Opinion – Thiago Stivaletti: Miguel Falabella tests artists for a musical in honor of Martinho da Vila

Opinion – Thiago Stivaletti: Miguel Falabella tests artists for a musical in honor of Martinho da Vila

Last Thursday (20), anyone who entered Itaú Cultural, at the beginning of Avenida Paulista (central area of ​​São Paulo), felt a Broadway atmosphere in the air. More than 200 candidates eagerly awaited the casting test for the musical that will honor Martinho da Vila, “Martinho Coração de Rei”.

From the men’s bathroom, a tenor voice echoed loudly, practicing several notes. Another walked through the corridors with a large headset, reviewing the songs of the poet from Vila Isabel (northern zone of Rio) before the awaited and feared moment: coming face to face with director Miguel Falabella, in an opportunity that could last just a few seconds. .

O F5 He watched the casting tests for about an hour. At that time, only actresses and singers were tested. Climbing the notes like on Broadway, they put a touch of “ghost of the opera” in Martinian pearls like “ex-love”, “dishonial” (today controversy of “Come Logo, Come cure your need / which arrived from Porre there from boemia”) and “Kizomba, Festa da Raça”, a samba-enredo that gave Vila Isabel its first title in 1988.

But receiving an “OK, thank you” from Falabella every few seconds was not necessarily synonymous with failure. Yes, if the candidate was out of tune right away, the horn was faster than at the late Cassino do Chacrinha.

In other cases, however, two or three verses of a samba sung in tune were enough to move him and ask the candidate to stop, probably approved. The problem is that the sieve is very cruel: out of 250 finalists, only 18 are expected to take the stage at Teatro Sérgio Cardoso when the musical opens in September.


Divided, Falabella is caught between empathy with his fellow actors and the pressure to raise the curtain for the show. “This part [do teste de elenco] It’s horrible. I wanted to get everyone. But I have a show in my head. Sometimes the person sings well, is in tune, but doesn’t have the embouchure [o encaixe] which is fundamental to the show. I have a week to work on the musical part. If someone doesn’t shoot for the goal right away, they’ll fall behind”, he explains.

Even though he is close to Martinho, as he is a good friend of his daughter Mart’nália, he hesitated to accept the new invitation from creator Jô Santana after the success of “Marrom, O Musical”, which told the story of Alcione’s life. “I didn’t want to do a biography anymore. But I thought about it, and I would agree if I had another look. I didn’t want to just focus on that Google thing: who he married, how many children he had, etc.”

In other words: more than Martinho’s life story, he was interested in his music, his work, his samba – without losing what Falabella calls his “spectacular” side, trained in Broadway musicals such as “Os Produtores” and “Alô, Dolly!”

It was playwright Helena Teodoro, one of the greatest researchers of black culture and samba in the country, who helped him see the samba singer’s history from the perspective of his Africanness. “Martinho makes a fundamental connection to our identity as a people. This thing about black culture being erased all the time is brutal. And it hurts us all, it robs us of an identity and a civilization”, says the director.


On Thursday, one of the candidates auditioning was Dandara Ventapane, 32 years old, Martinho’s granddaughter and current flag bearer of the Paraíso do Tuiuti samba school. Away from musicals for ten years, she is excited about telling her grandfather’s story. “He was the first to break the samba bubble, give it national greatness. And also to exchange music between Portuguese-speaking countries. It’s no small feat”, she says.

Jô Santana, who became the biggest producer of musicals paying homage to black artists in Brazil, says that Martinho’s story should close a trilogy that began with Cartola and Dona Ivone Lara. “But then the pandemic came… and I’m really crazy about Alcione. I told him: ‘Martinho, you’re going to have to wait a little because I’m going to take Marrom ahead’. He just said it in that way: ‘Everything Well, she’s my sister'”, he says, laughing.

“The important thing is to pay tribute with flowers while he is alive. Martinho has a side that no one knows about. He is an intellectual, with more than 30 books published. And he is the man who brought Mandela to Brazil”, he recalls.

Santana is suspenseful and doesn’t give details about what the show will be like. But he confirms that it will not be a linear musical, telling Martinho’s story from the beginning of his life to the present; and that several actors will take turns playing the role of the samba singer, depending on the stage of life or work.

As for Falabella, who never stops, he begins preparing “Martinho Coração de Rei” while finishing rehearsing a new version of his biggest hit, “A Partilha”. The comedy, which debuted 33 years ago, will be performed for the first time with only black actresses. He gets emotional and moves to tears when talking about this new version.

“It’s beautiful to bring ‘The Partilha’ back with this diverse cast. Back when I wrote this play, I never imagined four black actresses doing this text. This way of the world is beautiful. And we, as artists, have to walk together.”

“Martinho Coração de Rei – The Musical”

  • When Premiere 9/19
  • Where Sérgio Cardoso Theater (Rui Barbosa Street, 153)
  • Price Times, prices and ticket sales not yet announced


  • When Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm. Sunday, 7pm.
  • Where Sabesp Frei Caneca Theater (Rua Frei Caneca, 569)
  • Price From R$30 to R$150
  • Cast Iléa Ferraz, Adriana Lessa, Letícia Soares and Flávia dos Prazeres

Thiago Stivaletti

Thiago Stivaletti is a journalist and film, TV and streaming critic. He began his career as a reporter at Folha de S. Paulo and was a columnist for the UOL portal. As a screenwriter, he wrote for Vídeo Show (Globo) and TVZ (Multishow).

Source: Folha

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