& the Golden Era
Written by Mona Khashoggi
At the turn of the 20th Century, a young girl is born in the Egyptian Delta, from humble beginnings she becomes the ‘Star of the Orient’, shining her talent over Egypt and the whole Arab speaking world. Umm Kulthum. Born into relative poverty, her father recognises her musical ability at a young age, disguising her as a young boy so she can use her talent to feed the family – a talent so great that all convention is broken and Umm Kulthum is mentored by the best composers and writers of the era to become a legend. Jealousy leads to a libellous scandal that nearly derails all of her hopes and dreams. She sacrifices true love for her legacy, but what a legacy she left!
Acting Dialogue in English
Singing in Arabic
Suitable for Age 7+
“My dream is to stage a Middle Eastern Musical in London’s West End and for it to travel to Europe, the Arab World and ultimately to Broadway, New York. Umm Kulthum will be a show that celebrates the life and works of Umm Kulthum, a woman who became a living legend capable of surviving not just shifts in musical taste, but also revolutions and changes in leadership. My love and respect for this woman who rose to international stardom from a humble background as the daughter of the village sheikh in the Egyptian Delta, is both professional and personal; she was a friend of my father’s, travelling with him to Paris and Vienna and when she died, my family grieved as though we’d lost a family member.
Like millions of others, her songs have been a source of comfort and passion throughout my life, connected to memories of the family home in Saudi as a child, on picnics in Lebanon as a teenager as well as driving through the English countryside listening to her music as a mother. Known by many terms of endearment, she was the Star of the Orient, the Peoples’ Singer, Egypt’s 4th Pyramid; a woman who demonstrated what could be possible for anyone with ambition and strength. I wish with Umm Kulthum to create a musical theatre tribute that will be heard and seen by more generations to come.”
An email from an appreciative person in the audience
London Palladium, 2nd March 2020