he VL Studios’ production coordinator Kristi Roosmaa, with the creative director Valev Laube, are working on an exciting new Broadway-bound musical production - Kalevala the Musical. Both have been involved with the production for over a year and just recently completed a second round of sold-out performances here in New York City, and in Helsinki, Finland.
The production brings together an international team of cast and crew from across the world to present a unique story originally based on the Finnish national epic the Kalevala. The production is initiated by a Finnish origin singer-songwriter Johanna Telander, who was inspired by the 100th anniversary of Finland in 2017 to celebrate and popularize an iconic story that has inspired many throughout generations. The wildly cherished storyline has been a source of inspiration to many fantasy authors including J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of The Rings. The musical adaptation is composed and written by a Finnish origin singer-songwriter, Johanna Telander. The production team includes America’s Got Talent finalist Freckled Sky as digital art and effects designer, and a two-time Emmy winner John Koski.
Since the production began in 2017, it’s captured attention from well-known Broadway performers, producers and directors with an intent to put together a full Broadway production in the coming years. Some notable names included in the current cast include Raissa Katona Bennett (Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Parade), Conor Ryan (Desperate Measures, Jesus Christ Superstar), Estonian actress-singer Kristi Roosmaa and a Finnish actress-singer Reeta Vestman. In 2018 the production team presented various concerts across New York City including a concert at the New York Estonian House, and the Scandinavia House. On December 16, 2018, Finnish people had an opportunity to enjoy a concert version at the Musiikkiteatteri Kapsäkki, performed by a Finnish star-cast Reeta Vestman, Nina Tapio, Jussu Pöyhönen, Mikael Saari, Mikael Haavisto, Petrus Kähkönen, Heljä Heikkinen, Tuukka Raitala and Anssi Valikainen. Due to popular demand, the cast was invited back to Helsinki, Finland in April 2019 for another concert.
Kristi Roosmaa, whose passion for Kalevala derives in the creative team and as a lead cast member, describes Kalevala as a cultural gift: “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, based on the Finnish epic, that teaches the younger generation about struggles in life, commitment, and values, and reminds older generation about staying true to themselves.”
Valev Laube became involved in the project initially as a graphic designer assisting with web and social media but has now grown to be an integral part of the production as a brand manager and visual leader. 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 just a few days of launching the promotional video, we experienced immense growth in media interest and online visits. Across our music videos and social media platforms, we've reached millions, and received close to 100,000 video views," commented the creative marketing director Valev Laube.
Find more information about the upcoming events and show support at www.kalevalamusical.com or by visiting their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kalevalamusical