High School Musical: Spotlight South Africa

Genres: Reality, Kids, Reality Competition



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Season 1

High School Musical: Spotlight South Africa is a South African reality television talent competition based on the American format of the same name, produced for by M-Net by EdenRage Media.

Based on the Disney Original movie, viewers choose their own Troy and Gabriella who will move on to play the leads in a stage musical produced by Pieter Toerien and Hazel Feldman.

The series premiered on M-Net on Saturday 2 August 2008, at 19h00. Episodes air weekly, with results shows on Mondays at 19h00.

There are nine 90-minute episodes and eight half-hour results shows, making a total of 17 episodes.


High School Musical: Spotlight South Africa is a search for two performers (a male and female aged 16-25) to play the lead roles of Troy and Gabriella in a South African stage version of the High School Musical films.

The stage show - produced by Pieter Toerien and Hazel Feldman - debuts at the Cape Town Opera House on 26 November 2008, and will move to The Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg in February 2009.

The winners will immediately start rehearsals for the stage production as soon as the TV show wraps.

The audition process is the focus of the first three episodes, featuring the auditions held in June in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg.

Thereafter the episodes focus on how the creative panel - producer Pieter Toerien, choreographer Lorcia Cooper, theatre director Paul Warwick Griffin and musical director Charl-Johan Lingenfelder - hone the talents of the Top 40 at special workshops.

Viewers will be able to vote for their favourites as from 16 August.

High School Musical trucks visited about 200 schools to audition hopefuls and open audition days were held at centres in PE, Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Half of the season follows the auditions with live broadcasts from the different cities, after which the 40 finalists will be chosen and will go through a training process.

The Top 40 will live in a house together in Johannesburg and be trained by a vocal coach, choreographer, producer and musical director.

Public voting can be made in a variety of ways: SMS, MXit and the M-Net website.

Each week contestants are given a creative task and at the end of the episode the public vote to choose their favourites. Producer Pieter Toerien can save contestants he feels should be given another chance.

The show's host is Dalen Lance.

The Creative Panel

L-R: Paul, Lorcia, Pieter and Charl-Johan
Participants in High School Musical: Spotlight South Africa will be guided and assessed throughout the competition by a tough panel of seasoned industry professionals known as The Creative Panel.

These experts are theatre director Paul Warwick Griffin, musical director Charl-Johan Lingenfelder and choreographer Lorcia Cooper.

At the regional auditions this panel, together with producer Pieter Toerien, is responsible for deciding who goes through to the coveted Top 40 round.

Later in the series, they will also guide the performers through their paces for the duration of the TV show and assess their progress with Toerien.

These deliberations will help viewers, who have 100% say in who wins the competition, decide who to vote for each week.

The creative panel will not only play an important role in the television series, but will also be working behind the scenes to put the stage production together. For this reason they will be on the hunt to find and develop only the best talent for the job.


The first episode on Saturday night (2 August) shows the auditions in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban and Monday night's episode (4 August) focuses on the Johannesburg auditions. By the end of that episode, the Creative Panel will have selected a Top 40 group.

In Episode 3 and 4 (9 and 11 August) this group will be put through an arduous week of workshops and classes in Cape Town, and by the end of Episode 4 the final group that will face the public vote as of Episode 5 (16 August), will be announced.

As of Episode 5 the action will be based in Cape Town, at the Theatre on the Bay. The Saturday night Performance Shows will be recorded at the Theatre on the Bay and the Monday night Results Shows will be broadcast live from the same venue.

This is the first time that M-Net will broadcast episodes of a reality show live from Cape Town.

From 6 September the action moves to Johannesburg, where the show will be broadcast from Montecasino.

The performers will strut their stuff in Performance Shows every Saturday evening at 19h00, and viewers can vote until 10h00 on the Monday morning. Viewers have 100% of the vote.

The Results Shows will be broadcast live at 19h00 every Monday evening. The performers with the fewest votes will be in the firing line but Pieter Toerien can save the performers he thinks deserve to stay in the competition.

The Finale will be broadcast live from Montecasino on Saturday, 27 September.

Format History

The reality concept is based on a format created by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2006 for the BBC. They premiered it with a show called How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? that searched for the best performer to play Maria von Trapp in The Sound Of Music on the West End.

They went on to do Any Dream Will Do - that found a Joseph for Andrew Loyd Webber's Joseph And His Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and I'd Do Anything - that found a Nancy and three Faganites for Oliver.

The format then went across to the US where they did a search for a Danny and Sandy for the Broadway version of Grease - which got a record breaking $9-million in ticket sales when it opened.

Its success sent it back to the UK where they did Grease Is The Word - the same search for the West End.

Related Articles

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High School Musical SA: The Search Begins!
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Meet The High School Musical SA Presenter
High School Musical - Cape Town Auditions
HSM: Spotlight SA Premieres Saturday
Coming Soon: High School Musical SA

Season 1 Cast

Host - Himself


Judge/Musical Director

Judge/Theatre Director

The Producer - Himself

Contestant - Herself

Contestant - Herself

Contestant - Herself

Runner-Up - Herself


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