Nollywood star Desmond Elliot jetted in the country on Tuesday through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe but his colleague Stephanie Okereke failed to make it.

The two were expected to star in a play titled Footsteps of the First Lady, a production of Lilongwe-based theatre group Rising Choreos.

The group’s member Joyce Mhango Chavula confirmed in an interview that Elliot arrived on Tuesday and that Okereke did not make it.

“It’s unfortunate that she only communicated at the eleventh hour that she will not make it. But Elliot arrived yesterday [Tuesday] which a huge relief,” she said.

Asked whether the failure was not a betrayal to the fans who anticipated seeing Okereke, Chavula said:

“We know some people will be disappointed but sometimes such situations happen. The best thing is we have Elliot who is also the main actor. It could have been a problem if we didn’t have both of them.”

She said they have since replaced Okereke with another female actor who was on standby.

“We already trained another actor who will play that role so people should not get worried,” she said.

However, Stephanie Onyekachi Okereke born in 1982 said she would make sure to visit the country next year.

The Nigerian actress, film director and model has received several awards and nominations for her work as an actress, including the 2003 Reel Award for Best Actress, the 2006 Afro Hollywood Award for Best Actress, and three nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2005, 2009 and 2010.

She was also the runner up for the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty pageant of 2002.

Chavula called on people to come in large numbers and watch Footsteps of the First Lady which he described as mature.

“People should come and watch a production which will tell them a story. They should come and watch Desmond act live on stage,” she said.

Chavula said they started rehearsing with the Nollywood actor Wednesday afternoon.

The group’s Artistic Director Ian Chitsekula who was recently elected National Theatre Association of Malawi (NTAM) president said they wanted to prove that film actors can also do stage plays.

“At first we wanted to bring Ramsey Noah and Ini Edo but they were busy hence settling for Elliot and Okereke,” he said.

Some of the local actors in the play are Chitsekula, Chavula, Harold Chimangamsasa, Alexander Chiumia, Matrida Sipayi and Kingsley Mayikalanga.

The first performance will take place Friday at Crossroads Hotel from 7pm. On Saturday afternoon the group will perform at French Cultural Centre and in the evening they will be at Comesa Hall.

However, the same venue is hosting a CFC convention. But Chitsekula said they were set with the show.

The last performance is on Sunday afternoon at Capital Hotel with the entrance fee being K2,500. Some of the companies which have helped the group include Fincoop, Media 24, Foodzone, Star Radio and Tiyeni.

Elliot, who is a director and actor, was raised in a polygamous family. He is now one of Nollywood’s leading actors having appeared in over two hundred films including Men Who Cheat, Yahoo Millionaire and Atlanta. In 2009, he was nominated for the Best Actor category at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards.

Last year MultiChoice Malawi through Africa Magic Plus channel also brought in the country another Nollywood actor Rita Dominic.