Running for its fifth consecutive year now, the Dream Academy production ‘Crazy Christmas’ is back this month with a wacky new ‘Silver Bells meets Silver Screen’ theme, inspired by timeless cinema icons from the classic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) era in the ‘50s.
The hilarious comedy skit includes large song-and-dance numbers, and is littered with a very Crazy Christmas-brand of Singaporean humour. The production will feature familiar faces like Selena Tan, George Chan, Hossan Leong, Judee Tan, Kumar and Adrian Pang who is starring in his first ‘Crazy Christmas’ ever.
Singapore’s very own Dim Sum Dolly, Selena Tan, could not be more excited to be directing the show again, and has been looking forward to it all year. She admits that creating the ‘50s theme this year came easier than expected, and preparations had already begun since last year: “When we did the photoshoot for last year’s show, we were looking at Kumar’s photo – he was dressed in this Santarina outfit, while the rest of us were dressed like other MGM stars. Then I just suddenly thought to myself, ‘Kumar’s bone structure is very Audrey Hepburn leh! Wait, then who is Hossan Leong going to play? Charlie Chaplin lor!’ That’s how we stuck to the MGM theme.”
On keeping things fresh, it seems that Selena and her talented team are always brimming with new ideas each year. “You would think one would run out of Christmas ideas by the fifth year, but no,” she says. “There’s a real wealth of everything. Not only do we try to do all the Christmas standards, but we’ve always unearthed Christmas songs that nobody’s heard of. This year, we’re doing a sexy, ‘Mr. Sandman’-take with some of the girls from our earlier production ‘Company’ – which keeps things young and fresh. It’s a very loose theme – it’s not like we’re locked to anything. I mean, next year we could do a Shanghai Tang Christmas, or a Bollywood Christmas, or Disco Christmas. Even though we’ve called it ‘Silver Bells meets Silver Screen’, there are moments where we are not very 'Silver Screen' actors at all – we’re just plain ol’ Selena, plain ol’ Judee or plain ol’ Adrian.”
Co-director George Chan, who most recently choreographed Dream Academy's musical production ‘Company’, is especially excited to be back on stage again because of his huge adoration for actors like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. “They were the ones who inspired me to pick up dancing in the first place,” he says. “My dad and I used to watch the MGM classics on TV together, and my dad would be singing and dancing and prancing around the house. So I’ve always looked at Gene Kelly and thought, ‘Wow, he looks so cool!’ in a time where dancing was not that cool and you’d never want to choose it as your career.”
“So even much later on when I go into dance or choreographing other productions, I never fail to go back to Gene Kelly for inspiration. Even if I go back to ‘An American in Paris’ or ‘Singing in the Rain’, I still get so inspired. So a big part of my choreography is influenced by his style which is humour, drama, space and story-telling – those are the things I live by in my choreography. So when we decided to do a MGM theme this time, I immediately jumped on it and said ‘I would love to do a Gene Kelly number!’”
George will be anchoring the production’s ‘Singing in the Rain’ act as Gene Kelly, while Selena will be portraying Marilyn Monroe. Kumar inevitably got assigned the role of a very “naughty” Audrey Hepburn, while Hossan Leong plays a very “noisy” Charlie Chaplin. It's going to be a night of uncanny and silly ironies, with riveting dance numbers supported by the 'Merry Miss-el'toes' and choreographed for the first time by Andy Cai, who has also always been a fan of classic Hollywood cinema.
Crazy Christmas runs from 28 Nov to 9 Dec at the Esplanade Theatre. Catch the family friendly version with Hossan Leong from 28 Nov–2 December, or the naughty R18 version with Kumar from 4–9 December! Tickets on Sistic at $117, $97, $77, $57, $37, $17.