Preparing for the future

Filed in Events, They’re Playing Our Song (2007), Work

"Sleep! I can't sleep". That opening line from Act 2 Scene 1 of "They're Playing Our Song" applies perfectly to my situation at this exact moment.

My brain has been working non-stop for the last ten weeks and even now that the show is over, it refuses to slow down. The melodies from the show are still in my head as are occasional excerpts from the scenes, but more and more, my brain is trying to plan my future direction.

"They're Playing Our Song" was the greatest thing I've done in my life.

I worked hard for ten weeks and I'm not going to stop now. I like where I am. I like how trim I am and how fit I am, and I want to do another musical. I have decided to attend dancing lessons locally, and also return to L.A. to get more vocal coaching with Peisha. I may also attend acting school in Europe during the latter half of this year. When the next musical comes along, I want to be two grades better than I was for "They're Playing Our Song".

I have enrolled in four different dance classes in a 黃大仙 dance centre as recommended by a valued experienced friend. My lessons will begin in late April. Two of the classes are not strictly dancing but my friend's intention for the moment is that I learn to understand my body, that I discover my centre (important for balance and lots of other things when dancing) and that I learn the basics of dance. Five classes a week; it sounds exhausting but I doubt that it'll be as hard as the rehearsal schedule we had for "They're Playing Our Song" ;-)   I'll still need to continue with weight-lifting, vocal training and acting exercises so my overall schedule will actually be quite busy.

It is my hope that my vocal chords will fully recover soon and that I'll be able to see Peisha before the dance lessons begin. My current plan is two weeks of daily vocal lessons. Of course, I'll have to see if TVB has anything planned for me first. If they do, I'll change my schedule and work around them.

The singing and dancing of stage musicals have now become an important part of my life. I love the Broadway musicals and I want to do another one; a bigger one, in Cantonese; in Cantonese because a bigger musical production costs a lot to produce and Hong Kong people appear to be frightened of English productions (unless they're imported and marketed extremely well). The only way to increase the odds of making money on the production (I can't afford to do another free one) is to do it in Cantonese, so Cantonese it will probably be (not a problem for me ;-)

Today on Broadway, black actors and actresses are getting leading roles which were originally written for Caucasians. I used to think it was a little odd, but now I'm hoping for the equivalent thing to happen here in Hong Kong; a single Caucasian in an otherwise all-Chinese production! With luck, planning and hard work, you'll see me doing great work on stage again in approximately 18 months.

If you have any favourite Broadway (or London West End) musicals that you'd like to see us (me) perform in Hong Kong and that haven't been performed in the last ten years, please leave a comment.

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14 Responses to “Preparing for the future”
  1. Christ Follower says:

    Congratulations on your success in the show and on confirming your new aspirations to pursue. But do all your plans signify a decline on your appearance in TVB's shows?

  2. 河國榮 says:

    that depends on TVB and what they have to offer me ;-)

  3. Jacky says:

    G'day Greg!
    Ever thought of trying the Singaporean / Malaysian Theater life before?
    I used to work in Singapore for awhile & they seem to have a vibrant theater life which includes foreign / local acts. The English stage act audience are typically not so intimidated by the cultural / language barrier cos you know, they're always subtitles, LOL! Used to watch alot of TVB shows back in Malaysia & managed to stumble upon your blog via Wikipedia recently. I like the fact that you update frequently so most definitely, you're 1 of my bookmarked dailies now! Keep up the good work & cheers mate!

  4. Midnight Muse says:

    Since I don't live in HK, I can't comment on which musicals would appeal to the masses (or rather which haven't been on the stage in the last 10 years)...although currently "Wicked" is very popular here in North America since it's in part due to Idina Menzel and it being loosely based on the Wizard of Oz. But what I would love to see, would be "Anna and the King"...although unconventional, it would be interesting to see you in the role of the King and an Asian actress in the role of Anna. Considering that it'd be staged in HK, it would bring more attention to race/class issues as opposed to the "usual" way. But perhaps unconventional isn't so readily digestable for the masses :-/

  5. asget says:

    Sounds like you got it all worked out ^^

    Just saw you on 寫意人生, episode 1 here in Australia TVBJ. You look quite a bit younger with the glasses and shorter hair.

  6. Alvin says:

    hi ! my name is alvin. i live in wong tai sin. what day will you have lesson?

  7. Clement says:

    Hi Greg,

    Sorry to throw cold water on you (I know it's not English...) but it's difficult to do GOOD cantonese musicals. To me, the only cantonese musical up to date that is good will be 城寨風情. Translate Broadway musicals into cantonese is not a good idea because we always lost in translation, especially those which are really good musicals on story and lyrics.

    I will recommend Stephen Sondheim's Company or Jason Robert Brown's Parade if you want to do them in English. If you want to do something in cantonese? Hmm... that's hard...

    Sorry for a very pessimistic post.

  8. Clement says:

    Sorry to another post but Stephen Sondheim's Passion is also great. Afterall, it's a soap opera.

  9. Julie says:

    I would like to see you as Billy in Chicago, or even the phantom in the phantom of the opera, should be interesting.....

  10. princess says:

    Hi Greg, for years i've been watching u on TVB series but didn't really get your real name. Just want to say hi and love to see you on tv. Keep going :)

  11. 河國榮 says:

    Jacky,

    I haven't thought about Singapore/Malaysia yet. Maybe in the future. And I believe you're right about the English aspect. Singaporeans wouldn't feel so intimidated by English.

    Midnight Muse,

    Anna and the King… interesting idea although reversing the roles and setting up a suitable cultural/location background would be difficult to implement.

    Alvin,

    my classes have been changing as they cancel unpopular classes. Currently, I'll be at the dance centre on Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun!

    Clement,

    I agree with you regarding the translation. Unfortunately, we don't have a choice if we want to survive each production to make another. The productions will have to be in Cantonese. I will keep the Stephen Sondheim productions in mind. Thank you for the suggestions.

    Julie,

    Phantom of the Opera? Someone else suggested that. Apparently, it hasn't been done here in Hong Kong yet. We'll see…

  12. Haley says:

    Hi Greg,

    I have never seen a Cantonese broadway show only because of where I live. For the English ones, Disney's Aida was great which featured the music of Elton John. It no longer plays on Broadway anymore, but it is one of my favorites next to Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables (recently revived), and Beatuty and the Beast.

    Haley

  13. Rebecca says:

    lol i'm a Hk person living in Australia XD
    hmmm cantonese broadway...? i don't think it'll work very well, not a translation from english.. XD but popular broadway shows should do fine in HK :-] or..hmm cantonese one...i guess using a well known legend/story and converting it to a musical could work...but it'll take a lot of work to writing songs and choreographing the dances. good luck tho!!! i hope to hear about a musical in HK soon :) (prehaps i'll be lucky enough to be in HK when it's on!!) i would love to be part of a musical production...(sadly no chance except for the musicalproduction at my own school! i hope i get the chance to be part of a musical production in HK when i move back!)

  14. Lisa says:

    I just came back from New York City and had a chance to watch a very humorous and amazing board way show called “Avenue Q”. I think entertainment firm in Hong Kong should invite them to perform in Hong Kong or you may consider doing something that is similar to Avenue Q.

    Cheers!