Saro the Musical 2, the last mega-musical production by Bolanle Austen-Peters Production (BAP) must have taught theatre-goers some lessons about last-minute rush for tickets. To forestall this, the theatre group has announced the coming of a new musical, Wakaa! in December at MUSON Centre, Onikan.

Recently, a handful of journalists were invited to the rehearsal venue, Terra Kulture at Victoria Island to watch a preview of some select scenes in the play which is currently under construction. Certainly, the musical which has Ayo Ajayi as its music director promises to be as entertaining as its precursors.

After ten weeks of intense rehearsals, lasting at least six hours daily, the show will be ready for public view. One can tell from the snippets that the musical, in its fifth week of pre-production, is furnished with loads of stylish dances, sonorous voices and swagger as well as interesting lines in the sung-dialogue.

Like Saro, Wakaa! is a contemporary story of success and trials of six young graduates with varied backgrounds. Unlike Saro, Wakaa! takes the viewer on a journey in and out of Nigeria, examining cultural values and universal themes of love and survival. Impostors and liars thrive on social media today and artists are using the art platform to sensitise people on the lures of the internet. Moral lessons such as these can be found in Wakaa!

It is a two-hour family drama, rated “everybody”, with a plot woven along the threads of schemes, intrigues and betrayals. Written by the master storyteller, Tunde Babalola, the characters are societal archetypes that reach points of divergence in the plot development and convergence at the climax.

Choreographed by Gbenga Yusuf, some of the songs in the musical are compositions from Brymo, a Nigerian Fuji-pop artist and those of the music director. The costume design for this musical is made by the University of Southern Illinois Art Department while make-up will be done by Inglot.

Austen-Peters, who received the pressmen at the preview, revealed more about the musical and the objective of the production.
“We explore politics, the life of the rich and spoilt kids, hardworking young people and it is very patriotic. There are serious issues addressed in the musical. It is a play about change from the old to the young,” she began.

“We have a guest artist, Brymo who will record to songs for us. He would have been here today but he is in Port Harcourt. All the songs in this production will be arranged in an album and will be played on radio ahead of the production. It will be titled ‘Original soundtracks for Wakaa’. The aim here is to create jobs for our youths and develop talents. It is not easy to create jobs. I knew that since I returned to Nigeria after working with the United Nations as a legal officer. What I noticed is that the creative industry has the power to create jobs.

Terra Kulture alone has the staff strength of 60. This play, we employ 100 persons just as we did in Saro. You can imagine if we have more productions like these in Nigeria, more people will get jobs. Theatre will become commercial when we have space. We can run productions for weeks and months and people will get paid. But we will get there.”

She assured the curious-minded journalists that all the royalties for the artists that their songs are used in the production will be duly paid to COSON as they had been done in previous productions. The production is supported by British Council, MoorHouse, AXA Mansard, Nok Art and Media, Eko Hotel, Health Plus, Bunmi Aboderin Foundation, Classic FM, Naija FM, Beat FM, Metro FM, Inspiration FM, Cool FM, TRACE, GA Production, NTA, Businessday, Bryan Munroe, Silverbird Cinema, STV, Film House Cinema, Wazobia FM, Rhythm FM, Naija FM and Magna Villa.
Saro the Musical 3 returns in 2016.