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…