TLC: The Musical

It’s been a long journey, and on the 23rd and 24rh of December, it was over. I was asked to direct the musical by my church along with another church mate, Kai. We started planning around Jan 2012 and the script came out around Feb. The rehearsal period was pretty long but keep in mind we only had about two hours each Saturday night to rehearse! So yes, it was a really long journey but really worth it.

It was a story that took place in a cabaret (yes, in a church) about lies and deceit and plots and love and envy and the loss of everything and someone who saves it all. Not your typical Christmas nativity play, but a 90 (ish) minute musical with 16 (ish) songs! DVD comes out next year.

I’m really grateful for my bestie, Ben, who was the one who put up the set piece / back drop in the first place. The set design originally consisted of loads of drapes but that was impossible because of the way the sanctuary of my church was structured. Yep, it took place in my church. And as you can see, it’s really oddly shaped. I really do wonder what they were thinking when they first built the church. ._. And the pews! They weren’t your IKEA benches, ohh no they weren’t! They were a very large piece of wood and metal and weighed a ton and we had to find a way to make some of them disappear. -sigh- One of the downsides of not staging it in a theatre.

But the first time I saw the set, I was wowed. You might not think it’s much, but if you’ve seen how the sanctuary looks like on a normal day, you would’ve thought that this was impossible, too. So yes, my best friend is a genius.

This is when it was lit. The “TLC” piece is made of cardboard and fairy lights, slotted individually by the crew. Another brillant idea of Ben and Philip (producer)’s. And a bit of my input there. 😀 We wanted to use lightbulbs but they were too expensive, so I jokingly said “why not just put fairy lights hahaha but you have to jab them in one by one” and they really did it. Ben and Philip are the most amazing creative crew engineers I know. I’m serious. They can create almost anything out of cardboard and it looks awesome.

These are some of the amazing and crazy cast I got to work with this year. They’re all from my church, so I’ve known most of them for over 10 years. And our parents mostly know each other. Yeah, family church. I’ve had my weeks of yelling like a banshee at them out of frustration (“C’MON GUYS PUT SOME LIFE INTO IT”), and I’ve had days where I was absolutely proud of how far they’ve come or the effort they put in or the genius that they have. But they’re an awesome bunch, really. It wouldn’t have worked out if even one of them was missing.

More amazing cast AND crew! I must say, the crew worked really hard on moving like ninjas! They even practiced with a stopwatch to shorten the time between scene transitions! It’s a massive achievement for all of them to have such seamless scene transition because even in school, I keep walking into lights and fumbling violently in the wings. Hahaha I walked into the lights in “Attempts on Her Life” twice. Same light. Same night. -_-  AND we didn’t even have proper wings! We had three flaps of cloth at the back of the stage so you really couldn’t exit left or right. Kudos.

This was taken during one of the full dress rehearsals. Months ago I would never have thought this was possible, but they improved by leaps and bounds since June. 🙂 ALL of them danced in heels and some of them have never worn heels in their life before! -proud mama hen moment- I teared up during a dance one night because ahh… so proud of them. /feels

Sam and Ben
Sam and Ben

Sam is one of the choreographers and the bassist for the musical and one of the sweetest people I know. Really, I don’t know how anyone can be so nice, but he is. He’s also an insanely talented choreographer that took my breath away the first time I saw the arrangement for one of the dances. I never figured out how he could create such an awesome arrangement with a group of 5 guys with no dancing background.

Ben, as y’all know, is my bestie and the guitarist and the music director and the crew for the musical. Definitely NOT one of the sweetest people I know. Possibly one of the most stubborn and annoying, but good when he’s on your side. Almost all the songs were written or co-written by him. I wrote the lyrics for two of the songs and I had no idea they could turn out this way. TALENT.

Vincent (keys), Sam (bass), me, Je (drums), Ben (guitars)
Vincent (keys), Sam (bass), me, Je (drums), Ben (guitars)

With the very talented band.

Just an awesome picture with two cast members (Sam Chow and Lester), who play the guitar as well, but were lead actors in the musical. THE AMOUNT OF TALENT. GOD IS SO AWESOME.

Kai and I
Kai and I

And this is my co-director, Wen Kai (or Nehemiah, as he likes it!). He’s a graphic designer (I think la, he does design) who designed the program booklet. We had loads of creative/artistic/human differences at the start but I grew to like and understand his aesthetic and it was really awesome working with him. Really, he has serious attention to detail issues WHICH IS GOOD. He helped a LOT with set and light design because I usually give up during scene transitions and it hurts my brain. But really, his eye for design is amazing.

Choon Rui and Chloe
Choon Rui and Chloe

Chlo, ChoonRui and Ni Ta kor came on the second/final night! 🙂 We sold out on both nights and I’m really grateful for all the support we had. 800 seats (400/night) and all sold out! Excluding the VIP seats, which were $100 each, of course. I heard today that we made a total of $28,000 and all the proceeds go to D’joy Children Centre! It really does warm my heart to see the seats filling up. It was by the might of God, not ours! I hope that they were all blessed by this production.

Aalya, Isa, Stacy, Me!
Aalya, Isa, Stacy, Me! (Tabbi left early!)

It was a great two nights of catching up with old friends. I haven’t seen these guys in forever!

Aalya and Best
Aalya and Best

Awww I love ya’ll. /warm fuzzy feels

It’s almost the end of 2012. I’m grateful for everything that has happened, but that’s another post altogether.

Have a good time this New Years’ , from the cast and crew of TLC: The Musical.

x S

 

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