Even before the theatre doors sprang open, powerful diva-esque voices resonated down the hall signalling that rehearsals for Dubai’s newest hit musical, Kalubela, had begun.
The best songs of the 60s like Big Spender, All That Jazz of the 70s, and other big hits through the 80s down to the present era will be performed live in the locally-produced musical set to enthrall audiences at the First Group Theatre on October 3 to 6.
During one of its rehearsals days before the opening night of the show, the cast and crew gave Gulf News an exclusive sneak peak through the two-hour cabaret-inspired musical about a man and woman’s quest for ‘true love’.
Dean Scott, stage manager, introduced the production. “Kalubela is a Turkish word which is ‘love from the beginning of time.’ And it’s about man and woman and how from the beginning of time there seems to be a play about the man chasing the woman and that’s how the story unfolds.”
The vocally-led production includes one male and seven female vocalists from Oman, UK, South Africa, Colombia and Bulgaria, with professional dancers and aerial performers also supported by a 9-piece jazz band. Their costumes will feature haute couture designs by Dubai-based Filipino designers Ezra Santos and Michael Cinco.
“I’ve been asked what I want the audience to leave with and my answer is a big smile,” said Shelley Frost, director of The Fridge which produced and directed the musical. “It’s really feel-good music… a night of incredible live music with a big band sound, entertained by an exciting array of eight different vocalists that they will find hard to believe because everybody lives right here in Dubai.”
Just when everybody thinks that importing talented artists for live performances is the ‘in’ thing in Dubai, The Fridge and its roster of professional artists think otherwise.
“There is a lot of talent here. We have it here and this is an opportunity to say, “Hey guys, it’s on your doorstep, come check us out,” Rachael Calladine, one of Kalubela’s vocalists, told Gulf News.
Last year, The Fridge produced its first-ever musical Cirque du Souq, which earned three award nominations in the region. The Fridge has come back this year with Kalubela as an answer to the growing hunger for a platform for homegrown talents in the performing arts.
“Definitely we find that the locally-based artists are hungry to be a part of the theatre. There is a lack of outlet for them because obviously everything is corporate-based, and [most of] the theatre shows are brought in,” Scott said.
But for these initiatives to flourish, continued support for the artists and the organisers are needed.
“While we’re seeing great strides with the visual arts and also with film, the performing arts is still the poor cousin in the arts family,” Frost said.
“It’s very important to grow the performing arts scene in the UAE. And I for one certainly look forward to seeing a real awakening and support from corporate sectors in terms of funding and from government sectors with legislation and laws that support the performing arts.”
For more information, visit www.thefridgedubai.com .