PJPAC’s debut musical comedy ‘Cinderella’ packs panto and playfulness this May!

Unlike your typical Cinderella story, PJPAC’s edition which comes to life from May 30 to June 2, 2024 is a combo of live music, topical jokes, audience interaction, K-Pop touches and more!


Different versions of Cinderella, which has long existed as a folk tale, has stayed with us. Yet, the story still appeals to everyone in present time. According to director Joanna Bessey, “PJPAC has chosen Cinderella [as a debut show] because it is family friendly. We want it to be a multigenerational show, something the grandparents and the kids can sit down together to enjoy.”

This engaging musical comedy co-written by Bessey, Tung Jit Yang and Paul Loosley calls Stephanie Tham as its music director, who explains the choice of incorporating pop as well as K-Pop songs in the production: “The songs that we have chosen are those you likely have heard on the radio. They are fun and engaging; if you’re here, you’d definitely be singing and humming along to the music!”

Expect a show studded with the supremacy of love, empathy, and kindness, over-cunningness, selfishness, and greed – sprinkled with tonnes of laughter. Cinderella is also a unique show in the sense that it includes pantomime. This encouragement for audience participation is bound to make the show livelier!

Probably one of the most intriguing aspect of going to watch Cinderella is the line-up of Malaysian stand-up comics. Alongside Mia Sara Shauki (Cinderella) and Brian Chan (Prince), this musical comedy also stars comedians Joanne Kam (Stepmom), Papi Zak (Fairy Godmother), plus Izzaldin K and Sheikh Irfan Mansor (Stepsisters). We have theatre regulars Nabil Zakaria (Buttons), Alya Amani (Dandini) and Amsalan Doraisingam (Cinderella’s Father) to furnish an atmosphere to be reckoned with!

Comedienne Joanne Kam reminisces, “I was in the original production of the musical comedy Cinderella (2005) in klpac.” To this, Bessey adds, “This production (of Cinderella at PJPAC) comes from a similar concept, however it is totally a different show. The good thing about working on a musical comedy is that we are able to keep things topical and current, [adding in] new scripts and characters for it to relate to today’s Malaysian audiences.  

The show’s ensemble include versatile performing artists Arief Daniel, Feyee Bethany, Janelle Arnelia, Julia Batrisyia, Tan Guan Lin (Johnson) and Swarna Naidu.

“Look at how diverse this cast is,” says Bessey. “We sure have loud personalities [in this show] and if you’d like to see the real Malaysia, this is a representation of our community. I hope this resonates well with other people, too. This diversity of talent is not just a show of our cultures, backgrounds and belief systems but also our strengths. I do not know that some of the cast members can dance because I did not originally cast them for their dance skills! This combination on stage is just magical.”

Commenting on Izzaldin and Sheikh Irfan’s appearances as Cinderella’s stepsisters in this production, Kam says, “Not only is this their theatrical debut but they have been put outside their comfort zone [in this show]. They have pushed their abilities through Joanna [Bessey]’s tutelage. The idea is to be in a musical production that allows you to overcome not only your physical or mental restrictions but also to expand them.”

P.S. For the kids – and kids at heart – a dress-up contest awaits at the matinee show (Saturday, June 1, 2024 at 3pm) for Cinderella! A mini exhibition featuring the history of panto, musical theatre and Cinderella, and how these elements have influenced the Malaysian audience will also be showcased at the venue.

Cinderella: A Musical Comedy for the Whole Family! takes place from May 30 to June 2, 2024. Ticket prices start at RM65 – click here for more info.

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