A group of market vendors sing their hearts out in Singing MarketTheMusical.
JUST months after staging the 1Malaysia-themed Kita The Musical in June, Musical On Stage Productions (MOSP) is set to present its next million-ringgit full-length musical production Singing Market The Musical.
Set in the 1970s, this musical is a colourful explosion of nostalgia with endearing characters delivering classic Chinese melodies.
The story tells of a group of vendors in a market who are coerced into staging a show at the annual Hungry Ghost Festival dinner at the eleventh hour.
After gambling away the money collected to hire a performing troupe, the Festival Committee chairman’s wife Hua Jie tries to salvage the situation by engaging the services of retired singers, sisters Wen Wen and Yen Yen.
The two then train some vendors in the marketplace who are amateur performers so that they can pass off as a legitimate performing troupe, in only two weeks’ time.
Their makeshift troupe includes the fishmonger with a PhD, the auntie selling noodles, the auntie selling vegetables, the Hokkien-speaking chicken seller, the effeminate boss of a coffee shop and his timid niece.
Working tirelessly to bring us the musical as producer, director and scriptwriter is Ho Lin Huay, the founder of MOSP which produced musicals like Siddhartha (1999), Above Full Moon (2004), The Perfect Circle (2006)and Jewel Of Tibet (2008), which nabbed five awards at the seventh Boh Cameronian Arts Awards.
“Having observed Astro Classic Golden Melodies contestants since 2000, I was inspired to pool together some of the veteran performers to stage this light-hearted musical,” said Ho, 39, in an interview last week.
Singing Market The Musical features the winners of Astro Classic Golden Melody (ACGM) Singing Competition – Julie Chew, Irene Hong, Choo Ya Chan, Jimmy Liew and Ooi Teck Poh, as well as Astro Hua Hee Karaoke’s John Lee.
Lim Tiong Piow and Yang Wei Han, who have been co-hosting the ACGM with Summer Grace sisters Kwok Voon Voon and
The colourful cast of Yen Yen, are also featured in the musical along with singer Jeanie Lee, who recently released her first album One And Only, as well as a special appearance by veteran crooner Wee Hun Boon.
Yang, 39, who regularly stars in MOSP’s musical plays the Prince Of Ballads Wei Han who finally meets his first love Wen Wen again after many years and decides to pursue her again.
“My character in the musical is a love-sick guy who spends years searching for his gentle lover who sacrifices her love to help his career flourish,” he said.
Lee, 25, makes her debut in the musical playing a shy Zheng Mei Li who is set to further her studies in Taiwan but finds it difficult to leave her coffeeshop owner uncle Ah Ming and her chicken seller suitor Hokkien Kia.
“It’s quite amusing because I play a shy girl who has to learn how to sing and dance. I have to pretend to be an amateur,” said Lee.
TV host Lim, 38, who often plays emcee for MOSP projects, is also making his debut in the musical. His character is Fatty Piow, the fishmonger with a PhD who is smitten with singer Yen Yen.
“As a highly-educated guy who takes over the family’s fish business, he gets to serenade his love while providing some of the comic moments in the musical,” said Lim.
Music director Cody Foong, 34, who also worked with the MOSP team for Kita The Musical, was tasked with the arrangement of classic tunes from the 1950s to the 70s.
“These are songs that probably marked milestones for our parents and continue to be popular with the mature crowd,” Foong offered.
The musical features dance choreography by Chan Soo Leng, costumes designed by Adrain Liew and make-up and hair styled by Kenzo Tuan. n SingingMarketTheMusical will be staged at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, from Oct 30 to Nov 12. Showtime is at 8.30pm from Wednesday to Saturday and 3pm on Sunday. Tickets are selling at RM68, RM118, RM138, RM168 and RM198. Senior citizens aged 65 and above are entitled to a 15% discount. For show details and ticket reservation, contact Musical On Stage (% 012-632 3033/musicalonstage.com) or AXCESS (% 03-7711 5000/axcess.com.my). TheMakingOfSingingMarketTheMusical will air on Astro AEC (Astro Cchannel 301) on Oct 23 at 6pm.
Producer, director and scriptwriter Ho Lin Huay (right) and music director Cody Foong.