RWS to debut first Chinese musical in Singapore

The director and cast of Ge Tai - The Musical share with Imagine TV Network about the challenges during rehearsals and having to sing in the Hokkien dialect.

Imagine TV Network

Ge Tai - The Musical is Resorts World Sentosa's first-ever original Chinese musical production and director Jalyn Han (韩雪卿) says it offers an opportunity to showcase an aspect of Singapore's culture. Han, who previously directed theatrical works such as Beauty World and film Judgment Day, remarks, "Getai is ingrained in our local culture and it is part of our heritage."

Image credit: Resorts World Sentosa

Getai, a lively form of stage performance that is typically held during the Ghost Festival, will be combined with certain theatrical elements in this new production which reveals the backstage drama and the glamour of the stage. The production will chronicle the growth of Singapore's local getai culture from the 1980's right up to the present day.

Desmond Ng (黄振隆) and Taiwanese artist Hao Hao (皓皓) play the lead role of Liu Ge and Hao Hao respectively. Liu Ge, a popular getai signer who came to fame in the 1980's, mentors Hao Hao through his journey as he becomes a getai singer.

Ng admits that taking on a mature character that is almost twice his age presents its own set of challenges as he had to learn to mimic gestures and mannerisms of older people. "Acting as Hao Hao's senior also exerts a degree of pressure on me as in reality, he is the real senior."

Image credit: Resorts World Sentosa

Local singer Chriz Tong (湯薇恩) has the role of Hong Ling, a veteran getai singer who harbors jealousy against the getai newcomer Shen Yi Fei. Describing her character, she says, "She is basically a diva who feels threatened so she tries to sabotage and give Yi Fei a hard time... It's always been my secret wish to play a villain and this time I got to be a super diva..."

She explains that the predominant use of Hokkien is the identifiable uniqueness of getai in Singapore but confesses she has a weak command of the dialect and needed help from her co-stars to correct her pronunciations.

As a getai artist himself, Ng says the musical is inspired by true stories and hopes the audience can see how the local getai culture has matured through the years. "The struggles and pain are real and these are not what audiences usually see in the [normal] concerts."

Jasper Lai (赖弈翰), who portrays two characters from two different eras in the musical production, says this is his first being involved in a theatrical production. He shares that compared to his modern-day character of Zhen Zhu (Black Pearl), who is a 'difficult' singer, his role of Ah John in the 1980's era was more challenging as it was more complex and layered than he thought.

"His choice of words, tone and body languages differ as he talks to artists, manager and audiences, etc." He comments that the backstage of any entertainment scene is a place that "reveals the price to pay to be glamorous" and adds that the production highlights the myths and taboos of the getai culture.

Ge Tai - The Musical will be playing at Resorts World Theater (Singapore) from 20th April to 29th May 2016. Tickets can be purchased via SISTIC.



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