TORUK, The Secret, Mulan, and other stage adaptations we love

From TORUK – The First Flight, to Ah Boys to Men and Mulan, there’s just something about these shows that keep us coming back for more

TORUK, The Secret, Mulan, and other stage adaptations we love
TORUK, The Secret, Mulan, and other stage adaptations we love
15 May 2018

TORUK, The Secret, Mulan, and other stage adaptations we love

We all love a good show – be it a drama or a movie, there’s just something magical about being transported to a whole new world (no, this isn’t our hidden escapist tendencies talking), if only for a while.

Sometimes, audiences aren’t the only ones who get captivated by these spectacular worlds, and even production companies get hooked on these shows, so much so that they decide to bring the characters to life by bringing them on stage, where we fall in love all over again with the story and characters.

One such example is TORUK – The First Flight, which was created based on James Cameron’s hit movie, Avatar, which opens in Singapore on May 24. Not only did it bring us back into the world of Pandora, it also told us a story that took place thousands of years before what happened in the movie, which gave us some insight on how the Na’vi lived without humans around.

Before we wax lyrical about the show, we present to you our list of stage adaptations of hit movies and dramas that we absolutely adore – and with good reason. Read on for more.

TORUK – The First Flight
TORUK – The First Flight
15 May 2018

TORUK – The First Flight

Based on: 2009 movie Avatar

Similarity: The Na’vi (those blue-toned creatures we all remember fondly trying to paint ourselves to look like, but failed spectacularly at) and Pandora as we remember it from the movie

Difference: With the stage adaptation set in a time before the humans ever stepped foot on Pandora, the only beings you’ll be seeing in this version of Pandora are the Na’vi, along with the many creatures (some friendly, others not) that inhabit the world.

What we loved: The long-limbed Na’vi are probably something we wouldn’t expect to see in real life, but with the combined magic wand that Cirque du Soleil and James Cameron had up their sleeves, we were truly able to see for ourselves what it might have been like if Pandora existed in our world.

Photos: Cirque du Soleil

The Secret
The Secret
15 May 2018

The Secret

Based on: 2007 movie Secret

Similarity: We love a good coming-of-age story, as the box office has proven again and again. While Jay Chou’s movie Secret is 11 years old (typing that made us feel ancient), his story of the two music students who time-travel with the help of a magical piano and secret music score is something that audiences today still love.

Difference: All. Those. Jay. Chou. Songs! From ‘Rooftop’, ‘Simple Love’, ‘Fine Day’ to ‘Nocturnes’, we couldn’t help but to sing along to Jay’s creations that were included in this musical.

What we loved: The fresh-faced cast blew our socks off when the musical played in Singapore earlier this year, and their A+ showmanship and skills not only helped us remember the good ol’ movie that we love, but also took us on a walk down memory lane with all the Jay Chou tunes (all 25 of them) that were included in the musical.

Photo: Base Entertainment Asia, Perfect World Pictures

Ah Boys to Men The Musical
Ah Boys to Men The Musical
15 May 2018

Ah Boys to Men The Musical

Based on: 2012 movie Ah Boys to Men

Similarity: When you think of the movie, it’s inevitable that you think of the Ah Boys themselves – and we were glad to see familiar faces such as Tosh Zhang, Maxi Lim, Wang Weiliang and Noah Yap grace the stage. The story, which was also familiar to many, was easy to follow, yet still as entertaining as ever.

Difference: One of the biggest differences was that Ken Chow (played by Joshua Tan in the movie) was played by Benjamin Kheng instead – not that we’re complaining, because he absolutely killed it in the musical.

What we loved: All that singing! We might have known at the back of our heads that they could sing, but when it came to the musical, it turned out that they could really sing, and we never saw them in the same light again.

Photo: Resorts World Sentosa

Crescendo The Musical
Crescendo The Musical
15 May 2018

Crescendo The Musical

Based on: 2015 drama Crescendo

Similarity: The drama’s theme of following your dreams and incorporation of many of our much-loved Xinyao songs was the same in both the drama and musical, and fans of the drama were happy to see that familiar faces such as Brian Ng, Bonnie Loo and Boon Hui Lu were also part of the musical.

Difference: Having to pack the content of a 30-episode drama into a single show was no mean feat, but one thing that stood out was how much more singing was involved – and how much we loved it.

What we loved: Singing aside, what drew us in even more was the number of­ Xinyao songs that were included – some of our favourites, such as ‘Way of Caring’, ‘Flowing Water’ and ‘Let The Night Fall Silently’ were performed, and we loved every moment of it.

Photo: WaWa Pictures

Mulan the Musical
Mulan the Musical
15 May 2018

Mulan the Musical

Based on: 1998 movie Mulan (which was based on the Chinese tale of Hua Mulan)

Similarity: There’s just something about the mix of filial piety, comedic effect, romance and action that keeps fans of the Mulan franchise coming back for more. In the musical version that was staged in Singapore, which was also adapted from the Taiwanese musical, all this and more was included, which made it an addictive watch.

Difference: Did you know that Mulan has a sister – a flirtatious one at that – called Mulian? Well, we didn’t, not until we watched the musical anyway. Played by Ann Kok, we loved Mulian, who was a welcome addition to the much-loved tale. It felt a little strange to see another familiar face, Pierre Png, playing the head of the army, but it was definitely a good pick.

What we loved: Apart from seeing familiar faces in the musical, we also enjoyed seeing Mulan (played by Taiwanese singer Lee Chien Na) having to fend off all of Cupid’s arrows while trying to protect her country. Plus points for the dash of Singlish that was added to the musical too.

Photos: Resorts World Sentosa

High School Musical on Stage!
High School Musical on Stage!
15 May 2018

High School Musical on Stage!

Based on: 2006 movie High School Musical

Similarity: Fans of High School Musical were glad to see that much of the original plot was retained, and many of the original songs, such as ‘Get’cha Head in the Game’, ‘Stick to the Status Quo’, ‘Start of Something New’ and ‘We’re All In This Together’ were also a part of the musical. In other words, it was one huge singalong fest.

Difference: Call us biased, but our Troy and Gabriella will forever be Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, but in the musical, the cast also blew our socks off with their stellar performances.

What we loved: Remember that singalong that we were talking about? We’re guilty as charged of being huge fans of the original High School Musical movie, and watching the musical brought all those memories back, and also gave us a good reason to exercise our vocal chords.

Photo: Disney Theatrical

Wicked
Wicked
15 May 2018

Wicked

Based on: 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz

Similarity: Yes, we know: Wicked isn’t the only stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, but we picked it because it’s the one that left the deepest impression on us – apart from the characters, Elphaba (also known as the Wicked Witch of the West), Galinda (also known as Glinda the Good Witch) and Dorothy, much of the play was uncharted territory.

Difference: What a difference a musical can make. The alternative telling, which was also based on the book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, helped us realise that not everything is what it seems, and the back story about how these witches grew up and became who they were was also a refreshing spin on the classic tale.

What we loved: Not only was this a musical, but it also taught us a few life lessons, with this one standing out to us the most: not to judge a book by its cover. We’d be lying if we say we weren’t humming the tunes of this musical long after the cast took its final bow, with our personal favourite being ‘Defying Gravity’.

Photo: Universal Stage Productions

WATCH: A sneak peek into the world of TORUK

Related: How TORUK might give you a sneak peek at ‘Avatar 2’

TORUK – The First Flight by Cirque du Soleil runs from May 24 to June 3 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets are priced at S$188, S$158, S$128 and S$98 and are now available on SportsHubTix.

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