•Oba Ogunwusi (right) playing host to the actors and actresses
By Chris Onuoha
Celebrated top Nollywood stars including Bimbo Manuel, Femi Branch, Rotimi Adelagan, Deyemi Okalawon and Ayoola Ayolola, featuring in Queen Moremi the Musical, stormed the palace of Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi last week.
Others cast members on the royal visit include Tosin Adeyemi, Gbenga Titiloye, Ibukun Fasunhan, Lanre Ajayi, Kehinde Bankole and Kehinde Oretimehin.
The visit to update Ogunwusi with the preparedness of the crew, ahead of the two-week massive theatrical show-off of the musical, turned out to be a fanfair of a sort. And it was a moment of on-the-spot display of the snippets expected at the upcoming show as the Ooni, who could not conceal his excitement, gave a thumb-up to the group.
The impromptu performance, although without key acts like Omotale Jolade and Lala Akindoju (Esinmiri), was full of excitement with the monarch confessing that he could not wait to watch the full grand command performance.
With a song led by Ayolola, the palace hall came alive as other casts, adorned in their native Yoruba costume, chanted their respective roles.
The full live performance celebrates Queen Moremi Ajasoro as a warrior.
Meanwhile, House of Oduduwa and Rejuvenee, in collaboration with Bolanle Austen Peters Production, are presenting the musical to showcase the heroine’s sacrifice and courage in the struggle to save Yorubaland.
The global cultural ambassador to Queen Moremi initiative, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, noted that using the platform of Theatre, The House of Oduduwa and Rejuvenee was apt to celebrate a woman of the most outstanding pedigree in Yoruba history.
“Moremi was the woman who gave herself up to be taken into slavery in order to save her people from war and famine. The call to service was strong enough for her that she also gave up her only child. History records that in giving up so much, Moremi single-handedly put a stop to the constant strife and wars in Ile-Ife and within the Yoruba world. She eventually became a queen and wife of the Ooni, epitomizing the spirit of peace, prosperity and progress which defines beauty in Yoruba land,” Ademiluyi said.
Also speaking, Rejuvenee stated: “In partnering with The House of Oduduwa, Rejuvenee aspires to boost a cultural renaissance of Yoruba history and culture, re-affirm its stand for uplifting women and promoting the strength and beauty of womanhood.
“This production signifies a re-introduction of theatre as a tool, not just for entertainment but also for social orientation. We are proud to be working with the esteemed House of Oduduwa and also applaud the initiative of His Imperial Majesty Ooni Ogunwusi to increase the global awareness of Yoruba women and culture. Rejuvenee’s collaboration with The House of Oduduwa is unique and we are also committed to this course.”