HCA NEWS Gladsaxe Theatre creates huge HCA musical

Gladsaxe Theatre presents the theatre's largest production ever with support from The Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, The County of Copenhagen and The Municipality of Gladsaxe.

By ms - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 06 September 2004

After more than 2 years in the making, Gladsaxe Theatre is proud to announce it's most ambitious production ever: MY FAIRY TALE - a multi-media musical about Hans Christian Andersen scheduled for world premiere on October 8th, 2005 at Gladsaxe Theatre.

MY FAIRY TALE is made possible with the support of The Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, the County of Copenhagen, and the Municipality of Gladsaxe in celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen in 2005, and it will become the biggest musical product in the bicentenary year.

Flemming Enevold, theatre manager at Gladsaxe Theatre, states:
"For the last 12 years, the Gladsaxe Theatre has nurtured the ambition of creating a major international groundbreaking musical performance that blazes the way for the theatre of tomorrow in both a Danish and international context. The Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary has provided the perfect opportunity to create a production with profound international impact, and thanks to The Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, the County of Copenhagen, and the Municipality of Gladsaxe, we will now be able to create an international dream production."

"There are three aspects to Hans Christian Andersen that I find carry special significance - Andersen as an artist, as a person and as an inspirer of theatre. As an artist, he is a travelling companion who guides us into deep, subconscious, and life-giving dimensions. As a person, I feel enriched by his existential courage. His inner, hyper-sensitive seismograph reflected his existential anxiety. He feared everything - travelling for instance - yet he travelled all the same! And then I love him for his ability to poke fingers at Danish pragmatism. But most of all, I perceive Andersen as an inspirer of theatre. I have sought to imagine how he would approach theatre-making today had he been alive, and had he been a playwright and not an author. I believe he would make Denmark able to set the stage for the theatre of the future that seeks dialogue with the world - a theatre of the future which turns away from convention and embraces all genres; one that features state-of-the-art multimedia technology and embarks on archetypical non-linear storytelling - an integrated, adventurous and graphically visual style of theatre."

The Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation supports the undertaking with DKK 1.7 million. Secretary General Lars Seeberg of the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation states:
"The term "ambitious' often features in press releases on theatrical productions, even when dealing with straightforward performances that run little risk beyond the ordinary. But with the ambitious Hans Christian Andersen musical, it is a whole different matter. With theatre manager Flemming Enevold at the helm, the theatre ambitiously investigates, develops, and expands upon the musical as genre in Denmark. The Hans Christian Andersen 2005 bicentenary will be an event that speaks to a wide audience as well as more narrow audience segments. I am convinced that with its magnificently conceived Andersen project, Gladsaxe Theatre will reach a great audience with this remarkably sensual musical of international scale. We are very pleased to have contributed to the project."

The County of Copenhagen has extraordinarily granted MY FAIRY TALE DKK 1.1 million. Lars Abel, Chairman of the Cultural Committee for the County of Copenhagen, states:
"Hans Christian Andersen is a national icon, and the value and beauty of such a massive artistic and cultural manifestation cannot be overrated. Gladsaxe Theatre's Hans Christian Andersen production is central to the visions and undertaking of the County of Copenhagen, which is why we are pleased to contribute to the 2005 bicentennial celebrations. The production will attract an audience of Danes and tourists alike, and not least an audience abroad, which will highlight the region internationally."

The Municipality of Gladsaxe has granted DKK 600,000 to the project. Mayor of Gladsaxe Karin Søjberg Holst states:
"This year it is precisely 40 years since the Municipality of Gladsaxe founded the private institution Gladsaxe Theatre, and next year it is 40 years since Gladsaxe Theatre held it's first opening night. We have always supported Gladsaxe Theatre financially, and we will also contribute to this major venture. Not only will Gladsaxe Theatre gain eben more acclaim for it's large-scale productions, the citizens of Gladsaxe will benefit culturally as well - and that makes us proud."

MY FAIRY TALE reflects the ambition of rejuvenating musical theatre at home and abroad. With few exceptions neither Broadway nor West End has contributed innovatively to the genre for the last two decades. MY FAIRY TALE will be a spectacular multimedia musical that embraces radical and innovative new approaches to theatre, setting the stage for the musical theatre of the future. It will be the most costly new musical production in Denmark ever with a current budget of DKK 20 million.

MY FAIRY TALE embraces a bold and innovative aesthetical idiom. Audiences will experience an onslaught of spectacular audiovisual effects and sweeping music. The performance will employ many different media - shadow play based on Andersen's own paper cuts, puppets, and marionettes in every conceivable size as well as laterna magica and world-class acrobatics. The ambition is to capture and adapt Andersen's unique fairytale universe on stage.

Væsthuset, the annex stage to Gladsaxe Theatre, will host a number of state-of-the-art theatre laboratories with the aim of developing cutting-edge multimedia special effects.

MY FAIRY TALE features the most important night in Andersen's life - the night he became Hans Christian Andersen. The performance is set at the Royal Danish Theatre on an October night in 1846. The poet has heard an old legend: He who dares spend a night alone in the darkness at the stage will see his biggest dream come true. Andersen decides to spite his fear and go the whole way. However, he wakes up to discover that he is imprisoned in his own fairytale world. In order to return to the real world he must embark on an amazing a perilous journey into the realm of his own imagination. A journey where Andersen lives out his own fairytales, experiences sweeping love, fights for his life against his own shadow and meets a travelling companion - a small boy called Hans Christian.

MY FAIRY TALE appeals to Andersen's own audience: those between 8 and 80 years of age.

MY FAIRY TALE will feature original score as well as existing compositions. The musical highlights will be a string of newly composed pop/rock songs created by one of the true heavyweights of the genre, American composer Stephen Schwartz.

Gladsaxe Theatre has succeeded in forging partnership with three-time Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz, one of the hottest composers on Broadway and in Hollywood (Academy Awards for the song ?When You Believe' from animated featureThe Prince of Egypt, the song  ?Colours of the Wind' and the soundtrack for Walt Disney's Pocahontas). Apart from The Prince of Egypt,  and Disney's Pocahontas and The Hunchback from Notre Dame, he has also written the score for popular musicals, such as Pippin and Godspell and most recently this season's biggest hit on Broadway, the musical Wicked.

Stephen Schwartz states:
"I am looking forward to collaborating with the distinguished Danish artists, who will be creating this ambitious musical theatre piece to honour Hans Christian Andersen. The simplicity and charm of Andersen's stories conceal great depth and profundity, and we hope to celebrate and reflect that in the work we do for and about him."

Schwartz will be joined by another hot international star, the Chinese Rock icon Cui Jian, who has sold more than 10 million albums in Asia and is considered one of the pioneers of contemporary Chinese rock music. Cui Jian was born in 1961 and is a classically trained trumpeter. His breakthrough album from 1986 was entitled Nothing To My Name. He has visited Denmark before and has performed with his band at the Roskilde Festival.

Cui Jian will create the music for the scenes related to the Emperor of China from The Nightingale - one of the main features of MY FAIRY TALE. Additionally, the musical will feature bel canto opera, Danish psalms and children's songs and classical music from Andersen's day.

Flemming Enevold will direct the musical, which is based on his own idea and concept. The book is written by American scriptwriter Philip Lazebnik. He has previously worked with Stephen Schwartz on The Prince of Egypt, which he wrote the screenplay for. Furthermore he has co-written Disney's Mulan and Pocahontas and more than 20 different musicals.

The third key American player in the production team is acclaimed choreographer David Parsons, who will choreograph the musical. Parsons is the Artistic Director of the modern dance company, The Parsons Dance Company, and has created an extravaganza of modern ballets - productions that have toured theworld and secured Parsons a place among the world elite of choreographers. 

The conductor will be Danish - Mikkel Rønnow - who along with Danish singer Stig Rossen co-produces and additionally conducts nationwide tours of musical performances such as Chess and Les Misérables and is currently conducting the musical Grease.

MY FAIRY TALE will be performed in Danish. The lead roles as Hans Christian Andersen and Jenny Lind and the rest of the cast will feature major Danish and Scandinavian actors and singer. The cast be announced as soon as it has been finalised. One of the major roles as Hans Christian Andersen's alter ego - the boy Hans Christian - will be selected through nationwide auditions to be held in the spring of 2005. The ensemble of singers, dancers, acrobats, and other performers will feature several international musical artists as well as a unique troupe of artists from China.

Extraordinarily, the box office sales for MY FAIRY TALE will open a year before the world premiere. Tickets are available as from today at the Gladsaxe Theatre box office at Tel.: +45 3967 6010 or from BILLETNet Tel.: +45 7015 6565.