An arising star of the South African stage will return to his roots in Port Elizabeth when Pieter Toerien’s hit musical revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat comes to town early next year.
At just eight years old, Emile Doubell was introduced to the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice masterpiece when his mother, Hanalie Abercrombie, played one of its hit songs, Any Dream Will Do, for him.
Now, at 26, Doubell is playing the role of Zebulun, 10th son of Jacob and brother of Joseph, during several runs of the massive showpiece as it tours South Africa.
Now playing at the Pieter Toerien Main Theatre at Johannesburg’s Montecasino, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat will be coming to the Port Elizabeth Opera House in February before making its way back to Cape Town for another run there.
It is the first time in 20 years that stalwart impresario Toerien will be bringing a show to Port Elizabeth.
“It means the absolute world to me for this production of Joseph to be coming to my home town,” Doubell said this week.
“The last time I performed at the Port Elizabeth Opera House was in the 2008 Showtime revue, so this is like a full circle moment for me,” said Doubell, who has been living in Cape Town since he completed his studies at the Waterfront Theatre School.
Growing up in Port Elizabeth, Doubell attended Victoria Park High School where he was already entertaining audiences at school productions and a variety of other plays and musicals.
“I was introduced to musical theatre by our English teacher Mariette van der Walt.
“We did a high school production of West Side Story and I played the role of Action. After that, the bug bit me hard,” he chuckled, adding that in the following year he appeared in an adaptation of Barry Manilow’s Copacabana.
A singer at heart, Doubell placed in the Top 20 of M-Net reality television show High School Musical Spotlight South Africa just after leaving school.
He has had a string of successes since, including being part of the Afrikaans pop band Siklus, as well as the Centrestage all-star band as one of their boy band members in Escape.
Doubell, who has been in the entertainment industry for the past three years, worked on the stage production The Rocky Horror Show, playing the roles of both Brad Majors and Rocky in 2014 at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town and at Toerien’s theatre at Montecasino.
He took part in Madame Zingara’s The Celebration Tour from June last year until January this year, also in Cape Town and Joburg.
Standout moments with Madame Zingara’s include singing for two of the lead actors in the film Pitch Perfect and performing for the girlfriend of hip-hop and RB legend P Diddy, Cassie Ventura, when she was in Cape Town shooting Honey 3.
“The most memorable moments in my career thus far have to be the places I’ve got to see – the Seychelles is one – and the people I have had the pleasure of sharing a stage with,” he said.
Meeting big names in the local industry like Brendan van Rhyn, Bianca le Grange, Nadine and Paul du Toit, Doubell said it was his mother’s motivation and support that had helped him develop into the performer he was today.
“My role model is my mom. She is such a strong, independent, woman and has been the driving force behind my career,” he said.
Doubell said his dream was ultimately to become a successful recording artist, something he hoped to achieve in the near future with support from his family and friends.
“I have some incredible people in my life near, far and wide and I am so thankful for that,” he said. “This is a very tough industry, so [having] a good support system is vital.”
Asked what Port Elizabeth audiences could expect when Joseph came to town next year, Doubell said: “PE is in for a real treat. I do not want to give too much away, but you can expect a really fun night out.
“It’s a story we all know and have grown to love, but with a modern twist and an explosion of colour, so you do not want to miss out on this spectacle.”
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat will be at the Port Elizabeth Opera House from February 2 to 12.