SINGAPORE - In 2013, Chinese singer Della Ding Dang played the character of Ah Mei in Toy Factory Production's Glass Anatomy - The Musical.
Six years later, she will continue to chase after musical success in another Mandarin musical adapted from the same 1983 Taiwanese classic film Papa, Can You Hear Me Sing?. The new adaptation, titled An Accident Of Love, will be performed at The Star Theatre on Nov 16.
Apart from having a different director and different cast members, Ding Dang told Singapore media over the telephone from Taipei on Monday (Oct 21) that the new version is more modern.
The 37-year-old said: "The 2013 show was set in a similar time frame as the movie, but this upcoming show will take place at a time much closer to the current period - in the last five to 10 years - and this can be seen in the costumes and the way the characters speak."
With a duration of about three hours, the new version is also longer, with more than twice the number of songs compared to the 2013 version, she added. There will be renditions of tunes from the movie, such as The Same Moonlight and Anything For Sale?, new tracks such as An Accident Of Love as well as the singer's own songs, such as I Love Him and Runaway From Home.
Ding Dang said: "The character of Ah Mei does have some similarity with my own life, but not exactly." Perhaps she was referring to the fact while they have a shared love of music, she is a successful singer in her own right, one known for her love ballads.
Of the 30 or so songs in the musical, expect the singer to perform most of them. To keep her voice in good condition and to keep up her stamina, she has a five-step regimen: sleep more, take baths, eat simply, exercise and drink water.
The star has had a jam-packed year, including rehearsing for the musical - which kicked off in July 2018 and has travelled to cities such as Taipei, Toronto, Vancouver, Shanghai and Beijing - and recording her ninth studio album Die Lovin', which was released in April.
She said: "At first, I felt anxious doing so many things at once. I worried I would not be able to do them well. But I took it as a challenge and told myself that I could do it.
"I just immersed myself in every task before me and this helped ease my anxiety."
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WHEN: Nov 16, 7pm
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It helped that the other actors in the show - such as Taiwanese veteran musical actor Berson Wang who plays a fatherly figure and Taiwanese singer-songwriter Nylon Chen as her character's love interest - were a source of inspiration.
She said of Wang: "From him, I learned so much about the nuances of acting. During rehearsals, I love nothing more than watching him act. He is so immersed in his character, so professional and it is a joy to watch."
In a separate interview, Wang, 53, said that putting on the make-up to play an older character took about two hours. "I think one's sense of age can be internalised. Sometimes, after rehearsals, I found myself walking bent forward when walking to the toilet in the middle of the night. I was so used to it."
Chen, 38, whose character in the musical is a musician, said: "Playing this character reminded me of some of the experiences that I myself faced early in my career - the enthusiasm, obstacles and disappointments. So portraying the character did require me to mentally dig into painful memories and give a part of myself to the performance."