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Lao Jiu: The Musical

Set in 1980s Singapore, Lao Jiu: The Musical tells the story of Lao Jiu (Ninth Son), the only son in a family of nine, and his family’s hope for a better life. An incredibly intelligent boy on track to win a prestigious scholarship, he instead finds his passion in traditional Chinese puppetry. With his family’s hopes pinned on him, will Lao Jiu follow his heart and become a puppeteer, or respect his family’s wishes and take up the scholarship instead?  


Based on the late theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun’s beloved play Lao Jiu, this award-winning musical is one of Practice’s seminal works and stands out as a shining landmark of original Singapore Chinese musical theatre.


Directed by The Theatre Practice’s Artistic Director Kuo Jian Hong, Lao Jiu: The Musical is a universally relevant coming-of-age story about choosing between dreams and responsibilities. Deeply moving, this heart-warming musical combines a stirring score composed and written by Mandopop luminaries Eric Ng and Xiaohan, with an exciting range of puppetry techniques including traditional Chinese hand puppetry, object puppetry and shadow puppetry.

Date: 6 – 23 April 2017

Venue: Drama Centre Theatre

Director and Dramaturg: Kuo Jian Hong

Original Work: Kuo Pao Kun

Script Adaptation: Liu Xiaoyi

Lyricist: Xiaohan

Composer: Eric Ng

Arranger: Bang Wenfu

Music Director & Co-

Arranger: Julian Wong

Choreographer: Seong Hui Xuan

Set & Costume Design: Chen Szu-Feng

Puppet Designer & Trainer: Benjamin Ho (Paper Monkey Theatre)

Lighting Designer: Genevieve Peck

Sound Designer: Shah Tahir

Hair Designer: Ashley Lim

Makeup Designer: The Make Up Room

Cast: Sugie Phua, Ng Johnny, Yeo Lyle, Ethel Yap, Peter Ong, Goh Guat Kian,Gloria Ang Xiao Teng, Jodi Chan, Isabella Chiam, Benjamin Chow, Edward Choy, Darren Guo, Hang Qian Chou, Xavier Kang, Petrina Kow, Abby Lai Ka Hei, Ric Liu, Vanessa Phang Wan Qing, Katherine Tang, Tay Wei Liang, Natalie Yeap, Benjamin Wong, Catherine Wong

In 1965, the Singapore Performing Arts School, (predecessor of The Theatre Practice), presented Flower, Youth, Sea, a performance that integrated elements of music, dance and drama. 52 years from that landmark performance, The Theatre Practice continues to combine these elements in our present form of storytelling: musicals.

Back when my father was alive, he never got round to executing his idea of turning Lao Jiu into a musical. When I took over the role of Artistic Director, we wanted to realise this wish that he had. In 2005, we stumbled with our first foray. We found our footing in 2012 and now in 2017, we get another shot at doing it better.

In these last few decades, we have also kept the spirit of how the founders of Practice used to create work with their peers. In our company, the concept of what it means to work as an ensemble is deeply engrained in each and every single member of our creative process. We play captain’s ball together. We mop floors together. We drill each and every single dance routine, song and scene change as precisely as we can manage. Both onstage and offstage, there is no hierarchy, as we are bonded in our determination to create magic together.

Most importantly, I am so thankful for the many deep and meaningful relationships that we have forged over the past thirteen years of staging musicals. Through our trilogy of original mandarin musicals: “If There’re Seasons…”, Liao Zhai Rocks! and Lao Jiu: The Musical, we have grown into a company of friends and creative partners. This family filled our rehearsal spaces and offices at Stamford Arts Centre and now, Practice Space. We have a long journey ahead of us. Thank you for being part of this journey with us!

“Emotive songs, effective choreography, and a moving story with a classic struggle…it stands a head above other Singapore musicals…”

– The Business Times

“…one of a handful of genuinely relevant and meaningful Singaporean musicals.” – Centre 42
“…a classic that has serious staying power.”