When we started Behind the Themes, we stated that we would not just be about Theme Parks. We were determined to cover all themed attraction and installations as well, from around the world. With this in mind I was surprised that I had never heard of the musical Soldier of Orange or Soldaat van Oranje(Dutch). Why a musical? Simply put, you have never seen a show like this.
A Dutch musical production, Soldaat van Oranjeis based on the true story of resistance hero Erilk Hazelhoff Roelfzema. In the 1970s, he wrote his experiences during World War II down in a book and which was made it into a feature film.
The musical premiered on October 30, 2010 in a theatre that was purpose-build for the production: the TheaterHangaar on the former air base Valkenburg in Katwijk (in an old hanger). In the theatre, rather than changing sets, the audience moves in a similar fashion to Disney‘s Carousel of Progress. The audience rotates from scenery to scenery, accompanied by 180 degree projections on panel screens (created by Planet X FX) around the auditorium. Both the auditorium and the screens are motorized and automated. The set is built around the auditorium. There is even a ‘sea’ and the runway of the airport is also part of the set. Virtually every new scene has it’s own very well themed set. The venue holds up to 1100 patrons and the entire thing is set on top of a giant turntable, which was invented by Producer Robin de Levita who named it the Scenearound.
None of the images above are taken outside of the show, they are all what you would see as an audience member. Not only are the sets first rate but to have live airplanes, motorcycles chases, gun fire, and an actual ocean and dock, all on one set. That is quite a feat for any musical.
Imagine seeing our hero actually swimming away from the audience in actual water. This show takes theming to the extreme and the transitions from one scene to the next are smooth thanks to projections as the audience moves. Add to this the spectacular music, songs, and obligitory dancing Nazis and you have a very unique show.
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For a temporary theatre and structure, the show has been going since 2010 and is still running. If you are travelling to or near Holland and want to see something unique and amazing, stop by the Hanger outside of Amsterdam and check out Soldaat van Oranje.
Also if you are looking to invest in the show, the musical’s company is currently seeking investors. The initial investment to get the production up and running was €9.5 million, which if the reviews and turn-outs for this show are any indication could be an easy return on investment.