Vendors of Singapura still unpaid

Singapura: The Musical, which stars David Bianco and Marian Santiago, was poorly received, with the cast reportedly performing to an almost-empty theatre at times.
Singapura: The Musical, which stars David Bianco and Marian Santiago, was poorly received, with the cast reportedly performing to an almost-empty theatre at times.PHOTO: SINGAPURA: THE MUSICAL

Two months after abrupt end, problems of Singapura: The Musical continue with outstanding fees owed to partners

Two vendors are still owed a total of at least $670,000 for their work on the troubled Singapura: The Musical, two months after the show cut short its run.

When the show closed abruptly on July 2, the show organisers said that payment contracts would be honoured.

One of the vendors saying she is owed money is marketing consultant Johanna Toh. She is owed $18,000. She has taken legal action to recover her unpaid fees, due since March.

The 41-year-old sourced for corporate sponsors and did marketing for the musical, which ran from May 22 to July 2 at Capitol Theatre.

Ms Toh showed Life the writ of summons issued in June to The 4th Wall Theatre Company, which produced the musical. She reached a settlement with the company yesterday.

"They have committed to pay me all that is outstanding in three months. I am relieved, especially after months of chasing for payments on my own, which was going nowhere," she said.

I joined based on the understanding that the Singapore in the musical would be recognisable to local audiences, and that it would be loyal to the socio-cultural and racial milieu then. But the showrunners chose to stray from that, so I left.''

ACTOR JONATHAN LIM, who was a dramaturg for the musical

Mr Kenneth Low, a spokesman for local investment firm Inventinc said that the company has not been repaid a loan made to 4th Wall Theatre Company to finance the production.

According to signed documents showed to Life, the company is owed more than $660,000. Both parties had agreed that repayment was to be made by July 20.

Inventinc had initially supported the project as part of its efforts to contribute to the country's 50th jubilee and to support the arts and entertainment scene, Mr Low said.

The company provides bridging loans to entertainment and sports-related ventures, and has funded several entertainment and sporting events here since 2011.

Filipino director of The 4th Wall Theatre Company Ed Gatchalian is believed to have left Singapore soon after the musical folded more than a fortnight ahead of its slated closing date. Attempts by Life to reach him via phone and e-mail were unsuccessful.

The 4th Wall Theatre Company is a Filipino theatre company "informally established in 2007", according to its website. Registered here in 2013, the company's listed phone number and address belong to EventCliQue, which is Singapura's ticketing agent.

The musical, which traces the decade leading up to Singapore's independence in 1965 and boasted a predominantly Filipino cast, played to mixed reviews.

It was the first production to be staged at the refurbished 977-seater Capitol Theatre, but was poorly received, with the cast reportedly performing to an almost-empty theatre at times.

Local actor Jonathan Lim, who was a dramaturg for the show before he walked out in April, said he had been repeatedly promised a contract, but did not get one. He has not been paid.

"I joined based on the understanding that the Singapore in the musical would be recognisable to local audiences, and that it would be loyal to the socio-cultural and racial milieu then. But the showrunners chose to stray from that, so I left," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2015, with the headline 'Vendors of Singapura still unpaid'. Print Edition | Subscribe