Where: Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC), Empire Damansara
When: March 17, 8.30pm & March 18-19, 3pm and 8.30pm
Tickets: RM58 for adults and RM50 for concessions.
Visit www.dpac.com.my or call the box office at (+603) 4065 0001, 4065 0002.
THE retro musical called The Fortunettes, is being restaged with a new crop of talents from 15 schools and colleges.
The musical won four Junior Cammies at the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards in 2015 including Best Direction for Zachary Wong.
Wong, with a degree in biotechnology from Australia, says he has always been singing, dancing and acting since the age of 5.
“When I started teaching in 2002 (after graduation), I was assigned to direct the school’s annual musical. A few years later, I had the opportunity to be involved in Tunku The Musical and Princess Wen Cheng The Musical in 2007 and 2008, respectively. (He acted in the latter performances.)
“In 2009, with some experience and some savings, I started my own production company and that’s when I produced my first musical called Prom The Musical that same year,” says Wong.
Prom The Musical, held at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, garnered Wong his first taste of the Cammies at the 8th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.
The Fortunettes is about four chorus girls who shoot to instant stardom in an unexpected performance to replace their ‘missing’ diva. With the support of talent scouters from television stations the girl band, The Fortunettes, is formed. Releasing ‘top-of-the-chart’ albums, the band dominates the entertainment scene. But their success is not destined to last. The band disbands. Twenty years later, loyal fans of The Fortunettes eagerly await the arrival of their idols at the Reunion Concert. Will they meet the original members of the band?
Wong says it was the 1960s songs which led him to the storyline. “I must say that Jersey Boys, I Have A Date With Spring and Hairspray must have inspired me along the way.”
The show offers 20 songs from the 1960s including Stupid Cupid, I Will Follow Him, and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.
The restaged show, with an additional three new songs, will see 27 young performers, says Wong. “A few of them are from my previous musicals in schools but most of them are new. They were scouted from the Berjaya TeenStar Challenge.”
Wong had organised the Berjaya interschool competition, which received overwhelming participation from more than 50 secondary schools.
This time around sees Wong juggling rehearsal schedules with everyone’s personal timetables, as the performers are from different schools, with different school calendars, as well as doing the costume designing.
But the hardest part of doing musicals, says Wong, as a director, is always to come up with a good plot.
“A good story is all it takes to win half the battle. The other half of the battle will depend on if the songs are great.”
Pic byDaniel Pang