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Dunkley says he 'had to take 16 songs and rearrange them while creating 60 minutes of original score'

Peter Pan, like you've never seen him before (Amended)

Nov 7, 2014 5:50 AM

PETER Pan, the classic tale of the flying boy who never grows up, has been told in so many ways - from the popular Disney cartoon to the recent TV mini-series, Neverland.

Now it takes flight at Resorts World Sentosa as Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story, a stage musical produced and directed by Geert Allaert. Audiences will see their favourite characters live and also hear a brand new soundtrack and songs.

Award-winning musical director Matt Dunkley was roped in to create the music. He says: "My main concern was that I didn't want it to be a jukebox musical. I have treated every song in a different way, and every song adds something to the story."

Dunkley, who has a Grammy under his belt, wanted to bring a filmic sensibility through the soundtrack. "Great stories can take numerous interpretations without ever losing a sense of the whole. With our production, we have taken key elements in the story and illustrated them in an exciting new way."

The show is expected to be a visual treat, combining elements of circus, cinema and live action. It will feature 25 dancers, a singing cast of eight, and numerous visual effects and pyrotechnics.

"It is unique in so many ways. We really started with a blank sheet of paper and sought to create a new theatrical form, using the latest in digital projection, flying systems and production techniques," says Dunkley, who has worked on popular films like Moulin Rouge, The Dark Knight as well as Pirates of the Caribbean 3.

He says what attracted him to this stage production was that it allowed him to arrange existing songs and compose new music. Even well-known pop songs from the likes of Robbie Williams, Josh Groban and Westlife have been given a fresh makeover and added to the soundtrack. "It's a unique project," he says. "I had to take 16 songs and rearrange them while creating 60 minutes of original score. It's a gift to a composer".

Despite this being a family show, Dunkley says Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story doesn't shy away from depicting pure tragic moments and raw emotions: "One of the key scenes for me was the poisoning of Tinkerbell. I wanted to explore the sadness and nobility of this moment. So I used a wordless choir and a beautiful solo violin to represent her fragile soul leaving her body."

The best part of the production, he says, is having to respond to the various challenges in conjuring an incredible fantasy world with fairies and fights, all in under two hours. "The fun thing about this project was the freedom to dream. We were always given freedom to try, and if it didn't work out, we had the freedom to fail. So much of this show grew out of that and it was very liberating."

'Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story' runs from Nov 27 to 20 Jan 2015 at the Resorts World Theatre. The show runs at 8pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; and at 3pm and 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets start from S$58 for restricted view, S$78, S$108 and S$138 for standard and S$168 for premium. For more information, log on to www.rwsentosa.com

 

Clarifications: An earlier version of this article stated Matt Dunkley is a Golden Globe award winner. However, we have been informed Mr Dunkley worked on film scores that have been awarded those honours at the Golden Globe – the prize however goes only to the composer and not the arranger.The article above has been revised to reflect this. In addition, Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story runs till 20 January 2015 and not December 30 as initially stated.