There was an air of excitment and anticipation as audiences both young and old flocked to the Victoria Theatre to return to the music, magic and mystery of the cabaret world as portrayed in Beauty World. As part of the ongoing donation drive of the Singapore President Star Charity, Beauty World's return to the stage can be seen as a hallmark in Singapore musical theatre history.
Conceptualised 10 years ago as part of the Singapore Arts Festival, Beauty World was initially slammed by the local critics but warmly embraced by the audience. The first production of the show was sold out and was brought back two months later by popular demand for another two weeks. The show was revived in 1992 and again, it experienced the same overwhelming audience response, with its catchy tunes and campy costumes. Most recently, the musical had a 'live' television broadcast as the main fund rising event for the Singapore President Star Chairty Show. Local entertainment magazine, 8 Days called Beauty World "Cha-cha Charming."
Written by Dick Lee and Michael Chiang, directed by Kengsen Ong and choreographed by Najip Ali, Beauty World is a musical set in the sixties, about a girl who comes all the way from Malaysia to Singapore in search of the identity of her father who had abandoned her when she was a baby. Along the way, with the help of her sexually-repressed penpal, she enters Beauty World, a cabaret, where she crosses path with the resident cabaret queen who first sees her as a threat, and eventually learns the truth of her life and love.
The April 15 opening of Beauty World was graced by the Minister of Enviroment of Singapore, Mr. Yeo Cheow Tiong and his wife. Although many of members of the audience may have seen the musical during its 'live' television broadcast, the thrill and excitment of the original stage version cannot be compared. Some of the songs which were scrapped from the television production found their way home on the stage.
Presented by TheatreWorks, Beauty World will continue to run at the Victoria Theatre from 16 April to 26 April 1998. Tickets and ticketing information are availble from Sistic. --By Kelvin Chen