October 19, 2023
HANOI – Broadway-style musicals are a new way to develop the Việt Nam Youth Theatre. Currently, the theatre has produced musical theatre shows such as Sóng (Wave); Rồi Tôi Sẽ Lớn (I Will Grow Up) and Trại Hoa Vàng (Yellow Flower Camp).
Director Lê Ánh Tuyết, head of the theatre’s Singing and Playing Troupe, spoke about her effort to make musical theatre shows.
What elements are needed to make Broadway-style musical theatre shows?
It is combination of many factors including director, musician, choreographer and actor. They are the most important roles to make a musical theatre show. Each artist in the team needs to be skillful in acting, music and dancing. Sound and light are also vital to produce good musical theatre.
We have to adapt a literary script to a musical script. Lyrics, music and body language are factors telling the story, expressing dramatic situation.
What is the biggest difficulty for you in producing musical theatre? And how do you tackle it?
Musical theatre performers typically have some voice, dance and acting training. But there has not yet been any college in Việt Nam teaching acting for musicals. Breaking into musical theatre can seem like an impossible task, and casting is the biggest difficulty.
It took me three months to work with each performer when I made Trại Hoa Vàng. Some performers are popular in dramas, but singing in the musical theatre can still be a big challenge for them.
Musical theatre is increasingly popular among audiences, so I think that it is necessary to train musical theatre performers.
Actually, the theatre is preparing for the future development of musical theatre. Currently, we are training performers by letting them act in the productions. But we need to train musical theatre performers more professionally, aiming to have qualified performing artists.
There are long-running musical theatre shows in the world. Do you dream of making such shows in Việt Nam?
I have dreamed about it. The Youth Theatre has made musical theatre shows for years and has done research to target young audiences.
We had a chance to watch performances at Shiki Theatre in Japan, or The Lion King, and Cats. They are must-see shows and have been performed for many years. We see long queues at Broadway theatres to see them.
Young Vietnamese audience members have begun to like musical theatre in recent years, but there are not many musical theatre shows.
The Youth Theatre is one of a few theatres to produce musical theatre shows annually. The theatre’s Broadway-style musical theatre shows are more popular than opera among our audience.
We are making efforts and hopefully we will have long-running shows in the future.
Why do you make musical theatre shows?
I used to be a singer and a member of a girl band. My work is music. I decided to study to be a theatre director at Hà Nội Academy of Theatre and Cinema.
The more I learned, the more I realised that drama is interesting. A drama can raise timely social issues, but the weakness of drama is that it does not charm viewers.
When I made my first works, I immediately thought about musical theatre because I wanted to take advantage of my music knowledge to make an attractive show.
I like challenging myself and it is great to make these shows. VNS