The glorious dances, the marvellous songs, the larger-than-life set, the flashy costumes. Who can resist a good musical? Even though it’s far from being Broadway or the West End, KL has seen an increasing number of musicals hitting our shores, and the response has been overwhelming.
And here comes another one, courtesy of Sunway Lagoon, that will take us on a journey to the British capital, created in living colour at the Amphitheatre in London, the Summer Musical.
Once again written, directed and choreographed by the dynamic duo of Chris Colby and David Kort, respectively, the story centres on a trio of flight attendants, Cindy, Crystal and Penny, who rediscover their love of singing while on stopover in London. A bit of romance, a lot of soul-searching, a repertoire of songs and dances that will leave you jiggling in your seats, and what you have is a recipe for a musical extravaganza.
Colby and Kort have been responsible for Sunway Lagoon’s previous stage shows, 2010’s Peter Pan The Musical set in Neverland, 2011’s Magical Musicals with big show hits taking over Broadway, and the year-end Aladdin The Musical in the magical land of Askabar that introduced their most popular character to date, the whimsical Genie.
So why London this time around? Well, since last year’s Magical Musicals took place in the Big Apple, it’s only fitting that this year’s summer musical be set in the West End, where, to borrow from a certain Oscar Wilde, art imitates life and people get famous! Also, it is going to be the centre of worldwide attention, what with the Summer Olympics being held there in July, so it’s apt that the city is recreated in vivid tribute.
A world of hits
A cast of 30 actors and dancers will bring to life tunes from the 1970s through to current chart-toppers, as well as favourites from past musicals such as Mamma Mia, Footloose and The Lion King. Trending musical TV dramas such as Glee and the latest American hit Smash have also strongly influenced the style of the show, how the songs and choreography interact with one other and what direction the plot takes, so if you like those shows, you’ll certainly love what Colby and Kort are serving up.
The ‘crew’ prepares for a trip to London. At left, Chan Hoi Choy, Sunway Shopping Malls and Theme Parks CEO, speaking at the launch of the ticket sales.
It’s all about staying on top of what’s hip and they are certain that not only will London, the Summer Musical, with its modern, pop-orientated twist, deliver on this level, but also be their biggest and fanciest production to date.
You can expect to hear a variety of contemporary hits throughout the production, with numbers from jazz crooner Michael Buble through to one of the hottest boy bands on the circuit at the moment, British-Irish sensation One Direction. The group, which placed third in the seventh series of The X-Factor and are signed to Simon Cowell’s label Syco Entertainment, have amassed an army of fans here in Malaysia, and so including them in the repertoire of songs can only help appease a younger audience and enhance the image of the show as a fresh new take on the musical genre.
Breezy English summer
The six primary cast members hail from London, and as Director Colby observes, “will be best at capturing the quintessential London culture and lull audiences in the breezy summer atmosphere of London.”
And with the set designed with London icons, plus special effects that promise an added dimension – Aladdin had a flying carpet! – London, the Summer Musical will surely transport you to the land of Big Ben, red telephone booths and the chippy from the first note it plays. (Now, if they sold fish and chips to the audience, that would just seal the deal!)
However, the breezy English summer is far from Malaysia’s hot and humid weather, so how has being flown in to our shores affected the cast? Colby says the leads initially faced challenges in getting acclimatised, especially as they are constantly running between the air-conditioned rehearsal rooms to the sweltering open-air stage.
Nonetheless, with enough time before opening day, it is certainly hoped that they will be in fighting form to fully do justice to the songs and moves painstakingly chosen in this theatrical performance created especially for the local audience.
The accessible musical
Indeed, Choreographer Kort affirms that one of the aims of the show, and their overall vision when it comes to these productions, is to make the world of musicals more accessible to the Malaysian public and debunk some of the misconceptions prevalent in public opinion, namely that musicals are a form of posh entertainment.
If you have never been to Sunway Lagoon’s Amphitheatre, this is a great opportunity to check out this open-air venue that is fast gaining a reputation in hosting globally recognised and successful musicals and plays. And if you’ve never been to a musical before, this is a great way to spend an evening, have a sing-along to your favourite tunes and maybe even get up and dance. Enjoy the show!
London, the Summer Musical
Where: The A mphitheatreat Sunway Lagoon
When: 1 June-8 July (no show onTuesdays); 8pm
Admission: RM80, RM100, RM150
Tickets: 03 8775 4666