Having sold out multiple runs when it played in Taiwan, Mandarin musical Super Mommy (我的妈妈是ENY?) makes its international debut this May as Resorts World Sentosa’s first production of the year!
As is tradition, Super Mommy will be starring a number of local actors, including former radio deejay Lin You Fa, Queen of Theme Songs Chriz Tong, rising star Benjamin Josiah Tan, and actor Jaspers Lai, who will be playing a drag role. Eight child performers who were handpicked by Hong Kong actress Nancy Sit will also be part of the production. Together, they’ll form a three generation household grappling with relatable day to day issues, from maintaining a strong work-life balance, to the onset of dementia, and even the treatment of domestic helpers.
Super Mommy’s Mandarin title refers to how the family brings in Indonesian helper Eny to assist the house when Grandpa’s dementia deteriorates. Little do they know that Eny will do more than just help out, as she becomes the glue to hold the family together, playing the titular ‘Super Mommy’ when they need it most. Playing Eny will be Taiwanese theatre actress and singer Luo Mei Ling, who is reprising her role after starring in critically acclaimed runs of the show back in Taiwan. Besides Mei Ling, Super Mommy will be led by accomplished Taiwanese creatives Lang Tsu Yun and Kay Huang Yun Ling as director and music director respectively.
Within the local cast, You Fa will play the dementia ridden Grandpa, while host and comedian Jaspers Lai will play his wife, the domineering and sassy Grandma. Jaspers has previously starred in RWS’ Ge Tai – The Musical alongside Chriz and You Fa, and this will mark the first time he will be playing a drag role. In an interview with him, he expresses his excitement at this opportunity in fully expressing a fresh perspective on drag: “I’m completely new to drag so I can’t really compare myself to veterans like Jack Neo as Liang Po Po. Being an actor born in the 80s, I hope my portrayal will be able to represent issues women face from my generation and beyond. Drag isn’t simply putting on women’s clothing; it’s about fully embodying a woman’s spirit as well, and I think this is a great learning opportunity for me.”
In preparing for the role, Jaspers has even come up with a fascinating and convincing backstory for his character: “The difference between doing theatre and film is that in theatre, you have so much more time to work with the directors and fully realize your onstage character. The story I came up with for Grandma is that she was Miss Chinatown 1973, and when she was born, has a birthmark resembling Singapore, sealing her destiny to grow up tall and into a stunning model, and marry a host!”
Meanwhile, Chriz Tong will be playing the family’s working Mother, while Benjamin Josiah Tan will be playing her husband. Despite being best known for his roles in local television and film, Benjamin was actually originally a business student, before taking on professional theatre training in Los Angeles at the Lee Strasberg Institute. Says Benjamin: “While on exchange in Portugal I realized I was very unhappy doing Business. I decided to graduate, and seek the opinions of people like Adrian Pang on how I should move on to pursue an acting career. Adrian recommended Lasalle to me, but I decided I wanted a clean break from the local scene and put myself in an environment that would expedite my growth both as an actor and as a person.”
For Benjamin, this will mark the second time he will appear onstage in a musical, after a school production of Chicago, and is ecstatic about taking on the role and getting out of his comfort zone. Says Benjamin: “One of my main goals this year was to return to the stage, and I agreed immediately upon being asked to take on this role. I’m my own harshest critic, but I always want to push myself out of my comfort zone and take on new challenges. Hopefully, this will open even more doors for me to do musicals in future!”
Benjamin concludes: “Even though I don’t have firsthand experience of it, I hope audiences walk away from this musical and see the difficulties of being a woman in society. There are many strong female figures I look up to and I’ve seen many of them end up losing potential opportunities because of the prejudice surrounding them. When I watched Super Mommy in Taiwan, I cried because of how moving it was.”
Without a doubt, Super Mommy looks to be a step up from previous RWS productions, and audience members can expect tense, dramatic moments, tear jerkers, and an energetic, soulful soundtrack that will take you on a journey of love, acceptance and the power of family. There are relatable themes and moments aplenty in RWS’ first new show of 2018, and we’re sure that this stellar cast can only do justice to this musical when it hits our shores this May.
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Super Mommy plays at the Resorts World Theatre from 18th May to 22nd June 2018. Tickets available from RWS
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