"Wakaa! The Musical" is to become the first Nigerian musical to transition to London's West End in July. Producer Bolanle Austen-Peters is hoping that after a popular opening stint in Lagos, English audiences will welcome the production with open arms.
It's the second musical by Austen-Peters, who first tried her hand at the genre two years ago with "Saro." The musical tells the story of a group of Nigerian graduates, tracing their paths after making a wager at their ceremony. A satire and social commentary, it addresses issues faced by millennial Nigerians and their wider political context.
Austen-Peters says that 10,000 people watched "Wakaa!" over the course of 12 performances around the new year. It was so popular people were offering to pay to stand in the aisles. "We can rival any of the big institutions in the world," the producer argues, and hopes Nigeria's burgeoning musical industry will go on to even bigger things.
The producer was inspired to start making musicals after watching a performance of "Fela!" on Broadway. The hit show inspired by the late Afrobeat icon transferred to London and was performed in Lagos in 2011.