Arguably the most expensive original local musical in Singapore, the high budget Lightseekeris due to close on Mar 23. Score yourself free tickets and read more about the improvements made since its opening at RWS.

On top of the label of being possibly most expensive locally produced musical, the Lightseeker can add the title of Most Responsive.

A victim of a couple of scathing press interviews soon after it opened last November in Resorts World Sentosa, it has, unlike many productions which have simply ignored their critics and audience, taken the feedback very seriously.

Axed are the repetitive reprises in numbers like “The Light Within” and “Look ahead”. Also snipped are some CGI sequences so there’s no longer any lull time between the scenes.  These edits ensure the 1 hour and 40 minute musical is jam-packed with action, compared to its former more bloated 2-hour self.

To the credit of the show’s producers and creative team, and a testament to their sincerity and bravery, the changes have gone deeper than just a cut here and there. Scenes have been rearranged and one of veteran actor Lim Kay Siu’s roles has even been retired. It seems audiences were none too fond of his incarnation as The Cloud Spirit, who serves as the narrator. The time saved from the narration now goes to more dialogue from the main characters, which then fleshes them out more and helps audiences relate to their motivations better.

Lim continues to play The Emperor, who appears not in the flesh, but prerecorded – and displayed on the massively impressive 10-tonne LED projection screen.

For the uninitiated, the Lightseeker is set in a fantasy world featuring a story revolving around the universal premise of good versus evil in the struggle between light and dark. Here, we see the main characters starkly contrasted – Nova (played by Nicole Sokolovic) personifying goodness and light, with her ability to nurture “the Light” in all beings, and the Emperor and Usha, both power hungry and relentless in their pursuits for whatever they desire.

Rewriting and tightening the scenes has also broadened the focus from just Nova, the female lead with the ability to nurture “the Essence” in beings, to Usha (the witch) and The General (whom the musical is named after) as well.

While she used to have a giant spider and 2 serpent puppets as companions, Usha will now appear without the lovable arachnid. The serpents make more frequent appearances on stage, and while we miss the puppet spider, it’s a fair trade off to get to know Usha better since we get to see more focus on her character.

What hasn’t changed, thankfully, are the elements that fans of the family-friendly musical loved from the very start. These include the thrilling Cirque du Soleil acrobatics that actually swung over the heads of the audience during the finale, the interestingly choreographed trampoline dance, and the incredible Avatar-like set, conceived by Emmy Award-winning Patrick Larsen, and built using 15,000 man-hours. What that number means is if 1 person, worked 8 hours a day, every day to build the set, it would take him more than 5 years to complete it.

Then, of course, there’s the cast – a group of 39 talented individuals who were sifted out from 2,000 hopefuls auditioning in 7 major cities. Chris Clark from Broadway, Vivienne Carlyle from London’s West End, and Stuart Boother, who plays The General, who has performed stunts on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, relies no less than on his experience training with the famed pugilistic exponents Shaolin monks for the fight scenes. How’s that for authenticity?

Let’s not forget that Dick Lee, who has been behind most of the biggest local musicals in the last 2 decades, has written the songs for this, see below for a quick comparison with 4 others he’s done.

Can you think of a reason not to catch the fast fading fantastical and newly improved world of Nova and The General before it closes on Mar 23?


[CLOSED] Ticket Giveaways

RWS has also provided UrbanWire with 5 pairs of Category 2 tickets for the 3pm show on Mar 22, to give away to our readers!

Each pair of tickets is worth $176, so snap them up now!

All you need to do for a chance to win the tickets is to like our Facebook page, share the contest post, and answer one simple question.

Winners will be notified on Mar 21, 1 pm with the collection details.

Good luck!


Bonus: 5 Musicals by Dick Lee

Dick Lee, who created the music and lyrics in the Lightseeker, has written more than a dozen musicals. Here are 5 of his best-known ones:


Beauty World (1988, 1998 (TV-stage version), re-staged 2008)

Production Cost: Unknown

Key Performers: 1988- Jacinta Abisheganaden, Ivan Heng, Claire Wong

1998- Sharon Au, Jacinta Abisheganaden, Gurmit Singh

2008- Elena Wang, Alemay Fernandez, Neo Swee Lin, Irene Ang

Story: The play revolves around a young Malaysian girl (played by Elena Wang) whose only clue to her father’s identity lies in a jade pendant. In her quest to find her dad, the breadcrumb trail lands her in Singapore and in a cat-eat-cat cabaret named “Beauty World”. The story then follows her 1960s Cantonese soap opera romances and rivalry with the mama san.

Memorable Songs: “Beauty World (cha-cha-cha)”, “Single in Singapore”, “High Class”

Critical Response: The remake of Beauty World and the inclusion of new songs opened to almost universally positive critical reviews. While there were a few kinks here and there, such as the conclusion being too abrupt, the performance reaffirms Beauty World as the “all-time favorite musical” for Singaporeans.


Fried Rice Paradise (1991, re-staged 2010 by PA) 

Production Cost: Unknown

Key Performers: Denise Tan, Taufik Batisah, Alemay Fernandez, Lim Yu Beng, Rahimah Rahim, Darius Tan, Sebastian Tan

Story: The story follows Bee Lian’s (Denise Tan) struggles to keep her father’s noodle shop from being sold, by building a successful business based on her mother’s fried rice recipe in the 1970s. Her path isn’t smooth, however, as her dad and brother (played by Sebastian Tan and Darius Tan respectively) have different ideas about the shop’s future.

Memorable Songs: “Disco Boogie Hustle Jump”, “Fried Rice Paradise”, “Rasa Sayang”

Critical Response: Unlike Beauty World, Fried Rice Paradise didn’t enjoy the acclaim its predecessor did. While response was still generally positive, there were more gripes, notably about the “lame” humor employed during the show.


Phua Chu Kang (2005)

Production Cost: $3 million

Key Performers: Gurmit Singh, Irene Ang, Pierre Png, Tan Kheng Hua, Marcus Ng, Neo Swee Lin

Story: Phua Chu Kang the Musical was produced to celebrate Singapore’s 40th anniversary and features our favorite yellow-booted contractor as he’s coincidentally on the cusp of turning 40. Shenanigans follow as Frankie Foo (played by Lim Kay Siu) tries to exact revenge on PCK for stealing his childhood sweetheart Rosie (Irene Ang) by getting his Phua Chu Kang-lookalike relative to pose as the construction worker’s brother.

Memorable Songs: “If I Have You”, “Kena Conned”

Critical Response: Panned. With phrases like “It’s just bad all around” and “It was a major flop” being bandied about, it’s safe to say that the musical wasn’t well received. Let’s hope they don’t pick a musical to celebrate SG50 next year.


Forbidden City: Portrait of An Empress (2002, 2003, 2006)

Production Cost: Unknown

Key Performers: Sheila Francisco, Kit Chan, Hossan Leong, Hal Fowler, Dillion Ong, Dwayne Tan

Story: The musical revolves around the late and oft-reviled Empress Dowager of China, Cixi (played by Sheila Francisco), who she tells American portrait painter Kate Carl (Leigh McDonald) about her life as she grew up.

Memorable Songs: “My Only Chance”, “Why Dream Of Love”

Critical Response: Forbidden City: Portrait of An Empress has received widely positive acclaim and has been staged multiple times, the first being to open the Esplanade Theatres, and the 2006 one being for the IMF meetings in Singapore, and it has even embarked on a world tour in 2008.


Lightseeker (2013)

Production Cost: Multi-million dollar budget

Key Performers: Stuart Broother, Vivienne Carlyle, Nicole Sokolovic, Lim Kay Siu

Story: Lightseeker revolves around The General (Broother), who is under orders from The Emperor (Lim) to look for an energy known as “the Light”, which will make him more powerful. The story then follows his interactions with Nova (Nicole Sokolovic) and his personal battle within.

Memorable Songs: “The Light Within”, “Look Ahead”

Critical Response: Mixed reviews by those who find that while the story might not be very strong, the acrobatic feats and effects were certainly a hit.


Photos Courtesy of Resorts World Sentosa

Prizes sponsored by THE ATE GROUP