Malta’s 75-year-old rock ’n roll legend Freddie Portelli, most famous for the classic Mur Ħallini, is getting his own musical this summer, in a show that will celebrate his greatest hits.
And to promote the show, Freddie Portelli will also be gracing our airwaves with a brand new song, which, like the musical, is named after his famous catchphrase: Il-Kbir Għadu Ġej.
Il-Kbir Għadu Ġej, the musical, is the brainchild of the team behind previous original shows Balzunetta Towers (2017) and Ħanina Maddalena (2018), with direction by Sean Buhagiar and Mro. Dominic Galea taking over the musical arrangements and live band.
Buhagiar grew up in Portelli’s hometown of St Paul’s Bay, and followed the cult singer’s career closely. Eventually he worked with Portelli on a couple of concerts and the idea of a Freddie Portelli jukebox was something that began floating around his mind. After establishing such a great relationship with Mro. Galea, and working on original Maltese musicals together, he felt this was the perfect timing for Portelli’s very own musical. Mro. Galea has been friends with Portelli for a long time and was electrified at the thought.
One phone call to Freddie, and that was all it took. He was sold from the word go. The deal was eventually sealed over whiskey and chocolate cake.
The musical is written by local heavyweight Malcolm Galea, the man behind many a successful pantomime and the infamous Porn – The Musical. Together with Buhagiar and Mro. Galea, they’re working hard to bring us what they’re calling Malta’s own version of We Will Rock You or Mamma Mia.
Portelli is arguably Malta’s highest-grossing singer and has had one of the longest careers in Malta’s history, belting out hit after hit and amassing an impressive discography throughout his lifetime.
Mur Ħallini will obviously be one of the highlights of the show, but the musical will also feature many other known hits like Viva Malta, Xewqat Sbieħ, Se Jkolli Nemmen and Għal Dejjem. Il-Kbir will also feature lesser known jewels like Bħalek Hawn Kemm Trid, Ma Taħraqni B’Xejn.
And it will obviously include the new release Il-Kbir Għadu Ġej which will promote the musical throughout the summer. So it’s not just his classics that we get to re-live, but he’s also back with what we’re sure will be another hit.
Portelli is apparently phoning the team twice a day, attending recordings, sending feedback, writing notes and wants to see this happen more than anyone. And he’s already thinking about the sequel! On the day, he will be invited to the premiere and be made to wear a suit – we’re told it’s going to be shiny and we can’t wait.
Il-Kbir Għadu Ġej will be premiere on the 9th of August 2019 and run for two weekends at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta. Keep an eye out on social media for the release of Freddie Portelli’s new single and some exciting cast announcements!