“Lift it up, lift it up: we can sing our country free!” Twenty triple-threat performers and a five-piece band will bring an inspirational new musical based on historical events to life this January. Presented by Dreamtone Productions in association with NewYorkRep, the world premiere of Singing Revolution: The Musical sets a tale of star-crossed lovers against the beautiful, moving and timeless true story of Estonia’s 1987 song-filled, peaceful uprising against the Soviet Union. Featuring a crowd-pleasing Europop score by Tony Spinosa, who also directs; book and lyrics by Spinosa and James Bearhart; music direction by Brent Crayon; and choreography by Tracey Benson, opening night is set for Saturday, January 15 on the Main Stage at Hollywood’s Broadwater Theatre, where performances will continue through February 20.
Set in Tallinn, Estonia and spanning four decades, Singing Revolution is inspired by the actual events that led to Estonian independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The tiny country’s journey to freedom through the power of song acts as a reminder to us all that the power of peaceful resistance can change the world.
“When I first learned about Estonia’s ‘Singing Revolution,’ a light bulb went off in my head,” says Spinosa. “People literally singing as a shield against Soviet attacks is a story I knew I needed to tell.”
“Once word got out that I was working on this musical, TV shows began to approach me for interviews,” he continues. “I was introduced to the Estonian consul in New York City, who connected me with Estonia’s minister of culture in Tallinn. I was able to interview many of the leaders of the Singing Revolution, most of whom are still alive and still living in Estonia. With their help, I began to discover the passion and integrity of the Estonian culture and the heart of this musical’s story.”
“Singing Revolution” is a commonly used name for the nonviolent movement that led to the 1991 restoration of independence of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from the Soviet Union. Starting in 1987, Estonians engaged in a series of mass demonstrations, including spontaneous singing of national songs which were banned during the Soviet occupation. Raising the banned Estonian flag while gathering en masse and singing banned patriotic songs, the movement eventually gained the support of the republic’s ruling Communist Party in defying Moscow, faced down Soviet tanks, and successfully declared Estonian independence.
The musical’s new and exciting Europop score will appeal to anyone who loves K-Pop and the Eurovision Song Contest.
As part of the development process, songs from Singing Revolution: The Musical have been previewed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Estonia 100 Year Celebration in New York City, and the Estonian American National Counsel in Washington, DC. Singing Revolution is sponsored, in part, by the Estonian American National Council.
Performances of Singing Revolution: The Musical take place Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., January 15 through February 20. There will be two preview performances on, Thursday, Jan. 13 and Friday, Jan. 14, each at 8 p.m. All tickets are $40, except previews, which are $30. The 6320 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Proof of vaccination is required for admission. Masks must be worn throughout the performance. For reservations and information, visit singingrevolutionthemusical.com.