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.
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”.
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 (axcess.com.my). Alternatively, call the ticket hotline at 03-7711 5000. For details, visit www.pglthemusical.com.my or enfiniti.com.my.