Seasons: A Magical Musical brings together uplifting symphonic music, dance, drama, and a whole lot of magic

    1 of 5 2 of 5

      (This article is sponsored by )

      Ever since she was a child, Vancouver composer-songwriter Wendy Yau Sum Cheung dreamed of having an orchestra play her self-composed music to a wildly appreciative audience.

      She pursued her passion through UBC, graduating in the composition department, and went on to craft popular tunes that made the Billboard charts in Asia.

      “There were a lot of celebrities that used my music in movies and TV shows,” Cheung says. “I went to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Macao. I spent quite a few years travelling there to work on music.”

      It was a satisfying and successful time in her life but still, the dream remained. And this year, all the pieces finally fell into place to enable Cheung to revive her ambition of creating an orchestral musical.

      The result is an epic stage story told mostly through dance and backed up by a symphony. It’s called

      Revolving around a girl named Faith, it reveals how the central character’s life unfolds over four seasons. At its world premiere at The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts on November 25, the show will be accompanied by Maestro Ken Hsieh and the highly regarded Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra (VMO).

      Kenneth Hsieh of the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra

      In addition to being the musical conductor and cofounder of the VMO, Hsieh also has a successful career as a conductor in Asia. Cheung credits him for making the VMO available to perform her work and for securing the location.

      “It’s not an easy venue to book, especially on a Saturday night close to Christmas,” she says.

      What makes Seasons: A Magical Musical unique is that it incorporates four elements: spectacular original music performed by professional players in the VMO; choreographed dance sequences conveying the drama on-stage; a compelling and inspirational storyline; and a professional magician among the cast.

       According to Cheung, her main character, Faith, grows up to become a songwriter.  Although she always carries the flame of music in her heart, family, work and life responsibilities kick in, leading to a mental breakdown.

      Vancouver composer-songwriter Wendy Yau Sum Cheung

      Then she meets a park custodian, who is really a magician, played by Rod Chow.

      “Actual illusions are going to take place during the storyline,” Cheung reveals.

      Chow has won many international awards as a magician and illusionist in a career spanning nearly three decades. In Seasons: A Magical Musical, his character takes Faith into four seasons of wonder.

      In this production, spring is when life spurts forward. Summer is a time of fun. Fall is when things start to change.  And winter is a time of celebration.

      “You’ll see things come from thin air,” Chow promises. “You’ll see things transform and multiply. Even people will appear and disappear. There will be quite a variety of different illusions.”

      Only two of songs will have lyrics: “Life Is Beautiful” at the beginning, and the closing number, “I Believe in Magic”. For most of the show, the cast will rely on their acting and dance moves, the orchestral score, and magic to connect with the audience.

      Seasons: A Magical Musical will feature original music performed by the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra

      “It will be mainly body movement and music to tell the story—with costumes and props,” Cheung explains. “Of course, we do tie into Christmas because it’s the time we’re putting it out, and it’s perfect for bringing the entire family along to be amazed,” she says.

      One of the magic effects will produce snow in the theatre during the wintertime segment.

      “The storyline was written first,” she says. “Then I segmented it based on the scenes and orchestrate the mood based on what I like to see, hear, and feel—like a movie.”

      Cheung acknowledges that pursuing goals takes a great deal of time and energy, and she wants her story to encourage audience members to think about achieving their dreams.

      “We do hope this will be a sellout event, and we can repeat this on a yearly basis,” she adds.

      For his part, Chow is buzzing with excitement, saying he’s thrilled to have been invited by Cheung to participate. He credited her for coming up with the idea of incorporating illusions.

      “Magic is going to be completely integrated into the performance, which is why it’s going to be so special,” Chow says. “Wendy has done an incredible job of putting this together and creating the music. It’s really exhilarating. It’s outstanding music—really emotional—and the whole idea of the production is to inspire people.”

      Rod Chow

      Seasons: A Magical Musical will be performed with the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra at The Centre for the Performing Arts (777 Homer Street) on November 25.

       (This article is sponsored by )