debut the Original London Cast recording of 'King Kong' on CD. The recording is complemented with selections from the Original South African Cast recording, including many songs that were subsequently cut from the London production. The CD concludes with a handful of bonus tracks including pop covers of 'Back Of The Moon' and 'The Earth Turns Over' by Elaine Delmar and a jazz instrumental of the show's title song by Terry Lightfoot's New Orleans Jazzmen.

RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 28th, 2018
CATALOGUE #: STAGE 9057
BARCODE:
5055122190578

 

 

 
'KING KONG' - ORIGINAL LONDON CAST RECORDING
(STEREO)

1. SAD TIMES, BAD TIMES - Company [LISTEN]
2. MARVELLOUS MUSCLES - Nathan Mdledle, Company [LISTEN]
3. KING KONG - Nathan Mdledle, Company
4. KWELA KONG - Orchestra
5. BACK OF THE MOON - Peggy Phango
6. THE EARTH TURNS OVER - Sophie Mgcina
7. DAMN HIM! - Joseph Mogotsi
8. GUMBOOT DANCE - Company
9. KING KING - Company
10. BE SMART, BE WISE - Ben Masinga, Sophie Mgcina, Lemmy "Special" Mabaso
11. CRAZY KID - Lemmy "Special" Mabaso And The Alexander Junior Bright Boys
12. TSHOTSHOLOSA - ROAD SONG - Company
13. QUICKLY IN LOVE - Nathan Mdledle, Peggy Phango, Stephen Moloi, Ben Masinga, Patience Gcowabe [LISTEN]
14. IN THE QUEUE - Company
15. IT'S A WEDDING - Company
16. WEDDING HYMN - Company
17. DEATH SONG - Nathan Mdledle
18. KING KING (Reprise) - Company
19. SAD TIMES, BAD TIMES (Finale) - Orchestra

'KING KONG' - ORIGINAL SOUTH AFRICAN CAST RECORDING
20.
SAD TIMES, BAD TIMES - Company
21.
MARVELLOUS MUSCLES - Nathan Mdledle, Company
22. KING KONG - Nathan Mdledle, Company [LISTEN]
23. BACK OF THE MOON - Miriam Makeba [LISTEN]
24. PETAL'S SONG (THE EARTH TURNS OVER) - Ruth Nkonyane
25. DAMN HIM! - Joseph Mogotsi
26. STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN - Ruth Nkonyane, Joseph Mogotsi
27. BETTER THAN NEW - Nathan Mdledle, Company
28. MAD - Dan Poho, Company
29. QUICKLY IN LOVE - Miriam Makeba
30. IT'S A WEDDING (Original South African Cast Recording) - Company

BONUS TRACKS
31. BACK OF THE MOON - Elaine Delmar [LISTEN]
32. THE EARTH TURNS OVER - Elaine Delmar
33. KING KONG - Terry Lightfoot's New Orleans Jazzmen


  

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'KING KONG' THE TOWNSHIP JAZZ MUSICAL - BBC RADIO 3 DOCUMENTARY - LISTEN NOW!

 

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