Dick Lee’s stage musical Fried Rice Paradise will be adapted into a 13-part series for Ch 5 and Toggle next year.
This stage-to-screen re-imagining of the musical — about a young woman struggling to keep her family’s coffee shop in the 1980s — is part of Mediacorp’s ‘Lights. Camera. Singapore.’ initiative that champions homegrown content “that makes us uniquely Singaporean”.
Also in the works, a 13-episode TV remake of Michael Chiang’s Mixed Signals, a play about the trials and tribulations of dating in the digital age.
On the serialised take of Fried Rice Paradise, set to premiere on July 2, don’t expect it to be a full-on musical. “The main story remains the same, but we’ve added intrigue and it’s become almost like a thriller,” Lee tells 8 DAYS. “It’s now a mystery, which happens to be my favourite genre.”
There will still be songs on the show but they aren’t from the musical “because they don’t apply to the [new] story,” says Lee, who plans to direct the first two episodes of the series which will be filmed in KL.
While Lee is toning down the musical aspects in his adaptation, Chiang is adding songs to his new version of Mixed Signals, premiering Oct 1. He says that he was inspired by the public reaction to the songs featured in the 25th anniversary staging of Army Daze and its sequel, Army Daze 2, last year.
“We may not do a full musical, but there will be songs [in scenes] where [they are best suited],” says Chiang, who chose Mixed Signals over his more well-known plays such as Army Daze and Beauty World because “it had a lot of TV-friendly elements and a motley bunch of very colourful characters whom I felt would be ideal for a TV series.”
Elsewhere, director Beatrice Chia-Richmond, is attached to helm all 13 episodes. “It’s definitely a new challenge for me,” says Chia-Richmond. “But the most important thing is that we are working with people that you love and can have fun with. Every production that I’ve worked on with Michael — from Army Daze to High Class to Private Parts — we always have so much fun. We always come out of it feeling that it was a good adventure to be on. I expect it to be this way as well for Mixed Signals.”
Both Fried Rice Paradise and Mixed Signals are currently in the scripting stage.
The ‘Lights. Camera. Singapore' initiative — announced on Tuesday (Nov 20) — also includes weekly screenings of 28 Singapore movies, starting Nov 27 (Tue), 10pm, with 2015’s 7 Letters, an anthology of seven SG50-themed shorts directed by Royston Tan, Jack Neo, Boo Junfeng, Eric Khoo, Kelvin Tong, Tan Pin Pin and K Rajagopal. It will be on Ch 5 and Toggle.
Main Photo: Singapore Repertory Theatre