Dreaming Zenzile at McCarter Theatre Center

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Theatres across the country have struggled so much during the pandemic. But as Spring is on the horizon and cases are on the decline, local and regional theatre is finally making a comeback.

McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton has reopened their doors and kicked off their season with Dreaming Zenzile, a musical based on the life of South African singer and anti-apartheid activist, Miriam Makeba. Performing artist Somi Kakoma wrote and stars in the musical. The pandemic had previously forced McCarter to delay the show.

The show focuses on Makeba’s last concert, where she raises “the conscience and the consciousness of a people,” on the outside, while simultaneously taking an internal journey through past music and memories.

Somi – who has been dubbed the “new Nina Simone” – stars in the show as Makeba, which explores the life and music of the South African music legend. Makeba used her voice as a weapon to fight apartheid and inequality. SPOILER ALERT: The musical centers around Makeba’s final concert in Italy in 2008, where she suffered a heart attack during the performance. She died hours later.

McCarter is hosting Dreaming Zenzile through February 13.

It was clear by the testimonials that the audience loved the show and was happy to finally be back watching live theatre.

Special thanks to McCarter for bringing me back to the theatre and to my colleagues Jeff Baker, who shot video with me, and Marc Urselli, who recorded audio.