How long has the Chicago musical been performed in Belgrade?
We started 12 years ago, and tomorrow in Tivat will be the 275th performance since we began. This is one of the most popular musical shows in Belgrade produced according to all the Broadway standards. By this, I mean the show of top quality based on serious casting standards: the participants must be both great actors, and singers, and dancers, and high professionalism is required from the orchestra and backstage ensemble.
What is especially valuable to me is that the Chicago musical license is very flexible in terms of creativity in production. Most of the musical licenses are very strict in this, and it’s a kind of equal to international copies of music and play and decorations. The Chicago license requires you to keep only the music and text and for the rest, any creative ideas can be implemented on the stage. So, here we have a chance to show our own vision of the Broadway masterpiece.
How many people are involved?
Altogether with orchestra and dancers, it’s about 100 people which is a kind of big number, and it’s not that easy to manage this acting group. However, when you see 60-70 people performing on the stage you feel the effect. And with this huge cast, we have already done several very successful tours.
How popular is this genre in the Balkan region?
Our theater, along with Zagreb Comedy Theater, is the only professional musical theater in the region - you can’t find anything like that neither in Macedonia nor in Slovenia. That is another reason why bringing the show to Montenegro is so important to us.
Are the main actors from the Balkan region?
Yes, before we had two casts, but after 10 years we finally kept one and most of them are from the Belgrade stage and I’m happy that we managed to keep the high standard of musical performing thanks to them. Jelena Jovichich is one of the famous actresses in Serbia starring in movies and TV shows but is most popular as a Broadway musical singer. Herself as Roxy Heart, along with Ivana Knezevich as Velma Kelly, are the stars of our Theater. I’m sure the Tivat public will enjoy their play as much as if they were on Broadway. The show had luckily avoided the impact of commercialization such as TV shows, etc. This is a real west-end standard.
What is the language of the show?
It’s translated into Serbian (which was a very difficult task actually because of the musical base which dictates the lyrics form), however, the plot is so well-known and the choreography together with music is so beautiful, that I believe it does not matter which language is used in the play. To me, as a drama professional, musicals are a universal genre combining exactly depicted characters and their relations with strong musical and singing parts. And for this genre, (as I know from our experience with the foreign public) translation of the text is not that important.
However, there is another play performed within the Purgatorije festival that may be really interesting and absolutely adequate for the foreigners in Montenegro. It’s called If Sombor was Hollywood. Sombor is the city in the northwest part of Serbia, close to the Hungarian border. It is a tribute to Ernest Bosnjak, a pioneer of Yugoslavian cinematography, born in Sombor. In 1906 he brought a projector to his native city and opened the first cinema there. It’s a very unusual play first of all because it brings cinema aesthetics to the theater stage, and also because it uses no text just like a silent movie. So, anyone can understand.
Tickets for the Chicago musical in Tivat tomorrow were sold out many days ago, however, you can still get the tickets for If Sombor was Hollywood performed on 8th July on the Tivat summer stage.