Let's face it, Christmas can get, well, crazy. Dream Academy knows. That's why the theatre company – which incidentally are celebrating their 15th anniversary this year – is putting together a variety show that’s as manic as its name: Crazy Christmas.
The performance, set to the theme of 'A groundNUTCRACKER', features a whole range of sketches, from dance sequences to stand-up routines. And with a cast that includes Sebastian 'Broadway Beng' Tan, Judee 'TCM TCM' Tan and the legendary Kumar, you know it's gonna be one to remember. We chat with co-director George Chan to find out more.
'We realised that Crazy Christmas is not just about having fun but doing something meaningful together as well.'
We're so excited that Crazy Christmas is back! How did the 'groundNUTCRACKER' idea come about?
We were all brainstorming about what is typically 'Christmas'. I was thinking about ballet and dance, and The Nutcracker came to mind. I felt that it's so relatable for all audiences, both overseas and here at home. Since we have not done The Nutcracker before and Crazy Christmas is filled with many nutty people, we decided to give it a local spin and called it 'A groundNutcracker'!
What's the biggest challenge in co-directing a show like Crazy Christmas?
Deciding what to include in this 90-minute show. Initially, we wanted to bring back many 'Best of' items, but then we realised that there are even more new segments and characters we want to create. So we gotta let go of some old and welcome a whole lot more new.
What are some of the most valuable lessons that you've learnt, having co-directed Crazy Christmas before?
I have learnt that one should get ready for Crazy Christmas months ahead because every year I don't just want to co-direct, I want to be in it, too! So I need to physically prepare myself to make sure that I do both roles justice. I will never want to miss out on a chance to act in this show, as Christmas has always been very prominent in my family.
Even though we are a traditional Chinese family, we will still make the effort to gather for a good meal and open presents together during Christmas. Now that all of us have grown up, Crazy Christmas is the show that ushers in the spirit of love and family and reminds me of friendships I have in the theatre circle – always filled with surprises, laughter and good work.
What, if anything, are you doing differently in this edition?
The basic formula is there: we put the best on stage and go crazy together. However, this year we are having a few exciting segments. Given the good mix of female and male cast members, we're having a 'Guy and Girl Showdown': the guys will be doing a full-on song-and-dance number, and the girls are gonna go on stage right after with a sexy number.
Another segment to look forward to is our inter-generational Dream Choir, a choir made up of kids from Nanyang Primary School and seniors from Henderson Senior Activity Centre. We realised that Crazy Christmas is not just about having fun but doing something meaningful together as well. So this year, we pulled these two unlikely groups of people together and see the magic we can create.
We hear that there will be certain 'Hokkienised' elements. What are the key phrases that we should learn before we hit the show?
As Broadway Beng Santa would say, 'Ho ho ho seh!' Also, 'huat ah!' – this is not just for Chinese New Year, as we also need to huat during Christmas!