Walking With Dinosaurs: The Man Who Brings A Life-Sized Baby T-Rex To Life

Neal Holmes (left) in costume as Baby T-Rex at the Walking with Dinosaurs press conference in Singapore.

I still remember the goosebumps I had when I first saw the animated yet so realistic-looking dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster hit, Jurassic Park. So when there was a chance to meet and interview the man behind the Baby T-Rex from Walking With DinosaursThe Live Experience (WWD), I didn’t hesitate to say yes!

Based on the 1999 acclaimed BBC TV documentary series of the same name, the US$20 million (S$27.7m) live arena spectacular originated in Australia in 2007 and went on to become “the biggest and best dinosaur show in the world”. Last here nine years ago, Walking With DinosaursThe Live Experience will run at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from August 29 to September 8, 2019.

Musings on the M49 was thus chuffed to be invited to the Walking With Dinosaurs media conference held at Capitol Theatre, where a life-sized Baby T-Rex, operated by British performer Neal Holmes, was the featured star.

ON THE FLOOR WITH A BABY DINOSAUR

Baby T-Rex mingling with the audience at the WWD press call!

The baby Tyrannosaurus Rex—to give its scientific name in full—is but one of the 18 life-sized dinosaurs, operated by skilled performers via animatronics and physical puppetry, featured in the highly successful Walking with Dinosaurs arena show. Using state-of-the-art technology, lighting effects and projection, the 100-minute show is presented as a theatrical story of the prehistoric creatures’ 200-million-year existence on Earth.

Nine species from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods will be represented. You can expect Mama T-Rex to be super huge, but it will not be the biggest dinosaur on show — that honor goes to the Brachiosaurus which measures at 11 metres tall and 17 metres from nose to tail!

WWD resident director Ian Waller introducing the Baby T-Rex.

After introducing Baby-T—as it is affectionately called—WWD resident director Ian Waller filled us in with details of what the young critter is like, what went into the production of the show, and what we can expect from the live performance.

As he was talking, Baby T continued to strut around, doing its own thing as what you’d expect an inquisitive creature would do. Truth be told, puppeteer Neal Holmes’ movements were so realistic that at times you simply forgot that it is just a human being in a fancy costume!

One of the lucky kids who got to pose with the Baby T-Rex!

Highlight for everyone was without doubt the photo op with Baby T in all its glory. Many of the kids in attendance were thrilled; one even came clad in a green dinosaur head costume! “Generally, kids love dinosaurs,” Holmes would confirm later during the interview session. Most adults were thrilled to bits too (especially yours truly)!

TALKING WITH THE MAN IN THE DINOSAUR SUIT

The man who makes Baby T-Rex comes to life!

It was exactly 10 years ago when Briton Neal Holmes, then a fitness instructor, went for an audition in London, not knowing exactly what was required, and ended up with an agent plus a full-time job as a dinosaur puppeteer all within a week.

With the Baby T-Rex costume weighing about 35-40kg, the job is needless to say, physically demanding but the now 35-year-old, who has a background in acrobatics and parkour, takes it all in his stride. Not only does he have to walk and run like a dinosaur, Holmes also controls other movements of the “baby” creature from the eyes to the tail.

Revealing that he can’t really see much out of the suit, one key thing Holmes has learnt to be extra mindful of while performing is to “not bump into things, or run into other dinosaurs”. Depending on demand, performances could be as many as three shows a day, or nine shows during weekends.

Neal Holmes speaking to the media at the WWD press call.

When Musings on the M49 asked whether has anything gone wrong for him during performances, Holmes admitted that “the worst is falling over.”

He elaborated: “I’ve never been injured, but it could be due to a slippery stage or just an error. ‘Cos with big dinosaur feet, it could happen when you cross your legs. It’s quite difficult to get out of. That’s probably the silliest thing I’ve ever done.”

But there’s help when such mishaps occur. “Stage people will look out for you and rush out to pick you up. If you are okay and not injured, and the suit is okay, you just continue from where you left off.”

After a decade as a dinosaur puppeteer, Holmes also realizes that “less is more” when it comes to performing.

“It is easy to do too much in puppetry, so I’m careful in not going too crazy like a puppy dog (when portraying a baby T-Rex), but to allow for moments of stillness. The (dinosaur) suit itself looks amazing just standing still, so to just allow those moments to happen ‘cos there are so much other things going on,” he explained.

Walking With Dinosaurs – The Live Experience is on Aug 29 to Sept 8, 2019 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Performances : Tue-Fri 7pm; Sat-Sun: 10.30am, 2:30pm and 6:30pm. Tickets from $78 from http://www.sportshubtix.sg.

All photos by Marguerita Tan. No text or images from this post are to be used without the blog author’s permission.

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Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ The Musical – 8 Reasons To See The Show

If you are a fan of Disney’s Aladdin, 2019 has been a good year.

On the week that the 2019 live-action adaptation of the beloved 1992 animated film crossed the magical US$1 billion (S$1.36b) mark at the global box office, the hit Broadway adaptation made its debut in Singapore and is entertaining audiences in a whole new way.

Boasting energizing song-and-dance sequences, amazing sets and effects, and stunning costumes, Aladdin the musical—which is based on the 1992 Oscar-winning film—premiered on Broadway in 2014 with book by playwright Chad Beguelin, music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Beguelin. Singapore will be the only Asian stop and final run for this Aladdin tour.

Musings on the M49 was chuffed to be invited to the official opening night at Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands. Here are eight reasons why Aladdin the musical is a must-see, especially if you are a fan of the Disney films or musicals in general. (Aladdin Photos Credit: Base Entertainment Asia)

1. “Friend Like Me”

The Genie’s signature song in the treasure-hoarding Cave of Wonders is a spectacular 14-minute showstopper comprising breath-taking choreography and cool magical effects. The scene-stealer was without question Gareth Jacobs whose creative genius as the Genie made the vibrant and pulsating sequence an absolute joy to watch.

2. “A Whole New World”

The Oscar-winning song is a timeless classic and watching Aladdin (Graeme Isaako) and Princess Jasmine (Shubshri Kandiah) singing it while seemingly flying on a magic carpet for real on stage is simply a thrill – even though you know it is manoeuvred by a special albeit well-hidden contraption. Easily the show’s second top highlight, drawing lots of oohs and aahs from the audience.

3. A Genie Like No Other

He’s not blue (except for his costume) and does not appear vaporizing from a lamp, but Gareth Jacobs’ Genie totally stole the show from the word go. He sang and danced with gusto, and his wisecracking had the audiences in stitches. His shout-outs to Singapore at appropriate times was a nice touch as well.

4. Classic And New Tunes Combo
Besides the unforgettable tunes from the 1992 film such as “Arabian Nights”, “One Jump Ahead” and “Prince Ali”, fans can savor seven new songs in the musical. Menken and Beguelin wrote four tunes specially for the stage production and these are “These Palace Walls”, “A Million Miles Away”, “Diamond in the Rough” and “Somebody’s Got Your Back”. Also included are three songs by Menken and Ashman that were cut from the original film – “Proud of Your Boy”, “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim” and “High Adventure”. Let’s hope for future productions, they will consider adding “Speechless”, Princess Jasmine’s empowering anthem from the 2019 megahit, too!

5. Stunning Set Design

From the colorful mythical city of Agrabah, to the Sultan and Princess Jasmine’s luxurious palace, to the gold-glittering Cave of Wonders, the show’s 500 captivating sets, props and backdrops are to be lauded. The audience is easily transported to every location in a blink of an eye, whether it is a Middle Eastern-influenced marketplace or a cave in a dark, isolated desert.

6. Shining, Shimmering, Splendid Costumes

The costumes in Aladdin have to be one of the most vibrant and sparkling set of outfits I’ve ever seen in a musical. And this is thanks to some 1000 fabrics and half a million Swarovski crystals that were used to make and decorate the 300+ costumes in the show. There was so much sparkle, they should have warned us to wear shades…

7. Incredible Special Effects
Besides a believable flying magic carpet, the show also employs a great number of whoa-inducing magical effects on stage such as slide of hand tricks, disappearing box acts, and quick change illusions, some of which were even executed effortlessly during song sequences.

8. Funny Bytes Galore
Thanks to some great one-liners and hilarious ad-libs, there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments that didn’t just materializes out of the Genie, but also from supporting characters such as Jafar (Patrick R Brown) and his scheming sidekick, Iago (Doron Chester). I would arguably say there were more laughs generated from the musical than from the cinematic version!

All in all, Aladdin the musical is great fun, a spectacular that is easily enjoyed by both young and old. Though the first half felt a tad draggy (though understandably having to introduce every key character), the show nonetheless does present a whole new world of Disney’s Aladdin that is truly worth a watch.

Rewind: At the Aladdin Red Carpet
Attending stage shows, it is always fun to see people dress up for the occasion or are game to participate in entertaining activities. Prior to the show’s start on opening night, we witnessed a few folks who shook a tail feather or two on the “purple” carpet! (Photos by Marguerita Tan)

For starters, you always want to give a thumb’s up when theatre goers take the trouble to dress up according to the theme of the show!

And from the young to the young-at-heart, a few were sporting enough to sing ‘A Whole New World’ in front of cameras!

And here’s some of the famous faces spotted: 2009 Singapore Idol Sezairi Sazali (left) and author/humor writer Sylvia Toh Paik Choo (far right)

Aladdin the Broadway musical plays at the Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore till Sept 1, 2019. Performances: Tue to Fri, 7.30pm; Sat 2pm & 7.30pm; and Sun 1pm & 6.30pm. Tickets from $68++ from www.sistic.com and www.marinabaysands.com/ticketing.

Read also:
* Top 10 Songs by Disney Princesses – From “Let It Go” to “Speechless”

First Look At Stars Of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ The Musical @ Marina Bay Sands

Aladdin the Broadway musical will stage its first and only Asian stop in Singapore at
the Sands Theatre in July 2019. [Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia]

Good news if you are a fan of Disney’s Aladdin. This year, not only you will get to see the live-action adaptation of the 1992 Oscar-winning animated film in May, its hit Broadway theatrical production will also make its debut here in Singapore, its only stop in Asia, at Marina Bay Sands in July.

So it was a thrill when Musings on the M49 was invited to the media launch for Aladdin the musical for which its three leading stars–namely Gareth Jacobs (Genie), Graeme Isaako (Aladdin) and Shubshri Kandiah (Jasmine)–flew in specially to publicise the show.

The event was held at Sands Theatre at an auditorium behind the main stage. Besides drinks and canapés, there were also costumes from the show set up on site for guests to admire up close.

Aladdin, which tells the story of a street urchin who wins the heart of a princess with the help of a genie, promises to present the most lavish sets, vibrant costumes and
stunning special effects ever to be seen at the Sands Theatre.

The musical, which made its world premiere on Broadway in 2014 , will have over 330 glittering costumes, featuring more than 1000 fabrics and almost half a million Swarovski crystals. Its mega sets include the fantasy city of Agrabah, the Sultan’s palace, and the legendary Cave of Wonders.

Songs Maketh the Musical
And not forgetting of course, the Oscar-winning score and songs by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin (who also wrote the book). The musical features five songs from the beloved animated film including the all-time classic, ‘A Whole New World’, plus a few more written specially for the stage version.

The charming Graeme Isaako is Aladdin.

After opening addresses by the good people responsible for bringing in Aladdin, we were introduced first to the Sydney-born, New Zealand-raised Graeme Isaako who plays the titular character. Armed with a dazzling smile and “K-pop hair” (his words, not mine), the singer/dancer/actor spoke on how hard he had to work for the show, especially as Aladdin is a very energetic character for whom parkour skills are required, besides singing and dancing abilities. Issako, who made his musical debut in 2002, then showed off his smooth vocals when he performed ‘Proud Of Your Boy’, a ballad that was cut from the original film.

Shubshri Kandiah singing the cherished duet, ‘A Whole New World’,
with Graeme Isaako.

Next up was Shubshri Kandiah who hails from Queensland and who won the role of Jasmine in the Australian production of Aladdin straight after graduating from university in 2017. The radiant artiste disclosed how delighted she is to play a princess who is “feisty and independent” and “close to my heart”. After revealing that one of her favorite songs in the stage musical is ‘A Million Miles Away’, in which Jasmines sings about her dreams, she teamed up with Isaako to sing the all-time favorite, ‘A Whole New World’, which thrilled the audience no end.

Gareth Jacobs, who plays the Genie, performing the showstopper ‘Friend Like Me’ complete with backup singers.

Finally, we met with the Genie himself in the form of Gareth Jacobs who has led the Australian touring company in this role from Melbourne, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. After revealing that Aladdin was the very first film he saw as a nine-year-old, Jacobs informed us that his favorite moments of doing the stage musical are performing the 15-minute showstopper, ‘Friend Like Me’; being shot out of a cannon; and improvising jokes. Most of all though, it was meeting his idol, composer Alan Menken, in person when he first took on the role.

Gareth Jacobs as Genie and Graeme Isaako as Aladdin in one of the big production numbers in Aladdin the musical. [Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia]

When asked if he will do anything exclusively for the Singapore show, Jacobs–who had previously lived and worked in Singapore for five years–affirmed that he (as the Genie) often tells some jokes that is relevant to the city the show is playing at and so local audiences here will have to “watch and find out!” He then ended his segment with a rousing performance of ‘Friend Like Me’ with the help of two sassy back-up singers.

Yours truly with the talented Aladdin cast
AND a magic lamp!

After a Q&A session, the cast generously posed for photos with almost everyone who was present, complete with magic lamp. Alas, I didn’t get a chance to rub it and make a wish, let alone wishes three. Still, I got to hold it and got close to a smiling genie, so that’s good enough for me!

Aladdin the Broadway musical plays at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore from July 21, 2019. Performances: Tue to Fri, 7.30pm; Sat 2pm & 7.30pm; and Sun 1pm & 6.30pm. Tickets from $68++ from www.marinabaysands.com/ticketing or www.sistic.com.

Unless stated, all photos by Marguerita Tan. No text or images from this post are to be used without the blog author’s permission.

Must-See TV: ‘Killing Eve’ Is A Killer Of A Thriller

Killing Eve poster_BBC America

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer star in ‘Killing Eve’ [Credit: BBC America]

It’s been a while since I was blown away by a new television series such as Jude Law’s papal-based The Young Pope (2016) and Tom Hardy’s gritty Victorian drama Taboo (2017). Well, Killing Eve is “it” for 2018. A killer thriller like no other, the BBC America series is suspenseful and unpredictable, filled with dry humor, fascinating locations (both dodgy and exotic), and standout performances from its two leads.

(Minor spoilers of Killing Eve Season 1 ahead. You’ve been warned.)

Story tells of a jaded London-based security intelligence officer Eve Polastri (Grey’s Anatomy’s Sandra Oh) who becomes obsessed in tracking down a highly-skilled Russian assassin codenamed Villanelle (The White Princess’ Jodie Comer) who is efficiently executing prominent people in ghastly fashion across Europe.

Based on the Villanelle novellas by novelist and dance critic of The Observer, Luke Jennings, and adapted by the multi-talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge of Fleabag fame, Killing Eve is an unconventional cat-and-mouse chase that grabs your attention by the first episode with dry humor you least expect from a spy drama tinged with grim killings. The show, which premiered in April, has since garnered two Emmy nominations for outstanding writing in a drama series (for Waller-Bridge) and best lead actress in a drama series (for Oh, who created Emmy history by being the first actress of Asian descent to be nominated in this category).

Sandra Oh’s Triumphant Return To TV

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Sandra Oh is Emmy-nominated for her role as Eve Polastri in ‘Killing Eve’ [Credit: BBC America]

It’s a joy to see Sandra Oh back on the small screen. The first time we see her character Eve Polastri, she is screaming hysterically in bed, scaring her husband Nico (Owen McDonnell) – and us the viewers – as she was in pain having “fell asleep on both my arms”. Right there and then, you know you are watching a spy series like no other.

Eve is someone whom most people could identify with. Practical yet disorganized at times, she turns up at a meeting late, gets glared at by the big boss, yet proceeds to nibble her breakfast buy in spite of being further frowned upon by everyone in the room. Ambitious but not recognized for her keen criminologist’s mind, Eve finally gets her chance to shine when enigmatic M16 operative Carolyn Martens (an exceptional Fiona Shaw, a.k.a Aunt Petunia to Harry Potter fans) assigns her in an off-the-record capacity to hunt down Villanelle. Unfortunately, Eve’s new responsibility turns into an obsession that put the lives of her loved ones and colleagues – including her own – at risk.

Oh is well-cast as Eve, an intelligent yet occasionally blur blob who easily shifts between moods of over-confidence and insecurity, aggressiveness and vulnerability, within seconds. The versatile Korean-Canadian also brings a huge amount of underdog vitality to Eve that makes you want to root for her all the way. The Emmy nomination is but a small indication of just how brilliant Sandra is in the role.

Jodie Comer’s Star Turn As A Sassy Cold Blooded Assassin

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Jodie Comer is a breeze of fresh air as sociopathic assassin Villanelle in ‘Killing Eve’ [Credit: BBC America]

Make no mistake, the chillingly effective assassin that Eve is after is a nasty piece of work. Villanelle kills in frightful albeit creative ways without batting an eyelid, has no qualms of mistreating children or the elderly alike, and every lifeform she comes in contact with means nothing and is expendable to her.

Yet, you can’t help but develop some unexplained sympathy for the young attractive woman (mesmerizingly played by Jodie Comer), wondering if there is something really, really bad in the past that triggered Villanelle to be the soulless person that she is. Is she hankering for a father figure judging by the relationship with her handler Konstantin (Kim Bodnia)? Though totally independent, she also crave for brief companionship with strangers (male and female alike) but who wouldn’t lose any sleep if any one of these would meet with an unexpected demise. It’s due to uncharacteristic sloppiness on Villanelle’s part during her last kill – a witness was left alive – that led Eve on her trail. A chance meeting between the two protagonists set up the show’s intriguing cat-and-mouse chase as both women gets equally obsessed in tracking each other down.

Comer, last seen as Elizabeth of York in The White Princess, has a gem of a role to play as the cunning killer-for-hire. Her Villanelle is cold, crafty, charming and flirty, with a dash of vulnerable childishness that makes you wish someone like Eve will eventually save her from the immoral abyss that she’s in. Truth be told, the Liverpool native truly deserved an Emmy nomination too. Here’s to Jodie earning a few nominations of her own come awards season.

Cool, Slick Location Graphic Signposting

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Location Graphic in ‘Killing Eve’ [Credit: Screen-grab from BBC America]

Next to sublime performances and unintentionally funny dialogue, there’s a lot of other bits to like about Killing Eve such as the series’ big bold capitalized location graphic signposting that tells the viewer where the action is taking place such as London, Paris, Berlin, Tuscany and Moscow (which is actually Bucharest standing in for the Russian capital). A rib-ticklin’ moment is when a tiny English village Bletcham gets equal prominence with the metropolitan cities of Europe when a key event takes place in its vicinity. Even the opening titles are cool, with a thin trickle of blood flowing down on a different letter of “Killing Eve” in each of its eight episodes. #cooltouch

Read also:
* Five Behind-The-Scene Things You Should Know About ‘Killing Eve’
‘Killing Eve’ Season 2: What to Expect When the Acclaimed Psycho Thriller Returns

Killing Eve is available for binge-watching on BBC America on demand and will begin telecast on BBC One on September 15, 2018. Season 2 is currently in production and will roll out in 2019.

‘Game of Thrones’ Live Concert Experience 2018 : An Exquisite Extravaganza

2018-05-25 22.36.38-1 (640x640)Next to gripping story lines, captivating performances and show-stopping battle scenes, a top highlight in the award-winning HBO epic fantasy series Game of Thrones is its stirring musical scores composed by Ramin Djawadi (Iron Man, Westworld).

The soundtrack for last year’s Season 7 is in particular brilliant in every sense of the word; so much so that Game of Thrones garnered its first Grammy nomination in the Score Soundtrack for Visual Media category, with Djawadi up against four movie  nominees namely Arrival, Dunkirk, Hidden Figures and La La Land (the eventual winner).
2018-05-25 22.34.48 (640x562)So when it was announced that Ramin Djawadi will embark on yet another Game of Thrones live concert tour featuring show music up to Season 7, I knew it was an experience I just have to, er, experience for myself. I chose to fly to Belfast to see the show last month on May 25 ‘cos not only is Northern Ireland “Game of Thrones Territory”, the venue SSE Arena is also just a stone’s throw away from Titanic Studios where most of the interior scenes of the hit series is shot. Add to that, it would give me a chance to tour Belfast – a city I’d yet to visit then – as well as various GOT filming locations throughout the country.

A FEAST FOR THE EARS & EYES
The 2018 Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience in Belfast features a custom stage, full orchestra (Ulster Orchestra), choir (Belfast Philharmonic), soloists, pyrotechnics, lighting effects and specially edited footage from the show.  Before the concert’s actual start, the audience were thrilled when over the intercom, Queen Cersei (voiced by the magnificent Lena Headey) icily informed those who do not silence their phones “will be boiled alive in the blood of their children…” The chilly announcement was understandably greeted with thunderous applause!

2018-05-25 20.26.14 (538x640)The concert kicked off with the unmistakable Game of Thrones theme, which really put everyone in the mood for more. As music scores from the first six seasons played, solo singers and musicians made full use of the extended catwalk stage, of which a major highlight was this violinist who soared almost 40 feet into the air as she performed a haunting House Stark theme.

L1170969 (640x480)There were so much action both on stage and on the big screen that sometimes you are torn between wanting to watch the show’s footage which you have already seen (but will never get tired of) or the soloists doing their bit live.

Djawadi, the talented genius that he is, performed a couple of solos too using either custom-made or unique musical instruments, as did a couple of musicians ranging from percussionists to horn players.

L1170979 (640x358)Most of the goose-bump-raising moments came from several dramatic events such as The Red Wedding, The Battle of the Bastards and Destruction of the Great Sept Of Baelor, the latter complete with green “wildfire” fumes engulfing Djawadi after his solo on a raised stage. Visually stunning, audibly heart-stopping.

SEASON 7’S HIGH POINTS
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The second act was devoted to music from Season 7 which, if truth be told, I was looking forward to the most. From the poignant ‘Home’ as Arya Stark returns to Winterfell to the heartbreaking ‘Truth’ a.k.a Jon and Dany’s love theme, thanks to the almost flawless performance of the orchestra, one does feel as if transported to the realms of Westeros alongside the show’s characters. The dry ice effect on stage also helped much in making the audience imagined that they were in the miserly cold north too.

L1170986 (640x351)One of the most thrilling Season 7 events was of course Episode 4’s The Loot Train Attack which was presented with loads of fire pyrotechnics as Daenerys and Drogon breathed down on the Lannister army. Actually, there’s always some fire sprouts on stage whenever the dragons popped up on screen, much to anyone’s delight.

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With Game of Thrones Season 7 ending – SPOILER ALERT – with the Night King and a resurrected Viserion bringing down the Wall, one thought the concert would end on that somber note but thankfully that wasn’t the case…

L1170997 (640x466)After making his thank you’s to all and sundry – including Game of Thrones crew members from the nearby Titanic Studios – Djawadi and company ended the over 2-hour-long show with yet another vigorous performance of the totally hummable theme song.

2018-05-25 22.40.12-1 (640x535)The really nice touch at the end, after the performers had taken their bows, was an In Memoriam segment featuring the dearly – and not so dearly – departed characters from Game of Thrones. Needless to say, this was a rather long sequence so most of us sat back down onto our seats. It was fun to hear cheers for favorites such as Ned and Rob Stark, Lady Olenna Tyrell and of course Hodor. The most hisses and boos was given to understandably Ramsey Bolton, while Littlefinger received sarcastic applause.

A MUST-SEE IF YOU LOVE ‘GAME OF THRONES’
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All in all, the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience is worth every penny and a must-see if you are a big GOT fan. It’s akin to seven years of show highlights packaged as an extravaganza of live music and visual effects. Utterly exquisite.

The European leg of this year’s tour just ended in London yesterday. It will move on to Canada and America from September to October 2018. You can find more details on gameofthronesconcert.com. If you love classical music, with dramatic imagery to go along with it, you’d definitely enjoy the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience 2018.

Here’s hoping that the concert will come to Asia and also be released on digital/DVD format!

Read also:
* 8 ‘Game of Thrones’ Fan Theories About Daenerys Targaryen’s Endgame
* ‘Game of Thrones’: Who’s Likely to Die in Season 8?
‘Game Of Thrones’: 5 Heroic Deeds Jaime Lannister May Achieve in Season 8
* ‘Games Of Thrones’: 10 Essential Reunions At Winterfell We’d Like To See In Season 8
‘Game of Thrones’: Why Jon Snow May Use Greatsword Dawn to Slay the Night King in Season 8

2 Treats in 2017 for ‘Frozen’ Fans

frozen-cast                                               Till Frozen 2 comes along… (Credit: Disney)

Since its launch in 2013, Disney’s Frozen has become the highest-grossing animated feature of all-time, grossing more than $1.27 billion in box office sales worldwide. Yet, its much-anticipated sequel is seemingly still on ice (pun intended).

But a #Frozen2 there will be, as #Disney has officially confirmed it in early 2015, just that we are unlikely to see it before *gulp* 2019, as it was not included in the House of Mouse’s theatrical schedules for 2017 and 2018.

Of course, there was the 2015 short film, Frozen Fever, but let’s face it: That was just an appetizer (plus we were rather distracted by Queen Elsa’s bad cold and her mischievous snots, cute as they may be.)

frozen-2-elsa-snots                                                 Elsa’s snots in ‘Frozen Fever’ (Credit: Disney)

There was also the LEGO Frozen Northern Lights series of shorts on the Disney Channel, which featured building block versions of key characters Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven on a quest to restore the Northern Lights before they disappear from the kingdom of Arendelle’s sight. It’s a cute (and extremely corny) series, meant for very young kids, but it’s not quite like the real thing.

frozen_northern-lights                                               LEGO Frozen Northern Lights (Credit: Disney)

Till the eagerly-awaited sequel comes along, here are two things Frozen fans can look forward to in 2017:

1. OLAF’S CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

frozen-olaf                           Olaf the adorable snowman gets his own special (Credit: Disney)

This Christmas, a Frozen TV special, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, is set to air on the ABC network in the US of A. Focus will be on the lovable snowman, with Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Sven also set to return, including the original voice cast of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and Josh Gad. New songs can be expected too, woo-hoo!

2. ‘Frozen’ Goes to Broadway

frozen-broadway-musical-logo                                                                    (Credit: Disney)

There’s already Disney on Ice Presents Frozen, now meet Frozen — The Broadway Musical. The stage musical adaptation of the hit movie will take its bow at the St. James Theater in New York in Spring 2018. Prior to that, a two-month test run will take place at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in August 2017.

Much is expected from the musical, as it is written by the same Oscar-winning team behind the 2013 film — book by Jennifer Lee, screenwriter and director (with Chris Buck), and music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, responsible for the film’s brilliant songs including the stirring “Let It Go.”

The cast has yet to be confirmed, but just for the fun of it, which current pop star do you think is best to play either Elsa or Anna? For instance, Dove Cameron, who was impressive playing Amber in Hairspray Live!, could make a nice Elsa. Let me know in a comment below!

For what we can expect to see in Frozen 2, check out my original article, “7 Things Frozen Fans can look forward to in 2017 and Beyond” at this link: https://creators.co/@margueritatan/4180312

For my other pop culture features on movies (eg King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) and TV shows (eg, The Young Pope), click this link:
https://creators.co/@margueritatan

Encyclopedia Madonnica 20: Updated Edition

2016-08-14 18.33.06August 16 marks the birthday of the woman the world over know as the #QueenofPop. So, thought it would be timely to recommend that if you are a huge #Madonna fan and if you were to (somehow) only buy just one book about her in your lifetime, then let it be Encyclopedia Madonnica 20 by Matthew Rettenmund.

EM20 is the 20th anniversary edition (hence the “20”) of the New York-based author/blogger’s 1995 best-seller which many fans have long regarded as the ultimate Madonna book as it lists everything and everything about the singer “from A to Z” – from all her likes and dislikes to who she was dating during when and at where. To say Matthew’s intensive research and knowledge about the woman he admired most (next to his mum, ie) is amazingly comprehensive is an understatement.

2015 STANDARD EDITION

EM20cover_standard2015The 2015 version (standard edition, pictured above) is just as outstanding, if not much more,  as it is jam-packed with new fascinating insights, insider info, exclusive interviews, lavish illustrations and mostly rare photographs of the music icon. Weighing in close to 2kg and  the size of a phone book, the tome covers her illustrious career as a singer/dancer/actress/author/film director/fashion brand and fitness gym owner, as well as of her personal life as daughter/sister/lover/wife/ex-wife and mother-of-four, over the past 30+ years.

2015 LIMITED EDITION (500 COPIES)

2016-08-14 18.38.18The 2015 version of EM20 also has a cool limited edition (500 copies only) which has a different cover – a striking Andy-Warhol like illustration by Pegasus Street Artist. Each copy is also accompanied by a special bookplate personally autographed by the author along with  a serial number. My copy, for instance pictured above, is numbered #127/500. And there are five different bookplates featuring illustrated versions of the megastar in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s and ’10s.

2016 UPDATED STANDARD VERSION

2016-08-14 18.33.47Forward to 2016: If you haven’t gotten a copy of EM20 yet, this is a good time to get it as the meticulous Matthew – whom I’ve known for years and even went to see Madonna’s London’s West End play, Up For Grabs, together in 2002 – has updated the standard edition to include new sections on the critically acclaimed #RebelHeartTour and the exclusive #TearsofaClown show held in Melbourne, Australia. There are also a few revised entries to include, for example, the deaths of David Bowie and Prince. The new edition also boasts a gorgeous new cover illustration by Alejandro Mogollo (who also has a dozen other lovely illustrations of M in various stages of her career sprinkled throughout the book), as well as many great images from RHT and TOAC.

5 REASONS TO GET THE 2016 UPDATED VERSION

2016-08-09 03.24.22Even though I already have a copy of EM20, there were 5 reasons why I’m glad I decided to get the 2016 updated version:

1. The stunning new cover illustration by Adejandro Mogollo.
2. The Rebel Heart Tour update is essential as it is by far the best tour La M has ever done.
3. Tears of a Clown too as it was seriously a one-of-a-kind performance which I was blessed to be able to see it live in person.
4. Images of Tears of a Clown (example above) that are by my longtime M pal and fellow Singaporean, Richard Se. (You go, boy!)

And #5, most gratifyingly…

2016-08-09 03.25.28… there’s a pull-out quote under the TOAC entry which is me commenting on Tears of a Clown taken from my March 11 blog review of it, which I only found out about after my purchased copy arrived! (Much appreciated, Matthew!) You can read the original post at this link: https://musingsonthem49.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/tears-of-a-megastar-clown/)

La Vie En Rose

So there you have it, #EncyclopediaMadonnica20, arguably the tour de force of all Madonna books (and most of them are not worth a dime, seriously…).

EM20: Updated & Revised edition – a must-have in any M fan’s collection.

Available at Amazon US (and other Amazons worldwide): http://amzn.to/29QQStD

And oh, Blessed 58th Birthday, Madonna! Here’s to many more!