My mini-musical “A Woman at War”, I found out late last night, made it to the gala/finals night at Short & Sweet Musical KL this evening, Oct 5, at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. As this post goes live, the show will just be starting. Break a leg, everyone!
I had very little to do with getting the show to this point. After all, I’m just the writer and composer – and the composition I wrote was just a frame of a house in which my co-composer, Laura Danneker, came along and added all the wiring, plumbing, and windows in order to turn it into a solid structure.
This team of theatre arts enthusiasts came along and turned our solid structure into a beautiful home. I am very grateful.
I submitted our work to the S&S assessors this past summer and the musical was short-listed for production. They asked if I had anyone in mind who wanted to produce it. I didn’t. And since I live in Penang and the show in is KL, I knew I wouldn’t be involved with the actual process of putting this together. They asked if husband-wife team Alvin Looi and Karynn Tan could do it. I agreed. I had never met either of them before. They, themselves, had written another musical for the show but were not producing it. They also had never directed a musical before, but had both been involved in the theatre scene over the last couple years
After I have seen the hard-work and passion they have put into “A Woman at War”, I am extremely glad that they are the ones who decided to produce it. They:
- rearranged the songs to suit their production
- they found two talented leads (wonderful Vivian Chan and Boon-Kit)
- they found four musicians, some of whom had to be driven home an hour of their way after rehearsals
- Alvin received permission from his place of employment to have rehearsal there. (Thank you!)
- They bought vocal lessons for the two leads who hadn’t had a lot of singing experience
- They found an awesome and talented ensemble to back up the vocals and add a lot of substance to the piece
- They remained completely faithful to the vision I had for the piece. They approached it with care and trusted the lyrics to bring out the emotional bond with the audience.
- And then when the lead male (Boon-Kit) had an emergency appendectomy the morning before the final performance, Alvin stepped in to do Boon-Kit’s role because “the show must go on!” And with very little rehearsal with Vivian, Alvin nailed the performance.
All of this to say THANK YOU to Alvin and Karynn for their amazing dedication to my piece. I feel tremendously honored.
Now to the cast: Vivian and Book-Kit’s emotional performances were stunning. It said it all when I looked at the women around me at the end of the performance and when I saw them wiping tears from their eyes, I knew they had achieved my vision for the piece.
And the ensemble: so much talent that made the soaring pieces soar and the quiet pieces speak whispers of emotion.
And the musicians: the live music added so much verve to the production.
I thank you all for all of your had work and passion for my piece. I wish I could have been more directly involved and had had the chance to get to know you all better.
Perhaps we can work together more in the future.
So it matters not what happens tonight when they hand out the awards, because performing arts is all about the experience and having a small opportunity to affect the audience. In that, you are all winners!