Teatru Mużikali: L-Istorja tal-Musicals f’Malta is a new docuseries about the musical theatre scene in Malta and how it has developed over the years. Through a series of interviews, the documentary explores the origins of the musical theatre scene in Malta, rooted in British and Italian influence.
The programme revisits the 1980s and examines the musical Ġensna, a musical that sparked a new appetite for musicals in Maltese. With music by Mro Paul Abela and book by Raymond Mahoney, the rock-opera brought forth a cultural shift and thus, opened the door for new musicals in Maltese to be produced and written. In fact, the festival Iljieli Mediterranji would always close with a new original musical in Maltese.
Renowned works by Mro Dominic Galea including Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerika, Spiru Ċefai and Manwel Manwel: Il-Bandiera tal-Maltin as well as Bastilja, Ali Baba and Taħt Tlett Saltniet by Mro Paul Abela are some of the musicals that were written for the Iljieli Mediterranji Festival.
Some of the musicals featured include Il-Qfil u l-Ħelsien Skond Manwel Dimech, Balzunetta Towers, It-Teatru tal-Miskin, VII (sette) and Ġensna
But what happened after the last Ijlieli Mediterranji Festival was organised? The docuseries explores a period of time whereby musicals in Maltese were not so popular anymore and the scene being dominated by their foreign counterparts. That is, until 2017 when the Maltese musical re-emerged on a national scale and has remained since.
Five of Malta’s most notable musical theatre composers Paul Abela, Dominic Galea, Kris Spiteri, The New Victorians, and Luke Saydon feature in the documentary as they share their experiences working in the scene, as well as give audiences insight on the musicals that they have written.
Some of the musicals featured include Il-Qfil u l-Ħelsien Skond Manwel Dimech, Balzunetta Towers, It-Teatru tal-Miskin, VII (sette) and Ġensna among others. Each episode ends with a live performance of a song from an original Maltese musical, sung by some of Malta’s most esteemed performers.
The docuseries also features a roundtable discussion, with a number of culture professionals from various fields, who speak about the scene as they know it and have experienced it.
Teatru Mużikali airs every Monday at 8.35pm on ONE Television. This project is supported by Arts Council Malta.