For the past eight months, Istana Budaya’s main stage Panggung Sari was closed for upgrading work. The work was completed early this month. It received a facelift in the form of an audio system, electrical work and audiences’ seats, among other things.
Now the prestigious venue is ready, dress rehearsals are already in progress for its first production, OlaBola The Musical.
Directed by Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina, and based on the 2016 hit movie of the same name, OlaBola will premiere on Feb 8, and run until March 11.
Datuk Mohamed Juhari Shaarani, director of Istana Budaya said: “OlaBola The Musical promises usage of technology like you’ve never seen before in a stage show. And this is the first show at Istana Budaya, which will play for 29 days.”
Juhari said this during a press conference to launch the 2018 Istana Budaya upcoming schedule, which was attended by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
According to Juhari, Istana Budaya received more than 50 requests to stage performances there. Out of the 50, Juhari and team have shortlisted 20 performances, both local and international acts.
One of the oversea performances Malaysian audiences can look forward to is Mystic India, The World Tour – which presents the song and dance of India in traditional form as well as Bollywood style. This is slated for April 5-16.
Another international showcase to look out for is Mummenschanz, a Swiss mask theatre group that plays with strange masks, creating forms with light and shadow. The show is tentatively happening from Oct 24-26.
But there are more than enough local programmes to keep theatre enthusiasts happy. For one, 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO). To celebrate this momentous occasion, Istana Budaya is featuring a two-day NSO concert on Sept 14-15.
NSO conductor Mustafa Fuzer Nawi declined to reveal what he has planned for the night, but he did recall the time when NSO performed in Japan – playing Tan Sri P. Ramlee numbers – and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
He reminisced: “It is one of the best memories NSO has. Over the years we have accompanied many artistes at Istana Budaya and in many genres – classical, opera and rock.”
Speaking of rock, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Datuk Ramli Sarip and Datuk Khadijah Ibrahim’s sweet, sweet, song Doa Buat Kekasih. The two esteemed performers are joining forces again for a one-night only concert on Oct 6.
Also worth mentioning is the KRU 25, The Musical which will be staged on May 4-6.
Besides OlaBola The Musical, other theatre productions based on films are aplenty this year. Among them are Baik Punya Cilok! (July 26-28), Cinta Pertama The Musical (Nov 2-4) and Pengantin Popular Sebuah Muzikal (Nov 17-25).
In his speech, Mohamed Nazri stated: “With the completion of the upgrading work on Panggung Sari, Istana Budaya is able to realise the government’s mission to promote tourism and culture through its varied programmes in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year in 2020.”