Grease: The Musical – Exclusive Media Night Review

Jan 21, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Spotlight, The Red Carpet

The 16 of January is a very important date in the history of Pakistani Theater. The air was buzzing with excitement and new found expectancy. The crowds were shoving against one another as people tried to be the first ones through the entrance. It was the day when the first licensed musical was performed on the stage of the Karachi Arts Council.

Grease - Poster

Photo by Zohra Ahmed

By 8pm that evening, The Red Carpet of Grease – The Musical was crowded with many well known personalities, including Rubya Chaudhry, Kaukab Shabaz, Deepak Parwani, Nadia Hussain Khan, Maheen Khan and Khalid Malik, along with many others.

Nida Butt, the director was hard pressed by both the media and well-wishers. She has previously directed successful plays such as Chicago, Lyari – Karachi The Musical and Mamma Mia along with several others.

Grease - The Red Carpet

Photo by Zohra Ahmed

Butt’s excitement was evident as she gave her official statement before the start of the screening, “today is a very special and important day for them (the cast). They have been working very hard for almost 8 and 9 months to bring the Grease franchise to Pakistan. This is the first Pakistani play for which the rights have been officially bought. We are very, very excited. Our shows will be performed from 16January to 4 February and you are all welcome to join in and be a part of this musical.”

Talking to this correspondent in an exclusive interview, she declared that the play was a direct reflection of the original script. “We haven’t changed anything. We were sent the script and music by Theatrical Rights Worldwide, who has given us the franchise. The story’s the same, the outfits are the same and everything else that follows is the same.”

When asked about how challenging producing in Pakistan for the first time had been, she admitted that the sets had proven to be a problem because the musical requires 7 or 8 sets, and managing such a small stage was very difficult.

She further affirmed the presence of a live orchestra at the venue, which “always sets our performances apart from other companies and this is also how it is done abroad”.

This correspondent also managed to ask some of the celebrities present about their expectations with the musical.

Rubya Chaudhry, a successful fashion model and actress, was very excited about Grease coming to Pakistan. Talking about Nida Butt and Hamza Jaferi, she said that “there are no better people to bring this musical on stage than these two”.

Kukab Shabaz, also present at the occasion expressed her interest in theater and arts, and stated that she had come to see the musical because “all of the other musicals produced by Nida have been simply superb”. She was confident in the success of the musical, and was looking forward to it.

We were all lead inside the huge auditorium with its plush seating and dramatic lights. Two souvenirs were placed on each seat for the audience members, namely a digital video of the play and an FM91 notebook.

Grease - The Auditorium

Photo by Zohra Ahmed

The curtain rose at 9pm and right from the very beginning, the play was a masterpiece. With the four-piece live orchestra in the background, the musical with the title song amidst whistles and claps of appreciation from the audience.

Photo by bbc.co.uk

Photo by bbc.co.uk

The flawless performances had the audience in an uproar, from the fake masochism of Danny (Ahmed Ali) and the aggression of Rizzo (played by Sanam Saeed) to Kenikie (portrayed by Mustafa Changezi).  Sanam Saeed beautifully conveyed the bite in her taunts and sneers while Mustafa Changezi masterfully depicted his passion for his car in his role.

The brilliant acting by the Pink ladies and the school’s over achiever Patty Simcox also added flair to the mix.

And who could forget Sandy, played by Ayesha Omer, the new girl at the school trying to fit in?

The entire cast were brilliant in their performances. While Ayesha Omar decently portrayed her character, she would mistakenly slip back into the traditional style of pronunciation. The rest of the cast perfectly captured each drawl and twang used in the original movie.

Among the amazing collective performances of the night, Freddy my Love sung by Marty (played by Sara Haider) was loved the most. Dressed in a sky blue nightie, she sang about the man she loved. Her voice rivaled that of Sanam Saeed’s and it was obvious that the performance touched more than one heart as the whole auditorium was soon drowned in ear-shattering claps and whistles.

In concluding, this correspondent would like to extend a warm round of congratulations to the cast and the organizers for managing to stage such perfection: from the stage design, to the magnificent composing by Hamza Jaferi, to the choreography – Grease: The Musical is the true essence of success in theatre.

This is one musical not be missed!

The Author

Procrastinator of the century. Hopeless pessimist. Aspiring workaholic. Life-form based on sappy romance novels. Secretly wishes to write novels in her house on the South of France

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