Saturday, 31 January 2009

The Star - Journey of a Princess

Friday January 30, 2009

Journey of a princess

AS Tiara Jacquelina prepares for her final curtain call as the legendary princess in Puteri Gunung Ledang, let’s take a look at the exciting journey that brought her here.

2003: It is announced that Tiara will take on the role of Gusti Putri Raden Ajeng Retno Dumilah in a big screen adaptation of the Puteri Gunung Ledang legend. With a ­budget of RM20mil, it is touted as the biggest local production ever made.

2004: The movie opens to critical acclaim and box-office success, with much praise for Tiara’s portrayal of Puteri.

The film adaptation of the legendary Puteri Gunung Ledang starred Tiara as Puteri Gunung Ledang and M.Nasir as Hang Tuah.

Directed by Saw Teong Hin, the film also boasts an illustrious cast of M.Nasir, Rosyam Nor, Azri Iskandar, Sofea Jane, Datuk Rahim Razali, Christine Hakim, Alex Komang, Slamet Rahardjo and Khairul Anwar. The film is screened at the Venice International Film Festival, the Stockholm Film Fest, the Goa Film Festival and the Singapore Media Film Festival.

It also becomes the first Malaysian film to be submitted for consideration for an Academy Award, and eventually makes it to the top 50 shortlist.

2005: Tiara is awarded a Best Actress award for the film at the 50th Asia Pacific Film Festival. She also bags the Best Producer Award at the inaugural Asian Festival of First Films in Singapore.

At the 18th Malaysia Film Festival, the movie wins four awards, and continues to be screened at festivals including the Palm Springs International Film Festival in California, the Bangkok Film Festival and the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Tiara announces that the story will be presented again as Puteri Gunung Ledang: The Musical (PGLM).

2006: PGLM premieres to rave reviews. It features Tiara singing onstage for the first time. A second season is announced for later date the same year. Tiara further launches The Legend of the Princess of Mount Ledang, a picture book for children. The success of PGLM brings about its Singaporean debut at the Esplanade.

2007: PGLM sweeps eight awards at the Fifth Annual BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.

2008: A third season of PGLM is announced.

2009: Tiara performs onstage for the last time as Puteri.

The Star interview - Better Than Ever!

Friday January 30, 2009

Better than ever

NO two ways about it, the third season of Puteri Gunung Ledang: The Musical (PGLM) looks set to be unforgettable.

The legendary love story between the heroic warrior Hang Tuah and the mythical princess of Gunung Ledang is not only a much-loved musical, it also has the distinction of being one of the most successful Malaysian productions.

Besides being Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina’s last turn as the legendary princess, this season will also boast the return of its stellar cast, including Stephen Rahman-Hughes as Hang Tuah, Adlin Aman Ramlie as the Sultan, A.C. Mizal as Adipati and Ida Mariana as Bayan. Datuk Zahim Albakri is also back as director, with Roslan Aziz as music director, and Pat Ibrahim controls the reins once more as choreographer.

Tiara and Stephen Rahman-Hughes in Puteri Gunung Ledang The Musical

Set during Malacca’s golden era, the musical’s previous seasons have attracted almost 60,000 people from different cultures and backgrounds, making it a truly Malaysian show. The musical holds the record of being the longest running local musical to play at Istana Budaya, earning rave reviews along the way.

For those of you who don’t know, the story goes like this. Adipati, the ruler of Majapahit, turns to Sultan Mahmud of Malacca for protection from the kingdom of Demak. The Sultan agrees, but only if he is given the beautiful Majapahit princess Gusti Putri Raden Ajeng Retno Dumilah in exchange.

Adipati agrees, but meanwhile, the Puteri and Sultan Mahmud’s Lord Admiral, Hang Tuah, have fallen in love with each other. When Hang Tuah is sent to Demak, the Puteri goes up to Gunung Ledang to await his return. Little does she know that when he does come back, it is to claim her for Sultan Mahmud! Enraged, she sets seven impossible conditions for the Sultan to prove he deserves her.

To make this season a truly unforgettable experience, a touch of magic has been added to the mix. In the vein of hit international musicals like Wicked and Lord of the Rings, the mystical and spiritual aspects of PGLM’s tale will be played up with dazzling illusions and special effects. Enlisting the help of a skilled illusionist, the show this time around will feature truly exci­ting and unbelievable scenes of characters performing “magic”.

From left, principal cast members of Puteri Gunung Ledang: The Musical, Ida Mariana, Tiara and Adlin Aman Ramlie (right), pose with show director Datuk Zahim Albakri. The musical will begin its third run on Feb 6.

The third season will also feature tighter and more refined performances, which is the result of the creative team revisiting the musical’s script. The experience and familiarity of the cast should further give the audience truly deep and gripping performances.

To inject freshness to the show, however, an entirely new ensemble cast has been gathered and trained from scratch. There are also new musical arrangements and compositions for the theatre-goers to look forward to.

Visually, too, there are new elements to enjoy. Additional sets and a completely new lighting design will add to the magical atmosphere. Gorgeous songket ­pieces from Royal Terengganu Songket will add richness and authenticity to the costumes, and several completely new looks can be expected.

“All of us (cast and crew) are very excited about the changes to the show,” said director Zahim. “We really want the audience to be wowed.”

Zahim revealed that the creative team decided from the start that the third season should be different from the previous two.

“We didn’t want to keep doing the same things. So we sat down together and really talked about what we could do differently. We thought about how to delve deeper into the story, to make more of an impact.”

> PGLM’s third season, spearheaded by Enfiniti Productions Sdn Bhd, will run from Feb 6 to 21 at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur. The musical’s sponsors include RHB Banking Group, Public Bank, UEM Group Berhad, ntv7 and Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah. Ticket prices range from RM30 to RM350 and are on sale through Axcess Tickets’ website ( Alternatively, call the ticket hotline at 03-7711 5000. For details, visit or

The Star interview - Moving Ahead

Friday January 30, 2009

Moving ahead


Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina prepares for her final stint as the mythical princess of Gunung Ledang.

SHE had the time of her life playing the part of a princess. Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina would be the first to admit that.

“Puteri has been such a big part of who I am for the past few years,” she gushed of her role as the princess in Puteri Gunung Ledang. “Playing her has the kind of magic that I’ve never found anywhere else... I know everything about her; how she moves, how she speaks, what she thinks, how she would react, even her scent! It’s like having to say goodbye to your best friend!”

‘I can happily say that I’ve had a full adventure on my journey with Puteri Gunung Ledang’, says Tiara Jacquelina.

Yes, all good things come to an end. And the time has come for the star to say goodbye to the princess – after a motion picture and three musical theatre runs, Tiara bids adieu to her beloved role as Gusti Putri Raden Ajeng Retno Dumilah.

A teary-eyed Tiara recently shared that the upcoming third season of Puteri Gunung Ledang: The Musical (PGLM) next month would be her final stint as the mythical princess, a role which started with the film version in 2004.

“I can happily say that I’ve had a full adventure on my journey with Puteri Gunung Ledang, (and that) I’ve taken it as far as I could,” she said. “While I’ve had the time of my life playing the Puteri, I am ready to move on to new endeavours.”

It is not, however, a separation that will come easily. The role of the Puteri has become almost synonymous with Tiara’s graceful and strong portrayal. Tiara, too, has been living and breathing the character for almost six years. Before filming for the movie began, Tiara even spent several weeks in Indonesia researching the part of the Majapahit princess.

The producer/actress/businesswoman revealed that as difficult as it is, she cannot be attached to this one character any longer. “This is all I’ve been for a while now, and there comes a point when you know you have to move on,” she said. “In order to grow, I need to try my hand at different challenges.”

It is no secret that Tiara is an accomplished actress in the fields of film, theatre and television. What’s more, she is also a talented producer in her own right, presenting quality local productions through her company, Enfiniti Productions.

As a film actress, Tiara is well-known for her role in Suhaimi Baba’s Ringgit Kasorrga, for which she won the Best Actress award in 1995 at the Malaysian Film Festival. She also made Malaysia proud by getting a role in the Hollywood film Beyond Rangoon, where she acted alongside Academy Award winner Frances McDormand and Patricia Arquette.

The mother of two began her love affair with theatre in 1990, when she was cast as the female lead in Joe Hasham’s A Man for All Seasons. She then worked with Rahim Razalli in Kelas 2020, and continued to work with many other theatre directors. Her play, Siti Zubaidah, is still remembered as one of the biggest box-office hits at the Istana Budaya.

Where Puteri Gunung Ledang is concerned, it is undeniable that both the film and musical versions of the legendary tale took the local entertainment industry to new heights, thanks in no small part to Tiara herself.

The film Puteri Gunung Ledang was screened all over the world, including the prestigious Venice Film Festival in 2004. It was even submitted for consideration for an Academy Award. PGLM, on the other hand, was a runaway hit, playing to full houses for two seasons so far. The musical was also staged with much success at the Esplanade, Singapore, in 2006.

“We managed to create some new benchmarks, added to the growth of theatre-goers, and contributed to the acceptance and recognition of Malaysian films locally as well as abroad.

“It is something my team and I didn’t even dream of. I’ve also had the good fortune of working with the best talents in our industry. We’ve achieved so much!” said Tiara.

“Now, I’m looking forward to climbing and conquering new mountains.”

While she will stay on as executive producer of PGLM, Tiara hopes that saying goodbye to the Puteri will leave her free to pursue other endeavours.

“I miss so many things! I miss producing films, and I definitely miss acting in other productions. So I certainly hope that I will be able to act in and produce other films and plays,” she said.

She also has a pet project she hopes to develop – a performing arts school. It is an idea that has its roots in the Starmaker: Musical Theatre Bootcamp organised by the PGLM creative team in 2007.

“As a producer, I see that we keep on grumbling about the quality of the shows here. But the difficult question that needs to be asked is, do we have the talent?” Tiara explained.

“I want to see in our industry a solid stable of actors who are confident and capable. This is the only way we can come out with consistently good work.”

While the upcoming staging of PGLM will be an emotional one for Tiara, she also looks forward to seeing someone else take up her mantle. With the necessary commitment and hard work, she is sure that there are actors out there who can play Puteri equally well.

“Of course, there will be a transition period. But I’m confident that people will come to see that the role is not Tiara. I’m just an actor. Every staging is a story in itself, and the audience has to allow it to evolve.”

Most of all, Tiara is certain that this story of the mythical princess of Gunung Ledang will continue to hold its special place in the hearts of Malaysians.

“I believe Puteri Gunung Ledang will live on, because it’s the most beautiful story. There will always be new blood, and the show will continue to grow, live and breathe.”

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Interview on The Nut Graph

Tiara’s Malaysian dream
29 Jan 09 : 11.00AM
By N Shashi Kala

Tiara as Puteri Gunung Ledang (all pics courtesy of Tiara Jacquelina)

PRODUCER and actress Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina Abdullah is best known for Puteri Gunung Ledang, both the movie and stage musical which she produced and starred in.

PGL is being restaged from 6 to 21 Feb at Istana Budaya by Tiara's company, Enfiniti Productions. It will be Tiara's swan song — she is reprising her award-winning role as Gusti Putri for the third, and she says final, time.

Tiara's grandparents

Tiara, who is of Burmese-Indonesian-Chinese lineage, has been involved in the entertainment industry since the 1980s. She started out scouting talents for a modeling agency, before moving into television production.

Her acting credits include Ringgit Kasorrga, for which she won the best actress award in the 12th Malaysian Film Festival in 1995, Perempuan Melayu Terakhir in 1999, and PGL in 2004.

Married to former cabinet minister Datuk Seri Mohd Effendi Norwawi, Tiara has two children, Hani Karmila and Mohd Eridani.

She recently spent some time in Australia learning painting under the tutelage of renowned artist Peter Barraclough, and also took up creative writing.

In an e-mail interview, Tiara tells The Nut Graph about living the Malaysian dream, and her "been there, done almost everything" aspect of being Malaysian.

TNG: Where were you born?

I was born in Assunta Hospital, Petaling Jaya and my first home was in Jalan Kilat, Klang. I grew up mainly in Ampang Jaya, Selangor. I have two younger siblings, Carol and Nicholas. My alma mater is St Mary's in Selayang.

What is your strongest memory of the place in which you grew up?

Tiara's parents on their wedding day

Basketball with the Ampang Jaya boys, playing in the many monsoon drains of Ukay Heights, and cycling. Also walking for hours every day — to catch the 183 bus from home to school — in pitch darkness at 6.30am with my sister Carol. Walking to school from AIA (the insurance company's building in Ampang) after a good roti canai banjir breakfast. Life's pleasures were simple, like having the crunchiest goreng pisang for tea or catching the nasi lemak lady for the last plate before she ran out.

Tiara's grandfather, with P Ramlee

What are the stories you hold onto the most from your family?

I think of the story of my grandfather, Datuk Eddie Eu Eng Hock, who started out as a shipping clerk riding a humble bicycle to work. He was of Burmese descent and originally came to Malaya from China a few years before the war. My grandmother was Chinese.

After World War II, with my grandmother by his side, he went on to set up Eu-Lee Landing and Shipping, the country's first official stevedoring company in Port Swettenham, which today is called Port Klang. My grandfather always told us that good luck or good fortune is what you make out of good opportunities and hard work.

How do you connect with these stories as a Malaysian?

It tells me that if there ever was a Malaysian dream, it's alive and well and Malaysia really is a country of opportunity for those who are willing to work hard enough for it. And there is no short cut to success, not if you're in for the long run.

What aspects of your identity do you struggle with the most as a Malaysian?

Gosh, I think I can count myself as "been there, done almost everything", in this respect. My dad's side of the family is Burmese-Chinese and my mother is Chinese Indonesian. My parents, Eddie Eu and Nelly Tan, got married in 1966.

Part of the Eu family

I was born into a very staunch Buddhist family, the Eu family, where all the men in our family shaved their heads and became monks.

I converted to Christianity when I was 12, along with my brother and sister, and we convinced our mother to convert, too! I became a Muslim when I got married in 1993 (to former husband, the late Hani Mohsin). So I guess I've almost done the full circle where religious beliefs are concerned!

Tiara as a baby, with her Aunt Nora, and cousins
Alex and Angie Eu (rightmost)

And nothing else about me has changed. I'm still the same spunky little gal, ready to take on the boys, (and the world, in my mind) on the Ampang Jaya basketball courts. I can never understand why religion divides us so much. We're just roses that go by different names as far as I'm concerned.

Today, our family celebrates almost every festive occasion — Christmas, Hari Raya as well as Chinese New Year — with equal gusto. If only religion could be practiced in moderation and everyone would practice their beliefs in their own private space and not impose any personal judgments on the way others live their lives.

Describe the kind of Malaysia you want to leave behind for your children.

I dream of a future Malaysia where our children will be wise enough to judge for themselves what's right and wrong. [I want their judgment to come] from education, awareness and guided exposure, and not force or fatwa. I hope that the country will spot and nurture potential talents we have in our backyard and inspire them to love this country enough to take Malaysia to even greater heights.

Hopefully we can, as a united and multi-racial Malaysia, join hands to fight the big fight out there in the big blue marble. [Let's] not waste our energy on small domestic squabbles that will only hinder our progress further.

Comments (You are allowed to leave comments until 19 Feb 09)

Zila Posted: 29 Jan 09 : 3.30PM

Wow. Tiara is an example of a truly "rojak" Malaysian. I share her dream for a united and multi-racial Malaysia. I am sick and tired of the constant sniping and dogfights that distract us from building our nation into one that stands for all - regardless of race, religion or creed.

Ida Mariana Posted: 29 Jan 09 : 7.42PM

... Yes, a Malaysian lass after my very own beating Malaysian heart... =)

Rathi Posted: 29 Jan 09 : 11.37PM

I watched Tiara in PGL The Musical and thoroughly enjoyed her performance. It is quiet amazing to read about her growing up years. An Ampang girl myself, I can identify with the simple pleasures she talks about. She is an example to us about how to assimilate the different religious and cultural values and still remain truly Malaysian.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Tiara's producer's notes for PGLM3

It’s a great time to celebrate the changing times in our arts industry. I’m glad I have been lucky enough to see it happen during my lifetime.

Three years ago, musical theatre was virtually non-existent in Malaysia. In fact, even going to the theatre was an unusual choice of activity for spending an evening, for many. When we first went to the market to announce the production of Puteri Gunung Ledang as a stage musical, I remember how we were met with a lot of skepticism and apprehension.

I’m glad everyone was wrong, and Team Enfiniti continued to believe in what we had set out to do from the start-to put on a Malaysian production with the scale and production values comparable to West-end or Broadway shows.

More than 100,000 people who were not even interested in theatre, or had never ever considered watching a local play, came to watch PGLM and P.Ramlee. The journey has been very trying and full of every kind of challenge that comes with entering unchartered territory, but our pay-off is when we receive so many compliments from those who come to the theatre, saying how proud they were, as Malaysians, that we were capable of producing something world class.
People ask me what I think contributed to this success. I think it is mainly because EVERYONE on the team is so united in spirit, regardless of race, religious belief and political leanings. In PGLM, we are all equal and we are all ONE, in spirit and in our goal. EVERY ONE of the 150 or so people that it takes to put on this show, realizes how important it is that we play as one team-from the set changers, to the technical team, to the front of house to the stage management, all the way to the musicians, ensemble, creative team and the lead actors. Everyone on the team supports and lifts each other up to reach one goal-to put on the best darn performance Malaysia has ever seen.

Before embarking on season 3, my team and I met to discuss how we could enhance the existing show, challenging ourselves to outdo our previous best, give the show a new spark of energy - an extra “lift” to make the show even more magical than before. The ideas grew, and our excitement with it. That’s what’s really special about the talented bunch I work with, they never stop wanting to be better.

PGLM has always held a special kind of magic for me, which I have personally never found in any other piece along my years as an actor and producer. Maybe it has something to do with it being my “first love”, being Enfiniti’s first venture into theatre.

This season however, is especially poignant for me, as it would mark my swan song as Puteri. I have come to know her so intimately over the past 6 years that its not easy, saying goodbye to her feels like letting your best friend go.

I will have the fondest memories of having worked with the most dedicated and passionate people in the industry. Zahim, thank you for helping me get this dream on its legs, and for being such an inspiring captain of our ship. Pat, for holding my hand from the start of the journey and telling me we can do it! Adlin, for writing the most beautiful words I have ever sung and spoken, Roslan, for inspiring Malaysia to dream BIG from your Ikhlas days. Malek, for that amazingly creative way your mind works. Pat Gui, Midon and team, for making sure the show works like clockwork every night. Nora, Boudeng, Chedd, Liz, Redz, Eja-the Enfiniti team who work tirelessly on logistics, the marketing, sales, publicity, and all the nitty-gritties behind the scenes business.

Stevie, I couldn’t ask for a better, more professional stage partner, it’s been wonderful. Ida my baby, you’re an angel with a voice to match! AC and Adlin, you guys rock. Everyone in the wonderful ensemble – what passion and focus, RESPECT! I can’t mention every one else, but you know how I appreciate all the blood, sweat and tears, thanks… from the bottom of my heart.
To my most supportive, loving and patient husband and kids, thank you for your love and your prayers, I promise you it’ll be worth the 3-month absence when you see what we’ve put together!
We have been very fortunate that the Ministry of Culture Arts and Heritage as well as Johari and everyone at Istana Budaya have been so supportive of our efforts. Our friends from the media too, have been most generous with coverage and publicity, many thanks!

I am also most touched by the sincere support from our presenting sponsors Public Bank and RHB, as well as our main sponsor, UEM and co-sponsors Celcom, media partner ntv7, also MPH Bookstores, Visit KL, M.A.C, Hotel Istana and Capital Production.

With everyone’s continued support, Puteri Gunung Ledang will take on a life of its own, and continue to grow and change, and move with the times, as everything else in life must. I hope that 20, 30, 50 years from now, we will see PGLM continue to be performed in the same spirit, with the same pride, but with a newer interpretation and with new energy.

To you, who have come tonight to watch our show, know this – we are here in our third season in KL because of YOUR faith and support. Keep the love comin’, guys…


Article in Utusan - Selamat Tinggal Gusti Putri...

ARKIB : 22/01/2009

Selamat tinggal Gusti Putri

SEDIH... Air mata seorang puteri akhirnya gugur ke bumi.

MENGENALI wanita berhati waja ini, tidak sesekali dia akan tunduk kepada mereka yang dilihat bagaikan tidak senang melihat kejayaan yang diraihnya selama ini.

Malah, dengan kritikan dan kata-kata nista itu jugalah dijadikan azimat dan perangsang untuk melakukan serta memelihara martabat industri seni dan budaya negara.

Dek kerana itu, dia juga dianggap sebagai perintis dalam mengangkat teater muzikal ke peringkat yang lebih tinggi dan kejayaannya itu ternyata melenyapkan segala spekulasi serta tanggapan negatif terhadap semangatnya itu.

Namun, entah mengapa, pagi yang cerah itu menjadi hening apabila air mata seorang puteri gugur sehingga menyebabkan teman media yang hadir terpaku dan terdiam seketika.

Lantas, Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina membuka bicaranya apabila dia tekad untuk tidak lagi membawakan watak Gusti Putri Raden Ajeng Retno Dumilah dalam pementasan Puteri Gunung Ledang the Musical (PGLM) selepas musim ketiga yang akan membuka tirainya pada 6 Februari ini.

Ketika butir-butir kata itu dilafazkannya, dia tidak lagi mampu untuk membendung air matanya daripada mengalir. Apatah lagi dengan ditemani oleh salah seorang sahabat baiknya, Ida Mariana di sisi, menjadikan Tiara menjadi lebih sebak.

Berbekalkan semangat dan iltizam yang cukup kuat dalam dirinya, isteri kepada Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi ini menyambung bicaranya dalam nada suara yang tersekat-sekat.

"Hampir setengah dekad jiwa saya begitu sebati dengan watak Gusti Putri atau Puteri Gunung Ledang. Bermula dengan wataknya dalam filem sehinggalah ke teater muzikal, saya sudah puas hidup dalam dunia Gusti Putri.

"Watak ini cukup besar dalam hidup saya kerana dengan watak ini jugalah, PGL telah kembara ke seluruh dunia dan mendapat perhatian ramai. Kini, sudah tiba masanya untuk saya meneruskan kehidupan saya untuk mencuba sesuatu yang baru pula," jelasnya ketika ditemui di kediamannya di Sentul West, Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur baru-baru ini.

Sememangnya keputusan ini amat berat untuk dilakukannya apatah lagi Gusti Putri sudah menjadi watak ikon, namun, jelas Tiara, itu bukan bermakna dia akan melupakan terus dunia teater yang sudah lama menjadi makanan rujinya.

"Saya akan masih lagi meneruskan tugas saya sebagai seorang penerbit eksekutif untuk sebarang pementasan teater muzikal terbitan Enfiniti. Buat masa ini, saya tidak terfikir lagi apakah cabang seni yang mahu saya lakukan.

"Mungkin juga saya akan kembali menerbitkan filem dan juga berlakon kerana saya memang sudah lama menyimpan hasrat untuk berbuat demikian. Semuanya kerana tumpuan, fokus dan keringat yang dicurahkan untuk PGLM," katanya.

Kali terakhir, Tiara beraksi dalam filem adalah pada tahun 2004 menerusi filem Puteri Gunung Ledang arahan Saw Teong Hin.

Bukan itu sahaja, Tiara juga pernah dinobatkan sebagai Pelakon Wanita Terbaik Festival Filem Malaysia Ke-12 menerusi filem Ringgit Kasorrga pada tahun 1995.

Tiara turut ditanya adakah dengan pengumuman yang dilakukannya adalah satu gimik untuk melariskan penjualan tiket PGLM, dengan sekuntum senyum, Tiara menggelengkan kepalanya.

"Tidak terlintas niat saya untuk menyatakan ini sebagai satu gimik. Malah, pengunduran saya ini juga bukanlah kerana desakan sesiapa tetapi atas kerelaan saya sendiri.

"Kerana itu juga, saya berjanji untuk memberikan yang terbaik dalam PGLM musim ketiga sebelum saya meninggalkan naskhah yang cukup indah itu. Janji saya, penonton akan dapat menyaksikan magis dan sentuhan yang berbeza dalam PGLM kali ini," tuturnya penuh makna.

Pelakon Wanita Terbaik Asia Pasifik Ke-50 ini juga menyatakan sudah tiba masanya untuk watak Gusti Putri dibawakan oleh pelakon baru dalam usaha memberikan sentuhan serta pendekatan baru dalam PGLM kelak.

"Kalau kita lihat senario di Barat, ia sentiasa berlaku. Teater muzikal seperti Mamma Mia!, Wicked dan Miss Saigon juga mengalami transisi yang sama. Adalah menjadi satu kelaziman jika pada mulanya, kita akan berasa kekok dengan pelakon baru, tetapi lama-kelamaan, ia akan menjadi biasa.

"Tetapi, ingin saya beritahu, pada mana-mana pelakon yang akan membawakan watak Gusti Putri ini kelak, mereka harus komited dan memberikan tumpuan yang sepenuhnya dalam menjayakan watak ini. Teater muzikal bukan seperti drama atau filem," kata Tiara dalam nada tegas.

Ibu kepada Hani Karmila dan Muhammad Eridani ini juga meluahkan hasratnya untuk menubuhkan sebuah sekolah yang menumpukan pengajian kepada pembangunan seni dan budaya negara khususnya dalam bidang teater muzikal.

"Saya sedar saya tidak mampu melakukannya seorang diri sebaliknya ia perlu disokong oleh pelbagai pihak terutama kerajaan dan sektor swasta untuk sama-sama merealisasikan usaha murni ini," jelasnya.

Mengenai perkembangan terbaru PGLM musim ketiga yang akan bermula 6 Februari ini, pemilik nama sebenar Tiara Jacquelina Eu Abdullah ini memberitahu, kini semua pihak sedang giat berlatih di Istana Budaya dalam memantapkan lagi persembahan mereka.

"Semuanya berjalan dengan lancar dan apa yang membuatkan saya gembira adalah komitmen yang diberikan oleh mereka semata-mata mahu menjadikan PGLM musim ini satu kejayaan.

"Apa yang saya harapkan, semua pihak akan memberikan sokongan dan pastinya, anda semua akan terhibur dan terpegun dengan perubahan yang berlaku dalam musim ini nanti. Semua demi kepuasan peminat," kata Tiara.

Article in The Star today - 10 Questions

Saturday January 24, 2009

Your 10 questions

(thanks for this, Ewe Jin!)

Having enjoyed Tasmania’s tranquillity over the past few months, actress/producer TIARA JACQUELINA is busy rehearsing for the upcoming Puteri Gunung Ledang: The Musical’s third season. She will be reprising her role as Gusti Puteri Retno Dumilah. She finds time to answer readers’ questions despite her busy schedule.

1 You were spotted at the Mamma Mia! musical performance during its Kuala Lumpur run. How did you enjoy the show? – Angeline Lim, Kelana Jaya

I watched an Australian production of Mamma Mia a few years ago in Melbourne, so this was my second time. It’s really good of The Star and SP Setia to bring in world-class productions like this to keep firing up Malaysians’ interest in theatre. Mamma Mia is a simple enough story to follow, and light and enjoyable especially for theatre newbies. I was up on my feet dancing away at the curtain call.

2 What’s the latest on Puteri Gunung Ledang: The Musical which is about to make its new run this February?Adeline Quah, Kuala Lumpur

There are many new things – different staging of some of the scenes and additional sets throughout the show to make it more ornate. The music is more dynamic now with added Malay elements. Roslan Aziz’s best work to date, I feel. We will also be using a lot more 3D in our video projections. History, legend and folklore in high tech!

As for costumes, we have some brand new costumes especially for the Kraton dance. Royal Terengganu Songket has given us some gorgeous songket that will surely add a glamorous Malay touch to the show. Lighting design is different too. The biggest new element will be the illusions and special effects. We are working with an illusionist and will be using special effects to show Bayan, Adipati, Putri and Sultan’s mystical powers!

3 Are you all set to reprise your role as Gusti Puteri Retno Dumilah?Jeffrey Cheah, Penang

Well, I’m working harder than I ever did. I brought back the Javanese dance teacher who trained me in 2003 for the film version of PGL to re-drill the moves. I have a vocal coach to help make my singing far stronger than it ever was. Director Zahim Albakri is getting us to delve much deeper into our roles and fully explore the potential of each scene. This will be the best version of Puteri Gunung Ledang.

I told myself that if this is my last season as Puteri, I have taken the character to the fullest and explored every possible way of making her come to life on stage.

4 After your husband (Datuk Seri Mohd Effendi Norwawi) left politics, we understand you headed to Tasmania where he went back to school. Share with us what it is like to “reclaim” your husband from public life.Danial Abdullah, Puchong

Tasmania was a much-needed “R&R” for both of us, to slow down and walk instead of run, to stop to smell the roses we’ve been zooming past all our lives! For Effendi, it was about returning to his university days – a time when life was simple and uncomplicated. I loved the peace and the freedom, and it was so liberating knowing that we didn’t have to live by anyone’s ideals or ideas of life but our own.

We were clad in jeans and hiking boots every day. Nobody gave two hoots about Dolce & Gabanna or what the latest bag of the season was.

Luxury for us was eating fresh Pacific oysters and the freshest sashimi ever. Our days were filled with chasing the best photos every sunrise and sunset, photographing every tree, flower, bird, building and lake we possibly could.

You sum that up for yourself!

5 What do you see as the future of arts and culture in this country?Richard Ng, Ampang

I think that as much as we have seen the number of theatre goers jump by leaps and bounds over the last three to four years, we can still do much better to build a pool of future audiences. Something has to be done to encourage and expose children to plays, classical dance and recitals.

This needs to happen at home as well as in school. Teachers should incorporate creative thinking into the school syllabus. I shudder at the thought of the next generation of children who score 17 or 18 A1s but lack personality or opinions. That would be a tragedy.

6 What do you see the role of Corporate Malaysia in supporting arts and culture as part of corporate social responsibility?SP Khaw, Seremban

It costs much more than an arm and a leg to put up a production like PGL or P. Ramlee. We’re talking about millions of ringgit. It’s still pittance compared to shows like Wicked or Lord Of the Rings that cost £15mil or so to produce.

We are limited by the audience size and short runs due to space availability. As a result, it’s hard to recover even a quarter of our investment even with a full house every single night! Corporate support definitely helps ease the financial burden.

7 Your PGL did quite well in Singapore. Do you think one day we can see a truly Malaysian production the likes of Mamma Mia, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, etc? Josephine Tan, Singapore

Performing at the prestigious Esplanade certainly was a huge morale booster. The show was sold out a month before we opened. The lines for the autograph sessions were so long they stretched all the way to the main road. Still, the Singaporeans waited patiently to meet us. That was beautiful.

Still, nothing takes the cake quite like when you meet fellow Malaysians from Penang, KL and Johor, who approached us after the show with tears in their eyes, saying they are proud to be Malaysians. That alone makes it worth the blood, sweat and tears!

8 What or who influenced you to stage Puteri Gunung Ledang?Kalam Kasturi, Muar

I was in London and New York a few years ago and I watched all the plays that were on – Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Wicked, Lady in White, Lion King, and something in me longed to produce a Malaysian show that aimed to be on par with those shows.

Puteri Gunung Ledang brought 300,000 people to the cinema, many of whom never watched anything local before. Theatre, however, was a much bigger challenge as it had always been very poorly patronised all these years. We were diving into uncharted waters but have been really lucky that people believed in our brand promise.

9 What has troubled you most as an actress?Bulbir Singh, Seremban

The perception that we are all “blonde”. Basically you do as the director says. I don’t like not being in control of or having a say in the quality of my work. That’s why I decided I would produce my own stuff, so I’m always in the driver’s seat and calling every shot.

10 Share with us the secret of your success, your favourite quotation, movie and song.Chee Wen Li, Petaling Jaya

I’m practical. I have my feet firmly on the ground no matter how far I go. I’m ambitious and I don’t give up easily, and I’m a team player. I always remember to say thank you and I have never snubbed anyone on my way up, because I keep reminding myself that these are the same people I will see on my way down.

My current favourite song is “Home” by Daughtry; Current favourite movie is either “Get Smart” or “Step Brothers”. Nothing complicated. And my favourite quote: “Dance like nobody’s watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, sing like nobody’s listening, and live as though heaven is on earth.”

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

"Farewell to the Princess" article in today's NST

Climb every mountain

Stephen and Tiara in their lead roles in Puteri Gunung Ledang: The Musical.
Stephen and Tiara in their lead roles in Puteri Gunung Ledang: The Musical.

The executive producer and leading star of the highly successful theatre musical Puteri Gunung Ledang discloses to FARIDUL ANWAR FARINORDIN the exciting changes planned for the show’s third season, and her impending adieu to her famed role.

The cast and crew of PGL season 3.
The cast and crew of PGL season 3.

DATIN Seri Tiara Jacquelina was teary-eyed when she announced that the upcoming third season of Puteri Gunung Ledang the Musical (PGL) will see her playing the legendary puteri (princess), for the last time.

After six years of pouring blood, sweat and tears into the mystical character (also known as the Javanese princess Gusti Putri Retno Dumilah), saying goodbye to PGL (Enfiniti Production’s theatrical debut) doesn’t come easy.

Tiara, the show’s executive producer, has seen her “baby” become Malaysia’s favourite stage musical.

“Gusti Putri has been a big part of my life for the past six years,” she said at her home in Kuala Lumpur recently.
“Saying goodbye to her is like saying goodbye to my best friend.

“I know her very well and love her so much – I even know her scent!”

She described PGL’s achievements, locally and abroad and both as film effort and a theatre musical (it won eight awards at the 5th Annual Boh Cameronian Arts Awards in 2007), as “something my team and I had never dreamed of”.

“I have had a full adventure. I have taken it as far as I can and I hope it has contributed to the theatre industry,” she said.

PGL the Musical certainly has. Since its premiere in February 2006, it is has re-ignited our passion for local theatre.

It is a production that pushes all the right buttons. The aggressive public relations machinery, sponsorship and brilliant marketing strategy helped to a greater extent, but the bottom line is that PGL showed how it’s supposed to be done.

Directed by Zahim Al-Bakri and Adlin Aman Ramlie, the show is based on the critically acclaimed 2004 film directed by Saw Teong Hin, also starring Tiara.

The tragic love story left the audience awed, amazed and emotionally charged. Crowning the tight ensemble performance were Raja Malek’s set design, Pat Ibrahim’s choreography and Singapore composer Dick Lee’s music; simply bewitching.

The first season was extended due to popular demand and it was not a surprise when the second run opened in August that same year. Later in November, it met audiences at Singapore’s Esplanade Theatre in sold-out performances.

Back home, PGL’s successful runs left theatre-goers hungry for more.

But PGL did not only create a new generation of theatre lovers. It also raised the bar where local productions are concerned.

When Enfinity’s second theatrical production opened in 2007 and was restaged in 2008, it was clear that Malaysians had developed a discerning taste for Malaysian musicals.

One thing, however, is certain – not all formula-styled musicals work.

Following the success of PGL, many theatre companies attempted the formula with tales of love, loss, forgiveness, hope and courage.

Some were based on the life and times of political figures (Ibu Zain, Cheng Lock, Tunku and Putra, while others were inspiring stories of fame and friendship (M! The Opera and Broken Bridges). There was even a story about a singing frog (Frogway!).

A few were hurriedly put together to meet the growing demand from the new theatre lovers, and as a result, there were more misses than hits.

The recent Impak Maksima the Musical, probably inspired by PGL’s movie-to-stage formula, was a theatrical nightmare.

The audience, now aware that we are capable of producing musicals which are at par with the imported shows (Mamma Mia!, Beauty and the Beast, Cats, Saturday Night Fever and Fame), do not expect anything less. And they surely won’t forgive leading roles who can’t carry a tune.

Now, PGL has taken a life on its own. There will be more stagings, no doubt, just as how other good musicals are continuously revived and restaged for decades.

But Tiara doesn’t see herself playing the role again.

“I hope that PGL will live on. The story is so compelling and beautiful. There will be new blood in the show and I will continue to be its producer,” she said.

At the moment, Ida Mariana who plays the servant Bayan in the musical, is her understudy.

Ida, a wonderful performer with an angel’s voice, leans towards jazz and Broadway. She would fit wonderfully into the princess’ shoes.

“I don’t know what will happen, really. Ida doesn’t seem so keen,” she said. Seated next to her, Ida simply smiled.

Perhaps Tiara could have a nationwide search for Puteri in a reality TV show, something that Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber did when he was looking for the actress to play Maria for the revival production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music (the TV show was called How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?)

“That’s a good idea,” Tiara said, her eyes widening.

After all, in theatre productions abroad, it is a standard practice for a character to be played by different actors.

“In Miss Saigon, Lea Salonga is synonymous with her role as the wronged lover Kim. But it’s the story and the songs that drive a musical, not the star,” she said.

Tiara also said that she wants to move on to other things.

“I want to climb new mountains. I feel I have so much more to learn and to give back to the industry. In order for me to grow, I need new challenges,” she said.

Among other things, Tiara wants to go back to producing and acting in films, perhaps even open a performing arts school.

“It’s still premature, but yes, that is one of the things that I want to do. That’s why my company started the StarMaker boot camp.

“Steve (Stephen Rahman-Hughes, who plays Hang Tuah in the musical) and I have been talking about it, asking ourselves what we want to pass on to the next generation of actors? What would we like to see in our industry?”

She hopes to see a generation of actors who are multi-talented in the many aspects of the performing arts.

“In order to see the industry grow, we have to do something about it. We can’t just sit and whine about not having enough of this and that.

The market is ready, but we must provide the content, consistently.”

While the first PGL was being put together, Tiara and her production team went on a series of study tours to watch theatre productions abroad, from Les Miserables to The Lion King.

For the show’s third season from Feb 6 to Feb 21, her team once again went abroad to look for new inspiration in order to keep the show fresh and exciting. They came back with something good.

“The third season will have elements of magic, illusions and special effects, something that we picked up from watching shows like Wicked (there’s a scene with a flying witch) and The Lord of the Rings: the Musical (think Gollum climbing the wall),” said Tiara.

Almost the entire choreography has also been changed.

“The puteri’s solo dance at the palace is entirely new,” she said, adding that the third season will be more refined in its execution.

“It’s going to be an emotional run for me. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like on the final night,” she said.

* Puteri Gunung Ledang: The Musical season three will be staged at Istana Budaya from Feb 6 to Feb 21. Tickets are priced at RM353, RM253, RM233, RM203, RM183, RM153, RM123, RM83, RM33 and are available at Call 03-7711-5000.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

PGLM's "Buka Panggung" ceremony at Istana Budaya

(taken from Noelbynature's blog):

Buka Panggung, or the Opening of the Stage, is a small ritual held at the start of Malay traditional performing arts such as wayang kulit, mak yong and gamelan to call on God (or gods or spirits) to bless the instruments and the performance.


Although it is traditionally more ritualistic in nature, this practice is still observed by the Arts fraternity in Malaysia. We at Enfiniti observe this too, as part of our "bumping-in" schedule when we move into a theatre or artistic space, even before we begin our first day of rehearsals in our studio. It's usually when the whole team comes together in one heart and spirit, and asks the Almighty for His blessings upon this part of the journey.

We had an Ustad lead the prayer for us at Istana Budaya, on the very stage we will be performing upon. What was beautiful to observe was how everyone came together, people of different faiths - Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, all in the name of Art, to ask for blessings and pray for one goal, the success of Puteri Gunung Ledang season 3.

After the prayer, Zahim and I would usually welcome everyone to the performing space, and by this time everyone would realize that this was the point of no return now, that we can only move onwards and upwards from here. The 6th of Feb is just round the bend, and everyone needs to be even more focused than ever now, no time to waste.

Steve then led everyone in another theatre ritual, where everyone formed a big circle and held hands - the left hand receives energy from the person next to you, and the right hand gives to the other person next to you. It's a great way to keep the team spirit alive and have everyone remember our ONE PURPOSE.

Well, as i said, there's no turning back for us now and onwards it is!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Putting the Majapahit spirit back into PGLM (a.k.a Majapahit Akan Kembali!)...

This season, we're delving in deeper in all aspects, including the dance sequences. I had the fortune to have been personally trained by Ibu Theresia Kurniati or more affectionately known as Mbak Kur to all of us in PGLM. Mbak Kur works at the Mangkunagaran Palace in Solo, Central Java, the palace where most of the research for PGL the Movie was done. She drilled the Javanese moves into me very patiently and painstakingly for several months, and after 5 years, I felt it had slowly slipped away and got diluted somehow. This season, we got her back to re-train EVERYONE from lead actors to ensemble.

The Puteri dance in the Kraton for Sultan of Melaka is completely different, so is the Puteri-Bayan Tinta Dewa number, and for that matter Pat Ibrahim almost completely changed everything in the show. I wanted to revisit the traditional Javanese moves and combine that with Pat's contemporary interpretation. Legs are SORE from holding them in "second position" the whole time, my back is stiff too, but it'll look good on the show so, no pain no gain!

Rehearsing PGLM with AC, Adlin and Ida

When the pair of AC and Adlin come together, we say' "that's the day's rehearsals out the window lah, now that Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee are in da house!" They're a real riot, they are. Imagine poor Zahim trying to keep the rehearsal on track and everyone trying to suppress giggles and snorts in between lines. Sigh. Don't know how Ida manages to keep such a straight face.

We're working on going way deeper beneath the surface of every scene this season, so everyone is approaching the script like a new piece of work, without the muscle memory attached to the way we played everything in the past seasons. Steve came back to KL bringing a bag full of books based on some of the acting techniques he picked up over the last two years, mostly base on Sanford Meisner's teachings. It's mainly to do with acting from a "truthful" place, which helps the scenes stay "alive" everytime - focusing out on your partner rather than on yourself. We had tried these new techniques out on the Nov 08 Starmaker Bootcamp students, and it really helped bring each scene to a totally different height which makes it so fresh and exciting for us especially after having done this 50 times already in the past! It's almost like doing a totally different show.

I'm particularly excited about my "curse" scene with Adlin as the Sultan. It's so different now, much more dynamic than before, and the effect is qute different too. Same dialogue, totally different approach, WICKEDDDD outcome!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Tiara says goodbye to Puteri Gunung Ledang after season 3

It’s one of the biggest days in my life today. Playing Gusti Putri Raden Ajeng Retno Dumilah has been such a big part of who I am for the last 5-6 years. It’s like having to say goodbye to your best friend.

I feel its time for me to consider that this could be my last performance as Puteri.

I’ve achieved more than any artiste can ever dream of in theatre, film, TV, had the fortune of working with the best talents in our industry. I think we managed to create some new benchmarks, we added to the growth of theatre-goers, and contributed to the acceptance and recognition of Malaysian films locally as well as abroad.

We’ve had the honor and prestige of taking our play to the Esplanade and having performed to a full house every night. We took our film to Venice, got considered for an Academy award, taken PGL all over the world…

I would say that I’ve had a full adventure on my journey with PGL, and having played PGL. Taken it as far as I could, won more awards than I could ever dream of winning, and achieving far more than any artiste can ever hope to achieve.

I’m looking forward to moving on to other dreams next, to climb and conquer new mountains. I feel I have so much more to give, so much more to learn, but in order to continue to grow, I need to move on to other things, try new challenges.

I’ve been very blessed, i have had the support of everyone from the Government, the Ministry, the Malaysian public, my friends from the mass media, my fans, and above all my family, that has got me to where I am today as Puteri.

Our third season of PGL the Musical will mark the end of a great adventure for me, the end of something I had dreamed of all my life. But all through that wonderful adventure, I can only look back and say, I have had the best time of my life.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

An almost brand-new PGLM for season 3!

Questions and answers for MHI / Breakfast show:

Question 1: 60,000 people have watched the PGL The Musical, so why should they come see it again?

If you have watched and enjoyed it before, you will enjoy it even more this time. Every member of our team is committed to do better than they did before.

“Regulars” and repeat audiences of PGL - the musical will notice:
* Additional sets throughout the show
* The completely new lighting design throughout the show, which will bring a completely different energy to each scene,
* Some fresh new music, as well as new musical arrangements.
* Some new costumes
* More use of 3D in the Video Projections
* Tighter, deeper performances, which should pack in more of an emotional punch,

But the most significant change to the show will be a completely new element we are really excited to explore which is the use of illusions and special effects.

During our study tours of musicals over the past few months, Zahim, Malek and I noticed that the new musicals were using a more high-tech approach, which seemed to gel very well with new and seasoned theatre audiences. Lord Of The Rings, Zorro, Tarzan, and my favorite, Wicked, featured a lot of 3D and special effects, designed by illusionists. It represented an evolution of tradition-meets-modern-world, where audiences were looking beyond just the songs and dances to expect something a bit more spectacular and dynamic.

I think the show will move much more smoothly now and sparkle with a fresh, new attitude and energy.

Question 2:
What about the others who have not watched the show, never been to the theatre? What would u like to tell them?

I would say there are half a million other potential theatre-goers in the klang valley alone who haven't been to the theatre! For a lot of them, the theatre going culture is not a natural normal culture for them unlike watching TV, going to the cinema and even watching a concert. We hope to introduce theatre as a beautiful new EXPERIENCE.

These people have not yet experienced the magic of being transported into a magical world of music, beautiful lyrics and dialogue, mesmerizing sets, breathtaking choreography, an where your emotions are heightened because you are a part of what’s going on, on stage in front of your very eyes…

Everything is live, interactive, its perfection-100 ppl have to hit the perfect moment at the same time. 120minutes of precision and perfection! There is absolutely NO room for error.

Q : what was Enfiniti’s main mission when you first designed and planned for PGLM in 2006?

We made it our mission, and designed PGLM to be the best first experience in the theatre so that they will go to the theatre again and again. Its live, interactive, its perfection-100 ppl have to hit the perfect moment at the same time. 120minutes of precision and perfection!

Ppl who watch PGL have said that its as good as and even sometimes better than international shows. I'm sure every Malaysian wd be proud to see Malaysia produce world class productions. This is what the industry has been striving to achieve over the years.

The mission of our team is to contribute to this effort, and with the pool of talent and many quality productions we have seen over the past three years, I feel we are coming closer and closer to reaching this target.

Q : PGL made Malaysia proud being the first Malaysian musical to be performed at the prestigious Esplanade Theatre. What would you describe as one of your most unforgettable experiences performing for your first international audience?

The biggest recognition for PGL is that we were invited to perform at the Esplanade, which is so particular about the quality of productions they bring in. Feels so good to hear so many Malaysians in Singapore, saying how proud they are to be Malaysian tonight.

Q : Final message to the audience:

Personally, I’d say that Malaysian audiences who come to watch the show this February will see many things they haven’t seen before in past seasons of Puteri Gunung Ledang The Musical.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Tiara J is back with da troops!

Happy new year!!!!!

I had a short but really enjoyable break over Christmas and the new year, to make up for the past (and upcoming) absences due to PGLM rehearsals. All's cooool on the domestic front now, and now the Puteri is back, with a vengeance!

We're getting a few friends from the press come over to Ten On Ten Studio tomorrow so we can share with them the exciting changes we are incorporating in PGLM this season, but I'm dying to share at least half of that with everyone on my blog, so you'll get to read HALF of the press release statement - well, at least you'll get the original Tiara-style long-winded story version, because the press obviously won't be printing it out in whole (or the piece wold end up 2 pages long, not that we mind!). So here's HALF. Stay posted, hopefully by tomorrow i will have time to upload the second half with the juicy surprise!

"I’ve been asked during every interview about what audiences can expect from watching Puteri Gunung Ledang in its third season in Kuala Lumpur. It’s not been easy trying to balance wanting to keep things as a surprise, whilst at the same time feeling like I want to burst from excitement to be able to share with everyone why I think this season will definitely be a very good time to see “PGL the Musical”.
Ever since we started entertaining the idea of bringing the show back, I had several sessions of post-mortems and brainstorm sessions with Zahim, Adlin, Malek and Pat Ibrahim about how we could do the show better if we got to do it again. This was after we had done two seasons of P.Ramlee in KL and one very successful season in Singapore, and we knew that if we were to bring PGLM back, we were up against ourselves, we had to surpass our previous best, or there would be no sense in doing the show again.
We agreed to all meet again after taking a break, when “P.Ramlee” ended in June last year. Malek and Zahim went to London and watched a few of the latest new shows at the West End. I watched a few shows in Melbourne and Tasmania. From thousands of miles away, we were emailing and sms-ing each other, full of excitement from the shows we had watched, and dying to share the brilliant ideas that inspired us for the new season of PGLM. It was really enriching for us to see what the new shows were doing and how that could help us achieve a “more magical, more spectacular, more breathtaking” show in February.
We are working on subtle, nurturing changes, spruced-up production values and various other nips and tucks in the script, the choreography and staging, and deeper, more emotionally charged performances all-round."

.......and the rest will follow hopefully tomorrow!

G'night all, and pleasant dreams, have a fabulous, fabulous year!