Singapore – June 2015 – Singin’ in the Rain opens on 9 July at Marina Bay Sands’ MasterCard Theatres. This production of the first Hollywood musical will shower you, literally, with 12,000 litres of water on stage. Eliteror had the opportunity to speak with the lead cast – Grant Almirall who plays Don Lockwood, Bethany Dickson who plays Kathy Seldon and Steven Van Wyk who plays Cosmo Brown.
On Getting The Role
Grant: Ecstatic. Really really excited. Especially because the audition process was quite intense. It’s great when you work hard in an industry and you get the validation that you are right for this role.
Bethany: These productions come from the UK and they have such specific requirements to fill. We have got to have certain characteristics in order for them to mold us to become these roles. Sometimes the chances are so slender that you wonder if you will get the role but when you are everything they are looking for, that’s just the coolest feeling in the world.
Steve: When I got the phone call, I was driving. When I saw the name on the phone, I pulled over. I cried in the car… These are dream roles. They are such iconic dream roles. This is special because this is the team from the West End in London so it’s not people who have favourites. It’s people whom we completely don’t know, who just said we want you.
A New Experience
Bethany: In Sound of Music, I played a vocal role and I did some movement but it wasn’t as physically challenging as Singin’ In The Rain, so it was quite a difficult transition from one to another. I still sing but it is not as vocally demanding. It requires a lot more preparation now because I have to do full-on physical and vocal warm-ups to make sure I am warm. Previously, I only had to warm-up my voice and ankles.
Steve: I have mainly been a dancer. I did ballet and contemporary dance. Now I choreograph or do management on shows. I’ve been on ensemble before, so the biggest move is that I have such a big role. As a performer, I feel incredible. I feel incredibly lucky and I absolutely love doing this.
Steve: My favourite scene is the final scene, which is a tribute to Gene Kelly. We are dressed like him and it rains on stage, which is a magical surreal thing. It’s about paying homage to this man who made an indelible mark on dance history and film history. The way those things intertwine, I think it’s a really beautiful tribute.
Bethany: It is so fun. I feel like a naughty child. You get to dance in the rain… On stage, in a building.
We Learn Humility From Them
Bethany: I’m definitely a singer, actress, and dancer, in that order. I haven’t had the opportunity to dive into a really meaty role in terms of acting. I’m not confident in all three. Something’s gonna look a bit weak but that’s the greatest thing about these shows because it gives you the opportunity to strengthen. I’ve been dancing all my life. I did ballet and I always dreamed I would be a ballerina one day. But when things became realistic, I thought no way do I have a ballerina’s body.
Steve: You always think something is lacking. Dance is the thing that I love most. As I get older and as I start to do more musicals, I start to feel more confident in the other things. But, I will probably go back to what I do after this because there are not that many roles for a short comedic dancer. I just gotta be realistic. This is a great role and I love doing it but I don’t expect to be doing Phantom of the Opera next.
Bethany: I sleep for 8-10 hours every night. Sometimes even longer. It’s really important. I make sure I drink a certain amount of water everyday and I make sure I eat enough of the right types of things to sustain me through a show. It’s incredibly exhausting and if you aren’t healthy, you can hurt yourself and shorten your lifespan as a performer. Especially in a show like this that is so demanding on so many levels, you have to take precautions and take care of yourself.
Steve: I sleep for 8 hours. Part of the job is recovery. I like going to the gym. I like to do yoga and swim. Good for breath control because you have to sing and dance at the same time.
Bethany: I learnt a lot about vocal preservation. Vocal fatigue and exhaustion can result in losing your voice. Sometimes your voice just has moods. Each person’s voice is completely different, so it’s just finding what works for you. Steaming helps in moisturising vocal chords. Make sure you do your vocal warm-ups.
Introvert or Extrovert
Steve: I am the most extroverted and wild!
Bethany: I’ve done personality analysis before and I came out by 3% more introverted than extroverted. A lot of people think I am wild and crazy and I am. I love people and I am sociable. I am very internal and I am a big thinker. Theatre people are cooped up together in productions when you are travelling. Majority of theatre people are more open to becoming close to people. It’s funny because this industry requires creative expressive people and a lot of artistic people can be introverts.
Grant: I don’t like big crowds. I just wanna be at home. In big social situations, I like talking one on one with people. When there are a lot of people I struggle because I don’t know who to talk to.
Steve: That’s why it’s such a nice combination of people to be with because we all understand the need to be quiet alone and we can all go crazy together.
They Love Singapore!
Steve: I like the food best. I like the night markets. It’s nice especially after you have done a show at night and you are still quite hyped on adrenaline and you want to sit down and have a beer and eat some nice food. I love satay. I like sitting at Makansutra. It’s so beautiful there. Singapore is beautiful and clean as well. It’s so beautifully-designed, the urban planning is so great. Everything seems user-friendly. Transport is amazing.
Bethany: Everything in Singapore, the whole vibe always feels so chilled. Everyone’s just so calm and go about their business in the day. It’s safe and it’s like everything is at your fingertips. Great food. Great coffee. Friendly people. I don’t feel rushed and panicked. It feels calmer. Almost as if any possible solution to a problem has been thought of.
Do They Miss Home?
Bethany: Yes I cry sometimes. I do but it’s fine. I just go for a hug and then I feel better. I bring some cards from home. I have a card from my husband in my purse, which I read now and then. I bring a journal, a prayer diary that I write in everyday.
Grant: It’s a little easier with Skype and Facetime. You can still have contact with those people. It’s hard when you are travelling though because of the time difference. It is easier but it’s still hard because you don’t have them with you.
Steve: We do miss home but we just don’t like expressing our emotions as much as Bethany.
Why Singaporeans Will Love Singin’ In The Rain
Steve: Fun and delight with magical dancing.
Grant: Romance, comedy, drama.
Bethany: The lyrics in the title song go, “the sun’s in my heart and i’m ready for love.” That encapsulates in one sentence, how you are gonna feel. Joyful, magical, spectacular.
Catch Singin In the Rain from 9-26 July 2015. Tickets are available from Sistic.
Pictures courtesy of Base Entertainment Asia.
This article was contributed by June Lim HZ, a Singaporean emcee, actress and singer. She won the ‘Mrs Community Ambassador Award’ in Mrs Singapore World 2014/2015 pageant. A mother to 3 sons, she believes in living her dreams and continues to pursue whatever her heart leads her to. Connect with her on Facebook