Dubai is now home to a unique new dining and entertainment venue. Named The Theater, the dynamic nightlife space is conceptualized by renowned Lebanese-Armenian musician, composer, and pianist, Guy Manoukian. Aimed at serving delectable dinners with a side of theatrics, the venue features 30 live musical performances of different styles by artists from around the world; from aerial dancers to live musicians.
“The Theater is a place where the past meets the future, the eclectic finds a new home and the ultimate entertainment experience combines the best of international shows under one name.” Manoukian tells Vogue Arabia. Indeed, each act fuses Eastern and Western influences while incorporating the works of historical and contemporary legends in its plot. With a stage stretching all the way into the audience, every seat in the house offers spectacular views of the performance, meaning that performers make surprise appearances not just on stage, but also from the ceiling.
The show includes an international fine dining menu with an amalgamation of bold flavors. The selection of seafood includes Beluga and Oscietra caviar, and the lobster linguini, along with special options for meat lovers to indulge in, such as the beef gyoza served with smoked onion purée and the slow-cooked wagyu tomahawk with shaved truffle, and ravioli for vegetarians.
Having been a player in the music industry locally and internationally for over 20 years, Manoukian explains how he and his team were looking for “the underdogs and the hidden gems in the world of art and theater” during the global lockdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic. “They’re now starving for a performance, so when they’re back on stage it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before,” says the artist.
One of the opening acts, named Savage, is inspired by a vicious hunt in the wild, starring a platinum-haired aerialist from Las Vegas playing the role of a jaguar in the heart of a jungle, performing stunts like jumping through hoops.
A magnificent Arabic show kicks off with instrumental music and proceeds to play nostalgic 1980s pop hits and high-energy party classics from the region, coupled with the Lebanese Dabke folk dance. The evening commences with a laidback jazz performance, whose setting is inspired by the classic, Alice in Wonderland.
A lead singer also takes center stage, performing a series of modern favorites, including Bryan Adams, Calvin Harris and Bruno Mars, with the grand finale an enthralling live performance. Besides the lineup scheduled for the rest of the week, every Wednesday will be dedicated to ‘Guy and Friends’ – a special performance by Manoukian and his ensemble.
When asked how Manoukian prepares for each show, he says that he sits with all his team members to ensure everything has been taken care of. “My hands-on approach is how I prepare for any show, both on a local and global scale. It’s ongoing rehearsals until I reach my level of perfection,” he adds.