The Color Purple returns in August 2018 with a new Shug Avery

Producers Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay announced three weeks ago that The Color Purple would be extending its run on The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre for Women’s Month in August 2018.

Lelo Ramasimong
Image Supplied by The Color Purple

After this announcement Bernard Jay had the task of renewing contracts with all the cast members, subject to their schedules allowing them to continue performing for this new season. The producers are delighted to announce that audiences can expect to see seventeen of the twenty original South African cast members returning to Joburg Theatre in August.

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

“I’m delighted that we have such a strong performer in Lelo Ramasimong 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 on stage in this challenging role.”

The role of Shug Avery was played in February in South Africa by Lerato Mvelase and recently on Broadway by American Idols Finalist and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and then Tony and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Holliday.

Lelo Ramasimong became a house-hold name in SA when she made it into the top 10 on Idols SA. Since then she has performed as a vocalist in major venues all over the country and was voted by Seventeen Magazine as the Top Young South African Artist. She also became a finalist in the Cosmopolitan Most Awesome Women of the Year.

Lelo’s 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 was one of the artists in the new television series Coke Studio, collaborating with well known producer 37MPH to create the hit single Shine.

Other artists returning to The Color Purple in August are (in alphabetical order) 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), Senzesihle Radebe, Zolani Shangase, Ayanda Sibisi and Lebo Toko.

The Color Purple will re-open at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre on August 7th 2018 and will run until September 2nd.

To book you can call 0861 670 670, go online at or book in person at the Joburg Theatre box office. Theatre patrons can also book online and pay at selected Pick N Pay stores.

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