A musical theatre production creates access to the arts experience for students.
MEGAT Danish Mohd Fozae never thought that he would one day be the lead performer in a musical.
“This has been a dream come true. I’ve always loved dancing and singing, and through this musical I learnt how to be a good performer.
“As a student, I can only learn from taking part in a production like this,” said the SMK Damansara Utama fifth former.
The musical, titled Summer Love, was SMK Damansara’s first production. It set a perfect stage for students to nurture and showcase their talent in the performing arts.
The musical was a 1950s throwback featuring teenage angst on love, life and friendship. Held at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre, Petaling Jaya, the show was put together as a fundraising initiative for repairs and upgrade of the cluster school located in Petaling Jaya.
The team comprised 23 cast and 66 crew, all of whom were students trying their hand at staging a musical of this proportion.
Megat Danish who played a character named Danney Zucco, said that he looked forward to the practices every week.
“I loved seeing everyone dance. That’s what I would miss most when this play ends,” he said.
While Megat Danish said that his plans after the musical were to focus on the SPM examinations, he’d “really like to explore more in the area of performing arts and theatre.”
Megat Danish said that balancing practices and studies had been challenging.
“I really thank my parents and teachers for being there for me. Six months ago, I was afraid to tell my father that I was going for musical practices. I thought he would be angry, and that he would tell me to focus on my studies.
“Unexpectedly, he came and watched me perform. Then after the show, he said that I did a good job. This musical has been a life-changing experience for me,” he said.
Fellow female lead Gabrielle Ann Jeremiah, 16, who was in her element, shone playing sassy character Gabbie Rizoe. Agreeing with Megat Danish, she said the biggest challenge was balancing her studies and preparation for the musical.
“Practices were held almost every weekend from late last year and they became more frequent as we got nearer the show, so it was quite tiring.
“Plus, I missed many of my tuition classes. After this, I’m going to have to catch up,” she added.
For Gabrielle Ann, being reprimanded by instructors may have been unpleasant but she said that it was what brought all the cast members together.
“So being scolded would be the best part of this whole experience! When someone gets an earful, we are there for each other and we formed a bond this way,” she said.
She discovered that she liked singing after joining the Berjaya TeenStar Challenge two years ago.
“Since I really liked singing, I thought, why not get some professional coaching? So I started going for singing classes. I hope this musical is a stepping stone to more things in the performing arts scene for me because I really enjoy the entire process,” she said.
Ooi Siew Bee, who watched the performance along with several other retired teachers from SMK Damansara Utama was impressed with the upbeat musical that used songs from Grease to build it’s storyline.
“The show was very lively. The students have all these hidden talents! The storyline was great and it made us all feel young again!” she said.
School principal Zulaika A. Rahman said that the project, made possible with the help from parents, unlocked the treasure of SMK Damansara Utama’s young minds and talents.
“It encourages them to step out of their comfort zones and showcase their artistic skills. It is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am so moved to see my dear students take on the challenge of cast and crew of the Summer Love production,” she said.
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) chairperson Datuk Ahmad Shalimin Ahmad Shaffie expressed his appreciation to the administration, teachers, parents as well as organising committee of Summer Love who worked relentlessly for the musical fundraiser.
“I am grateful that we have the PTA and parent support group members who continuously and selflessly assist the school in a multitude of programmes.
“The ultimate aim is to encourage and equip students to further strive for excellence. Hopefully, our sincere efforts result in bringing us even closer together,” he added.