Musical Theatre Limited (MTL) successfully presented the first-ever musical about Dr Lim Boon Keng, a prominent Singaporean historical figure responsible for helping to shape Singapore’s history during the colonial period – whom many may know as the namesake of Boon Keng MRT Station.
In commemoration of Singapore’s bicentennial this year, ‘Lim Boon Keng, The Musical’, which ran from 10 to 13 October at the Victoria Theatre, traced the ups and downs of a man full of ideas and ideals, as he reflects on his life and his philosophy in the early 20th Century Singapore, and reveals his deeds and contributions through Singapore’s colonial times, the second world war and its aftermath.
Dr Lim Boon Keng was the first Chinese boy to receive a Queen’s Scholarship as he returned to Singapore in 1892 with a first-class honour in medicine. He founded schools, championed education for girls, and rallied public support on many public causes of his day. For all his good work, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire, and yet he was accused of being a spy and collaborator of the Japanese during the Second World War.
The script and lyrics of the musical were written by Stella Kon, an established playwright whose best-known work is the monodrama, ‘Emily of Emerald Hill’.
What’s more, she is also the great-grand-daughter of Dr Lim Boon Keng, so much so that most parts of the musical were drawn from her family memories as well as historical records, to properly honour the legacy of Dr Lim.
Jeremiah Choy, a recipient of the Best Supporting Actor for Life Awards this year and with over 20 years of theatre experience as director and actor, was the esteemed director of the musical.
Not forgetting, Singapore’s renowned multi-faceted performer, Sebastian Tan, who celebrated the 10th anniversary of his well-loved and critically-acclaimed stand-up musical comedy series Broadway Beng® with sold-out concerts at Capitol Theatre, played the main role Dr Lim Boon Keng in the musical.
Starring alongside Sebastian was George Chan – who played Song Ong Siang and served as Choreographer, Audrey Luo – who played Dr Lim’s first wife Margaret Huang, and Celine Rosa Tan – who played Dr Lim’s second wife Grace Yin.
Meanwhile, the music for the musical was done by show producer and songwriter, Desmond Moey, and directed and arranged by Elaine Chan.
Guest-of-Honour, Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, graced the gala reception on Saturday (12 Oct) alongside MTL’s board members, esteemed guest, media friends, and musical patrons.