Kenya’s popular children’s show “Tinga Tinga Tales” is headed to Broadway!
The musical version of the show features Kenyan children’s fables to explain questions from the animal kingdom, such as why the giraffe’s neck is long and how the chameleon got its colours.
“Basically what Tinga Tinga is, is the folklore creation stories of animals, why tortoise has a broken shell, why monkey swings from trees and that kind of thing. And so we thought it would be interesting to initially with the cartoon series to take Tinga Tinga art which hails from East Africa mainly Tanzania and the folkloric African creation stories and see if we could make something from that, that’s its genesis,” said Eric Wainaina, who is the show’s composer, music director and also plays the lead character Monkey.
It was staged to audiences at the Kenya National Theatre for a month, and the team is preparing to perform for two weeks in October at New Victory Theatre, an off-Broadway theatre for children in the United States.
“Well we did this show much more kind of rock and roll like a festival show in a big tent two years ago and we sent it to someone on Broadway and they said we love it, so bring it over here. And then we remounted it again and we wrote putting more songs in, and Eric Wainaina who plays monkey did all the music which is phenomenal. So we decided to put it up for a month at the Kenya national theatre and then literally taking everyone you see up there on a plane next Sunday to do three weeks on Broadway in Times Square,” said multiple BAFTA award-winner Claudia Lloyd, who is also the director of the show.
According to the director, the show has the potential to reach a much broader audience than the one it has so far entertained.
Tinga tinga is based on the cartoon by multiple BAFTA award-winner Claudia Lloyd and Kenyan singer-songwriter Eric Wainaina and also features Kenya’s top vocalists.
The cartoon show was produced by a team in Kenya’s capital and has about 50 episodes.