Musical Theatre melting pot – Can one class fit all?
Dominic Lucien Luk of Monday Show Entertainment says their musical theatre weekly training sessions offer something for everyone. What is that something and who is that everyone? I present Dominic with three applicants – real-live constructs of my imagination – to find out.
Take your first step towards the spotlight
Construct number one has no experience whatsoever. “I took ballet 30 years ago but have never been on stage as an adult. All I have is love for musical theatre.”
First of all, Dominic says, you’re not alone. Many of joiners are beginners. Participating in the sessions you will “express that love you have for musical theatre! The Tryouts will make you feel proud that you have accepted a challenge and that you are now on your way to being on stage to perform in front of a live audience.”
Nor should you let age or lack of talent stand in your way. “Some may be confident singers but have two left feet, or can dance like a swan but sing like a duck. And as for age, we have members as young as 15 and some in their 30s even, so it doesn’t matter at all.”
Ultimately, the program will give you a chance to experience Musical Theatre from the stage rather than the audience. You will also “build up more confidence, and you’ll meet more people like you who are excited about working towards being better performers.”
Add to your musical theatre repertoire and network
Construct number two was active in drama group in school and university. “I have a full time job but I really miss the theatre. I’ve auditioned a few times… no luck.”
We’re perfect for you too, says Dominic. “You’ll get to meet more people in the performing arts scene, because we frequently invite experienced performers to spend time with us to share what they know. That would be good networking too. You’ll also go through mock auditions in class so that you’re more prepared for any upcoming audition.”
“You’ll understand the art of performing better, and learn from one another, which means you’ll focus on ensemble training in addition to solo work. What you gain is also up to you – what are you hoping to achieve? Every few months, we ask everyone to write down their personal goals as a performer so we can help make it happen.”
There’s never a point where you can’t get better
The third construct is a triple threat and a familiar face in Malaysian musical theatre. “I rarely even have to audition any more, I just get called in.”
To the construct’s concern that this program will be too basic, Dominic answers “No. You will find it refreshing to work with different styles of music and go work on scripts from all sorts of musicals, with different people who want to experiment with different methods and techniques. You will still feel challenged because musical theatre is always going to keep challenging us with new works and higher expectations.”
Basically, there’s always more to learn. “You’ll continue working on things you already know, expanding your exposure to working with all sorts of people who have different approaches to the same materials. You’ll get to meet performers and trainers from Broadway and Singapore and Australia etc, and that can always be a good boost.”
“Okay,” says the construct. “But you know me already, Dominic; we’ve worked together. Do I still need to come to the Tryouts?”
“Yes,” answers Dominic patiently. “The Tryouts are for you, not for me. It is a chance for you to see what the whole atmosphere is like, and to see whether you fit in and if you like what you see and hear. It’ll also be a chance for others to meet you.”
A string of masterclasses
Who will you learn from? Dominic himself, along with Benjamin Lin, does training in singing and acting. In addition, participants get “Megan Chng for dancing. Michelle Tan for vocals. Suhaili Micheline for ballet. Michael Masterson for jazz dance. When she is back in the region, Nikki Snelson for musical theatre dance and acting, and Michael Lavine for acting for singers. Richard Chua for acting. Sean Ghazi for special vocal classes. And guest trainers whenever possible.”
Just keep learnin’
The training program started almost 5 years ago. “We would meet every session to work on songs, and then have a special day to cover other specific skills like biomechanics, vocal techniques and body conditioning. Now, the musical theatre program is more challenging and comprehensive, and covers a wider range.”
Wider indeed: “We now have contact hours which are sessions outside of the normal classes, where every month a different skill set is covered. For example, in October and November, we’re doing musical theatre dance technique, and in December, we’re having special sessions on ‘acting out a song’. We also now make sure other skills are included in our training, like sight reading, music theory, musical theater history, acting techniques, performing a monologue, and so on.”
“We still have members who were part of the original group that started 5 years ago. The rest have moved on to other paths in life, or have gotten busy with work. Quite a few of them are now very active in the local performing arts scene, or have gone on to study musical theatre in London or the US.”
Care to drop some names?
Naturally the list of alumni is long so I ask Dominic for just a few examples:
“Nabilah Hamid is slowly becoming a popular name in the scene, having played significant roles in Aladdin (Enfiniti), Zak Zebra the Musical (Actors Studio), and has been in plays and a bunch of shows since she left her job to become a full-time performer. She’s one of our students who started with us 5 years ago.”
“Megan Chng started with us as a dancer who couldn’t sing to save her life. She worked hard under Monday Show, and she has just graduated with a 1st Class Honours degree in musical theatre from Lasalle College of the Arts.”
“Tan Wei Ling has always been a hard worker at Monday Show has been getting into shows like Larger Than Life, Merrily We Roll Along, and will be starring in Title of Show next month.”
“Michelle Tan started with our program 5 years ago too, and has recently completed her Masters degree in Musical Theatre in London, and before that had roles in musicals by Dama and in Monday Show’s production of Tick Tick Boom.”
Musical Theatre Tryouts are holding the second of their two sessions this Monday, 31st October. Visit their event page to find out more.
About Dominic Lucien Luk
Dominic studied music and performing arts in Singapore and Boston and is in love with musical theatre – which is why he dedicates much of his time teaching singing and acting and musical theatre, while directing, vocal directing, and working on shows.