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Broadway 4 Suakus: You, Me, HDB

February 17, 2011

Event: Broadway 4 Suakus: You, Me, HDB
Venue: The Hall @ The Arts House
Run: 9th Feb – 20th Feb 2011

In an age where musicals are normally associated with the likes of Lloyd Webber, Boublil & Schönberg, Jonathan Larson and Stephen Schwartz, it is highly gratifying to see a group of local theatre practitioners so fervently spreading the gospel of the older (but no less inferior) Broadway material of the likes of Bock & Harnick, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers & Hart, and especially Rodgers & Hammerstein.

While the works of contemporary musical writers are wonderful to say the least, one should not ignore the glorious works of the past masters, for whom we would not have Broadway musical theatre today as we know it if not for them.

Indeed, it was the duo of Rodgers & Hammerstein in particular who were instrumental in shaping the course of musical theatre, and one’s journey into the world of Broadway would never be complete without an exploration of their musicals.

Endless thanks, therefore, go to Jonathan Lim and the gang from Stages for presenting a delightful romp into the yesteryear of Broadway music, which somehow manages to score highly both in terms of entertainment value and educational value.

I would have to admit that as I am a huge fan of Rodgers & Hammerstein, most of the material in the show was right up my alley.

It didn’t hurt that “Fiddler on the Roof” is one of my favourite musicals too.

The programme for the show, though simply made via the stapling of some A4 sheets together, was extremely high on educational value as it faithfully chronicled every single song that was to be performed that evening, accompanied with detailed notes and background information on each song.

Apparently, we were told during the show that it was maestro Julian Wong, pianist and co-creator of the show, who was largely responsible for compiling all the juicy bits of information.

I thought it was wonderfully put together, and kudos to the team for taking so much effort into preparing the programme.

The show was mainly a revue, and featured the collective talents of Julian Wong (pianist), Jonathan Lim, Judee Tan, Dwayne Lau and Candice de Rozario.

It’s something like the “Chestnuts” formula if you will, with the good ol’ song-and-dance routines coupled with Jonathan Lim’s witty lines, just that this show was more focussed not so much on satirical comedy, but on the beauty of the songs.

And beautiful they were indeed, from the impeccably written songs of Rodgers & Hart (“Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”, “My Funny Valentine”), to the mastery of the musical waltz form of Rodgers & Hammerstein (“I’m In Love With A Wonderful Guy”, “It’s A Grand Night For Singing”, “Edelweiss”).

All four of them sang very well, and their harmonies were faultless.

Not to mention the brilliant arrangement and accompaniment from Julian Wong, which was breathtaking, to say the least.

How good is Julian at the piano?

Well, let’s just say that he plays “Edelweiss” with one hand better than most of us can play it with two!

The comedy in this show was not as outrageous and in-your-face as in “Chestnuts”, and it seemed like quite a few of the lines in this show were hit & miss, either because the crowd was not ready for that kind of humour, or it was just not the right place for those kind of lines.

Nonetheless, Judee Tan was mesmerising once again in her trademark comedic persona that borrows subtly from the Ris Low blueprint.

To me the most magical moment of the evening was when Jonathan and Candice reenacted the scene “Do You Love Me?” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”.

It is the scene where Tevye re-examines whether his wife Golde truly loves him, and even though he probes many times, she is unable to give him the definite “yes” that he is looking for (perhaps because it was uncommon in that culture to openly profess one’s love in speech, something like in Singapore I guess), but in the end, she finally admits that she loves him, and Tevye professes that he loves her too.

It is an incredibly beautiful moment that somehow works far better on stage than it does on screen.

That was pure theatre magic right there.

The mash-up of songs from “Miss Saigon” and “Les Miserables” at the end of the show was very well done, both in terms of stage direction and in musical arrangement as well.

I felt that “Broadway 4 Suakus” was successful in achieving its objective of educating us all on the wonders of Broadway music.

It’s almost like attending a “Broadway Musicals Appreciation 101” course, only a hundred times more enjoyable.

There is something new for everyone in the show, and with such a wide and diverse selection of songs presented, you are bound to discover more than a few songs which pique your interest.

The “Broadway 4 Suakus” franchise may only seem to be the little brother of the more wildly-popular “Chestnuts” series at the moment, and understandably so considering this is only its second installment, but in terms of an enriching introductory experience into the world of Broadway, this is as good as it gets.

p.s. One final note to the Stages team (if you’re reading this): I think asking audiences to sign up for the “mailing list” is kinda outdated already, nowadays it’s all about joining the Facebook page! =)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Ilkosa permalink
    February 17, 2011 5:15 pm

    “To me the most magical moment of the evening was when Jonathan and Candice reenacted the scene “Do You Love Me?” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”.”

    I felt the same too.

    • Jeremy permalink*
      February 17, 2011 5:21 pm

      Glad you thought the same too!

  2. March 8, 2011 2:22 pm

    I love the show…its really a romantic…i went with my girlfriend this is the most memorable day for me…


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