Monday, July 25, 2016

Broadway Beng: True Blue Singaporean

 I messaged a friend to find out if she had seen the show and whether she could do a posting since evergreens were sung in the show. The next day I received the following article. 

Comment From CYLin:

"What is it about Singapore stage musical, Broadway Beng that makes me such a fan -  an auntie labelled by one and all - total strangers.  Even the market vegetable seller who is definitely older than I calls me so.  It makes me cringe.  I'm monolingual and speak a passable Hokien and Cantonese. I love music and comedy and when the two are put together in a show, I'm sold.

Broadway Beng (actor Sebastian Tan) in his current 10th Anniversary Show, at the recently renovated Capitol Theatre, revealed that he's been in China and speaks Mandarin well, but he doesn't  feel he's one of them.  He's also been in the West and though he speaks the language proficiently, he's not English.  He epitomises me and all who are true blue Singaporeans - comfortable in our own skin in this country and able to poke harmless fun at one another.

As Ah Beng, he sings in Hokien which I can understand.  When it's in Mandarin, I'm lost but I enjoy the familiar melody.  In this latest show, he also sings hits from Les Miserable and The Lion King.  He has strong vocals and single-handedly carries off  the whole performance.  There are three back-up singers (images left) and a band, naturally.  Peppered with sing-a-long, ribbing... I had a most enjoyable time.  It really made my day - I attended the matinee."

Thanks Lin for your comments.

My wife and I attended the show too and came home still red-faced and laughing. We couldn't catch Mr Tan at the photographic session after the performance. Here's my take.

Laughter filled the theatre to capacity the minute Broadway Beng came on stage and with him in charge, the show screamed of music memories, comic capers, glittering lights, sexy ladies, and a versatile back-up band. 

Using local patois (English/Hokien) combined with a natural gift to tickle us funny, actor, singer and comedian Sebastian Tan created a night of hilarity at the Capitol with his joking gymnastics in familiar Ah Beng vocabulary every time he delivered. "I also come from pig farm, like Zoey Tay mah."

From the moment Tan opened the show with a Broadway song and revealed his vocal folds, it was an exciting discovery trip that only he could take us to.  He's ham-sum (no joke) and possesses this great tenor voice, comparable to the best artistes from the West; so whether it's a hint from Chicago or Grace Chang's Cha Cham Bo, Tan mixed well his concoction of comedic cabaret.

His singing was mostly accompanied by three chorus ladies and dancers called chio buus.   We enjoyed about two dozen English classics, Mandarin and Hokkien hits. And the production committed well with poised and pretty Elaine Chan, concert pianist extraordinaire (image above). She was music director leading the five piece Tok Kong Band  that provided orchestral sound. And like a professional, Ms Chan lip-synced nearly every song performed on stage.  The band was all unassumingly dark and shadowed just in front of the backdrop. But the well-known melodies played were enchantingly interpreted.

In one scene, when the three sexy chio buus came on stage with twirling, white, short skirts, Proud Mary came to mind. True enough the Tina Turner hit had everyone in stitches, clapping and singing in unison with the performers. And Tan was literally grinding the song with his hand gestures. 

Throughout the evening, Tan could belt out Chinese pops like he could Western ones. Versatility at its best. Didn't he sing a current Taiwanese TV drama theme song too?

I end with what I wrote on his Facebook, "Thank you Sebastian and the rest of the gang for a hilarious evening of Broadway classics peppered with hay bee hiam and Hokien Beng melodies. 

I think the musical can satisfy the most fastidious member in any audience. To enact Les Miserables in eight minutes as a comedy caper is stage antics at its best.  Ang Mohs better attend this evening class to learn Singapore patois.  Chin ho kwah!"

For us? We laugh, laugh, laugh, till stomach pain. Ayoh!

Selena Tan you did it again!

1) Articles above are not official reviews but personal opinions. 
2) Most of the songs performed were from the 60's and 70's, relevant to this blog.
Images and Video from: Dream Academy.
Articles: Copyrights Reserved.


FACEBOOK said...

Thanks to the following for LIKING BB PIX with Richard Toh:

Mustapha Al-Johary
Yip Dick
Joycelyn Leong
Linda Tan
Aaron Choo
Philip Chew
Audie Ng
Yen Chow
Penny Koh
Herry Jusuf
Randy Lee Keng
Martin Ong
Irene Yap
Charlie Yap Locomotion
Lam Chun See
John Cher
Belinda Poh
Tracy Ng
Tin Leong Lim
Larry Chen
Chen Hui Si
Ann Rowena Lim

IRENE YAP said...

I was shopping at Capitol n was tempted to buy a ticket but didn't, otherwise we would be watching same nite.

DR. A. K. said...

Yes, I know I will enjoy it.

chakap chakap said...

Sebastian Tan in an interview with Ng Yi-Sheng on the ONLINE CITIZEN:

It's a shame we can't fully acknowledge our dialects, our roots, our culture with its ban on traditional media in Singapore. However, with social media, I think it has helped in giving dialects a greater platform for exposure. I don't think you can ever ban dialects in Singapore, especially not when 'Broadway Beng' is around!


Thank you so much for coming!! 😀


Haha ya ang mors really should attend hor? Same same but different!!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you all for the feedback and replies, the FACEBOOK group and Mr Tan's FB reaction. Gum-siah, gum-siah.

Gua chin hua hee. (I am very happy.)

anon said...

First time I stepped into the Capitol after so many years. Beautiful revamp of the theatre as they left most of the art decor and internal designs intact.

ST and JP said...

Very good and well written review.