They’re raring to go

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ARTS - The Kitchen Mu­si­cal.

DATIN Seri Tiara Jac­quelina cries at re­hearsals. Oh dear. But she as­sures me that it’s the “good” kind of cry­ing.

“I’ve been watch­ing the cast re­hearse for six weeks now, and the end­ing still gets me each time. It’s just such a feel-good end­ing,” she says of Seussi­cal Jr, En­finiti Acad­emy’s in­au­gu­ral pro­duc­tion.

When Tiara founded the En­finiti Acad­emy of Mu­si­cal Theatre and En­ter­tain­ment Arts in 2011, the goal was to “train and nur­ture a con­tin­u­ous stream of per­form­ers of the high­est cal­i­bre.” Two-and-ahalf years down the road, these stu­dents are raring to go. And what bet­ter way to cel­e­brate than with a show. In fact, if ev­ery­thing goes as planned, En­finiti Acad­emy, af­ter kick­ing off with Seussi­cal Jr, will have two shows each year.

The de­ci­sion to stage the whim­si­cal Seussi­cal Jr, a mu­si­cal based on the works of Amer­i­can writer Theodor Seuss Geisel (best known as Dr Seuss), was not a dif­fi­cult one.

En­finiti Acad­emy’s course direc­tor Joanna Bessey sug­gested it, and Tiara wel­comed the idea.

“I’ve not watched the mu­si­cal be­fore, but just the fact that it was Dr Seuss al­ready had me sold,” says Tiara, who is a fan of his works.

“I grew up with the Dr Seuss books and I just love the way he writes, how clever the rhymes are, and how his books in­vite the reader to dream the im­pos­si­ble. If a word doesn’t ex­ist, just use your imag­i­na­tion! So I kind of grew up to be such a per­son as well,” says the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of Seussi­cal Jr with a laugh, adding that her favourite Dr Seuss story is of Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose.

“My kids used to make me read it to them over and over again be­cause it is just so fun.”

While Seussi­cal Jr – which is an amal­ga­ma­tion of sev­eral sto­ries and char­ac­ters – might be just as quirky and fun, Tiara is quick to stress that this is a pro­duc­tion that does not take it­self lightly be­hind the scenes.

En­finiti Acad­emy is wholly owned by En­finiti Vi­sion Me­dia, the pro­ducer be­hind the award­win­ning Pu­teri Gu­nung Ledang, P. Ram­lee The Mu­si­cal and The Se­cret Life Of Nora. Some of the same pro­fes­sion­als who worked on these shows are sup­port­ing the young cast of Seussi­cal Jr.

With Stephen Rah­man-Hughes as direc­tor and chore­og­ra­pher, Vince Chong as per­for­mance men­tor and Llewe­lyn Marsh as mu­sic direc­tor, this mu­si­cal holds the prom­ise of “be­ing as pro­fes­sional as any of our big shows”, ac­cord­ing to Tiara.

“The only dif­fer­ence is that it is acted by young peo­ple – and it is young peo­ple per­form­ing at such an im­pres­sive level that you for­get their age,” she says.

“There’s some­thing mag­i­cal about be­ing part of a mu­si­cal. You know that you’re on the right track when some of the young ones moan about how it is not fair that they have to miss re­hearsals just be­cause they are sick! That’s so sweet,” re­lates Tiara.

Tick­ets for the open­ing night of Seussi­cal Jr have all been snapped up, and Tiara shares that more than half the seats in to­tal have been pur­chased for this “show for the whole fam­ily.”

“Any­one from two years old and above can come and im­merse them­selves in the colour­ful and whim­si­cal world of Dr Seuss. I prom­ise that you will be thor­oughly en­ter­tained at Seussi­cal Jr!” she says.

The whim­si­cal Seussi­calJr, a mu­si­cal based on the works of amer­i­can writer Theodor Seuss Geisel (best known as dr Seuss), is set to be fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment at its best.

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