Record-breaking musical phenomenon WICKED is finally arriving to Sweden! After 20 years of musical theatre history making, this musical receives its Swedish premiere at GöteborgsOperan. The production will open in 2023. I have the great honour to lead the creative team and direct this fantastic piece of musical theatre for the first time in Swedish. I am extremely excited to collaborate with the GöteborsgOperan, and I cannot wait to start looking for the amazing cast members of this fresh new production.
This will also be my first time to collaborate with takis (Set & Costume Design) and Bjorn Dobbelaere (Music Direction). And I have the huge pleasure to continue working with my partner in crime, Gunilla Olsson (Choreography).
This musical is my all-time dream to re-design and direct. I couldn't be happier. Truly.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022
I am very excited to enter 2022! 2021 has not been the easiest year, but it has been filled with musical theatre magic.
My productions have been seen in three countries, in three different languages, and we have survived all challenges created by viruses.
My production of SPRING AWAKENING played in Gothenburg, Sweden, earlier in 2021. It was such a pleasure to get back to this magnificent script and direct it for the 4th time in my career. KINKY BOOTS has had once again a sold-out year in Tampere, Finland. I am so proud to realise this production enters its 4th year in Finland! My production of KINKY BOOTS was also featured at the 74th Annual Tony Awards in 2021 as part of the international Broadway community. This was a big moment for me, for the cast, and for the entire country of Finland.
SISTER ACT is going strong in Tartu, Estonia. Every single performance has been sold out, and every show receives standing ovations. The nuns are making Estonians crazy!
In October, we opened MATILDA in Tampere, Finland - and our brand new production received raving reviews from all papers and critics!! We received 5 star reviews after another. I personally am so happy and proud for all the children in the show, and how much they all have achieved and developed in this production. May this show have a long run, and not be challenged by viruses.
While all these productions have been performing, I have been in the rehearsal rooms for my upcoming productions of COME FROM AWAY and ANASTASIA. Both shows are set to open in 2022, and now we must just carefully look into how the possible restrictions develop. COME FROM AWAY is going to be something extraordinary, and a show the entire world should see. Especially during times like these. ANASTASIA is promising to be a beautiful, emotional story about Russia, the close neighbour of Finland. Culturally this is a special production.
This year will also introduce other great musicals, and more about those productions later.
Harjanne Company Ltd had a busy, tough, but a good year in 2021. I am happy to be a CEO of a company that succeeds taking care of their employees as well as to maintain the high level of artistic excellence. May year 2022 be full of happy moments and new exciting opportunities for Creative Team Management, and musical theatre creation. Happy New Year, everyone!
KINKY BOOTS AND SISTER ACT CELEBRATE SOLD-OUT RUNS IN FINLAND & ESTONIA
Live theatre has suffered a lot due to the outbreak of COVID-19. But theatre is back - and with a bang!
Both SISTER ACT (playing at the Vanemuine Theatre, Estonia) and KINKY BOOTS (playing at the Tampereen Työväen Teatteri, Finland) resumed performances in September, 2021. It is also wonderful to realise that both of these productions are sold out, and audiences are getting wild! During these times it is extremely important to celebrate life, love and happiness - and these shows most definitely offer a proper party for these themes.
KINKY BOOTS opened originally in Helsinki, 2018, and has been playing to sold out audiences now for more than 3 years. SISTER ACT opened originally in Tartu, 2020, and has been raising people’s voices ever since.
SISTER ACT opened in Estonia with celebrating response, SPRING AWAKENING in rehearsals in Sweden, and ANASTASIA set to open in 2022!
Year 2020 has been nothing but comfortable. Despite all devastating restrictions that have immobilised our industry, I have kept busy with work. I must be one of the lucky 2% worldwide who is capable of working professionally during these times, and some of my shows are actually even open for public.
In late November 2020, my new production of SISTER ACT opened in Tartu, Estonia. Vanemuine Theatre is the same grand theatre that produced my production of LES MISÉRABLES in 2017. Due to slight challenges created by COVID-19, it was a tiny miracle to open this show in time, and what a show it turned out to be! SISTER ACT became the much-needed-feel-good-show that brings audiences to their feet night after night! Laughter, happiness, tears, joy are the first four reactions one can spot from the audiences, and that just brings tears to my eyes to see how much live theatre means to so many. SISTER ACT is completely sold-out until further notice, and Vanemuine Theatre is currently capable of welcoming 400 people at a time. Hopefully this will soon become full auditoriums.
In December, SPRING AWAKENING started rehearsals in Gothenburg, Sweden. This production will be my very first show in Sweden, and I sincerely hope there will be many more to come. Sweden is highly appreciated due to their skills in musical theatre, and that is strongly due to their efforts in musical theatre training. The young cast of this production is from Balettakademien Göteborg (BA). I am very glad to work with this spectacular story for the 5th time in my life. This daring, brave production will bring chills of happiness, sadness and anger to your body mind and soul. SPRING AWAKENING is scheduled to open on February 4th, 2021.
And as the final announcement of 2020, I will be directing a totally new production of ANASTASIA THE MUSICAL in 2022! This will most definitely be a wondrous journey to the past. ANASTASIA will premier in Tampere Theatre September 3rd, 2022. Auditions will take place in January 2021. I cannot wait to design this magical historical story on stage.
Happy New year! May 2021 be greater, easier, and filled with live entertainment of all kinds!
KINKY BOOTS OPENS IN TAMPERE, FINLAND
In May 2019, it stood clear that KINKY BOOTS was to transfer from Helsinki City Theatre to Tampereen Työväen Teatteri, in the fall of 2020. The success show from Helsinki was going to be given a new life, and what a life it’s been given!
We all know that times are devastating for the arts industry, and while a lot of rehearsals and productions got put on hold this year in Finland, KINKY BOOTS got around it with rehearsals right before the breakout of the virus this spring. And when theatres started to open their doors for audiences again in the end of the summer, our production was planned to enter the last weeks of rehearsals before opening in the end of September – an opening night to remember.
KINKY BOOTS is a show that bring joy to people, both on and off stage, and joy is something we always need to feel, but especially right now. The happiness and warmth the show gave audiences in Helsinki is now heating up the auditorium in Tampere too. I am so proud of this show, the team behind it, and especially proud to see a transfer like this to happen in Finland. The importance of this show in today’s society, with a message of acceptance, is crucial. The show has changed people’s life, and now once it has opened again, we are here to keep spreading that positivity and making Tampere kinky!
Tickets are selling fast, if you want to secure yours, bookings can be made here:
In these challenging times, it is a pure wonder to see live theatre. Due to very different virus levels in different countries, many countries are currently completely without any live entertainment. Luckily, Finland has handled this crisis better than many other European country, and theatre are allowed to open and welcome audiences as long as safety measures are taken seriously and care of.
Helsinki City Theatre, the home for my previous productions of KINKY BOOTS and Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID, has successfully matched all criteria to reopen its doors to public, and therefore GROUNDHOG DAY the Musical (by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin) opened on Thursday September 3rd. I had this great pleasure to direct this challenging, clever, and emotional script and story with a stellar team. Audience members, as well as critics, have been overwhelmed by the production, and its philosophical take on life and the meaning of time.
Here are some quotes from the press:
“Samuel Harjanne did it again! Director Harjanne has lifted the Helsinki City Theatre to international musical theatre standards with his previous hits Kinky Boots (2018) and Disney’s The Little Mermaid (2019), and Groundhog Day continues on this same, high-quality road.” - Groundhog Day (2020) / Selina Keränen, Apu, 4/9/2020
“The director of the original London production, Matthew Warchus, stated that whatever [Danny] Rubin was able to think of should be doable on stage - and it seems like our own musical theatre whiz-kid Samuel Harjanne has decided so as well.” - Groundhog Day (2020) / Mats Liljeroos, Hufvudstadsbladet, 4/9/2020
“Harjanne masters the genre of big musicals, and when it comes to majestic numbers, and visual treats, this show doesn’t leave you disappointed.” - Groundhog Day (2020) / Anu Puska, Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 5/9/2020On this exceptional season, both
GROUNDHOG DAY and Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID are playing at the Helsinki City Theatre.
COME FROM AWAY TO OPEN IN FINLAND, 2021
We are living extraordinary times due to the COVID-19 virus. Our world has suffered several dramatic tragedies, and today we are experiencing one of them.
In 2001, New York experienced another tragedy that shook the entire world. On September 11, 2001, The World Trade Centre was attacked by a plane, and the entire air space of the United States of America was closed immediately. Leaving hundreds of planes in the air without an airport to land on. One of the nearest big airports is found in Newfoundland, Canada. An old military airport was big enough to host 38 airplanes that were forced to land there after the attacks. The closest city, Gander, with a population of 11,000 people, had to welcome 7,000 strangers without a warning. For five days these people joined forces to accommodate these strangers, and something unique was born.
In 2016, a new musical opened on Broadway - COME FROM AWAY. A Canadian musical about this real-life-story of people of Gander who helped these 7,000 strangers from around the globe. This musical is something unforgettable, unique and beautiful. From such a tragedy something this beautiful was born.
I have a huge honor to create and design a brand new production of COME FROM AWAY in 2021. I am thrilled to continue my collaboration with Tampereen Työväen Teatteri, and it seems two of my shows (MATILDA & COME FROM AWAY) will be playing on their main stage during the same season. I am so proud and humbled by that.
This story is something everyone should experience - especially after what we all have just experienced in isolation. COME FROM AWAY has a power to unite countries, people, and souls.
SISTER ACT TO OPEN IN ESTONIA NOVEMBER 2020
Wohoo! It’s time to start the party - and this time in a church!
Famous from the unforgettable performance by Whoopy Goldberg, SISTER ACT is finally making its way to Estonia. I am happy and excited to return to Teater Vanemuine after the success of LES MISÉRABLES in 2017. My brand new production of LES MISÉRABLES played for three years to sold out audiences, and this time we are raising the roof with nuns.
The music of SISTER ACT is by Alan Menken, the man behind THE LITTLE MERMAID, and other famous Disney treasures, such as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, POCAHONTAS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, and HERCULES. The energetic score, and an action-filled story promises to capture everyones attention this November. The cast is led by Tanja Mihhailova as Deloris Van Cartier , and she is joined by Merle Jalakas as Mother Superior, Kärt Anton as Sister Mary Robert, Rasmus Kull as Eddie, and Kalle Sepp as Curtis.
The creative team includes:
Director : Samuel Harjanne Choreography : Gunilla Olsson Music Direction Taavi Kull Set & Costume Design : Karmo Mende Light Design : Märt Sell Sound Design : Toomas Paidra
I am so so looking forward to this disco inferno with nuns! More information can be found here: www.vanemuine.ee
MATILDA TO OPEN IN TAMPERE, FINLAND 2021
Roald Dahl is one of the best storytellers I know. His fairytales and stories have reached millions of people around the world, and some of his famous work has been adapted to stage into musicals and plays. One of the most celebrated new musicals in the 21st century has been MATILDA - originally produced and conceived by the Royal Shakespeare Company. It has been playing since 2011 in London’s West End, and it has won at least 55 different awards globally.
I can’t believe my luck to get the absolute privilege to create a new magical version of this amazing musical, and to once again direct a large cast with lots of children in it. I’m returning to the TTT-Theatre of Tampere (Tampereen Työväen Teatteri), where my new production of BILLY ELLIOT opened in 2018, and enjoyed a successful run of 1,5 years. I’m also reuniting with my fantastic creative team from BILLY: Jari Saarelainen, Pirjo Liiri-Majava, Joonas Mikkilä, Tony Sikström - and as a new member (but not unfamiliar to me) Peter Ahlqvist.
We are about to launch the search for Matilda, and the other child characters for the production. More information about the production can be found here: https://ttt-teatteri.fi
I am ever so happy! And I can’t wait to get to be a little bit naughty.
2019 WAS A SUCCESSFULL YEAR
What a year 2019 has been!
This year has been a successful, happy and a very busy year for me.
Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID premiered in Helsinki, Finland with sold out performances and rave reviews:
"This musical might very well be the most beautiful theatre Finland has ever seen!" - Mari Koppinen / Helsingin Sanomat
THE SECRET GARDEN opened at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in November, and I got to work with some of the future hopes of London's West End.
LES MISÉRABLES started its 3rd sold out year in Estonia! The final performance was played December 15th, 2019. I will miss this production with all my heart. KINKY BOOTS had a sold out run at the Helsinki City Theatre! The final performance was on May 11th, 2019. I'm extremely happy that this production transfers to Tampere in 2020 - we open September 26th, 2020!
BILLY ELLIOT started its 2nd year in Tampere, and concluded its run on November 23rd. I miss all the cast members already too much.
While working with all these magnificent productions, I have been preparing for the incredibly busy 2020. I also put on my new company - Harjanne Company Ltd. which turns 1-year-old already on January 16th, 2020.
I am lucky to collaborate with so many fantastic international creative talents, as well as local stunning performers. I also want to thank every single one of you for your continuous support and love. And a special thanks to everyone who has seen any of my productions in 2019. Thank you for going to theatre, folks!
I’m looking forward to all the new challenges and exciting projects life has to offer!
One can seldomly hear as loud applause as the ones 9-year-old Villa Murtagh received in the finale of Tampereen Työväen Teatteri’s Matilda.
Matilda (2021) / Lauri Meri, Helsingin Sanomat, 28/10/2021
Director Samuel Harjanne proved how wonderfully he can make child actors shine already in Billy Elliot. He clearly has ability to fill the stage with joy, and create an atmosphere where children can grow to be the best versions of themselves.