My First Show in Saudi Arabia

Last week brought a conclusion to my first show in Saudi Arabia. I was really proud of these kids as they pulled it off in ways I wasn’t sure possible. I have a very young new ensemble with minimal amount of experience and we were doing the type of black box genre that no one was familiar with. But it happened, it worked, I survived, and it was a great starting point for the program. Here are a few photos from our second show courtesy of a colleague.

The show was called “For All Generations” – a show I first produced in Penang in 2014. It’s a funny, yet poignant show that has a lot of tender moments. The feedback from the crowd was enthusiastic. The photos going clockwise are: “Jerome, the Malevolent God-King,” “Revenge of the Grandparents” (certainly a favorite), a reprise of the award-winning script “Words to Say at the End of the World,” “What Was It Like?” and my favorite, the kind-hearted  Beatrice who takes in a runaway slave on a cold winter night in 1852 – “If Love is a Crime.”

Up next: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Coming April 2018 in Jeddah.

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Remembering a Musical: A Woman at War

I was recently reminded that my short WWII musical -“A Woman at War” – had its debut one year ago this week at Short & Sweet Musical Kuala Lumpur 2014. It’s a moving piece of musical theatre about a woman on the home front trying to live life while her new husband is overseas.

For this debut, the piece was directed by veteran actor Alvin Looi, who was trying his hand at musical direction for the first time. Alvin, along with his wife Karynn who worked as musical director, pulled together an awesome cast and an overall first-rate production which brought moved the audience to tears – exactly the effect I had originally hoped for. For nostalgia’s sake, here’s their second performance from last year.

Later in the year, I had the opportunity to direct it myself along with my student drama group the RLT Players. We used a performance track recorded by my colleague and co-composer Laura Danneker.  I enjoyed both performances a great deal. I hope you do too!

Fun @ Short & Sweet Musical KL

I had a great time last night finally seeing the production of my mini-musical, “A Woman at War.”  Vivian Chan and Boon-Kit gave wonderfully emotional performances as Johnny and Sara, a young couple separated during World War II.

The direction and musical direction by husband and wife team Alvin Looi and Karynn Tan stayed true to the emotional story, and highlighted the events beautifully with a wonderful and powerful back-up ensemble.

I feel so privileged to have such a group performing my work. Their dedication and hard-work paid off, regardless of what the judges ultimately decide. I get to watch it again tonight!

There I am! They called the writer down to take a bow with the wonderful cast and crew.2014-09-26 21.49.18

 

 

There we all are. The placard outside the theatre.2014-09-26 20.11.23

Here’s the whole cast plus the great musicians.2014-09-26 20.11.38 The cast taking a bow.2014-09-26 21.48.57 Here’s the whole cast, crew, and composers.2014-09-26 21.57.37

 

One more show tonight. We won’t know until next week whether it will make the gala night. Time will tell. Either way, awesome show by a lot of talented performers.

“A Woman at War” – My Musical Opens Today in Kuala Lumpur

I’m very excited about the 10 minute musical that I wrote which was chosen for production in the Short & Sweet Musical Festival KL 2014. It opens tonight at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, and will be showing through Saturday along with five other musicals. I’ll be flying down to KL on Friday and will be able to catch the show on Friday and Saturday nights. I’ll make sure to take pictures and post the exciting glitz and glamour from the event.

Ten minute musicals are fun to write, but they have their unique challenges. They are short, so they have to be focused. I wrote one last year called “Captured in Time and Space” which was much more of a thematic piece – not a linear narration.

This year I wanted to tell a story by music in ten minutes. I wanted it to be an emotionally gripping story. Yes, I wanted tears in the audience. (We’ll see if that happens or not.)

So I came up with the concept of a war bride of WWII, saying goodbye to her new husband who is off to war. But in a very real sense, those brides who stayed behind had to fight their own wars. Wars of extreme emotion and confusion. Wars of worry. Wars of rationing. Wars of longing for everything to go back to normal.

So I wrote a three-part musical. Part I is called The Wedding and all the hopes, worries and desires that go into it. Then they part. Part II is the war where our heroine grows victory gardens, rations food, and works in a factory – all the while thinking and worrying about her lost love whom she fears will never come home.

Then the bells of victory sound and she anticipates his return, only to find her husband return as an invalid and broken man, in shell-shock, completely unresponsive.

This woman at war has to decide what she will do with her “selfish thoughts” since “he’s not the same man that I once knew”.

She’s still warring with herself, even though the war is over.

The point being – war is never over.

I’m real happy with how the lyrics turned out. I created the melodies for the different tunes in the musical, then I passed them on to my colleague and co-composer Laura Danneker who took them and created a lot of cool music to go with my melodies.

The resulting piece is a powerful piece of dramatic musical theatre.

I have not been connected at all with the production. I’ve met the director once and have communicated back and forth, but I have no idea which creative direction that they took the piece. It should be fun to discover.

“A Woman at War” – KLPAC Sept 23-26, 2014.

A Woman at War: The Musical

I’m very excited about my 10-minute musical called “A Woman at War” being produced for the KL Short & Sweet Musical Festival, September 24-27.

I’ve been in contact with the director and I’m excited about he actors he has chosen and the direction he wants to take the musical. He’s also putting together a 3-4 piece band for live accompaniment.

I have the best job of all. I get to sit back and watch. That will be fun for a change.

It will be performed for 4 nights in a row. Then, if it is chosen, it will be performed for the Gala Night on the evening of October 5.

Here’s a link for the specific Facebook page of “A Woman at War” and if you are going to be in Malaysia during that time, please make plans to stop in and see it.

A Woman at War Musical PAGE