After working together for #NuffnangXThriller earlier this year, Milestone and Nuffnang have come together again for the first international staging of a musical by Istana Budaya, the award-winning musical, Saturday Night Fever: The Musical Live in KL!
Organised by Milestone Production and supported by Malaysia Major Events, Saturday Night Fever: The Musical Live in KL ran from the 4th to 13th of September.
As the official social media partners, Nuffnang was invited to an exclusive pre-launch media meet and greet at the Johnny Rockets Restaurant in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, VIP seats and a backstage tour!
This provided the best backdrop for a teaser and we managed to catch some one on one time with a few cast members, the gorgeous Jenna and handsome Nick.
The main cast of the musical: Nick Varricchio as Double J, Jenna Rubbaii as Stephanie, and Brandon Rubendall as Tony Manero
Q: What is something our generation can take away from the story (of Saturday Night Fever)?
Jenna: It’s about young people and it’s about their wants in life, whether it be getting out of their small town and dreaming something bigger, or winning a dance competition. There are so many lessons relatable to our generation specifically and that’s why I love doing this musical more than anything because even though it’s from a different era, it’s still so relatable. Everyone goes through those phases of wanting something more, no matter what aspect of life it is, it could be relationships, it could be your family, your dreams and aspirations and that’s what this whole story is about. It’s about two young people fighting for what they in life. And that’s something that’s timeless.
Q: How does it feel to be a part of a musical off of a movie that defined an era?
Jenna: It feels absolutely incredible! It is a lot of pressure, but it is exciting because I am so passionate about the fact that it’s so relatable to our generation that I love I get to give a fresh spin but also keep it true to that era. It is a beautiful message. The story talks about family, romance, and friendship, every kind of relationship a person has in their life and as a young person, I still feel all the odes for any of those relationships. Every night I am so grateful for being able to go on stage and go through that.
Q: How much do you relate to Stephanie?
Jenna: (Laughter). I relate to her quite a bit but I also don’t. She is very feisty, I love playing her cause she has a lot of toughness, she stands up to the guys a lot. I don’t know, I’m a mix? I am probably a little more reserved than she is when it comes to that but I also know how to fight with the boys too. (Laughs adorably)
Q: Last and weirdest question ever. Have you ever danced your way out of a problem?
Jenna: Dance? Physically dance my way out of a problem? (Chuckles) I have not but that is a great idea. It is a wonderful idea! It puts a light on any situation and that’s another cool thing about the show. Everyone remembers the 70’s as being so fun with all the lights and the dancing and they think it is all fun but when you see it, it also deals with a lot of heavy subject matter. But the thing with dancing is that you can’t help smile when you see two people, even just moving a little. I think it’s a really great experiment, I think it could stop any fight really! You are going to start laughing at each other. We have got to try it. World peace. (Another round of laughs)
Q: How did you first get into this business? Did it happen like in the movies?
Nick: I went to school and music conservatory called Baldwin Wallace. Then I went to a showcase in New York City, auditioned for agents and found one, and I have been with the agent ever since. I started out pretty young, when you didn’t
know you could do it as a profession. And then I saw Jersey Boys on Broadway. It was 2005, it was the moment I knew I wanted to do that. It is kind of like in the movies? I got an agent and I just go out audition as much as I can, take as much dance lessons I can.
Q: What is one thing we can all take away from the 70’s?
Nick: Keep everything far out and groovy. Life should never been taken so seriously, life is too short. Life is one dance at a time!
Cindy and Yen’s party all seated in one row!
Fadilla and Elly’s party with a candid Cindy casually strolling in the picture
Directed by Bobby Garcia, choreographed by Vince Pesce and led by Brandon Rubendall, Jenna Rubbaii and Nick Varricchio, the audience enjoyed an entertaining night featuring hit songs from the Bee-Gees.
The big numbers got people out of their seats and on their feet! Comparisons shouldn’t be drawn because Brandon really made the character his own.
The musical consisted of a healthy balance of drama and comedy: enough to keep the audiences engaged whilst still keeping much of the plot in intact. Audiences were constantly surprised by the supporting cast who were just as impressive as the leads, especially Bibo Reyes as Bobby C and Mikkie Bradshaw as Annette in their stellar solo numbers.
Justice had been done to the Bee-Gees, whose classic hits like Stayin’ alive, Night Fever and How Deep is Your Love were pulled off faultlessly and left a lasting impression to the audience. The trademark poses were seen all around the venue wherever flashes were allowed to go off.
Cindy capturing one for the friend as Huai Bin makes light conversation with a former Nuffie who was in attendance during the backstage tour.
Riding on the post-show buzz, our talents Cindy and Huai Bin were lead on an exclusive backstage tour led personally by Jamie Wilson who played Monty and Frank Manero in the show! The talented actor carefully explained how the show usually works behind the scenes: from how props were logistically managed throughout the tour to how they moved around on stage.
Having watched numerous musicals including this same one in England, Huai Bin (read more: sixthseal.com) is a theatre-lover. With the media pass given only to the bloggers and a few members of the media, Huai Bin took full advantage of the photo-taking access and backstage tour as so cherished in his write up. Trailing Jamie Wilson like a shadow during the backstage tour, Huai Bin shared the full scoop in his entry.
Joining him backstage was a former stage performer herself and former NTV7 Dreamgirl, Tey Cindy (teycindy.com). Having left that life a while ago, Cindy loves the stage lights and sounds, especially since the music this time was played live from behind the stage as opposed to minus one offerings. The sound effect raving off the acoustics of Istana Budaya gave the chills that she misses so much. Definitely in theme, bell bottoms were the outfit choice of the night and with her boyfriend and best friends to escort her, she had only nothing but wonderful memories to take away from the night.
Yen Simpson (goodyfoodies) who was the most excited of the lot, sadly had to depart before the backstage tour. Being a full-time mother of two children, Yen spends most of her time juggling between blogging and parenting, which is why rushing home immediately after the show ended was not a choice she could waive. Arriving with Craig and her blog manager, Samantha, Yen opted not to capture anything and just let the illusion of the show take her away. Indeed, she was more than impressed with the dazzling choreography and costumes that make the show such a hit with audiences worldwide.
Elly (ellyinwonderland) and Filla (kasihaleeya) are two thirds of the amazing team behind Ellfie Essence. Best friends at work, best friends online, and best friends for life. The two are inseparable. Having been raised to the tunes of the Bee-Gees playing on repeat growing up, they reminisce on a time when dance music was all the craze. A little older and wiser now, Elly has now two kids who love dancing, and it is no mystery where they got it from. Embracing their media passes, neither snubbed at the chance to take photos when allowed to.
It is really amazing how much effort was put into the show and why these shows cost as much as they do. There are no gimmicks, no shortcuts. Every dance, every scene and every song is rehearsed to perfection.
Certainly not a night to forget, the Saturday Night Fever tour will next make port in Singapore to round up the Asian leg and travel through China, Central Asia and Europe the following year. If you haven’t caught it, catch it there! You will not regret it.
Video Courtesy of Huai Bin (sixthsealdotcom)
Nuffnang thanks Milestone Production and all of you for the support and opportunity to be part of such a spectacular event! More great things await, but meanwhile, don’t forget to check out our last post if you want to be at the #NNPremiereScreening of #TheMartian!
Click on the links to their SNF experiences.