The most-searched-for musicals in Kenya, online, are High School Musical, The Lion King and Hamilton, respectively. This is according to a recent report by TicketSource.
The research findings, released on 3rd November 2019, cover the entire globe. They are available as data and as a map indicating the top-searched musical in each country. The data was gathered from Google Trends and Adwords over the past 15 years. Further, the researchers used an ‘index scoring system’ to rank the top three most-searched-for musicals in each country. Eventually, they split the winners by continent. As a result of the methodology used, Western musicals dominate virtually every country. Some of the shows have never been staged in the nations they top. However, a show can garner interest in a country where it is yet to debut – if it has a lot of mainstream media ‘buzz’ around it, for instance.
It is noteworthy that none of the Broadway/West End blockbusters that have been performed here in Kenya over the last 15 years made the top 3 of the TicketSource rankings. These include imports such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Annie, Les Miserablés, Aladdin, Grease the Musical and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in addition to indigenous productions such as Mo Faya: The Musical, Tinga Tinga Tales or Ondieki the Opera. Tinga Tinga Tales, helmed by Afro-fusion singer/songwriter Eric Wainiana, is arguably the most successful homegrown musical. Apart from multiple runs in Kenya, it was staged in New Victory Theater in New York City, USA. Between 2018 and 2019, the Nairobi Performance Arts Studio (NPAS), steered by Briton Stuart Nash, staged Sarafina! in Nairobi and Nakuru towns. NPAS’s promotional efforts were admirable and ranged from casting well-known ‘names’ in the entertainment scene to unleashing a flash mob on the streets of Nakuru!
Still the King
According to the TicketSource results, the most-searched musicals globally are The Lion King, High School Musical and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock. Lin-Manual Miranda’s highly-touted Hamilton comes in at Number 12. Inspired by the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Hamilton has won 11 Tony Awards and spawned a fast-selling music album.
TOP IN AFRICA
Below are the top three most-searched-for musicals in African nations:
Algeria – Notre-Dame de Paris, High School Musical, Les Misérables
Angola – Evita, Les Misérables, The Lion King
Benin – Les Misérables, Hamilton, A Chrous Line
Botswana – High School Musical, School of Rock, Rock of Ages
Burkina Faso – Hamilton, Cinderella, Sunset Boulevard
Burundi – Oklahoma!, The King and I, King Kong
Cameroon – Bella: An American Tale, School of Rock, Rock of Ages
Cape Verde – Be More Chill, The Lion King, Tina Turner: The Musical
Central African Republic – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Gypsy: The Musical, Cabaret
Chad – Hamilton, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera
Comoros – Legally Blonde, Cats, Hairspray
Congo – Notre-Dame de Paris, Jesus Christ Superstar, Kinki Boots
Côte d’Ivoire- Notre-Dame de Paris, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Misérables
Democratic Republic of Congo – – –
Djibouti – Rock of Ages, Stomp, We Will Rock You: The Musical
Egypt – High School Musical, Shrek: The Musical, Wicked
Equatorial Guinea – Oliver!, Jesus Christ Superstar, Sister Act: The Musical
Eritrea – Evita, School of Rock, Chicago
Eswatini – The Percy Jackson Musical, The Lion King, Jesus Christ Superstar
Ethiopia – Once: The Musical, Hamilton, Oliver!
Gabon – Madiba: The Musical, 1776: The Musical, Wizard of Oz
Gambia – Crazy for You: The Musical, Miss Saigon, Rent
Ghana – High School Musical, The Lion King, School of Rock
Guinea – Cats, Hamilton, Miss Saigon
Guinea-Bissau – Newsies, Jesus Christ Superstar, Notre-Dame de Paris
Kenya – High School Musical, The Lion King, Hamilton
Lesotho – High School Musical, Rock of Ages, Cinderella
Liberia – Wicked, Once on This Island, The Drowsy Chaperone
Libya – School of Rock, Rock of Ages, Peter Pan: The Musical
Madagascar – High School Musical, Notre-Dame de Paris, Peter Pan: The Musical
Malawi – School of Rock, Rock of Ages, Les Misérables
Mali – Hamilton, Grease, Cinderella
Mauritania – Wicked, Carrie: The Musical, The Producers
Mauritius – Notre-Dame de Paris, The Lion King, School of Rock
Morocco – Notre-Dame de Paris, High School Musical, Les Misérables
Mozambique – Evita, School of Rock, Rock of Ages
Namibia – The Sound of Music, Cats, School of Rock
Niger – Les Misérables, Green Day: The Musical, Oklahoma!
Nigeria – High School Musical, Saro: The Musical, Wakaa: The Musical
Rwanda – School of Rock, Hamilton, Evita
Senegal – Les Misérables, Spring Awakening, Heathers: The Musical
Seychelles – School of Rock, The Book of Mormon, My Fair Lady
Sierra Leone – My Fair Lady, Legally Blonde, Oklahoma!
Somalia – The Fantasticks, Mary Poppins, A Bronx Tale
South Africa – Chicago, Matilda: The Musical, High School Musical
South Sudan – – –
Sudan – – –
Tanzania – High School, Musical School of Rock, Rock of Ages
Togo – The Lion King, Kinki Boots, Jesus Christ Superstar
Tunisia – Notre-Dame de Paris, High School Musical, Romeo and Juliet
Uganda – High School Musical, School of Rock, Rock of Ages
Western Sahara – – –
Zambia – School of Rock, Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ Superstar
Zimbabwe – School of Rock, Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ Superstar
African-oriented shows that made the list above include Saro: The Musical, Wakaa: The Musical and Madiba: The Musical. The latter is about the famed South African freedom fighter and president Nelson Mandela. It covers his inspirational journey from a 27-year prison stretch to the presidency of post-apartheid South Africa. Australia’s Theatre People has described it as, “Robust, bold, and strikingly tight movement across the board.” Incidentally, Mandela’s first wife, the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also has a celebrated musical dedicated to her life, titled Winnie the Opera.
Data from a few countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and the two Sudans, was unavailable.
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.