History of the Singapore Musical
Is There a Singapore Musical Theatre?
Singapore Musical Theatre
Prescription for Singapore Musicals
Content Development For Musicals
The Singapore Musical
Singapore Musical Theater
Creative Industries
Five Foot Broadway 2007
Musical Theatre Workshop
Musicals in the Raw
Why New Musicals?
Incubating Musicals
Impossible Dream
How to Write a Musical
Writing Musicals
Future of Musical Theatre
Musicals Dead?
Jukebox Musicals
The Story of Chess
Sondheim v Webber
Fred Ebb
Film Musicals List
Break a Leg
Musical Dissonance
Flop Musicals
Are Critics Necessary?
Writer's Block
Five Foot Broadway 2005
Report 5 Ft Broadway
The Next Wave
New Wave 3
Admiral's Odyssey, The
Atlas Unbound
Big Bang!
Bunga Mawar
But Now We See
Chang and Eng
Corporate Animals
Firefly in the Light
Forbidden City
Good History, A
I Have a Date with Spring
It's My Life
Kampong Amber
Kung Fu Tale, A
Lao Jiu
Lao Jiu (2012)
Lost in Transit
Magic Paintbrush
The Magic Paintbrush: the Musical
Makan Place
Making the Grade
Mortal Sins
Mr Beng
Nanyang the musical
Oi! Sleeping Beauty!
Pagoda Street
Phua Chu Kang
Roses & Hello
School House Rockz
Shanghai Blues
Sing to the Dawn
Singapura: the musical
Sleepless Town
Snow Queen, The
Snow Wolf Lake
So You Want to be a Nurse
24 Hours
Twist of Fate, A
Viva Lah! Singapura
Women on Canvas
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Five Foot Broadway 2005


Five Foot Broadway 2005
by Ken Lyen

1. What is Five Foot Broadway?
Five Foot Broadway is an exciting new project where five original musicals are presented for the first time as part of the Singapore Festival of Arts fringe.

2. Why the name Five Foot Broadway?
The term "five foot way" describes the pedestrian walkway which is quite unique to Asian countries. It is an indentation of the ground floor of a building from the road, so that the overhanging upper floors provide a cover to shield pedestrians from the tropical sun and rain. Often, the ground floor is a shop or eating place whereby people walking along the five foot way can window-shop or stop by for refreshments. We have borrowed the term for our Singapore Festival of New Musicals because we would like you to come and take a stroll along our "five foot broadway", to window shop and sample some of our musicals.

3. What's it all about?
The Five Foot Broadway project is an incubation program for new and original musicals. We match writers with composers in creating new musicals. Then we bring in directors and music arrangers and others to the team. Our main goal is to see these new musicals to be presented as a no-frills playreading with singing. No sets, no costumes, minimal props, no microphones, musical accompaniment as live guitar, keyboard, or minus one recordings.

4. So what's the theory behind Five Foot Broadway?
The theory is that if you put two or more creative persons together, there will be a myriad of creative sparks flying! This is what we discovered when we started this musical theater project. We "married" pairs of wordsmiths with composers, and it ignited a flurry of stories and songs! Then we added into the mix, directors, designers, performers, etc., and we got an even greater explosive mix. The level of creativity jumped into the stratosphere! I am happy to report that creativity is not dead in Singapore, but just lying dormant, waiting for someone to strike the tinderbox... kapowwww!!!

5. The romance of writing new musicals? Are you serious?
A team of musicals aficionados got together and initiated this project in late 2004. We are like the musicals version of a matchmaker. We provide a metaphorical love boat, in which we help with the pairing, dating, and subsequent "marriage" of a writer to a composer. We offer advice and help at every stage of this collaborative venture. This is the fun part of the project. The act of fertilizing and conceiving a new musical is romantic and passionate. At quite an early stage, we assign a director to each musical. Then, like many partnerships, the journey can sometimes run into stormy weather, and here we act as counselors to keep the team sailing on together. If called for, we help with infertility problems, and towards the last stage, we provide obstetric care. As we reach D-Day (Delivery Day), we begin to experience labor pains. We wish to make the deliveries as comfortable and pain-free as possible. Soon our musical babies are going to be born. Like every parent, their naked scraggly bawling newborn is the most beautiful baby they have ever seen and heard. And so it will be with our about-to-be-born musicals. I am sure they will truly be the sweetest, cutest, prettiest things alive!

6. Did you have problems getting funds?
We wrote to a number of people and organizations asking for sponsorship and donations. Sadly we got nothing from the large organizations. Only a few individuals gave, and we are very grateful to them. However, we believe that if we wait until full funding arrives, we will never do anything worthwhile. Therefore, all we have is passion and faith. When we explained this to everyone, I was amazed that so many Singaporeans had the same dreams and vision that we have, and readily volunteered their time and talent! I am utterly astonished by the generous spirit of so many Singaporeans. This is what makes me so optimistic that musical theater is not dead in Singapore, and has a very hopeful future.

7. When and where will the musicals be performed?
Five musicals have survived the ordeal. Come and listen to our babies sing in Five Foot Broadway, from 24-26 June 2005 at The Arts House. Admission is free. Please call 97907545  or email admin@uanworld.com to reserve your seats.

8. Where do we go from here?
Our immediate objective is to ignite the musical theater scene in Singapore. We are beginning modestly at the grassroots level. By pairing writers with composers, we hope that the creative sparks will result in several musicals. We plan to showcase both the musicals as well as the performers. In time, this will set ablaze a nationwide passion for musicals. We believe these original musicals will help us discover Singapore's artistic soul. At the next stage, we plan to interest theater groups to take our musicals further by having them refined and performed more elaborately. Our vision is to have our musicals travel overseas, ultimately reaching the West End and Broadway.

9. What is happening in the rest of the world?
Recently there has been a new phenomenon emerging. It is the spontaneous combustion of new musicals in Chicago, New York, London, Cardiff, and elsewhere. This augurs well for the future of musical theater.

10. Who are the co-producers behind Five Foot Broadway?
Five Foot Broadway is jointly produced by The Musical Theatre, UAN, and The Next Stage Performing Arts Academy. Website http://www.uanworld.com/

11. Where is the venue?
The shows will be performed at The Arts House, which is the former parliament house. The 177-year-old premises were vacated when the new parliament was completed. Since 2004, it has been converted into a place dedicated to the arts. It includes a palette of contemporary, arts entertainment, restaurants, and lifestyle options.

12. What are the five musicals?

a) Lost In Transit
Written by: Stella Kon
Music by: Desmond Moey
Directed by: Adrian Tan
Music arranged by: Sara Wee
Village girl Mia goes to the city to become a singer, and as a result, she breaks up with her fiancé, Sam. Sleazy promoter Robert entraps her into a life of vice. Her grandmother laments that Mia was "Lost in Transit." Sam tries to rescue her and ends up committing violent crimes. Will the story end in tragedy? Is there hope that the lovers will eventually unite?

b) Dragon Tales
Written by: Ng Swee San
Music by: Bang Wenfu
Directed by: Peggy Ferroa
Music arranged by: Bang Wenfu
This family musical is a flamboyant retelling of the Chinese Zodiac. Loong, an outwardly flamboyant but inwardly insecure Dragon, is at the post-race celebration banquet of the Zodiac Race. He is utterly humiliated by the fact that he had actually come in fifth for the Zodiac Race! How did he, mighty Dragon, as well as courageous Tiger and speedy Horse lose out in the Zodiac Race to the miserable Rat? To the horror of Rat, the Emperor accedes to demands for a re-race. Pig, Serpent, Monkey and Dog are desperate to win this time round! Cheating and action galore as the animals plot to outwit one another. Who will win and whose story should we really believe?

c) Heartstrings
Written by: Jack Tan
Music by: Sean Wong
Directed by: Paul Hannon
Music arranged by: August Lum
Alfred is an aging violinist past his prime who is mocked by his younger and trendier colleagues. He is now reduced to doing commercialized gigs, which is very much as odds with his high artistic ideals. At this lowest point of his life, his ex-lover Sylvia, whom he had irresponsibly given up years ago in favor of pursuing a musical career, returns with a request for Alfred to mentor a promising young violinist, Matthew. As Alfred coaches Matthew, he realizes a startling similarity between the boy and himself – Matthew is about to give up the true love of his life, Justina, in a selfish attempt to devote himself fully to music. Will Alfred, with his ingenuous sidekick, Joshua, be able to prevent Matthew from committing the same blunder? Meanwhile, Sylvia holds a secret from her past with Alfred that she is unwilling to reveal until the very end. Will the characters realize that it's what tugs at the heartstring's that counts?

d) Don't Say I Do
Written by: Justin Kan
Music by: Justin Kan
Directed by: Justin Kan and Paul Hannon
Music arranged by: Michelle Loh and Kevin Fok
Joyce, a wedding planner, realizes that the next wedding she is planning is for her former lover, Jon and his Fiancée, Rain. That leaves the shocked Joyce less than a week to try to sabotage the wedding and snatch what was rightfully hers. Meanwhile, Joyce's assistant, Calvin, harbors a secret love for her. However, blinded by her own jealousy, Joyce doesn't even notice Calvin's love for her at all! Seeing everything as an outsider, Yor Mama, a plucky bean curd seller auntie decides to take things into her own hands. Will Yor Mama succeed in bringing Joyce and Calvin together? Will Joyce succeed in getting Jon after all? With potential heartbreak waiting in the wings, they will either get what they want or end up paying the price for their actions... This romantic comedy musical on love and revenge will keep you guessing till the very end.

e) Boom Baby Boom
Written by: Andrew KP Leong
Music by: Ken Lyen
Directed by: Lynn Yang and Peggy Ferroa
Music arranged by: August Lum
The birth rate is falling rapidly and in order to fix this problem, the ministry introduces the ultimate Weapon to three unique couples. What is the Weapon and how will it increase the flailing birth rate? This sexy comedy promises to be loads of fun for all involved. Entertaining, fast-paced and full of energy, this musical will keep you laughing till the very end. Originally read as a play for TheatreWorks's 2003 Greenhouse Programme, it was the closing performance and crowd-pleaser of the evening.

13. Who are the Creative Team?

Stella Kon
Stella Kon is best known for the monodrama, Emily of Emerald Hill. She has written many other plays, novels and short stories, and received National prizes for writing. Recently, Stella has plunged into musicals. Exodus was produced by Anglo Chinese School Barker Road in 2003; other musicals are in the works. Stella is a Singaporean living in Pek Kio. She has six lively grandchildren in Australia and Britain.

Desmond Moey
Desmond is an engineer by day, and a composer by night. He has won first prize for numerous songwriting competitions. He has co-composed several musicals, including Big Bang!, Orchard Square, Yum Sing!, Temptations, and Catch the Rainbow, the 1997 National Day Parade musical. Website

Peggy Ferroa
Peggy Ferroa writes and directs many plays for multinational corporations, theater groups and schools. She has also written a book on China as well as scripts for Channel 5 and Channel News Asia. As an actor, she is best known for her character roles on stage and screen. She is also a drama trainer and is a committee member of the Association of Singapore Actors (ASA) and the Singapore Drama Educators Association.

Bang Wenfu
Bang Wenfu is one of Singapore's leading theater musician. His job scope ranges from music composition and arrangement to soundscaping, music direction, vocal training and music accompaniment. His arrangement works include Singapore Repertory Theatre's ambitious Forbidden City the musical, STAGES' popular Chestnuts parody, Toy Factory's The Morning People, Mergers & Wills, I-Theatre's The Magic Paintbrush, The Acorn and so on. He also co-arranges pop songs for artistes such as Tanya Chua and Stephanie Sun, and does soundtracks for corporate video, TV commercials and cartoon. He is currently the resident music director of STAGES.

Ng Swee San
Ng Swee San is a freelance writer. She wrote the book and lyrics for the Methodist Girls' School musical Making the Grade. She also wrote the book for Common Corridor, a musical commissioned by Northeast Community Development Council in celebration of Racial Harmony Month. Her first full-length play Marriage of Inconvenience was staged by TheatreWorks in 2004.

Andrew KP Leong
Andrew's entry into the theater scene began by winning the 2002 24-Hour Playwriting Competition organized by TheatreWorks. He also had the privilege of being a participant of TheatreWorks' Greenhouse Program, has written several plays (including a commission by TheatreWorks) and a short musical which was staged recently.

Sean Wong
Sean is a music producer, singer-songwriter, and entrepreneur. In 2002, he was nominated for the Best Local Artiste in the Singapore Hit Awards organised by YES 93.3FM. He produced his own debut Mandarin solo album in 2002 under the labels of Rock Records and EQ Music. In the 2002-2003 he won several prizes in the International Music Festivals, including the prestigious Grand Prix as well as the audience award. His duet performance with a Philippines R&B star, Arnee Hidalgo, was also released in a compilation album in the Philippines in 2002. Sean was also the official singer for the Sing Singapore 2003 national theme song "A Place In My Heart", which was recorded for the compilation album. He is currently producing his new solo Mandarin album which will be launched by the end of 2005. Website:

Adrian Tan
Adrian Tan graduated with honors in Theatre Studies from the National University of Singapore. He is the music director of the contemporary music group - Paradigm Ensemble, and the Associate Director of the theater company STAGES. His work Ghost Opera was nominated for the DBS Life! Theatre Awards in 2003, and his short film Stranger in collaboration with Boo Junfeng in 2004 was a finalist in the 18th Singapore International Film Festival Silver Screen Awards (Short Film) this year." Website

Lynn Yang
Schizophrenic or not - who knows? Lynn has been many things, including an Egyptian slave driver, an incestuous mother, a drunken disillusioned wife and a clone. She is a proud alumnus of Victoria Junior College's Theatre Studies and Drama where she learnt lots and had the best two years of her life thus far. She was also part of the SRT Young Co. where she played the kooky witch Addaperle in their 2003 rendition of Tony Award winning musical The Wiz.

Jack Tan
Jack first came into writing after attending a playwriting workshop conducted by Robert Yeo. Subsequently, his play let, To Be Or Not To Be was staged by TheatreWorks at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre. He was also a member of the Writers Lab at TheatreWorks in 2003. His other great love in life is classical music and he works as a piano teacher and also performs chamber music on a regular basis with friends. Website

Paul Hannon
Irish born, Paul came to Singapore over four years ago as a drama teacher. LAMDA and vocationally trained, he recently joined The Next Stage as a Program Manager and Teacher for their Performing Arts Academy. Paul is a resident actor with Masquerade Dinner Theatre Company with whom he has toured India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. He has performed locally in Stage Club productions, notably Whose life is it anyway? and Twelfth Night and with local Irish Band 'Gan Anim'.

Chan Kwai Sum
Chan Kwai Sum graduated with Honors in Chemistry from the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is one of the founders of UAN - the first of its kind in the industry to connect thousands of creative people for extraordinary ends for the objectives of art, commerce and/ or charity. He created and produced the "Touch" Annual Series of Concerts at the NUS Piano Ensemble, as well as the "Eighty Eight" series with the Victoria Piano Ensemble which he formed. Apart from UAN, Kwai Sum currently runs the Next Stage Performing Arts Academy by devising courses and programs for the Academy.

Justin Kan
Justin Kan's desire to be on stage started when he was walking down with some super model on the runway at the tender age of 4. Ever since then, Justin has always dreamt of becoming a performing artiste. He later joined Dramaplus Arts Youtheatre in 1998 before going into a long hiatus. He then reemerged six years later with his first short film The Letter in 2004. Justin is currently involved with MHL's Tunnel through Time musical and is also a talent with Catworkz. Website

August Lum
August has been involved in many aspects of music since his secondary school days: composing, arranging, performing, conducting, and copying and managing scores. He has composed music for a few musical ensembles in Temasek Junior College (TJC), and he also wrote the background music for the TJC archives software. He frequently acts as an accompanist for singers. This year he has written three film scores (including one theme song) for three polytechnic film students for their final-year project. He is also a keyboardist in the Soracco Musical Group, the music life of the Buddhist Fellowship, Singapore. He is currently serving his national service and caanot wait for his ORD day, and this Five Foot Broadway project helps to keep him happy. Website: http://members.sibeliusmusic.com/auglum/

Kevin Fok
Kevin Fok, 20,  is a singer-songwriter and the lead singer cum guitarist for his own band Bitter Liberty. His songs have been used for the short film, The Letter, directed by Justin Kan. In addition, he has joined several national music competitions and won first prize for the Original Composition Category TalentQuest in 2004, organized by Guiding Star Music School and the NUS Science Club. Website:

Michelle Loh
Michelle's great love is in classical music and musicals and enjoying jazz as well. She plays the piano and the flute for the Singapore Youth Festival competition as soloist, concerts and has done several lounge performance and gigs for functions and events. Michelle teaches the piano and composes during her free time. She will be arranging music as well as leading the cast with vocal directions in Five Foot Broadway.


Ken Lyen
Ken has composed the music for 13 musicals that have been staged in Singapore. For three of these musicals, he also wrote the book. In 1997, he was invited to co-write the National Day Parade musical. Other musicals include Big Bang!, Yum Sing!, Temptations, Song of the Whale, The Magic Paintbrush, Exodus, and Making the Grade. He is a prizewinning screenwriter, and his feature telemovie Love Poetry was broadcast on MediaCorp TV. He has co-written 12 books on a variety of subjects including creativity and education. He was awarded the Public Service Medal for his voluntary work with the disabled. Website

Five Foot Broadway Website http://www.musicals.org.sg