Dick Lee as Benson Puah with the "candidates" in National Broadway Company. Photo courtesy of The Esplanade.
In National Broadway Company, director Ong Keng Sen has done the seemingly impossible: Here’s a nearly three hour-long package that’s both in-your-face, mass-oriented, high-quality entertainment bonanza of non-stop singing and dancing and an extremely conceptual piece of theatre.
And the thing that really amazes me is that it’s unapologetic on both counts. To describe it as either an intelligent musical or an engaging documentary performance is to dilute the wallop that this highly original work packs.
Until tonight, very few actually knew how National Broadway Company, the Esplanade’s big-ass commission for their 10th anniversary weekend celebration, was gonna be like.
All we knew was that Ong Keng Sen was doing a musical again, based on Beauty World, the musical he once directed. And that actors were to play the folks who had, in one way or another, taken part in it.
Tonight’s sneak peek confirmed that. But not in the way you think. National Broadway Company is in some ways a musical about Beauty World. But it’s also a musical about Singapore’s musicals. And it’s also Singapore’s theatre history—as an episode of Talentime. Hah.
Dream Academy is holding a concert in memory of Emma Yong on June 15 at the Esplanade.
We Heart Emma will feature Adrian Pang, Glen Goei, Ivan Heng, Sebastian Tan, Robin Goh, George Chan, Pam Oei, Selena Tan, Tan Kheng Hua, Karen Tan, Michaela Therese, Denise Tan and Sharon Au.
All proceeds will go to the newly established The Emma Yong Fund, which is set to give aid to theatre practitioners in Singapore suffering from critical illnesses like cancer. It will be administered via The Community Foundation Of Singapore and the Singapore Cancer Society. Hats off to all involved in this worthy cause.
You can also make a donation by making a cheque out to The Community Foundation of Singapore with your full name, IC/Passport number, contact number and the words “The Emma Yong Fund”.
Emma Yong, theatre actress and Dolly extraordinaire, has passed away at the age of 36, after a protracted struggle with cancer. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer early last year. It went into remission, allowing her to perform in Into The Woods. It was to be the prolific and much loved actress’ last show as she pulled out from Crazy Christmas after a relapse. Here’s a video to remind us of her fighting spirit and zest for life.