Art and Performing Arts Review

Barbie comes to life in world premiere of new musical in Singapore

By Anjali RaguramanEvents - 10 September 2013 12:33 PM | Updated 10:39 AM

Barbie comes to life in world premiere of new musical in Singapore

There is not much difference working with Beyonce and Barbie.

So says Director and choreographer Kobi Rozenfeld, who is helming the musical ‘Barbie Live!’, which will have its world premiere in Singapore tonight at Marina Bay Sands.

Rozenfeld, who has worked with pop star Beyonce on her ‘I Am’ world tour, said: “They’re both big icons. The only difference is Barbie has been around for a few more years – 54. It’s kind of before Beyonce was born,” he quipped.

Arguably the most recognisable doll in the world, Barbie comes to life on stage in this musical, which will travel to other regions in Asia, Australia, Europe and the US after Singapore.

Running from 10 to 14 September at the theatre in the resort, the feel-good musical promises an all-singing, all-dancing spectacle for all ages.

Expect pink, sparkly curtains to more than 260 costumes and countless other wigs, accessories and shoes.

Set on a Hollywood sound stage, the show follows Barbie and her best friend and co-star Teresa on the set of a new movie. While Teresa struggles with her self-confidence and acting abilities, Barbie helps her along, teaching her to be confident, and to embrace the power of friendship. The cast of 19 singers and dancers includes Ken, and mean girl Raquelle, who thwarts Barbie’s chances.

IMPORTANCE OF FRIENDSHIP

Rozenfeld said the show has a great message for children: “It’s about how you can overcome your fears and how you can do everything you want to do when you have good friends around you.”

Assistant director and choreographer Kelly Allen added that it also teaches about “being brave, being confident and being yourself".

"It’s so important for children growing up to learn that friendship is the most important thing,” she said.

Featuring new songs by music director Robbie Roth, as well as familiar ones from popular Mattel DVD series ‘Swan Lake’, ‘Princess and the Popstar’ and ‘Mariposa & Fairy Princess’, Allen is confident that children in the audience will be familiar with the songs. “It’s exciting for the kids too, because they know a lot of lyrics to a lot of the songs. They watch these DVDs over and over again,” she added.

Barbie Live! will feature familiar songs from Barbie's popular DVD series, such as this number from 'Swan Lake'

BARBIE'S INFLUENCE

While Barbie has obtained everything from an MBA to a pilot’s licence, and become everything from an athlete to a rock star, it’s no easy feat taking over the role of the most-loved doll in the world.

Landing the coveted role of Barbie is Chelsea Bernier, who was born and raised in Las Vegas. “I always wanted to tour the world and perform as much as possible, but I did not know that I would be playing Barbie,” she admitted.

Kristina Miller (L) as Barbie's best friend Teresa and Chelsea Bernier (R) as Barbie

But having grown up playing with Barbie dolls, she knows what the doll means to other little girls. She said, “I love that she was multi-generational and I could share stories about playing with her with my grandmother and my mother. She was definitely a big part of my childhood.”

While her favourite Barbie doll is Camping Barbie, she hopes to find an outfit in Barbie’s trademark pink in time for the premiere tonight. “Our rehearsal process has been pretty intense. We want to make sure that we bring the best performance to life. We’re so excited, we’re ready,” she said.

Barbie Live! | Date: 10-14 September 2013  | Time: 2.45pm, 6.45pm (Tue, Wed, Fri); 11am, 2.45pm, 6.45pm (Thu and Sat) | Venue: MasterCard Theatres | Address: Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue | Tickets: $35 to $125 from Sistic