“Wakaa the musical and Saro are still some of the best productions that have come out from theater in Lagos. Sadly, I missed them. The possibility of watching them again on stage is slim.”
This was the last paragraph to the January post on theater in Lagos?
Well, that changed when word spread that Wakaa the musical was making a comeback on all Sundays in the month of April. The regular ticket was still N5,000 ($12) and I planned to go see it on April 23rd.
The first time I heard about Wakaa the musical, it was being shown at the Muson Center, Onikan with Arese as the lead actress. In a little under 2 years, the producer of Wakaa the Musical, Bolanle Austen-Peters (BAP) had concluded work on a spanking new 400-seat theater known as the Terrakulture Arena. The musical was sold out in London and Arese had won the hearts of viewers, as the winner of The Voice Nigeria’s first edition. Yes, a lot had changed, but Wakaa the Musical had only grown in popularity.
NO LAST MINUTE THEATER IN TERRAKULTURE ARENA
Embodying the last minute spirit of Lagos, I waited until the final show at 7pm on April 30 to go see Wakaa. The truth is I would have missed this Broadway styled production, if my friend Tee didn’t come to the rescue. Thank you Tee!
We arrived at the doors by 6pm to the shocking news that all regular tickets were sold out. Spending N15,000 ($36) on a VIP ticket was certainly not in the budget. After pleading and telling tales about how my umbilical cord was buried in Terrakulture (which by the way didn’t work), Tee offered to pay for VIP tickets.
It is not news that to see a Broadway show in New York, you will need to book and purchase tickets weeks ahead. This is why I say Terrakulture Arena has forever changed theater in Lagos. Don’t think you can just show up at the last minute and buy tickets. That is if you do not want to pay for VIP tickets. By show time, the arena was filled up completely with people huddled even up the steps. Those without seats were asked to go get a refund from the ticket stands. Clearly, Terrakulture means business and this is not your last minute theatre stop as usual.
WAKAA THE MUSICAL ENTERTAINS TO THE “T”
All ticket struggles and woes were quickly forgotten when the dancers hit the stage. The choreography of Wakaa the musical was rich with different styles. My favorite would have to be the Efik traditional dance during Ngozi’s wedding.
The acting and singing were phenomenal. We had mini debates going on in the audience about if Tosan should take back Kike. People really took things personal and one particular gentleman behind me kept ranting. His partner had to remind him that this was after all, a script. Lol.
The songs were top-notch and I enjoyed the remixes. Even Sting’s “Englishman in New York” got a Nigerian makeover. Which brings me to a request I would like to make to BAP’s team. Can Wakaa the Musical get its own playlist with the full length of each featured song? I trust settling copyright matters would be a hassle, but it will be a hit on iTunes and other music platforms.
Oh! Did I forget to add that Brymo’s Mr. Waka Waka is an original score for this musical? I wish they played it just a little longer though. But, isn’t that what an excellent theater production is all about? You yearn for it to continue without ending
There were some surprise elements in Wakaa the Musical. Bimbo Manuel floored us all with his “Shakitibobo” moves. Considering the fact, that he had such a short appearance in Lotanna the movie, Wakaa was an opportunity to delve deeper into his acting prowess. I was also shocked to discover that one of the characters in Wakaa played Dike in the play Itan. He looked a lot more mature in this role.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR TERRAKULTURE ARENA AND WAKAA THE MUSICAL?
It would be hard to forget the laughter, applause, and chorus singing that accompanied scene after scene during this musical. So many relatable characters, songs, and scenarios. Yes, the costumes were sometimes too shiny and the story had a contrived ending. Yet, we must remember that for the stage, such things are forgivable.
By curtain call, BAP announced that Wakaa will be going to Abuja next, before coming back in December. Saro would also be making its comeback in August and I can’t wait. It would have been great to have a playbill and reel off who played what character. I guess this will come later as the Terrakulture Arena grows into its new clothes. For now, it is great to see a space that is doing theater right in Lagos.
Images courtesy of Wakaa the Musical’s website.