Tag Archives: Musical

The One With The Sound Of Music – What A Delight!

The stage was alive with The Sound Of Music.

Like many in the audience, I knew the many songs in the musical by heart. The West End production tells the uplifting true story of Maria, the fun-loving governess who changes the lives of the widowed Captain von Trapp and his seven children by reintroducing them to music, culminating in the family’s escape across the Austrian mountains.

The Sound of Music in Hong Kong 2015

Having watched the original movie (starring Julie Andrews) only a few weeks before made me appreciate just how much thoughts and effort went into this Hong Kong production. The Sound of Music on stage was much more fast-paced, with wonderful yet simple stage sets changing effortlessly and the orchestra rousing the audience with hits after hits.

Read More →

The One With The Phantom of the Opera – Hong Kong’s Best Winter Musical

The last time I watched The Phantom of the Opera, I was seated at a balcony three stories up, viewing the stage sideway. By the end of the three hours show, I left the theatre (that was in Singapore, probably nine to ten years ago), my neck was cricked, I had a splitting headache and my impression of the show was, needless to say, far from good.

POTO_Brad and Claire embrace 2

Tonight, I sit seven rows from the stage. If I crane my neck a little, I can see the bassoonist polishing her instrument, the pianist flexing his fingers. When the show starts I see, vividly, how the chandelier rises to the ceiling, and the ballet dancers take the stage.

Read More →

The One With Mamma Mia! At Winter Garden

Mamma Mia! at Winter Garden

Mamma Mia! Ah… the musical which brought me to Santorini, after watching the ever-amazing Meryl Streep belting out “The Winner Takes It All” against a dramatic landscape. Which also led me to do the same at a similar cliff at Santorini.

Right. I know I am dramatic that way.

Mamma Mia! at Winter Garden

When I was in London in 2008, I didn’t get the chance to watch Mamma Mia! on Broadway, since it was the peak season and almost everything was sold out. So when I discovered the theater district in New York, it was a no-brainer for me to get one of the best seats at Winter Garden for the coveted show.

Mamma Mia! at Winter Garden

And what a show it was! Mamma Mia! on stage is every bit as good as on the silver screen. The punch lines, the choreography, the emotional intensity differ slightly from the movie version, but in a very good way. I identified with many of the moments which made me love the movie so much in the first place, and to watch it onstage, live, was a moving experience indeed.

Did I tear? And you have to ask? Of course I did!

Particularly commendable were Donna Sheridan’s rendition of The Winner Takes It All and the talented actor who played Sam Carmichael (so very different from Pierce Brosnan’s in the movie), whom can actually sing. But the real character which stole the show was undeniably Rosie; funny, eccentric and totally hilarious.

At the end of the show was a plea to the audience to support the charity benefiting patients and families suffering from AIDS. For forty bucks I bought a signed poster from the show; but the silly me left that behind at my mum’s place in New Jersey, so I don’t have a photo to show of it.

Will update this post when I get back the poster from mum :P

Click here for more photos taken during my Day 2 in New York City.

London Day 4 – St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, Hairspray the Musical & Final Night in Soho

Happy New Year 2009! This was my last day in London, and I intended to visit a couple of places that I missed out in my first few days here, catch another musical and drink the night away!

St. Paul's Cathedral

A Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has overlooked the City of London since 604AD, a constant reminder to this great commercial centre of the importance of the spiritual side of life. The current Cathedral – the fourth to occupy this site – was designed by the court architect Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Its architectural and artistic importance reflect the determination of the five monarchs who oversaw its building that London’s leading church should be as beautiful and imposing as their private palaces.

The narrow staircase going down to Echo Wall

Visitors were not allowed to take photographs within St. Paul’s, so I have nothing but mere memories of how the place looked like, which was amazing! It was a huge church, with highly-arched domes in golden hues, and the mosaics made me speechless. While I was there, there was a service in session, so I got to see how one looked like. I also went up to the Echo Wall, a circular balcony above the main area of the church, where reputedly if you whisper to the wall, the person directly opposite you will be able to hear you. Too bad I was alone so can’t test out the claim, hehe.

View from St Paul's Cathedral

A very narrow staircase let me to the outside of the dome – I can’t remember the name. From here, I can see London sprawling in all directions. The clock towers chimed and chimed while I walked around the balcony.

After spending some more time at the cathedral, I left for Tower of London… which, to my dismay, was still closed! There went my final chance to visit the famous landmark of London. Disconsolately I went to the tourist shop to get some souveniers, and then off along River Thames to take some photos from the outside instead.

Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower of London

After some aimless wondering here, I decided to head back to Soho in search for my next musical. Walked around Piccadilly Circus a little, before heading into the famous HMV to enquire at the musical ticket counter. Found out that there was a screening of Hairspray that night! Immediately I got one of the better seats and was all set to see my all-time favorite movie, on stage!

Hairspray the Musical @ Shaftesbury Theatre, London

I have lots of time to kill while waiting for the show, so I went around first to scout for the theatre, which is located at the far end of Soho. After which, I went to shop for some shirts at Zara (the price was great!) before heading to a cozy looking shop for an early dinner.

Which was a great decision. The service was impeccable – a great waitress made all the difference. I ordered way too much – a huge rocket leaves salad, chunks of yummy stick, a dizzying dessert and a bottle of wine. It was one of the most satisfying dinner I ever had during the entire trip. Including a nice tip for the waitress, I spent about 50 pounds. No complaints.

Last Dinner in London @ Old Compton Street

Last Dinner in London @ Old Compton Street

Last Dinner in London @ Old Compton Street

Soon it was time for Hairspray! The musical itself was a blast, and I am definitely not the only one in the audience who knew the lyrics to all the song. The lead actress seemed a little tired I must say. But the character Link Larkin was absolute blast and a dashing actor to booth. Edna was a great hoot on stage. Towards the end of the play I was on my feet to sing and dance along with a couple of other guys who seem to know the songs as well as I do!

All in all, a great musical!

Hairspray the Musical @ Shaftesbury Theatre, London

High from the wonderful musical, I made my way to the main streets of Soho for a last night of pub-hopping. During my consumption of copious amount of London-beer (oh, how much I missed them!) I got to know two wonderful lads from Cornwall. Bernard and William were down in London for a holiday, and we spend some happy hours together trawling the streets of Soho until the wee hour of the morning.

Last Night at Soho

Last Night at Soho

You know what? The guys are actually musician! Bernard plays the cello and William fiddles on the violin a Cornwall-based string quartet name Orion IV. Guys, I missed you!

So it was almost 4 a.m. before I reached Liping’s house in Maida Vale. What an (almost) perfect end to my London trip. Click here for photos taken during my last day here.