Theater to stage prod'n in September

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s most successful homegrown stage musical is getting an encore presentation.

Singapore Repertory Theater will stage “Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress” in September, to coincide with the Intl. Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings here.

Tuner originally was staged as part of Esplanade — Theaters on the Bay’s opening festival in October 2002. It ran again in September 2003 to auds topping 55,000. It returns to Esplanade Sept. 8.

“We are very proud of this musical,” says SRT’s artistic director, Gaurav Kripalani. “In many ways, it defines what SRT is and what Singapore is becoming — a place where the best artistic talent from Singapore and abroad congregate, collaborate and create.

” ‘Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress’ is a unique Asian story, based on historical events, then crafted and presented for an international audience. It is emphatically stamped with a ‘Made in Singapore’ label,” Kripalani continues.

The story of the infamous empress dowager features Kit Chan in the title role, supported by popular local artists Hossan Leong, Sebastian Tan and Cynthia Lee.

Told through the eyes of the artist commissioned to paint the empress’s portrait, the musical recounts Empress CiXi’s rise from concubine to ruthless ruler — before unmasking the woman behind the painted face.

Cultural Medallion recipient Dick Lee penned the music; Olivier Award winner Stephen Clark wrote the lyrics. The director, Steven Dexter, has worked with SRT on numerous musicals in the past, including “Sing to the Dawn,” “Honk!” and “A Twist of Fate.”

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