Photos: Melanie Ho
Videos: Tay Yixuan and Tan Shi Qi
The cat is finally out of the bag. Former MediaCorp artiste Sharon Au will star alongside Adrian Pang, who will be playing the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, in The LKY Musical. The role she plays is none other than Mrs Lee Kuan Yew (Mdm Kwa Geok Choo).
During an interview with Toggle, Sharon let on that she was sent the demo version of Mrs Lee’s solo song to audition with. The 40-year-old described the tryouts to be “nerve-wrecking” and added that she feels really lucky to play such an honourable role, especially when she considered herself to have done “very badly” at the audition.
Sharon even self-deprecatingly said that she only landed the role because the other female local songbirds and A-listers (she listed Kit Chan, Stefanie Sun, Olivia Ong, Zoe Tay and Fann Wong) were all too busy with their own activities.
When asked if she has any plans to return to television, the award-winning host replied: “I never wanted this to be a comeback performance. It is simply a dedication in memory of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.”
In addition, Sharon shared that it has been difficult, yet interesting to research on Mrs Lee as she had always been a very private person. Sharon also named Mrs Lee as the “perfect Asian wife and woman” who is “always walking two steps behind her husband” and playing second fiddle even though she was an outstanding and intelligent woman of her time.
“This is something I need to learn as a modern woman today,” she admitted.
The pressure to perform is even greater on veteran actor Adrian, who termed the opportunity a “terrifying prospect”. However, the 49-year-old mentioned that he is not one to shy away from challenges.
Adrian, whose participation and role in this musical was made known in early March, spoke about the public scrutiny he has faced since then. “People will have their own opinions and feelings… I can’t do anything to shake off the baggage,” he said.
The Malaysian-born Singapore actor promises a “moving and entertaining” show that will highlight the sweetest moments in the love story of Mr and Mrs Lee.
In addition to basing the musical on the late Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew's real-life romance, Adrian and Sharon have great chemistry together and “go a long way back”, having once performed together at the National Day Parade and co-starred in Jack Neo’s romantic comedy I Do I Do in 2005.
Speaking on their past collaborations, Adrian’s eyes widened as he exclaimed, “I’ve kissed you, Sharon!”
“24 takes, I recall! At 4 am in the morning!” Sharon laughed in reply, while joking that they would have to “tone down the passion” for this project.
The mega multi-million dollar project has been in the making for close to three years and features an international team of artists: music by iconic composer Dick Lee, lyrics by award-winning lyricist Stephen Clark, story by renowned Singaporean writer Meira Chand, script by A Twist of Fate's Tony Petito and directed by London director Steven Dexter.
Local artiste Sebastian Tan will take on the role of Koh Teong Koo, a rickshaw puller who saved Mr Lee’s life during World War II. The musical will also introduce newcomer Benjamin Chow, who is set to play the late opposition politician Lim Chin Siong. The full cast is said to consist of about 20 to 30 people.
Presented by Metropolitan Productions, the musical opens on July 24 at MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands, with preview shows starting July 21. Tickets now available at all SISTIC outlets.
The LKY Musical
Dates: Jul 21 (Tue) to Aug 2 (Sun)
Tue – Fri: 7.30 pm
Sat: 3 pm & 7.30 pm
Sun: 1.30 pm & 6 pm
Venue: Sands Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands
For ticketing details, please visit www.sistic.com.sg/events/lky0815.