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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

'We Will Rock You' no more

Posted: 11 Mar 2014 09:55 PM PDT

The musical is closing down in London after 12 years.

The Queen musical We Will Rock You is to close in its London home after 12 straight years, producers said Tuesday.

The show, which has played to more than 6.5 million people at the Dominion Theatre, will close on May 31 after what will be more than 4,600 performances.

The musical, set in a future where music is computer-generated and instruments banned, sees a group of rebels bringing rock back to life, inspired by surviving fragments of songs – chiefly Queen's masterpiece Bohemian Rhapsody.

The story, penned by comedian and writer Ben Elton and co-produced by Robert De Niro, uses a barrage of Queen hits such as Another One Bites The Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, We Are The Champions and the title track.

"It's actually quite heartbreaking to lose this great talented family, who have all given much more than the job demanded in terms of energy and devotion," Queen's guitarist Brian May said on his website.

"But some day We Will Rock You will rise again in its home city."

The 2,000-seater Dominion Theatre has a giant statue of late Queen singer Freddie Mercury outside, which has become something of a London landmark.

No reason was given for the show closing but it comes a fortnight after it was announced that West End mainstay Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest musical, Stephen Ward, is to close after just four months following sluggish ticket sales.

According to the Society of London Theatre, We Will Rock You is the 10th longest-running musical of all time in London's West End theatre district, and the fifth-longest still running, behind Les Miserables, The Phantom Of The Opera, Mamma Mia! and The Lion King.

Launching the spectacle in 2002 – 11 years after Mercury died – was a gamble that paid off for Queen, breathing new life into their music by allowing fans to enjoy their hits live once more.

"To have the show rocking the Dominion and seeing a standing ovation night after night has been quite amazing. We wish the show every success for the future," said the theatre's general manager David Pearson.

The Dominion will now be refurbished for a new production in 2015, he said.

While London has been the show's home, it has been performed in 28 countries and seen by a more than 16 million people worldwide. A version is touring North America at the moment, while a German-language version will play in Munich and Frankfurt from September.

The show's performers and musicians are hand-picked by Elton, May and Queen drummer Roger Taylor. A sequel, using songs not in the existing musical, has long been mooted.

Queen – bassist John Deacon, May, Mercury and Taylor – are among the world's biggest-selling artists ever, with most of the British group's sales coming since Mercury died in 1991.

Deacon retired in 1997 and has since vanished from the public eye but May and Taylor still keep the Queen flag flying. They are set to tour North American arenas in June and July with US singer Adam Lambert. — AFP Relaxnews

Origins of an artist

Posted: 08 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

YeeTing Wong's family is her artistic influence.

PEOPLE say that family is the greatest form of influence.

That was exactly how it felt for local artist Wong Yee Ting, 44 who grew up in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Wong – whose artistic name is YeeTing Wong – has been surrounded by people who were artistically talented since her younger days.

"My interest in art, music and dance started early for me, and has always been in my upbringing," she said, explaining that her grandfather was an avid photographer while her parents were involved in singing.

For the record, her mother was an art teacher and Wong says that her four sisters are all naturally artistic.

"Maybe it's a family thing," she adds.

YeeTing Wong's love affair with nature translates to her art. For portraits, Lotud Tuaran I (above left) is taken from her coffee-stained art series. Tenom coffee from her home state Sabah was used to create this series.

YeeTing Wong's love affair with nature translates to her art.  

Wong's interest in arts brought her to study Graphic and Illustrative Art at The One Academy in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, which eventually led to her career in painting.

"Nobody told me to be an artist – that's why I am one," she said, when asked why she decided to be an artist. "It is a good way to find out about oneself without being told what and who to be."

The owner of Art Base Gallery in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah believes that her passion for painting and career can be put together. While she is locally based in her home town, she spends her time in a studio at Gallery Strandvang in Bornholm, Denmark during the summer where she works on various projects.

Her work which is inspired by wildlife in Borneo and beyond has upped her profile. However, Wong's coffee-stained portrait work (Tenom coffee) of Sabah native women in 2012 was one of her most well-received exhibitions.

"It is also important that I can balance my passion in doing what I like and maintaining a decent life quality with sufficient income," she said.

A quick look at her previous works and you can tell that Wong has a thing for nature themed paintings. Despite that, she works on portraits and sceneries too. She says that it is only natural to work on subjects that are in her surroundings.

Being a determined and ambitious person, Wong says that she gives her best every time she works on her paintings and she believes that all her paintings were the best at the time of completion.

"As an artist, it is a constant quest for the 'true' identity and it is forever changing," said Wong, explaining the challenges of being an artist.

Despite becoming an inspiration for others, she draws her inspiration from many other sources such as culture, philosophy and old masters.

Lotud Tuaran I is taken from Wong YeeTing's coffee-stained art series. Tenom coffee was her hometown Sabah was used to create this series.

Lotud Tuaran I is taken from YeeTing Wong's coffee-stained art series. Tenom coffee from her home state Sabah was used to create this series.

"For my artistic inspiration, I learn from the old masters and their stories, and the contemporaries in the art museums and galleries for a new approach and concepts in art.

"It raises awareness in me that the world is so different and alike at the same time. This gives me strength to believe that what I do is comprehensible and can be related to," she said.

For more info, check out Wong's previous and latest works at everythingting.blogspot.com.

Adele Dazeem is becoming more famous

Posted: 09 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Idina Menzel's new Broadway musical is capitalising on John Travolta's tortured pronunciation of her name during the Oscars.

Idina Menzel's new Broadway musical is capitalising on John Travolta's tortured pronunciation of the Let It Go belter's name during the recent Academy Awards telecast.

Travolta's botched introduction of Menzel, during which he called her something that sounded like "Adele Dazeem," instantly went viral.

That gave the marketing team behind If/Then, which marks Menzel's return to the Great White Way after nearly a decade, an opportunity to have a little fun.

The musical's social media mavens whipped up a poster for the new musical with the tagline, "You Know Her Name."

It also featured a photo of the actress performing the Oscar-winning song from Frozen.

If/Then is a new musical about an urban planner who shakes up her life — something of a dicey proposition in today's Broadway environment. Shows either tend to be adaptations of hit films, such as Rocky and Bullets Over Broadway — two other musicals opening this spring — or else they carry star wattage, such as the upcoming revival of Cabaret with Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams.

To that end, If/Then heavily promoted Menzel's Oscar appearance as a way to draw attention to the show. Video of her singing Let It Go is on the musical's Facebook page, and in the days leading up to her appearance on the Oscars, If/Then's promotional team teased her upcoming turn in the spotlight.

Menzel is unknown to more than just the Travolta household.

However, she previously headlined the Broadway smash Wicked and Frozen is one of the biggest hits in Walt Disney history, having earned US$1bil (RM3.26bil) at the worldwide box office. She may be one more killer song or, barring that, one more introductory gaffe away from stardom.

If/Then opened on Broadway at the Richard Rogers Theatre on March 5. — Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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