Inspiring Conversations

Broadway 4 Suakus: You, Me & HDB

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That’s right everybody, the zany bunch of suakus who want to share with you their passion for musicals with fellow Singaporeans is back. This tongue-in-cheek revue will take you on a tour of some of Broadway’s most beautiful and most unconventional love songs this Valentine’s Day!

If you don’t know what we’re talking about, where have you been? Broadway 4 Suakus, a STAGES production, features 4 true blue and truly blur Singaporeans: Dwayne the wannabe Bollywood star (currently still a teacher), Judee the ultimate bimbolian, Ah Lim the post-Yellow Ribbon loanshark with a heart of gold; and Candice, the feisty pastor’s wife turned part-time housing agent; a formula that will be hilarious and heart-stirring.

We managed to speak to Jonathan Lim, the talented man  behind Chestnuts and Broadway 4 Suakus, to give you a little sneak peek behind the scenes.

1.  How did the concept for Broadway 4 Suakus materialise?

My friend Julian Wong (who is musical director & arranger for Suakus) and I wanted to do a musical revue. We wanted to introduce a wider Singaporean audience to some of the quirky sides of Broadway, as well as acquaint them with the good ol’ fashioned classic Broadway standards. But we also knew a pure Broadway revue would probably only be preaching to the converted, and we wanted non-musical theatre lovers to come & enjoy the best of Broadway, no frills, no pressure! Just great songs and solid singing!

So we came up with the Suakus – to embody the desire to taste the richness of Broadway without having to be experts! That also gave us a great reason to weave Uniquely S,porean satire and nonsensical comedy into it, and here we are! A cabaret unlike any other you’ve ever seen!

2. Where did you get the inspiration for your characters?

We picked the cast we wanted for Suakus – Judee, Candice, Dwayne and me – and I knew the ‘types’ of Singaporeans we wanted to capture – so the rest was just leaving it to the cast to flesh it out. A fair bit of it is based on some of our own quirks and obsessions, so the characters became very vivid and natural, which is a joy.

In our process, we ‘cut and paste’ a lot of things we’ve collected – speech patterns from various other actors, background history from various notorious celebs… it’s a really fun rojak!

3. What’s the process like behind picking the songs?

We pick the theme first, like Lust in 2009 and Romance this year. Then we pick the angle – in 2009 it was the insistence that dirty songs were actually clean. This year, its’ about how romance in Singapore should lead straight to a flat! Or vice versa.

With the theme and our twist to guide us, Julian and I willl collect SO MANY songs and then comes the toughest part – sifting. If we had our way, it’d be a 3 hour show! To keep it under 90 minutes, we have to sacrifice so many great songs. Never mind… next installment!

4.  What can we expect from You, Me & HDB?

Lots of lovely romantic songs – some sweet, some sexy – and lots of rollicking love songs! A coupla surprise items, like a HDB spoof medley that I wrote – great fun and very hard to song with a straight-face! And some really awesome stuff from Rent, Little Mermaid and Spring Awakening! Ooh and a very exhausting Les Miserables-meets-Miss Saigon mash-up that’ll knock your socks off!

5. Were there some issues that you steer cleared from?

Haha no! Everyone kena, from HDB to MM Lee. We’re a very honest and shameless bunch of Suakus!

6. Are there any scenes in particular for Broadway 4 Suakus that are particulary difficult for you this time around?

The Les Mis- Miss Saigon mash-up was a real killer to stage and also to sing – but it’s SO much fun to get right! Plus some of the songs have really tough jazz harmonies that take a lot of work to really conquer!

7. Since you’re staging this show during Valentine’s Day, any love advise to give to our readers

Life’s too short to let love slip by, in all its forms. Wait for the perfect love, sure – but if you don’t get lots of practice along the way, you probably won’t be ready to make the perfect one work out!

Broadway 4 Suakus opens TODAY! Get your tickets now!

Ratings: M18
Show Run: February 9 – 20, 19:30 & Feb 11-13, 18-20, 21:30 (There is no show on Feb 15)
Duration: 1hr 20 minutes / no interval
Venue: The Hall
Ticket Prices: Show Only, $35.00 or with 2 beers/housepours $50.00

Get to know the characters from Broadway 4 Suakus! Here’s Ah Lim, the post-Yellow Ribbon loanshark with a heart of gold!

Name: Lim. Call me Ah Lim. Or Jon.
Age: 18 at heart. Double that in reality.
Occupation: Reformed loanshark (thank you, Yellow Ribbon Project), now a geomancer-in-training.
Why did you join the Suakus: Because my prison cellmate introduced me to Broadway songsby singing Broadway love songs to me in the call every night. After coming out (of prison), I wanted to find out more.
Favourite Musical and Song and why: Lion King – ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’. Because my answer is always YES!
Best Valentine’s Day they’ve celebrated: One time, in Changi, my cellmate saved up a week’s worth of toilet-paper rations and made the outline of a heart on the cell floor. I had to quickly hide it before the guards saw it, but I was very touched. No, it was not him touching me.
Since Valentine’s is around the corner any advise for love birds everywhere? Sometimes love will come is funny shapes & sizes lor – you must be ready to adapt and go with the flow! Don’t be narrow-minded or stingy with your love!

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