Like Sarafina!, TOWNSHIP FEVER explodes with music, passion and hope. It also reveals some of the pain and violence that are a part of Black life in South Africa. The plot is based on actual events that occurred during a 1987 general transit strike in South Africa. At the same time, it is a touching and personal story of a young musician who gets involved in the strikers' bitter struggle when he attempts to improve life for himself and his new bride.
Celebrated worldwide for his theater craft and musicianship, Mbongeni Ngema also has a keen eye for new performing talent; the extraordinary cast was comprised of unknowns, who literally spent 20 months eating, sleeping and working together under one roof to create this new musical. American audiences were first introduced to Ngema's unique approach to theater in 1981 when he appeared in and co-authored (with Percy Mtwa and Barney Simon) the internationally acclaimed Woza Albert. Next came Asinamali!, which was featured in Lincoln Center Theater's 1986 "Woza Afrika!" Festival and toured the U.S. before landing on Broadway in 1987. Then, after rave reviews for its American premiere at Lincoln Center Theater, Sarafina! went on to a long successful Broadway run.
The arrival of TOWNSHIP FEVER in New York afforded theatergoers a rare opportunity to see artists committed not only to their craft, but to a free South Africa as well.TOWNSHIP FEVER was performed in Brooklyn, at the BAM's 880-seat Majestic Theater while John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation and Spalding Gray's Monster in a Box filled the Vivian Beaumont and Mitzi E. Newhouse Theaters.