Upcoming New York Musical Ignites International Buzz
A release of new music from composer/writer Johanna Telander's project in development: Kalevala the Musical has created thousands of online video plays and significant media buzz in New York and Northern Europe in the very brief time since its online distribution began.
Kalevala the Musical is based on ancient folklore that eventually became the national epic poem of Finland. Published for the first time in a book of poetry by Elias Lonnrot in 1835, The Kalevala is widely cherished and has been a source of inspiration to many fantasy authors including J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of The Rings.
"Despite the worldwide niche fan base this cultural treasure has, is has been mainly composed of people predisposed to like myth and folklore. Our musical's goal has been to build up a movement where Kalevala is a pop culture staple in its own right. So far, we've heard from people reaching as far as the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand, many asking for potential tour dates. This is both encouraging and motivating, to see this renewed excitement build up across the world through the music" said Telander on Sunday, January 27.
A native of Finland, the globetrotter, and mother-of-two who resides in the Greater New York City area, Telander took on crafting The Kalevala into a musical theatre experience as a labor of love. "This is a project carrying great personal meaning for me. My grandmother gave me her collection of poems, which had been her great aunt's. I want these stories to inspire my children's generation, and gain their rightful place right alongside the Grimm Brothers and the Ancient Greek Myths. The time is now for The Kalevala story to stand on its own internationally," Telander said.
Telander's Kalevala the Musical is gaining momentum in the theatrical community. An Equity staged reading is in the works for New York this spring and a workshop event is being developed for San Francisco in September. Due to popular demand, a second concert is scheduled for Helsinki in April 2019.
"I truly believe that culture with its ?traditions, values and artistic treasures is something that connects people all over the world. Kalevala is a fantasy story that teaches the younger generation the value found in history when taking on one's own struggles in life, and reminds the older generation to find strength in their roots and to stay true to themselves, while applying this wisdom to navigating a changing world," said co-producer/cast member, Kristi Roosmaa, who is a well-known actress-singer in her native Estonia and known as the first Estonian musical theatre singer to perform at Carnegie Hall.
Although based on Finnish Folklore, the imaginative story is set in a fantasy world, providing a magical space to showcase cultural diversity and tell a story of humankind. The diverse cast from a variety of countries, such as the US, Finland, Estonia, Israel, and Japan, is a reflection of the collaborative effort made to tell the story to an international audience. "Within the past few weeks alone, we've seen immense growth in media interest and online visits. Across our music videos and social media platforms, we've reached millions, and received over 50,000 video views," commented the creative marketing director Valev Laube.
A pop recording artist in her youth, Telander's musical influences are rich and diverse including an eclectic mix of jazz, Finnish folk, and American musical theatre. Current New York cast members include Raissa Bennett (Phantom of the Opera), Omer Saish (Radio Cty Christmas Spectacular), and Catrina Teruel (The Kind and I on Tour).
Kalevala the Musical's Promotional Video: https://youtu.be/FlRBoe_g3k0