Topless cabaret Tropicana inspires Singapore musical

The poster for Tropicana The Musical, which will run from April 13 to 30, 2017, at the Capitol Theatre.
The poster for Tropicana The Musical, which will run from April 13 to 30, 2017, at the Capitol Theatre. PHOTO: TROPICANA THE MUSICAL

Famous topless club and cabaret venue Tropicana closed its doors nearly 30 years ago, but will be recreated next year in a musical about the Swinging Sixties in Singapore.

Tropicana The Musical is produced by veteran stage practitioner Tan Kheng Hua and will be staged from April 13 to 30 at the Capitol Theatre. The production cost is expected to be more than $750,000.

The rating - and whether there will be topless scenes - is still to be confirmed as playwright and Cultural Medallion recipient Haresh Sharma is still penning the book.

Beatrice Chia-Richmond directs while lyrics are by 20something playwright Joel Tan, who worked on last year's Wild Rice pantomime The Emperor's New Clothes.

Music is by Julian Wong, who composed The Theatre Practice's Liao Zhai Rocks. Jeffrey Tan choreographs.

The cast includes Brendon Fernandez as an entertainer while Seong Huixuan and Sharda Harrison are showgirls.  Mitch Lagos is the cabaret's host; Joshua Lim plays a busboy; Siti Khalijah Zainal plays a cashier  and Audrey Luo is the head of operations.  Also joining the line-up are Lim Yu-Beng,  Rizman Putra,  Ebi Shankara and Karen Tan.

The story is based on real and imagined accounts of the hopping nightspot in Scotts Road, which opened in 1966 and hosted nightly near-nude shows. It shut down in 1989 and was later demolished. Today, the space is occupied by retail and office complex Pacific Plaza.

Tickets for the musical are now on sale. Prices range from  $77 to $107 with discounts of up to 38 per cent for early bird buyers, but will go up closer to opening night.

akshitan@sph.com.sg

For details and tickets go to www.tropicanathemusical.com


Correction note: An earlier version of this article said that Julian Wong composed music for Toy Factory Productions' December Rains. This is incorrect. The story has been updated for accuracy.