“Like a house party, only bigger.” So big that he toured all over Italy, filling live clubs and summer arenas at major festivals. It’s called Teenage Dream and it’s a little masterpiece created in Livorno. The Thought is Valentina Savi, a young woman from Livorno working as a graphic designer, illustrator and content creator. At the beginning of the year he asked to “try” at The Cage, the historic club in Labro where it started almost as a joke and then exploded in all parts of the country. More than 50 dates have already been archived, passing through Turin, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Florence, Naples, Palermo, Genoa and many other cities. “At the moment,” says Toto Barbato, artistic director of The Cage, “we have sold almost 200 thousand tickets. And now we’re starting our fall tour.”
One that already has thirty dates on the agenda, including Florence in Obihalla and Livorno in The Cage, and will also take the event outside of Italy for the first time: November 25 in Lugano, December 1 in Lubyana. Yes, but what is Teenage Dream and why is it so successful? The event was very popular on social media as its videos quickly went viral and the number of followers on Instagram has already exceeded 100 thousand. Here you can read the definition of the most popular party at the moment: “That party at which everyone at some point starts singing school musical songs. This is a concert without artists on stage, because everyone sings, and the main character is the audience. This is not a disco, this is a musical, like a concert.” This is how Valentina Savi, who has a tuttilemelediannie on Instagram, explains it, a profile with almost 60 thousand subscribers.
But next to her are all her adventure companions: Cecilia Ciocca, Riccardo Trocard, Edoardo Gahi, Simone Baurri, Andrea Carpina, Matteo Bientinesi, Matteo Demi, Federico Menici, Sara Bordo. They are all from Livorno, boys and girls with academic degrees or specializations, but when they go on stage, they are transformed: some dance, some take photos and videos, some stage, some perform, but in In the end, everyone is a bit of a performer, because they give in to the enthusiasm of the rousing party, and then put on clothes, wigs, sing, and launch special effects. The audience watches and participates in the action by looking at the stage, where LED walls project video and special effects.
It is completely taken from the 2000s, from High School Musical (a romantic musical comedy that came out in 2006) and from Disney films. “For my 25th birthday,” says Valentina, “I threw a party at my house according to this principle, but there were about twenty of us. Then I posted photos on Instagram and started thinking that it would be nice to organize it in a larger place. So one night I asked Toto Barbato if we could have a party at The Cage.”
On January 27, 2023, the Livorno rock club opens its doors to Teenage Dream and it is an immediate success. Repeats in February. “For the two shows at The Cage,” says Toto Barbato, “people came from all over Italy, so I called all my colleagues who run the main live clubs in Italy and convinced them to give us a chance. And we sold out almost everywhere in a very short time.” The party lasts about two hours, starting with a 2000s-style DJ set, then the show itself with projections, karaoke and on-stage entertainment. Finally, Riccardo Trocard and Edoardo Gaili take the stage to sing three covers, taking inspiration from artists and bands such as Justin Bieber, One Direction and the Jonas Brothers. Then the DJ set starts again until late at night, with selfies and autographs. Teenage Dream parties are attended by an audience of 18 to 30 years old. “Teenage Dream changed our lives,” says Edoardo Gaili, “and even if one day it ends, I think this experience has improved me and made me understand how important it is to give space to others.”