Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Jay Chou's Jukebox Musical: The Secret 不能说的秘密 in Shanghai

Latest and best news on the family front for His Royal Diaoness was the announcement on Valentine's Day that the Chou family would be welcoming a new addition soon.
Trust that you guys have been following the Facebook Page!
If so, you would also know that it's gonna be a boy! 

Valentine's Day also marked the start of the Shanghai run for the musical, The Secret which is based on Jay's 2007 movie of the same name which was a huge hit for him, not just in Taiwan but also in many other Asian countries.

Here are some news links for the background to this production:






Jay's visit to a rehearsal:


Rehearsal of Fine Day:


Jay at the Beijing premiere:



Playlist of related vids:


The lead actress (Tracy Wang)'s Page: 


I'll try and find out more about the other actors and update here when available. 


                                                                   ************

When I first heard that Secret would be performed in Shanghai in February 2017, it was immediately clear to me that this was a trip worth doing as I had not been to Shanghai previously and welcomed the opportunity to do so. One of the most impromptu decisions ever for me and within a day, I had gotten in touch with a friend who lived there to help me procure the tickets and started making flight and hotel arrangements. That was back in November 2016. 
My dear hubby was persuaded to come along for the ride and before long, 16 February had arrived and so did we in that bustling city.
It must be mentioned that I had seen footage of the rehearsals and had been struck by how his songs seemed to have been woven in smoothly. 
As this was also a first in the industry viz adapting a movie into a stage musical (it's usually the other way around!), my curiousity pushed me to do my best to attend the show. 
Which I finally did on the night of 17 February.
Of course I had also paid top dollar....after flying all the way there, I was not going to scrimp and sit in Circle or way at the back! 
NB: I also ended up watching twice as my friend, who I met up with on 18 Feb was keen to attend and well, I was only too happy to oblige and go with her again on 19 Feb. Surprisingly, my hubby (who almost never watches anything twice!) was most supportive. :)

Some observations about the venue impressed, viz

1. The use of bag machines (like those at airports) instead of human bag checkers
2. Bottles containing water were allowed in; juices and food were not
3. Ushers went around with signs indicating No Photography and Keep Quiet Please before the start 
4. Laser pointers were directed at the backs of people who were taking photos during the show
5. The acoustics were fantastic. No echoes, no distortions of the performers' voices. Accompanying music was just the right volume. 

As for the musical per se, well, it was a joy to watch and listen to from the very beginning to the triumphant finale. 

1. The cast showcased their triple-threat talents completely, from the two veterans to the younger members, most especially the two leads who played Ye Xiang Lun and Lu Xiao Yu but special mention must go to the comic relief provided by Ah Lang and Ah Bao. 

2. What is a musical without music? And this was one using songs from Jay Chou's vast and varied repertoire from 14 albums. The scriptwriters and music arrangers had managed to pick the best songs to fit into the storyline (which was tweaked a little but worked very well!), and the result was a seamless and polished production which flowed along and was easy to understand, even for those who may not be familiar with the original movie.
One other aspect which shone through about Jay's music was his versatility and range of genres, encompassing ballads, rap, pop, hip hop, Latin, country and Western...you name it!
My friend who was not a Jay fan had gotten converted by the end of the show and was checking out all the songs on her way home in the cab. 

3. Stage management was flawless and the lighting effects did the job. As I am not an expert on theatre stuff, that's about all I feel qualified to say...lol! 

4. What I felt in spades, however, was the anguish in certain scenes which moved me to tears, not just on the first viewing but even the second time I watched. I shall, however refrain from describing those scenes so as to keep this spoiler-free.
Rest assured there were hilarious scenes too...best rugby match ever...lol! 

5. It was such a joy to hear Jay's music being performed on stage in this manner that I could not help, at the beginning, but hum along a little, thinking I was doing it very softly so that my neighbours would not be disturbed. Sadly, I was mistaken; the man in front of me turned around and gesticulated at me to stop. At least he did not give me the middle finger. Embarassment washed over me but that also effectively stopped me from providing unwanted accompainment to the professional production going on. This was on the second night. Lesson learnt. Thankfully, that incident did not prevent me from enjoying myself thereafter. 

I shall share some photos below.

Close-up of the banner outside the Shanghai Culture Square.



Shanghai Culture Square by night.
Very beautiful.








Curtain calls at the end....glad we were allowed to take photos and vids!












Well...this was unexpected! They did not kiss on 17 Feb but did so on 19 Feb!
So glad I caught it. ;)


He does look a little like Jay.





The finale where they sang Dao Xiang with the audience: 



Love this! 



Song list:









Needless to say, I am one happy fan! 
Just hope that Broadway Asia brings The Secret to Singapore and Malaysia. 
I have told all my friends about it and many of them are looking forward to catching it as well. 









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