x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

A tribute to Glee hits Dubai

The West End production of Don't Stop Believin' - A Tribute to Glee and Other Gleeful Tunes, based on the hit TV series, opens in Dubai this weekend.

A scene from the rehearsals of the UK theatre production A Tribute to Glee and Other Gleeful Tunes, which will make its debut in Dubai this weekend.
A scene from the rehearsals of the UK theatre production A Tribute to Glee and Other Gleeful Tunes, which will make its debut in Dubai this weekend.

The fast-paced and energy-filled West End production of Don't Stop Believin' - A Tribute to Glee and Other Gleeful Tunes is hitting the Dubai stage this weekend.

Based on the hit US television series, the performances promise plenty of song and dance that will keep you tapping your feet.

The tribute show will be presented by 10 of the original cast members from the UK along with 20 performers from the UAE, with the youngest being age 10, following auditions held last March.

It features remixes and new approaches to songs such as Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer, Kanye West's Gold Digger and, of course, Journey's Don't Stop Believin', according to the director Carole Todd.

"As it has a mixture of musical theatre as well as pop, rock and soul songs as its base, it gives us the opportunity to 'act' out the songs rather than just standing in front of a microphone," said Todd, who previously directed the shows Dreamboats and Petticoats, Hello Dolly and Elvis the Musical. "The fact that all the performers cannot only sing, but dance and act, too, adds to the enjoyment."

Glee, the award-winning musical comedy, revolves around a group of Glee Club members trying to make it through high school unscathed.

"I direct and choreograph many music-based shows and musicals and, alongside my Motown and blues shows, this is one of my very special favourites," Todd said.

"The singing is exceptional, as are the arrangements, often using five- and six-part harmonies. And the audience is actively encouraged in the latter part of the show, to join in clapping, singing and even dancing."

For the producer Paul Tyrer, managing director of The Booking Office, which backed the show in the UK in 2010, it is a boost to have added singers, dancers and musicians from the UAE.

"It is clear there is a pool of very talented people in Dubai and we are looking forward to incorporating them into the show," he said.

On deciding the musical numbers for the production, Todd shared that the team held plenty of discussions.

"We decided to stick with the music choices taken from [Glee's] first season as that gave a more iconic overview," she said. "We have some other sections that are not being used in Dubai, should you wish us to return at some later date!"

For the UK cast member Laura Bennett, working with local talent means a "bigger" show that is a "truly local event".

"It is great that local performers are able to showcase their talent and gain experience and confidence with a professional cast," she said.

"I have never been to Dubai and know this will be a fun, feel-good show that both performers and audiences can be involved in."

Don't Stop Believin' - A Tribute to Glee and Other Gleeful Tunes will be performed at the First Group Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai on Thursday, 4pm and 7:30pm, and both Friday and Saturday, 11am, 3pm and 7:30pm. Tickets, priced at Dh195, are available at the Madinat Theatre Box Office and Time Out. Visit www.madinattheatre.com

melshoush@thenational.ae