KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Following hit productions such as Sepet The Musical, award-winning musical theatre company Liver & Lung are presenting a brand new show this week: Melur The Musical, featuring seasoned actors Tria Aziz and Kai Chalmers and up-and-coming musical theatre stars Mila Mohsin and Anwar Rusdini. In 2022, Liver & Lung was one of twenty companies to receive the BOH Cameronian Grant for New Productions. As a result, Shafeeq Shajahan, winner of Best Director in 2020, has been busy devising a brand new musical adaptation of a local legend: the Pontianak.
Set in colonial Malaya, Melur The Musical depicts the spell-binding story of two women, Melur and Cempaka, as they navigate British rule. Things take a cruel turn when Cempaka’s husband, the British High Commissioner, commits a murderous crime and the characters experience the wrath of a supernatural creature, now a blood thirsty Pontianak determined for revenge.
Tria Aziz, three-time BOH Cameronian recipient, plays the titular role of Melur. Known for her vocal chops, Tria has won multiple Best Actress awards for her work in various Malaysian musical productions. “Liver & Lung’s musical style is innovative, you can’t decide whether to love them for being so creative or hate them for doing things before you’ve thought of them!,” Tria comments.
The role of Cempaka will be played by Mila Mohsin. “The story of the Pontianak is one that is close to my heart as my late father and I cherished watching films together and, in particular, felt for stories of wronged women,” Mila adds. Following the footsteps of her mother Tiara Jacquelina, Mila will be making a debut with Liver & Lung for this will be her first performance in an original Malaysian musical.
Kai Chalmers, who starred in Ola Bola The Musical, will be taking on the role of Wilson, Cempaka’s British-born husband. A graduate from The Arts Education School in London, Kai has always been passionate about horror and is excited to play an antagonistic role. “Kai brings a nuanced and poignant approach to playing a villain and I can’t wait for you to see him in action,” Shafeeq says.
The role of Si Aman will be played by Anwar Rusdini, an accomplished actor/director who has featured in a number of television programmes with Astro such as Love Elsa and Sihir. “As a proud Malay actor, the character is right up my alley. I am honoured to be given the opportunity to contribute to his story with a company like Liver & Lung,” Anwar says. Anwar previously starred in Mud The Musical and Dato Seri at KLPAC.
“Since its establishment, Liver & Lung has been successful in producing crowd-pullers with a unique storytelling style. It is important that BOH Cameronian New Production Grant recipients like Liver & Lung produce shows like Melur The Musical, evoking excitement and curiosity, especially to get new audiences into our theatres,” Lylatul Qadrina, Vice President of Kaki Seni comments.
Liver & Lung is on a mission to grow. This production would mark its tenth original musical and Shafeeq is aiming high. “Melur The Musical is going to be epic. It’s a musical that’s as romantic as it’s terrifying, as tragic as it’s political and as educational as it’s moving. I have written musical theatre for ten years now but my mandate has always been the same. I owe a huge debt to the people and the stories that come before me. This is my homage to them,” he says.
“We have the most exciting cast, the most incredible music and, honestly, some of the best creatives collaborating across the world on this project.” Melur The Musical will feature original music and lyrics, inspired by traditional Malay folk songs and horror influences across generations. Shafeeq will compose the musical with frequent collaborators: Badrish, co-composer of Sepet The Musical, and Vasilis Konstantinides, Cypriot musician and pianist. The musical will be produced by Su En Hoh.
Melur the Musical plays from 16th to 26th February 2023 at PJPAC, Kuala Lumpur. Tickets available here
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