Joan Brickhill (Joan Brickhill)

Joan  Brickhill

Actress. Called the “First Lady Of South African Musical Theatre”, she is remembered for starring in dozens of stage productions. Raised within the show business milieu, she made her professional bow at two and proved to be one of the rare child prodigies with staying power; over the coming decades she was a constant presence on the stage and radio as well as television and even a few movies. Joan made her silver screen bow in 1958’s “nor the Moon by Night” and in the 1960s moved with her husband Louis Burke to Johannesburg where the pair founded and ran Brickhill-Burke Productions. She was to act, sing, dance, and work behind the scenes in numerous projects, receiving special praise for her performances in “Oklahoma!” and “The Sound of Music” while presenting longrunning Vaudeville-style revues with such titles as “Minstrel” and “Follies”. One of her more noted efforts was to be “Meropa”, a black music and dance revue which was presented in KwaZulu-Natal before a mixed race audience, something that was close to unthinkable in South Africa at the time. While Joan received accolades and awards as Miss Hannigan in “Annie”, her signatures were to be such flashy ‘over-the-top’ roles as the title leads of “Mame” and “Hello Dolly!”; in 1989 she and Burke took “Meet Me in St. Louis” to Broadway for a seven month run that garnered Joan a Tony Award nomination for choreography. Eventually divorced from Burke, she lived out her days in Johannesburg, remained active well into advanced years, and died in a nursing facility.

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  • March, 06, 1924
  • South Africa


  • January, 15, 2014
  • South Africa


  • Cremated

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