The many wonders of Malaysia were showcased in annual tourism extravaganza Citrawarna this past weekend, in a brand new revamped theatrical show directed by award-winning actress and director Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina. Gone was the worn-out parade that was the mainstay of the celebration for the last 16 years. Instead, a refreshing, world-class stage performance replaced it and took the audience through the colours of Malaysia.
Organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the programme began with a showing of MUD Kuala Lumpur The Musical, which chronicles the birth of the capital through the lives of three close friends. Normally staged in the century-old theatre of Panggung Bandaraya, this has become the country’s longest running musical and recounts landmark events in the story of how KL came to be such as the great fire and flood, and subsequent rebuilding of the city.
Following a brief intermission and arrival of VIPs including Minister of Tourism and Culture Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Bin Abdul Aziz, Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin, the main show kicked off to much fanfare.
The first part of the ‘Culture, Nature, Future’-themed show comprised minute-long portions of each state, underscoring its many highlights. A giant screen beamed graphics and photos to a captivated audience while a medley of dances took place on stage. Meanwhile, a pair of smaller screen flanking the stage displayed further details of each state.
Popular TV host Aznil Nawawi took to the stage as the headman of a Malay village or kampung to host the second part of the show, ‘Nature’. Nawawi quipped with the audience while the stage was transformed behind him, performers literally carrying a pair of rumah melayu – traditional Malay dwellings – to either side of the stage.
From here the audience was taken on a journey from state to state which ended with a few lively performances. Joining Nawawi and the cast was rapper Altimet, who along with the entire kampung gave a rousing rendition of new tourism campaign song, Dekat Je. It was here that the ‘Bird of Citrawarna’ was then unveiled, the new mascot of the celebration, with the song Magic of the Night sung by Miss ASEAN Malaysian 2013, Amelia Henderson.
The final segment of the night saw the entire area turn into a rave of sorts, first showcasing the works of five local designers – Melinda Looi, Zang Toi, Rizman Ruzaini, Zery Zamry and Rubaq Batik – in a forward thinking fashion show, followed with a performance by street dancers, air wheelers and sky runners.
A stunning fireworks display brought the stage show to close, showering Dataran Merdeka in a brilliant glow of lights. The entire cast swarmed the stage inviting the audience to take part in a mass joget dance session as a final farewell.
For those that wanted more action, the post-stage show programme kept the atmosphere lively with performances in a Tribute to Wings concert, celebrating the iconic Malaysian rock bands 30th anniversary.