A small Milanese Broadway entirely dedicated to musicals. It is not only, as we have documented several times in the past, the presence of several shows at the same time, but a real organic and new project that will start at the end of the year, whose engine is Federico Bellone, acclaimed director of countless Italian hits, from “Mary Poppins” to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, also active on the international scene (these days he is in London for a new production of “Dirty Dancing”).
At the center of his project are the major rooms of the Odeon cinema, whose destiny is revealed, at least the immediate one. Bellone explains to us: «On several occasions I have found myself working internationally, with even important companies such as Disney and trying to buy the rights to bring their titles to Italy. Sometimes, seeing the project vanish, I wondered why I didn’t try to work for myself ». In the end, Bellone gave an answer: he found investors and moved on to the operational phase. «In Spain – he continues – I had seen that creating a theatrical“ agglomeration ”worked. Why not try us too? ».
The major rooms of the large complex in via Santa Redegonda, in a moment of stand-by between the use of the cinema and a future renovation that will transform them into a shopping center, lent themselves to this purpose. He then rented them from the current managers (with the smaller theaters that would continue to program films) and added to them the Teatro Nuovo, also looking for a revival after problematic seasons.
This is how Broadway Milano was born. On the site there is already the program for the next season, which opens on December 2nd with “Dirty Dancing”. To follow “A Chorus Line”, “Gipsy. The queen of burlesque ”,“ The follies of variety ”,“ Cabaret ”,“ Funny Girl ”,“ Il vizietto ”. Still others may be added, “among the most anticipated musicals: which, however, we will reveal only in September”, the director stops.
«I want to start from the cornerstones», says Bellone, but he will radically rethink: the hold of the right holders has loosened on such “classic” titles and he will be able to put his hand to consecrated works but somehow time has blurred. So it is with “Chorus Line”. «Its’ 70s setting makes it ‘old’ not ‘vintage’». While “Gipsy”, “a declaration of love for the musical, little is known in Italy (only a precedent with Goggi, ed): it speaks of the decadence of the theater in the 20/30 years, it needs a more gloomy, dark ». As for “Cabaret”, “I think Brachetti may be the only one to interpret the role of Emcee, the Kit-Kat Master of Ceremonies: it will be the first time that we will see him in an actor-only role, not engaged in his usual transformations . Though…”. The presence of the Turin transformer also indicates how the choice of the cast is another fundamental element in his operation: we will see on stage Iva Zanicchi in “Follie del Varietà”, Christian Ginepro and Simone Leonardi in “Il vizietto”, the “Mary Poppins” Giulia Blacksmiths in “Funny Girl”.
The rooms of the Odeon – the 1st, largest, on the ground floor, and the 2nd below – are perfect, he continues. «They were born as a cinema-theater: they have large scenic openings and stages which, despite the restructuring of the 1980s, maintain depth. The second will then host “Gipsy” and “Il vizietto”, shows set in the night: “It will be deprived of the traditional audience and the stage that will extend with a catwalk between tables and armchairs”.
The project has been ready for a year now. But Covid has put everything on standby. “Milan has room for programming and a reality like Broadway Milano”. The Nazionale, the Teatro della Luna and, in a less continuous way, the Arcimboldi are not enough to saturate the market. «We will only offer our productions, at affordable prices to an average audience, which do not exceed 49 euros: more, today, it makes no sense. If we look at the data of the past, we see that the crowding of the titles was often greater than four or five shows at the same time and that many, passing by, were forced to a too short tenitura ».