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Thinking and Talking about Arts and Culture in Southeast Asia

Photo Essay: Backstage Pass to Wild Rice’s “La Cage Aux Folles”

Photography By Zane Gan, text by Sean Ghazi

Photographer Zane Gan tracks Sean Ghazi, who plays George in Wild Rice’s La Cage Aux Folles, capturing the camaraderie, rituals and water bottles that keep the show going on. The hit musical, directed by Glen Goei, runs until 13 May 2017.

 

LaCage_Sean_and_girls
Image by Zane Gan

Making the rounds before the show, I like to pop in and say  “Hi” to my neighbours. Here, I’m having a laugh with Mae Elliessa (Anne) and Jo Tan (Mrs C.K. Tan), before we get mic’d and wigged up. I often surprise the girls during Intermission with my own personal half-time show, usually involving some level of stripping. I think here we are laughing about my as yet unfulfilled career as a stripper…

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

Checking in with the bros, Aaron Khaled who plays my son Jonathan and Erwin Shah Ismail (Faz). In this shot we are discussing Erwin’s epic proposal to Tiffany Tallon, one of our Cagelles, and the company Dance Captain, onstage after Thursday’s curtain call. The proposal was a production in its own right and there was not a dry eye in the house. She said ‘yes’ by the way.

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

Catching up with Ivan Heng (Albin/Zaza) before we go our separate ways to get ready. We often talk about the last show and tweak little things here and there. Sometimes we just run lines…sometimes we just bitch.

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

Just some of the spectacular wigs and head-dresses in Wild Rice’s La Cage Aux Folles.

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

Hair Designer Ashley Lim threads two mics through a hole in my wig (one and a spare), that then run down my back into two mic packs that I wear in a holster on my waist. Once the mics are pinned down he glues my wig into place. I first worked with Ashley 20 years ago! My wig was custom-made by a specialist in Bali. I wonder if Wild Rice will let me keep it …

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

The Official Show Scene Stealer, AKA Hossan Leong who plays Lesley/J’Mae .

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

              We then head to the stage for our mic checks, and everyone is in their own world of ‘prep’. Here’s Yogi Aaron.

Image by Zane Gan http://www.zanegan.com/
Image by Zane Gan

This is taken from the gangway up on what I call the ‘Business Class’ level of dressing rooms. We are gathering on stage for company warm up with Music Director Elaine Chan. (Btw Economy Class is way more fun. We’re a little serious up in Business!)

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

The production crew keeps us well hydrated!

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

This is our energy zoom. If I am not mistaken this ‘zoom’ developed on this particular run of La Cage. We zoom each other, the band, the crew and even the audience. It seems to be working!

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always go in to give Ivan a kiss at Beginners before making my way down to the stage. It’s a tradition: always at the same time, always with the same words, “See you there, Darling”!

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan
         I flirt with all my Cagelles on the way to Stage Left … that’s become a tradition too.
Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan
                                 Coming off for the Intermission…!
Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

Costume Designer Frederick Lee’s dazzling costumes. Here the costumes for the Finale are neatly hung by our fantastic backstage team, ready for the mad rush to get us to …

Image by Zane Gan
Image by Zane Gan

…this! Six more curtain calls to go!


Wild Rice’s La Cage Aux Folles runs from 19 April – 13 May 2017 at the Victoria Theatre. To purchase tickets, go here.

Zane Gan is a Malaysian photographer based in New York city, who loves portraits and all things black&white. He is currently assisting and shooting fashion editorials for online publications. When he is not shooting beautiful models he is always somewhere dancing. Follow Zane on Instagram: @zanegan

Sean Ghazi has worked in Europe, Southeast Asia and most recently in the United States on stage, screen and in music in multiple languages. From engagements on the London West End stage, Sean performed all over Germany in musicals such as Miss Saigon, RENT & The King and I. In Malaysia he has been awarded a Cameronian Arts Award, and the ‘AIM’ (the Malaysian Grammy-equivalent) for his debut album SEAN GHAZI ‘SEMALAM’. He has represented Malaysia in Davos, Switzerland, singing for the World Economic Forum, in Cannes, for the Mipcom Festival and in Kuala Lumpur for the ASEAN Summit 2015 in the presence of former US President Barack Obama and other world leaders. Last year he performed at the closing ceremony of the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul prior to performing in Germany for several Unicef Galas. Apart from his work on the London West End stage, other notable appearances outside of Malaysia have been with US based group Pink Martini – at the Hollywood Bowl, the Seattle Symphony and most recently at The Esplanade in Singapore.  Film roles include Paul in C.O.G directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez starring Jonathan Groff and Balat in ‘ANNA & THE KING’ starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fatt.

 

 

 

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