Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that he did indeed play a pivotal role in making Singapore what she is today. Come July 21st, the life of our late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first and longest serving premier will be played out in The LKY Musical performed at the MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands.
Metropolitan Productions’ The LKY Musical was conceived three years ago when a group of theatre-loving friends came together and lamented why Singapore did not have any plays or musicals centered around their statesmen – like many other countries do. This deep admiration for Mr Lee thus became the driving force behind production of the world class musical which also doubles as a tribute to the late statesmen.
The LKY Musical follows the life of Mr Lee from his early days at Raffles College to the founding of Singapore. The musical is based on a story by Singaporean writer Meira Chand. and its script is written by US playwright Tony Petito, the founding artistic director of the Singapore Repertory Theatre – the folks who brought you the highly popular Shakespeare in the Park!
The LKY Musical will be the second of three musicals centered around Singapore’s history, the first being Singapura: The Musical (19 May-7 Jun) and the third; Nanyang, The Musical (6-8 Aug). Tackling Singapore-themed topics can be extremely difficult because of potential political red tapes (the musical explores the dynamics between Lee and party member-turned-arch rival, Lim Chin Siong), Singaporeans’ high expectations, self-censorship, and Singaporeans’ personal take on how Mr Lee’s life should be played out on the international stage. Not to mention, emotions are still high since the jubilee year also marks Mr Lee’s passing which took place less than six months ago.
Heavyweights in the creative industry has been drafted into the musical cast and creative lineup.
Adrian Pang stars as the man of the hour. Having performed in Hamlet, Macbeth, Into The Words, Forbidden City, Twelfth Night… This man needs no introduction. I last saw Pang as the dysfunctional dad in Tribes and he was gold. I have no doubt that Pang is the best man for the job and that he will put up a spectacular performance.
Sharon Au stars as our late Prime Minister’s love interest, the late Kwa Geok Choo. In recent years, the media has revealed the contributions made by Mdm Kwa and her paramount importance to Mr Lee. Hence, whoever’s playing Mdm Kwa has to be crème de la crème. In all my years of couch potatoing, I have always known Au to be a terrific variety host. So it was conflicting for me when the role of Mdm Kwa was given to her. But since she supposedly nailed her audition to be awarded the most important (and only female) role, I will be anticipating her performance on the Mastercard Theatres. Hopefully she doesn’t disappoint!
The musical will also shed light on Koh Teong Koo (played by Sebastian Tan) the rickshaw rider who saved Mr Lee during World War 2 – God bless his soul- and his political arch rival Lim Chin Siong (played by Benjamin Chow).
Music veteran, Dick Lee holds the honour of composing the music for the musical. His lyrical accolades include sellout musicals such as Beauty World (1988), Fried Rice Paradise (1991, 2010), Forbidden City (2003) and so on. I happened to be watching The 5 Show on Channel 5 and that episode featured Lee’s first performance for the new song he wrote for this year’s NDP. It was… too musical-ish. Lee’s forte is clearly in musical song writing. I am looking forward to his score for The LKY Musical.
I must say I am also a teeny weeny bit apprehensive about the musical since the first Singapore musical (Singapura: The Musical) was supposedly a disappointment (according to reviews).
But The LKY Musical shows promise in delivering a solid Singaporean-ish musical experience that will make us relish and cry for the late Mr Lee who’s had so much to do with Singapore’s success today. Mark down your calendars, and book your tickets for The LKY Musical between 21 July to 16 August 2015. RW
The LKY Musical
MasterCard Theatres, MBS
21 July to 2 August 2015
Ticket Pricing: $78 – $108
Web Link: The LKY Musical