Home » London Theatre News » Ramin Karimloo and Nadim Naaman head the cast of Rumi: The Musical

Ramin Karimloo and Nadim Naaman head the cast of Rumi: The Musical

Dana Al Fardan, one of the Middle East’s leading contemporary composers, and West End star Nadim Naaman today announce their second major stage musical, ‘Rumi: The Musical’.

Rumi: The Musical‘Rumi’, based on a story about the 13th-century philosopher and poet Rumi by Evren Sharma, follows Al Fardan and Naaman’s 2018 debut ‘Broken Wings’, which premiered in the West End at the Theatre Royal Haymarket before touring the Middle East.

‘Rumi: The Musical will launch first with a full-length concept album, with Ramin Karimloo and Nadim Naaman heading a West End cast comprising entirely of performers of Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian heritage, and also
featuring The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.

The musical is Orchestrated and Arranged by Joe Davison, with Vocal Arrangements by Nikki Davison and Middle Eastern Musical Supervision by Maias Alyamani. The album is Produced, Edited and Mixed by Joe and Nikki Davison for Auburn Jam Music.

‘Rumi: The Musical’ was recorded in London and Doha throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. It features a grand score which combines Middle Eastern authenticity with classical influences and contemporary musical theatre, with lyrics derived from Rumi’s poetry.

‘Rumi: The Musical’ will be released on all major digital platforms later this Spring, with further details to be announced soon.

Ramin Karimloo (as Shams Tabrizi) and Nadim Naaman (Rumi) lead the concept album cast as the central protagonists.

They are joined by Casey Al-Shaqsy (as Kimya), Soophia Foroughi (Kara), Sharif Afifi (Sultan Valed), Ahmed Hamad (Aladdin), Irvine Iqbal (Husam) and Alim Jayda (Sayyed).

Completing the company are Roshani Abbey, Amira Al Shanti, Eva-Theresa Chokarian, Maëva Feitelson, Sasha Ghoshal, James Hameed, Blythe Jandoo and Aliza Vakil.

The legacy of Rumi has touched millions around the world and continues to make an impact in its universality and utilitarian nature; a legacy which has lasted eight centuries and has inspired all nationalities, ages, faiths and backgrounds. But how did it all begin?

‘Rumi: The Musical’ explores the transformative and powerful relationship between Rumi and his mentor Shams Tabrizi. From their first encounter, it is clear that Rumi and Shams were destined to converge for greatness; two highly contrasting but brilliant minds, both seeking a higher purpose. However, the impact of this extraordinary friendship on Rumi’s loyal wife, Kara, her daughter Kimya and his sons, Sultan Valed and Aladdin is clear, inviting resistance from Rumi’s faithful following with increasingly intense and dramatic consequences. What was the price, that the world might receive the gift of Rumi’s genius and spiritual legacy?

Dana Al Fardan said: “Writing ‘Rumi’ has been the ultimate journey in unraveling components that are socially constructed from those that form our own personal truth and consciousness. In light of our shared experience this year, with the world falling into disarray, it has been an incredibly powerful and uplifting experience to retreat to that place and discover the abundant creative force that it offers. I am confident that we have created a framework that will offer the audience the chance to tap into that place on some level.

Nadim Naaman said: “Nearly three years after writing the first song, we are excited to share ‘Rumi’ with the world. The journey has not been what we anticipated, but I am most proud that we have created and recorded this piece in spite of the adversity of Covid 19, working remotely across continents. The show’s integral themes of personal discovery, reflection and the pursuit of fulfilment have been lived and breathed worldwide due to the pandemic, and the messaging of this piece is perhaps even enhanced as a result. We thank our entire team and magnificent cast for their support, patience and enthusiasm along the way.”

Rumi (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273), was a 13th-century Persian poet, Hanafi faqih, Islamic scholar, Maturidi theologian, and Sufi mystic originally from Greater Khorasan in Greater Iran, Rumi’s influence transcends national borders and ethnic divisions: Iranians, Tajiks, Turks, Greeks, Pashtuns, other Central Asian Muslims, and the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent have greatly appreciated his spiritual legacy for the past seven centuries. His poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages and transposed into various formats. Rumi has been described as the “most popular poet” in the United States.

Dana Al Fardan is a Qatari Composer, Songwriter and Symphonic Artist. Drawing on her rich cultural heritage and influenced by her love of world music, her work is a blend of Arabic influenced contemporary Classical, both epic in scale and universally accessible. Dana is Brand Ambassador of the internationally renowned Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she recorded ‘Layla’ and ‘Sandstorm’, her first two albums. ‘Sandstorm’ has since been played by The London Metropolitan Orchestra at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London, bringing Qatari music to a UK audience for the first time. In Musical Theatre, Dana co-composed ‘Broken Wings’ with Nadim Naaman; an adaptation of Kahlil Gibran’s debut novel. ‘Broken Wings’ premiered in the West End in 2018 at Theatre Royal Haymarket, and has since toured The Middle East (Beiteddine Arts Festival, Katara Opera House and Dubai Opera House), achieving sell-out runs and critical acclaim. In October 2019, Dana’s repertoire was performed at The United Nations to mark the annual UN Day and celebrate the UN’s 74th anniversary, featuring the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. The programme was Conducted by Eimeer Noon, who went on to conduct The Oscars that same year. Currently, Dana is also working on her score for feature film ‘Orca’ and her fourth album ‘INDIGO’.

Lebanese-British actor, singer and writer Nadim Naaman trained in musical theatre at The Royal Academy of Music, where he has since been appointed an Associate. Nadim is the Book Writer and Co-Composer of critically acclaimed Kahlil Gibran musical ‘Broken Wings’, written with Dana Al Fardan. ‘Broken Wings’ premiered in The West End in 2018 (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and has since toured The Middle East (Beiteddine Arts Festival, Katara Opera House and Dubai Opera House). Recent acting credits include: Count Carl-Magnus in ‘A Little Night Music’ (Holland Park Opera), Raoul in ‘The Phantom of The Opera’ (West End, Athens and Thessaloniki) and Gibran in ‘Broken Wings’ (West End and Middle Eastern Tour). Other notable credits include: ‘On The Town’ (Royal Albert Hall, BBC Proms), ‘Sweeney Todd’ (Tooting Arts Club and West End), ‘One Man Two Guvnors’ (Theatre Royal Haymarket), and ‘The Sound of Music’ (Palladium). As a Soloist, Nadim’s Concert work has taken him around the world, collaborating with Orchestras and venues such as The Hong Kong Philharmonic, Birmingham Symphony, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, RTE Concert Orchestra Dublin, Liverpool Philharmonic, The John Wilson Orchestra, London Symphony and BBC Proms at The Royal Albert Hall. Nadim’s 2016 studio album, ‘Sides’, topped the iTunes UK Vocal Chart, and is available on iTunes and Spotify.

Joe was tutored in Conducting by Paul McGrath (BBC’s Maestro) and has gone on to MD concerts at The Royal Albert Hall, O2 Arena, Kerry Ellis Tonight At The London Coliseum, and conducted his own orchestrations on the international tour of ‘Broken Wings’. Joe and Nikki (aka Auburn Jam Music) have Orchestrated, Produced and Mixed albums for pop and rock artists including Felix Hagan & The Family, Cable Street Collective, Rebecca Levy, Caroline Kay, and West End stars including Kerry Ellis, Janie Dee, Alice Fearn and Nadim Naaman. They’ve produced and mixed cast recordings including: Rags Original London Cast Recording with Stephen Schwartz (Ghostlight Records), Queen Of The Mist with Michael John LaChiusa (Pint of Wine), The Clockmaker’s Daughter, Broken Wings and #ZoologicalSociety by Vikki Stone (all Auburn Jam Records) and are currently Orchestrating and Producing Millennials by Elliot Clay and Public Domain by Forristal & Clarke, which they recently Music Supervised for its live-streamed Southwark Playhouse premiere. As a keys player Joe has toured and recorded with Bear’s Den on Fragments (Communion Records) and alongside Nikki (vocals) toured with Frank Turner, Arkells, Leddra Chapman and Felix Hagan & The Family. They also compose for TV and film, with credits including The Girl Who Built A Rocket (Water Aid), Hey You What If (CBBC), Delete Delete Delete (BBC Ireland) and for brands including Nickelodeon, Argos, Finish, Warner Music, BMW and England Rugby. Joe assisted Dana Al Fardan on feature film Orca (Katara Studios) and Nick Lloyd Webber on Love, Lies and Records (BBC).

Maias is a Violinist, Composer and Producer. He is considered one of the foremost Arab artists of today. He graduated from The Higher Institute of Music in Damascus in before completing his Master’s at The Vienna University of Music. He is a frequent lecturer of Arabic Music across Europe. As a Soloist, Maias has performed with leading musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, Gidon Kremer, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Zawinul and Fairuz. His numerous appearances with Orchestras across Europe include: Vienna Symphony, Kremerata Baltica, RSO Vienna, Orchestra Royal de Chamber de Wallonie, Berlin Philharmonie, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.As a Composer, Maias’ recent commissions include the inauguration of Damascus Opera House, the opening ceremony of The Arab Olympic Games, boarding music for Qatar Airways, the opening ceremony of Lusail Stadium, Doha and the 2022 World Cup Launch. He has built a large following popularising Classical Music in The Arab World, with over 20 recordings to his name.

Rumi: The Musical
Music & Lyrics by Dana Al Fardan and Nadim Naaman
Book by Nadim Naaman
Based on a Story by Evren Sharma

Orchestrations and Arrangements by Joe Davison
Vocal Arrangements by Nikki Davison
Middle Eastern Musical Supervision by Maias Alyamani

Produced, Edited and Mixed by Joe and Nikki Davison for Auburn Jam Music
Recorded at Katara Studios, Auburn Jam Music and Master Chord Studio

Featuring The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra
Oud by Aref Gumman
Kanun by Taufic Mirkhan
Naye by Yassine Auari
Rababa by Hassan Moatas
Arabic Percussion by George Oro
Piano, Bass and Additional Programming by Joe Davison

Guitars and Mandolin by Tom Fleming
Harp by Olivia Jageurs

The Company (in Alphabetical Order): Roshani Abbey, Sharif Afifi,
Amira Al Shanti, Casey Al-Shaqsy, Eva-Theresa Chokarian, Maëva Feitelson, Soophia Foroughi, Sasha Ghoshal, Ahmed Hamad, James Hameed, Irvine Iqbal, Blythe Jandoo, Alim Jayda, Ramin Karimloo, Nadim Naaman and Aliza Vakil.

Artwork by Rami Kanso

Instagram @rumimusical
Facebook @rumimusical
Twitter @rumi_musical


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