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Liao Zhai Rocks!

Can once-in-a-lifetime happen again?

FATE is when the scholar Sang Xiao meets the vixen fox Ying Ning.
AFFECTION is when Ying Ning hides her identity to be with a mortal.
MISHAP is when the priest Cheng Ban Xian exposes her secret.
FOLLY is when Sang Xiao is tricked by the water spirit Feng San Niang.
LOVE is when Ying Ning risks her life to enter the Underworld.
Will the bittersweet lovers escape the bane of King Yama and change their destiny?

The scholar Sang Xiao falls in love with the fox spirit Ying Ning, but is deceived by the water spirit, Feng San Niang. When Sang Xiao is poisoned and cast into the underworld, Ying Ning must brave the wrath of King Yama, the king of Hell, to rescue her true love and change their destiny.

Inspired by Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio, a collection of classic Chinese stories by Qing dynasty writer Pu Songling, Liao Zhai Rocks! tells a supernatural tale of forbidden love through the explosive force and gritty rawness of rock music.

Directed by The Theatre Practice’s Artistic Director Kuo Jian Hong and helmed by Joanna Dong (Sing! China), this epic rock musical redefined the musical theatre genre in Singapore with its unexpected fusion of classic Chinese stories and a blistering score by Mandopop luminaries Eric Ng and Xiaohan.

Liao Zhai Rocks! made its China debut in 2019 as part of the SAIC·Shanghai Culture Square’s Shanghai International Musical Festival.

Date: 28 – 31 March 2019

Venue: SAIC · Shanghai Culture Square

Festival: Shanghai International Musical Festival 

Playwright: Wu Xi

Lyricist: Xiaohan

Composer: Eric Ng

Director: Kuo Jian Hong

Choreographer: Seong Hui Xuan 

Arranger: Bang Wenfu

Music Director and Co-Arranger: Julian Wong

Set Designer: Kuo Jian Hong

Lighting Designer: Billy Tang

Costume Designer: Saksit & Phisit, Tube Gallery Bangkok

Sound Designer: Shah Tahir

Hair Designer: Ashley Lim

Makeup Designer: The Make Up Room

Cast: Joanna Dong, Inred Liang, Sugie, Ethel Yap, Liu Xiaoyi, Ric Liu, Yeo Lyle, Su Yong Hao, Ryan Ang, Ang Xiao Ting, Jodi Chan, Juni Goh, Dwayne Lau, Frances Lee, Oliver Pang, Sharon Sum, Tan Shou Chen, Katherine Tang

It was 2010 when we first plunged headfirst into the world of Liao Zhai and rock music. Standing on stage at the Drama Centre in Singapore nine years ago, who would have imagined that we would one day be in China sharing this work with you?

Back then, our creative vision was to draw from the rich narratives of Pu Songling’s Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio, and juxtapose it with the rawness and ferocity of rock music. It was a completely unlikely combination that somehow magically seemed to work.

But unlike the tale of Liao Zhai Rocks!, there are no supernatural machinations to thank for this. Rather, it has everything to do with our dedicated team.

As pioneers of the Chinese language musical theatre genre in Singapore, Liao Zhai Rocks! has become a reflection of our voice as artists. Through this long process, I have had the honour of working with some of the most extraordinary artists within the Singaporean theatre scene. For many, it will be their third round working on this show. Yet, no show of ours is simply a rerun. It is always a re nement of our craft and the revisit to a piece of work. The show you see today is the product of years of valuable experience and expanded production capabilities. It is an introduction of our Singaporean talents to the outside world. In fact, it is testament to their abilities that we have managed to bring this show beyond our borders and out into the world.

Truth be told, I had some initial doubt about bringing Liao Zhai Rocks! to China. Would this story, that so captivated our Singapore audiences, wow an audience already familiar with these traditional Chinese classics? I would not have been confidently sure unless someone who was thoroughly immersed in the China arts scene emphatically answered YES. Yet amazingly that was exactly what happened. So thank you once again Fei Yuanhong and the Shanghai Culture Square team for inviting us to join the inaugural Shanghai International Musical Festival. More importantly, thank you for your passion in developing and investing in Chinese musicals – we are grateful to have you as our partners.

At The Theatre Practice, we are always looking to break new ground and try something different. Our first ever musical tour is an exciting new chapter for us and we are so glad you are here to share this with us. To our sponsors and supporters, thank you for sharing our vision and empowering us to pursue artistic excellence, especially when that pursuit has taken us to unexpected new places! To our audiences and new friends, thank you for choosing to spend your evening with us. We may be very far from home, but I hope this has given you a taste of the Practice spirit. 

With that, rock on!

 – Kuo Jian Hong

Artistic Director, The Theatre Practice