The musical started out with much fanfare and controversy – a $2.72 million production fee with a nearly full Filipino cast for a musical about Singapore. But in spite of the announcement a fortnight ago that the play would extend its run until 19th July, the musical has abruptly been closed last week
Attempts to book tickets from the musical’s website were unsuccessful, and the website gave no clues as to what has happened to the musical or whether the musical would go on. A staff member at the Capitol Theatre’s ticketing counter informed that the musical had closed last week.
A Singaporean member of the crew who was involved with the production and asked not to be named said that his contract had been delayed and that he has not been paid.
Attempts to reach the musical’s press relations team for comment over the weekend were unsuccessful.
Yet keen observers say they are not surprised. The production had been plagued by financial trouble and dissent among the predominantly Filipino crew in the weeks leading up to its launch on 19th May. The rumours continued to spread in spite of Pinoy composer and musical director Ed Gatchalian’s attempts to dismiss the troubles as “inaccuracies” and “lies” spread by “nasty” people.
Directed by American Greg Ganakas and written by Filipino playwright Joel Trinidad, the production debuted at the newly refurbished Capitol Theatre to mixed reviews. Theatre reviewer Corrie Tan from the Straits Times said that the play felt unfocused, lacked nuance and suffered from technical problems.
Perhaps the irony is that netizens had long predicted the failure of the production, with critics scorning the production’s move to cast Filipino actors in most of the musical’s key roles.
The story is developing with more details to be uncovered soon.