The hit Nigerian show by Bolanle Austen-Peters, Wakaa! The Musical, will in July, become the first Nigerian musical to make it to London, the British capital.
The sell-out musical by Terra Kulture has played to over 10,000 people over twelve shows in Lagos earlier this year.
The show was so popular during its first stint, people were offering to pay to stand in the aisles, according to Production head Bolanle Austen-Peters.
Describing itself as “a play about the trials, successes and experiences of young graduates from varied backgrounds,”the musical follows the fate of a group of friends after a wager is struck at graduation. Set to popular music, it’s part social commentary, part satire, but all singing and dancing.
Austen-Peters turned to musicals just two years ago. The trained lawyer and businesswoman had been in the theater industry for 12 years, but a trip to Broadway turned her attention to the stage’s most flamboyant genre.
“I was inspired by watching Fela! I thought: these are Nigerian stories, we should be telling them,” she told CNN.
“Big musicals in Lagos - it’s something that’s never been done before. We’re opening up a landscape, and aiding artists who have never had a platform before. We should start exporting products, especially culture, from Nigeria,” she said, adding that the Nigerian Ministry of Culture has been one of her supporters in the transition to the English stage.
Austen-Peters reveals that four of the musical’s characters are based in part on prominent figures from within the Nigerian political sphere.
She won’t reveal all the names, but admits a character “very influential, but not particularly educated” was inspired by Patience Jonathan, the wife of former president Goodluck Jonathan.
“It’s very critical – it’s a social commentary”, an approach that’s won her many fans, including current President Muhammadu Buhari, who caught a performance earlier this year.
“We can rival any of the big institutions in the world. I believe we can do exactly what is being done in England and America,” she added.
If you are in London this summer, make it a date with Wakaa! at the Shaw Theater, 100-110 Euston Road, London. Dates: July 22 – 24, 2016.
(Source: The Daily Post)