Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Many Factors Here At Play

The fantastic Tria Aziz won for Best Musical Performer in this year's Boh Cameronian Arts Awards! Curious as to how good she is? Check out this clip from last November's production of The Edge! The first half is with Peter Ong, fellow nominee for Best Performer; the second climactic half is Tria on her own, in one of the hea-twrenching final scenes from the show. ***WATCH OUT FOR SPOILERS!*** 

Book, music, lyrics, musical arrangement and musical direction by Nick Choo; directed by Sabrina Hassan; presented by Monday Show Entertainment. Big big congratulations to Tria and everybody else involved in the show, and to every other nominee and award recipient!!

A Round of Applause, Please...!

Hey all! Yay! So the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards has come and gone, and it was a really cool night. Firstly, let's get the good news out of the way: The Edge (and me, by proxy) won three big awards in the Musical Theatre category, for Best Original Book/Lyrics and Best Musical Direction (the latter being the closest we could get to Best Original Music, which didn't exist!); and the wonderful Tria Aziz won for Best Musical Performer! So yipppeeee!!! I'm a touch disappointed that we didn't win for Best Ensemble, but that's okay - it went to the team behind The Producers, and they're my friends too, arf! So all in all, jobs well done, boys and girls!!

My mum and dad accompanied me to the event, which was both good and not-so-good at the same time... good because it meant they've gradually become more supportive of my endeavours; not-so-good because it meant... well, you know, having to keep them company for most of the night rather than leave them alone, since they're not part of the arts world and don't know anybody, heh. But it was good that they got to learn a few new names in the industry, as well as got to see Edwin Sumun in his flamboyant alter-ego, She-lah, complete with curvy sequin dress and giant bee-hive hairdo. So... yeah... :)

So I'm going to leave you now with some pics from Sunday. Enjoy!!

Before the ceremony. Don't judge my outfit... there was a
60s pop theme, and this was the best I could do.
Onstage for my Best Original Book/Lyrics win. Sharing the stage
(however briefly) with local celeb Hans Isaac. Whoo-hoo. Star struck.
The host and hostess for the evening, Harith Iskandar and the fah-bulous She-lah!
All colours at the end.
Me and proud Edge producer Dom.
Me and my sexy angel!
Reunion with the proud Edge team! Pic courtesy of Safia Hanifah.
And here we are again! (Thanks, Safia!)
General overview of the event! Courtesy of Kakiseni/Malik Taufiq.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Of Jazz Songs, Workshops, Dear Friends and Frenemies

Wassup!! Whew, it's been a busy past few days: first off, I worked on a couple of demos for my dear friend Janet Lee's proposed debut album. She's a pretty cool and very talented jazz singer, so it was fun coming up with a couple of songs that are slightly different from my usual fare, in that there were blues and jazz chords and swing rhythms and stuff. I won't give too much away too soon, but hopefully at least one of my tunes will make it onto her album, and then I can proudly share it for the whole world to hear!! Until then, I'll have to leave you in suspense, arf arf!

Yesterday, today and tomorrow (Sunday) I've been/will be presenting the Short+Sweet Musical workshops at KLPAC with another dear friend, Llew. (Actually, presenting is a bit of a stretch, since Llew's the knowledgeable one and I'm more window dressing than anything else, heh.) It's been fun, albeit the turnout hasn't been as solid as I'd hoped... but never mind, we still do the best we can with who we have!! I'll post up a couple of pics and stuff as and when KLPAC shares them with us. Until then, I'll have to leave you in suspense, arf arf! Yes, I copied and pasted that last sentence from the previous paragraph. Snort.

Oooo yesterday was a lot of fun (and by yesterday I mean Friday, even though it's technically Sunday as I write this): I managed a short and sweet catch-up session with Beattie, Carol and Scott, who were here on a short visit on the way back from their longer visit to Sri Lanka! So I picked them up and we headed to Mid Valley, where we had a lovely sushi lunch, chit-chatted over ice-cream, and... well, that was it, as I had to head home and get to the abovementioned workshops, heh. But it was fun while it lasted, and I'll be seeing them again real soon when I visit Perth next month!! So yay!!! Here are some pics from yesterday's lunch!

Watchoo doin' there, Scott??
Tomorrow (Sunday!) is also another exciting day as it's the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards in the evening at the National Stadium in KL! So that should be pretty fun!! We're up for a certain number of categories, so fingers crossed we win something (but it's an honour just to be nominated, haha!!!). I recently did an interview with a local news website, FZ.com, together with my main 'rival' in the musical theatre category (my "frenemy", as the article so proudly and publicly proclaims), and the story was published online today. You can check it out here, but below are the pics accompanying it (all of which are copyrighted to FZ), which I think are pretty cool:

No, not posed at all.
Finally, tonight I attended the "gala night" of some of my mates' new theatre group, which was held at an art gallery in KL. I rocked up fashionably late, but I've learnt that it's only fashionable if people notice you arrived late, bwaa haaa haa haaa haaa!! Still, it was fun, and I managed to take some candid snapshots at the free photo souvenir booth alongside an old friend and a couple of new buddies. Check out our pics! Sorry for the lower resolution... the original strip of photos they gave us was the size of your regular bookmark!

Check back in soon for the updates on the Cameronian Arts Awards tomorrow night!! Oooer. I always recall this hilarious (and scarily true) line from The Nanny: "Too many nominations scare me. Can you imagine being up for all those awards and not winning even one?" Oy vey!!! Till next time!!

**Edited to add a higher-resolution pic, courtesy of Snap Studio:

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Rising Son (and Nick)

Here are some pics of The Rising Son musical that I played in over the weekend (all pics courtesy of Joshua Ben David):

And here's a pic of me with our violist, Joanne (who also played for The Edge):

Monday, 21 April 2014

Of Rising Sons, Zebras and Birthday Cake

Hey everyone! Happy Easter (just barely... seven minutes till midnight on Monday, haha!!) It's been a busy Easter weekend for me. We finally got to the performance nights of The Rising Son, this musical that I've been involved in since February as firstly rehearsal pianist and then keyboardist. We had one show last night and another tonight, and it was really, really well-received. I'm glad to have met so many new people through this production, including new musicians in the orchestra, who (you betcha) I'm surely going to call on in the future when it comes to new NickChoo shows, heheh heheh. Here's a pic of the stage and the pretty awesome set, from the vantage point of the orchestra pit:

Pic courtesy of Joanne Aw!
I've also been spending time editing the script for Zak Zebra's African Safari with the aim of pitching it to KLPAC to produce as a kids' musical, and this involved recording a buncha new demos. And this coming week there will be more music-making in store as I prepare for this year's production of Captain Quokka's Adventures on the High Seas in Perth. Whew!! Busy times ahead, indeed! Here's a new (abridged, i.e. shortened) demo from Zak Zebra, if you're interested!

I'll be back soon with more pics and updates. Till next time, here's a pic of me on March 24, my birthday, being given a surprise by the cast and crew of The Rising Son after rehearsal. Awww! Cake!!!

Pic courtesy of Sher Wyn!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Of Birds, Organic Food, Dogs and Freelancing

Today has been a good day. Apart from completing a pretty overdue piano/vocal score for a local choir that's planning on doing a 'songs from musicals' concert in August, I also managed to hang out with Terry, Debs, Chan Ghee (who's back from NZ) and Chrisse! We saw Rio 2 (so-so, I'm ambivalent about it, entertaining enough I suppose) and then had dinner at Opika, this rather lovely (though pricey) organic-food place at 1Utama. Then they headed off for movie night at Terry's while I came home to take Ashley for a stroll. Poor Ash got a bit traumatised today because it was Go To The Vet day, and they even drew blood from her, which I think was traumatising for her and me. The blood test is to check on her general health (though Doc says she's overweight, much like her owner, oy vey), so I'm optimistic that, hopefully, everything will be fine.

Anyway. So I'm fast realising that when you're a freelancer, it feels like you've got much less time on your hands because the tasks I have to do are many and varied; music, musicals, interviews, articles, etc. For instance, on Thursday I interviewed the lovely Marion D'Cruz of Five Arts Centre, a theatre group that turns 30(!) this year. Read the interview here! And then on Friday an article appeared in the New Straits Times newspaper on yours truly, whoohoo! And much to my surprise, it's a full-page story too!! Check it out, peeps, and you can read the online version here!!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Of Interviews, Asking and Telling

Hey everyone! Whew, busy week, running around conducting interviews for more articles (such as this one, on an upcoming musical that, sob sob, I'm not a part of, waaah!). And I've also been running around doing interviews thanks to the nominations recently for The Edge; just yesterday I did one with an online radio station, which was a lot of fun. Here's a pic of me and my frenemy Onn San (arf arf), with our host Adrian in orange. During the interview, Adrian ribbed me quite a bit about the reported fact that some of The Edge was inspired by Supernatural (true story), and I tried really hard to defend myself and even refute it, but it was, y'know, kinda hard when I was wearing a shirt featuring cartoon versions of the brothers Dean and Sam:

Speaking of musicals, the other night my good friend and collaborator Sarah in Aussieland sent me some draft lyrics for the musical that we're working on, Change. And wouldn't you know it, I already had a melody for the same project that, somehow, through some awesome synergy, managed to fit Sarah's lyrics with just a few tweaks here and there! Quite awesome. So if you haven't already checked this out on Facebook, do have a listen to the rough demo I recorded that night itself after Sarah emailed me the lyrics (which she says she churned out in less than 5 minutes, meaning this song was composed, really, in under 20 minutes, all in all!). Lyrics below. Enjoy, and check back in soon for more updates!!!

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Music by Nick Choo 
Lyrics by Sarah Courtis & Nick Choo 
© 2014 

If you can’t see what’s right in front of you, then
It might not be an issue. If all you can see is what’s on the surface
Then, maybe it will be fine, for all that matters is fitting in, and
Conforming to what is right. If you don’t show them what’s inside,
They’ll never know what you hide.

Don’t ask, don’t tell. It’s what they teach in school all the time.

Just pray you won’t go to hell:
Hold your head up high, put on your mask and stand in line.

For society to work there are measures that have to be taken,
Like follow the rules, do your job, love your family and fit in.
For anything different must be the devil at work,
Because true believers don’t have to stand out:
They keep their own secrets and thoughts deep within
And never reveal their sin.

Don’t ask, don’t tell. It’s the right thing to do, I’m told.
Just try to quell the darkness that’s taken hold!

I know I’m not what matters. My life won’t count at all.
So why’s my heart in tatters for following the rules I’ve been taught?
You know you love your firstborn, that little life in your arms,
So why reject his cries, send him away? Send her away?
Don’t listen, don’t argue, don’t think for yourself at all.
Just accept, don’t look back, don’t look back,
Don’t let them see your tears, your fears, your tears!

Don’t tell! Though we’re here in this day and age.
My heart’s a well That’s overflowing with rage,
Dismay, disillusionment: all the above;
And more confusing, it’s hurting with love.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Cammie Nom Nom Noms!

Hey everyone! I'm back! An exciting update – tonight (well, yesterday, really, since it's past midnight now... let's just say 'Wednesday night') was the Nominees Party for this year's Boh Cameronian Arts Awards, Malaysia's equivalent of ... well, I'd like to say Tony's, but maybe we're not quite at that level yet... but it's kinda like the Finleys in WA, so... close enough, arf.

It was held at Alexis @ The Gardens Mall at Mid Valley, and it was a pretty fun time. The highlight of the evening, of course, was the announcement of the nominees and their respective categories, and it is with regard to this that I'm proud to say that... (wait, let me just copy and paste from Facebook... I swear, I'm getting lazier by the minute...):

My musical THE EDGE, which was presented by Monday Show Entertainment and staged at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre in November 2013, has been nominated for 6 out of 7 Musical Theatre categories for the 2014 Boh Cameronian Arts Awards!! The categories are:

* Best Original Music (Nick Choo)
* Best Musical Direction (Nick Choo)
* Best Musical Performer (2 nominees: Peter Ong & Tria Aziz)
* Best Direction (Sabrina Hassan)
* Best Ensemble (Peter Ong, Tria Aziz, Nadia Aqilah, Joshua Gui, Safia Hanifah & Sean Chong)
* Best Design and Best Tech

The category we DIDN'T get nominated for was 'Best Choreography'... possibly because the show didn't have any! Heartiest congratulations to everyone involved in the show, as well as to the other nominees! And thanks to Kakiseni for the nominees event tonight! For the full list, click here!

So there you have it! Thank you to Dominic and Ben and Sabrina and the cast and crew of the show... now fingers crossed we win a thing or two during the actual awards ceremony on the 27th of this month!! :P

I leave you now with some pics from tonight's event, courtesy of my dear friend Sheryl (who doesn't know I'm pilfering these off FB. See, what did I tell you? Lazier by the minute.) Enjoy!!

With Sheryl and her partner Hisham
The nominees (three of us behind the white sign), with event representatives. Yup, of all the nominees within our category tonight, the three of us were the only ones present. Oh, the state of Malaysian musical theatre... *shakes head and tsk-tsks grievously*
Sheryl and Michael XV. Those are his initials, not Michael the 15th.
Um. Yeah, I dunno what was going on, either. Bye-bye now!!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Articles, Playlists and Frustrating Finales

Wassup, folks! Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Just trudging along, singing mah song. Yesterday and today I'm back in the office in KL for my sub-editing part-time work for Men's Health and Elle magazine (yup, the latter is the women's mag, but I'm sure it's no secret that women's mags can be very, very informative and entertaining), and I'm supplementing my income with some freelance writing. If you're interested, you can check out a couple of theatre articles I've written for The Malaysian Insider: previews on Joanne Kam's comedy cabaret, and an up-and-coming theatre company run by some really experienced peeps.

I've also lately been editing the video footage from November's production of The Edge and uploading them to Youtube. Check out a couple of songs from the show below, and if you'd like to see and hear more, check out the playlist. I'll be uploading more videos when I've the time to get 'em all edited and tweaked, so do check back in every so often, k?

In the meantime, I'm still working on a vocal score for a local choir; editing one of Jenny de Reuck's scripts for a proposed local children's theatre project (more info on this as and when), and very soon will be embarking on revisiting the music for Captain Quokka's Adventures on the High Seas for Perth's children's theatre production this year. So yeah, it's been a busyish time!!

Oh yeah, happy day after April Fool's day! You know what the biggest joke yesterday was? The finale to the nine-season-long sitcom How I Met Your Mother. We all know I've been following it since day one, yes? Well, the last episode has incited a whole lot of vitriol from long-time fans. Fortunately I'm not one of them, I'm embracing it with a wistful acceptance, though I do wish the conclusion had been a whole lot more satisfying than what we were served. Oh well. It's just a TV show, unlike, y'know, the apparently immortal Supernatural. Arf arf!!! Oh whatever. Get on The Edge: