Cabaret magic returns to Singapore with Rose Chan, Sakura Teng and more

Singapore’s most iconic cabaret personalities from the ‘60s and ‘70s will take centre stage in a brand new theatre production come February

Rose Chan (Seong Hui Xuan), Katrina Dahari (Aisyah Aziz) and Sakura Teng (Joanna Dong)

Known for her python acts and death-defying motorcycle acrobatic stunts, many have endeavoured to feature the life of Rose Chan, one of Singapore and Malaysia’s most iconic sex symbols and stripper in the ‘60s and ‘70s, on the big screen, but these ambitions have, unfortunately, failed to take off.

Come February 2015, we will be given a visage of the top cabaret performer’s glory days in an upcoming ritzy-glitzy musical production called the ‘Great World Cabaret,’ which will showcase three popular acts from the golden era of cabaret – Rose Chan (Seong Hui Xuan), popular Malay folk singer, Katrina Dahari (Aisyah Aziz) and a-go-go and yodeling queen, Sakura Teng (Joanna Dong).

But before you get your head stuck in the gutter with illusions of full-monty acts, python performances and what-not, the Great World Cabaret is set to be a “family-friendly” programme.

That said, Rose will be still doing a bit of a strip-tease too, since that’s what she’s most famous for – but with a different and safe-for-kids twist, promised George Chan, who will be directing this musical created by local comedienne and Dream Academy’s Selena Tan.

L-R: Matthew Twist, George Chan, Judee Tan, Seong Hui Xuan, Joanna Dong and Aisyah Aziz

A throwback to the roaring era of nightclubs and amusement parks such as Gay World, Great World and New World, the musical will not solely compose of song and dance too, says George.

It will feature international acrobatic acts from China, Germany and Brazil and local stand-up comedians, Mark Lee, Sebastian Tan, Hossan Leong and Judee Tan, who will each take turns to perform on a weekly basis. The main gist of the show, however, will be on the fictitious world featuring three “Flaming Flowers” (Rose, Katrina and Sakura).

Singer-actress Joanna, most famous for her participation in local hit musical 'If There's Seasons...', shared that she’d have big shoes to fill because Sakura, who is known for her yodeling is “still around” and, coincidentally, due to perform at Resorts World Sentosa in January.

“Learning to sound like Sakura will be my biggest challenge,” said Joanna, while fellow “flower” sister Hui Xuan has a different problem of her own to tackle - learning the act of striptease and making it “sleek, sexy and family-friendly at the same time.”

The young lass who has done other productions like Dream Academy’s Company and Pangdemonium’s Rabbit Hole, says she will attempt to be as “Rose Chan-sexy as possible.”

Seong Hui Xuan as the famed Rose Chan

She shared in her interview with xinmsn that her interpretation of the famed burlesque performer will be based on her imagination from everything she has read and seen about Rose, from fan accounts, photos to a recently published autobiography on the latter.

“I have read accounts of people who talk about their uncles or dads would sneak out at night to watch her and the child would have to keep it a secret from their wives. And I find that seedy part of Singapore really interesting to reenact on stage,” she quipped.

“[I’m] incredibly honoured in every way [to play Rose]. I think she was a remarkable woman and very enterprising as well with the way she managed to support herself and the things she thought of to do. She travelled the world with her act. And I have great admiration for strong women like that. And she managed to elevate herself to be the sex symbol of Malaya and that’s no mean feat.”

Catch Great World Cabaret when it premieres Feb 19 at Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa. Great World Cabaret is written jointly by Alfian Sa’at and Benjamin ‘Miyagi’ Lee. It is rated ‘Advisory for 13 and above.’

Ticketing details:
Date: Feb 19 to Mar 17 (Monday to Sunday, except Wednesday)
Location: Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa
Tickets: $48, $68, $88, $108, $128 (excluding booking fee)

Tickets are available at all SISTIC outlets and Resorts World Sentosa. From Dec 2 to 15, all HSBC credit or debit cardholders will enjoy priority ticket sales, 20% off ticket prices and complimentary seat upgrade for purchase of Cat 2 or two tickets, subject to availability. HSBC Premier MasterCard and Visa Infinite cardholders will continue to enjoy 20% off ticket prices till Mar 17.

In celebration of Singapore’s 50th birthday, pioneer citizens will receive 50% off their own ticket purchase when they flash their Pioneer Generation card.

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