Photo: Wild Rice
This holiday season there are not one, but three full-scale, high-budget productions coming up, showcasing super-skilled youngsters strutting their stuff.
Showing that kids can do their part for charity too, this annual production sees over a hundred youngsters aged 19 and below, using their performing talents to raise money for the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which provides much-needed cash to students from low-income families to use for school. Last year's instalment of Child Aid raised a record-breaking $2.08 million, and this year saw almost 400 kids audition for the same privilege.
Photo: ChildAid 2012
While the show usually gets a stunning share of young singers and even concert musicians, director Jeremiah Choy shares that for this year's Carnival-themed instalment; there'll be even more special surprises in store.
“There are many firsts,” Choy beamed, “We have included — amongst many items — a team of gymnasts from CHIJ Kellock performing with young singer Ariadna Padron Yassin. Also, circus arts groups from Circus Infinity and Circus Swingapore, plus a capoeira group from Republic will be performing with an orchestra.”
“The level of young local talent is rising,” Choy observed, who directs his third edition of Child Aid this year. “Each year, we get more people auditioning, with the standards surpassing the year before. I think that parents are encouraging their children to perform, and sending their young children to performance schools and programmes. Plus, I think with the popularity of talent programmes such as ‘American Idol’, ‘X-factor’, ‘The Voice’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, these young talents are spurred on to create their own opportunities. They are no longer contented to wait for someone to discover them, they are proactive, they audition. So there are noticeably more young performing talents than before. Singapore kids definitely no longer just have their heads in a book!”
ChildAid 2013: The Carnival Edition| Date & Time: 6 Dec, 8pm; 7 Dec, 2.30pm & 8pm | Venue: Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands| Address: 1 Bayfront Ave. | Tickets: $18–$38, available from marinabaysands.com/ticketing
13 the Musical!
‘13’ is one of the rare musicals on Broadway, if not the world, that features entirely teen and tween characters. Now, this youthful sensation has bounced its way to Singapore, produced by local performance school, Kids Performing Academy of the Arts, which offers courses in everything from tap dance to pop singing. With such illustrious alumni as international musical theatre sensation Julia Abueva, you know the school is serious about its aim of readying youngsters for a showbiz career.
Said the school's marketing manager Carey Ooi, “Our academy works with more than 20 production houses and their casting directors to cast our students in movies, documentaries, TV commercials and other productions to enhance their confidence and performance skills. Staging full-length musicals is another way to achieve the above.”
Support our rising young talents, plus be infected by boatloads of youthful energy, at this high octane, high-octave musical about a young boy's move to a small town and his struggle to survive the social booby traps of a new school.
13 The Musical | Date: 7 & 8 Dec | Time: 3pm & 8pm| Venue: School of the Arts Studio Theatre | Address: 1 Zubir Said Dr. | Tickets: $38–$52, available from www.ticketbooth.com.sg
Jack & The Bean Sprout
Each holiday season, Wild Rice stages a Singapore-style retelling of a classic fairytale which not only draws kids and grownups in the audience, but features everybody from toddlers to 40- and 50-somethings onstage.
This year's edition is the local version of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, called ‘Jack and the Beansprout’, where a giant taugeh burgeons from the waters of Marina Bay to carry Jack skywards to riches, first love, and, hopefully, salvation from his incorrigible mother's gambling debts.
Photo: Wild Rice
Directed by top theatre talent and Cultural Medallion winner Ivan Heng, it stars a host of stars including Galeb Goh, Karen Tan and Siti Khalijah, as well as a group of no fewer than 50 under 12-year olds, who sing, dance and play everything from NS boys to gangsters to aliens.
While some of them are fresh faces in all senses of the word, some of the kids, aged four to early teens, are familiar sights in their own right. Ian Lee is one of them, who at age eight, has clocked no fewer than five large scale productions (including ‘Jack’), numbering among them three Wild Rice pantomimes, one National Day Parade, and also one comedy revue, ‘Broadway Beng’, where he sang, danced and acted solo.
“My mother got me to try out for the W!ld Rice pantomime of 2011, ‘Aladdin’,” the bespectacled Lee explained, as eloquent and measuredly.
“I used to have bad stage fright, but after I made a lot of new friends, I thought, I like performing. And I conquered my fear. So I went on to perform in ‘Hansel and Gretel’, which was W!ld Rice's pantomime in 2012. I had to say some lines. I don't know if I did a good job but after that they asked me to be on the National Day Parade and ‘Broadway Beng’.”
It wasn't all smooth sailing. “Broadway Beng was during my exams but there were some shows that ended at midnight. I would be quite tired, but I took naps in the afternoon,” says Ian stoically.
In this holiday adventure, Lee joins a cast aged from various ethnic backgrounds, including red-headed Saskia Jessop who hails from a Caucasian family but speaks impressive enough Mandarin that audiences will get to hear. “It's been fun, though sometimes we get yelled at,” shrugged the sassy 11 year-old. “Come see the show because it's really funny, and the characters are really well-played.”
Jack & the Bean-Sprout| Date: 21 Nov–14 Dec | Time: Tue–Fri, 7.30pm; Sat & Sun, 2.30pm & 7.30pm| Venue: Drama Centre Theatre | Address: #05-01 National Library Building, 100 Victoria St. | Tickets: $40–$75, available from Sistic