Since January 20, visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai have been treated every weekend to Why? The Musical, created especially for the world's fair by Oscar-winner AR Rahman and Bafta-winning filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.
Starring Australian theatre actress Shubshri Kandiah and Indian actor and comedian Jaaved Jaaferi as the leads, the 45-minute show features more than 100 performers as well as stunning visuals projected on Al Wasl Dome, the world’s largest 360-degree projection screen and Expo 2020's centrepiece.
Earlier this month, the show's four-days-a-week run was extended to five days a week. While initially set to end on Sunday, organisers have extended the show, which will now be performed until Saturday, March 5.
On Thursday, The National was given exclusive backstage access to the show, and witnessed performers preparing moments before the curtains went up at Al Wasl Plaza.
Scroll through the gallery above for behind-the-scenes pictures of Why? The Musical.
What's the musical about?
Why? The Musical tells the story of a young girl who sets off on a journey of discovery accompanied by a wise old man. Along the way, the pair will teach audiences about empathy towards the planet and inspire them to create a cleaner, safer and healthier world. It will "aim to stir visitors’ emotions and draw on a childhood thirst for knowledge," organisers said.
The show features eight original compositions by Rahman, who's been wowing Expo 2020 visitors with his all-woman Firdaus Orchestra. The lyrics of the songs have been written by Sohaila Kapur, Dana Dajani and Shivang. Oscar-winning audio mixer Resul Pookutty has designed the sound for the show.
“I feel blessed and honoured to be creating a musical spectacle in collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai and AR Rahman. Why? The Musical celebrates diversity and inclusivity, as it takes audiences on a spectacular journey," said Kapur, who won a Bafta award for his 1998 film Elizabeth, when announcing the show in December.
He described the performance as "an anthem to our planet, to our Mother Earth".
When is the show on?
Why? The Musical runs five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday, at 8pm at Al Wasl Plaza. While Sunday was meant to be the last day of the show, additional performances have been added on for Tuesday to Thursday, March 1 to 3, and Saturday, March 5.