After Saro comes Wakaa! The Musical, Austin-Peters’ theatrical mini-revolution

A Broadway music theatre revolution is in the offing in Nigeria, and one woman who is poised to spearhead it is the intrepid Mrs. Bolanle Austin-Peters. With her Bolanle Austin-Peters (BAP) Production, a new musical theatre will thrill Nigerians this Christmas and New Year season.
Echoes of Saro the Musical and Saro the Musical 2 that set the stage on fire in the last two years are yet to diminish. With the new show Wakaa! The Musical still in the works, lovers of the big theatre will experience yet again what creative vision, experimentation and passion and a can-do spirit can accomplish in the face of odds.

And so enters Wakaa! The Musical, written by Tunde Babalola, which will rock Lagos in five days of uninhibited, total theatre delivery starting from December 30, 31, January 1, 2 and 3 at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. There will be two shows per day, except January 3 that has three shows to cap off what would be a remarkable Christmas and New Year holidays. As usual great spectacle is being promised even on a bigger scale than Saro the Musical, according to the executive producer and director, Mrs. Austin-Peters. Rehearsals have started in earnest at her Terra Kulture outfit.

Known for her bold strokes and fearless art business ventures, Austin-Peters has fully bought into the dramatic turf a new way of doing things. She is not just the producer or executive producer as was the case in Saro. She has taken steps to get into the groove of the game, and will be directing Wakaa! The Musical, something she said she is fully prepared for. For her preparation, she travelled to University of Southern Illinois, Carbon-Dale, U.S., and took courses in directing to equip herself for the job.

Nevertheless, Austin-Peters is not averse to self-criticism. Like Saro the Musical, she is prepared to expose the outcome of her intervention to critical gaze before she goes public. Renowned theatre critic and teacher, Prof. Segun Ojewuyi of University of Southern Illinois, Carbon-Dale, will lead others in evaluating her production, with enough room to make needed adjustments before the show goes public. Ever eagle-eyed, Austin-Peters’ knack for excellence showed in Saro the Musical where she worked closely with her directors. However, while she oversees the entire production and specifically directs the dramatic aspect of Wakaa! The Musical, Ayo Ajayi and Gbenga Yusuf both retain their positions as music and dance directors, with two choreographers – Paulo Sisino and Justin Ezirem – working alongside to create BAP-type trademark stage spectacle.

ON her penchant for big stage music theatre, Austin-Peters said, “Nigerians love music; Nigerians love to dance. Somehow, music appeals more to Nigerians although musicals are three times more expensive than ordinary drama. To realise it, I’d had to study directing at University of Southern Illinois; it will make it (the show) slightly cheaper and faster. We will get critics to come see the show and make input. We’re being supported by MTN Foundation.
“Saro changed the game and it can only get better. It’s like we’re creating a mini-revolution; it’s unbelievable. What we’re doing here is building capacity. In 10 years from now, it will be great. What if we have a proper theatre? Things will be far better. The game has changed, nevertheless”.

With about 60-man cast and crew, Austin-Peters said, “BAP Production is proud to introduce Wakaa! The Musical, another international standard Broadway-style music production that will premier in December. With tremendous interest in quality musical production, we believe that Nigerian theatre can be a major tourist attraction, job and wealth creation driver and tool for socio-economic development”.

A statement from the producer said Wakaa! The Musical is a play about the trials, successes and experiences of six young graduates with varied backgrounds. A wager among them after graduation has a twist when the realities of life and the folly of their choices hit them. Eventually, they unite, coming full circle. The story reveals the struggles and challenges young people face in present-day Nigeria and abroad. Wakaa! The Musical takes you on an emotional rollercoaster and is a strong satire on Nigerian politics.

And so, how is Wakaa! The Musical different from Saro? Whereas Saro dealt with four young men who believed in luck and were largely uneducated, Wakaa! Has a crop of six educated young men and women who clear-cut career path but with different life orientation and approach to achieving their goals.