The production is directed by Dennis Carvalho and the musical direction by Alexandre Kassin, both newcomers to the music universe (Photo: LEO AVERSA/DIVULGAO)
This is where the project started. And it couldn’t be otherwise, because the starting point of the story of Belo Horizonte. Marilene Gondim, Milton Nascimento’s entrepreneur for 15 years (1994 to 2009), had not seen him on stage for a long time when she visited him in November 2015 at the Cine Theatro Brasil Vallourec.
Excited after the show, she was walking down the stairs of the theater when she met Márcio Borges. “Marcinho, I want to do a musical about the Clube,” she told the lyricist. She already had expertise as she was the producer of Elis, o musical which was touring Brazil at the time.
It makes perfect sense that “Clube da Esquina Dreams Never Age” begins its season seven years later in BH a city worth strengthening, which will also host Milton’s farewell stage in November. Featuring part of the team that worked on the musical about Elis Regina and director Dennis Carvalho at the helm, the show will premiere this Friday (19/8) at the Sesc Palladium. The season runs until the 28th of this month.
It was also Márcio Borges’ book, “Dreams don’t age Histrias do Clube da Esquina” (1996), the main record of the meeting of musicians, composers and lyricists in BH in the 1960s, which formed one of the main forces of Brazilian music of the 20th century, the basis for the assembly. Fernanda Brandalise was responsible for the adaptation and dramaturgy.
“It’s a Brazilian musical, it has no choreography. And also in the documentation. We have these beautiful songs and actors and singers, all young.”
Dennis Carvalho, director
Dennis Carvalho, who left Globo a few months ago after 47 years with the broadcaster, had previously only directed “Elis, o Musical” of projects in this genre. “I was ‘greener’ in this business, so I was more nervous about ‘Elis’. But the thing about the job is that there’s always a challenge, so you’re always nervous. And we just rehearsed with the actors in Rio. When we got here at the theater, rehearsals started with lights, musicians. very exciting,” he says.
It’s a musical, but a far cry from the Broadway format. “A Brazilian musical has nothing to do with choreography. And also in the documentary. We are counting on these beautiful songs and actors and singers, all young,” comments Carvalho.
Márcio Borges (Rmulo Weber) and Milton Nascimento (Tiago Barbosa) in the musical scene based on the book “Dreams don’t age Histrias do Clube da Esquina” (1996) by Borges (Photo: LEO AVERSA/DIVULGAO )
The director, who has been friends with Milton for 40 years (the singersongwriter is even the godfather of one of his daughters), visited his home in Rio two weeks ago. “He likes to watch soap operas, he used to joke and laugh. And I was curious: ‘Who is going to make me do this?’” The answer lies in Tiago Barbosa, 37 years old. The actor and singer from Rio de Janeiro won the world in 2013 when he played Simba, the protagonist of the musical “O rei leo”. His career took off and Barbosa moved to Spain seven years ago where he continues to perform in shows in the genre.
“I’ve been listening to Milton a lot over the past three months. And that’s when I began to understand the feelings his music evokes: nostalgia, empowerment. If he hits the highest notes, where does his inspiration come from? African, ancestral. try to do it as honestly and sentimentally as possible”
Tiago Barbosa, actor, interpreter of Milton Nascimento in the musical
The invitation to play Milton brought him back to Brazil. Until then he was visiting the country annually for a short season performing his show Estrada. The repertoire included “Nothing will be like before” (Milton and Ronaldo Bastos) and “Travessia” (Milton and Fernando Brant). But I had never seen a show in Minas Gerais. Last month he sat in the front row of Milton’s presentation of The Last Music Session in Rio de Janeiro.
“The grades that Milton achieves are quite difficult. I come from somewhere other than Broadway, and this is Brazil. Everything I had to lose to work abroad I have now rediscovered to be able to do it,” Barbosa comments. For the singersongwriter role, he lost nearly seven pounds, grew his hair out (but he uses wigs on stage), and immersed himself in music production.
“I’ve been listening to Milton a lot in the last three months. And then I began to understand the feelings his music evokes: nostalgia, empowerment. Where does inspiration come from when he hits the highest notes? African, ancestor. I’ve been trying to find this place to do it in the most honest and sentimental way,” he adds, playing nearly 15 songs.
Barbosa leads a team of 16 actors and singers selected from 300 candidates. The main actors are Cadu Libonati (L Borges), Daniel Haidar (Fernando Brant), Vitor Novello (Wagner Tiso), Tom Karabakhian (Beto Guedes), Rmulo Weber (Mrcio Borges) and Gab Lara (Ronaldo Bastos).
According to Dennis Carvalho, along with musical production, friendship is the most striking aspect in the history of the Clube da Esquina. “I learned that from Bituca all my life. Friendship can transcend anything, and as we read the history of the club, we discover that one becomes friends with the other and with the other.” In selecting the cast, the director used three criteria: acting, singing and physical resemblance, “if possible”.
The musical’s crew includes wellknown names in the industry, such as lighting designer Maneco Quinder and costume designer Marlia Carneiro. However, the music director is a newcomer to the genre. Musician, composer and producer Alexandre Kassin has collaborated with several greats including Caetano Veloso, Los Hermanos, Jorge Mautner, Erasmo Carlos and Vanessa da Mata. But I had never done anything like a musical before.
“Even though I didn’t follow the world of musicals, watching made me think about the way the music was performed, which is very different from a record or a show. For example, you need to calculate the music tempo for the dialogue. What always fascinated me was the operatic side of it,” says Kassin.
For the project he founded a base band with six musicians. Kassin essentially worked on the original arrangements of the 25 songs that make up the repertoire. “I was absolutely respectful, I tried to take it as much as possible. What I changed was that it serves the scene, like adding a little more rhythm to a song to create more impact (what’s happening on stage),” he continues.
The classic harmonies of the club’s music production had different levels of difficulty when translating them into the musical. “There are things that are simple and things that are so complicated that there is no other angle (other than the original)”, says Kassin, citing “Saudades dos aavies da Panair” (Milton and Fernando Brant) as one of them.
“I was absolutely respectful (to the songs), I tried to take it as much as possible. What I changed was to serve the scene, a little more rhythm in a song for example to have more impact (which happens on stage). “
Alexandre Cassin, music director
But the song that gave the most work was “Travessia”. “As unbelievable as it sounds, as a number it was complicated to implement. It has a lot of subtleties and it was what we (in rehearsals) had to repeat the most. For me, the moment when I fell back into the musical is unforgettable. The ‘Travessia’ with which Tiago made history,” comments the music director.
This weekend, the premiere of the musical will be a crucial test for the cast as many of those involved in the 50+ year history will be in the audience. By the way, L Borges recently met the actors who went to his concert in Rio.
Milton’s partner on the anthological (and fifty) album Clube da Esquina called everyone onto the stage and, touched, told the audience that that night he would meet “my mother, my father, my brothers”.
After BH, “Clube da Esquina Os dreams don’t age” will continue with a single presentation on September 2nd at Centro Cultural Usiminas in Ipatinga and for seasons in Rio de Janeiro (from 9/9 at Teatro Riachuelo) and in Sun Paulo (from October 28th at the Teatro Liberdade).
Dennis Carvalho and part of the music team will conduct a workshop on the creative process of “Clube da Esquina Os dreams no aging”. The meeting is aimed at actors, musicians, directors and producers in the performing arts, as well as students. The chat will take place on Friday (8/26) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Sesc Palladium. Free registration via Sympla.
“CLUBE DA CORNER DREAMS ARE NOT OLD”
Premiere this Friday (19.8.) at 8.30 p.m. at Sesc Palladium, Rua Rio de Janeiro, 1046, Centro. season until 28.8. From Thursday to Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Duration: 120 minutes (15 minute break). Tickets: Audience 1: R$ 240; Audience 2: BRL 220; Audience 3: BRL 190; Target group 4: R$ 75. Total reference values. Sale at the box office and on the Sympla website.