By Malie Bifc USA
*** focus more on Bie Sukrit ***
WATERFALL the musical had its official opening night on June 7, 2015
“Your leading man, Bie Sukrit, is making his American debut after winning the Thai reality show The Star. How did he come into the project?
David: “The show was really written for him. Tak, the director-producer-bringer of American musicals to Thailand…Before he did that, he was like the Simon Cowell of Thailand. He created Bie, who is a real rock star there. You walk down the street with him and the girls go crazy.” (Theatermania, 06/06/15)
“Sukrit suits the young Noppon perfectly, making the most of his naivete and longing to be an “American”. He is less convincing as Noppon matures from 1932-45, Sukrit is a talented actor/singer with a lot of charm and boyish appeal, who will blossom with more onstage experience.” (Don Grigware, Broadway World/ Los Angeles 06/12/15)
“While musicals about history can be interesting, Waterfall is most compelling when it leaves the focus on Noppon and his friends rather than on pre–World War II politics. Despite some pitch problems, Sukrit is utterly winning, skillfully shouldering a musical in his second language and hitting the show’s comedic beats with ease. Similarly, his friends (Jordan De Leon, Colin Miyamoto and Lisa Helmi Johanson) are vivacious and entertaining, and their number “America Will Break Your Heart” is probably the most adeptly written song, combining social consciousness with pointed humor.” (Katie Buenneke, LA Weekly 06/08/15)
“Bie Sukrit is Noppon, taking him from youthful excitement to steady adulthood with heart and a certain genuine quality making him particularly endearing. Emily Padgett creates in Katherine a woman thrown into a culture beyond her experience, a careful combination of enthusiastic tourist and wistfully aware outsider. Both sing well, and connect with an intensity that powers the rest of the piece. As Katherine’s aging, cautious diplomat husband, Thom Sesma provides an anchored balance to Noppon’s youthful enthusiasm — an image of both maturity and roundedness not without its own aura of romance. (Frances Baum Nicholson, sgvtribune 06/10/15)
Yelp gave WATERFALL 4 1/2 stars
“Waterfall,” the new cross-cultural, lushly romantic tuner at the Pasadena Playhouse, has admirable ambition, visual splendor and patchy dramaturgy. Working from a Thai source novel, stage veterans Richard Maltby Jr. (words) and David Shire (music) seek to explore cultural identity in personal and political contexts, set against a complex historical backdrop. Which is all too tall an order at this stage of the show’s development. Characterizations and plotlines will need to be firmed up if the next stop, Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre in October, is to be followed by a hoped-for Broadway success.
Most importantly, our protagonists aren’t ready for prime time. The likeable Sukrit, a pop star back home, has a fluid, restrained singing style. But the character he’s been handed is nothing more than a goofy bumpkin with an America fetish. Katherine, the wife, professes to see in him the soul of a vigorous new Siam, but we never can. When he’s supposed to age into a seasoned diplomat, it’s like a kid playing dress-up.” (Bob Virini, Variety 06/12/15)
“Unfortunately, Sukrit enjoys little chemistry with Padgett, who plays the thankless role of a white goddess idolized by Noppon and his friends. Happily, she handles the part with ease and casual charm, demonstrating a crystalline soprano voice in the early ensemble number, “Dance,” at an embassy party, and later in “Work of Art,” the show’s dreary thematic reprise.
One of the Waterfall’s few bright spots is J. Elaine Marcos (Broadway’s recent Annie revival) as Nuan, Katherine’s passively cynical servant, who disapproves of her mistress and her student interloper. The show’s other highlight is an inspired admonition, “America Will Break Your Heart,” sung to Noppon by his friends, Santi, Surin and Kumiko (Lisa Helmi Johanson), an American-born Japanese caught between two cultures. Johanson brims with an insouciance that brings needed spark to the show, making us half wish the plot would veer off and tell her story instead.
But sadly we’re stuck with Noppon, who is feverishly in love with Katherine, despite enjoying limited and mostly superficial conversation with her. It might make sense if Noppon were destined to wake up to the artificial nature of his love affair with the U.S., despite having never been there. Unfortunately, that’s not where Waterfall is headed. Instead, we get a one-way trip down lover’s lane with a couple that comes across as little more than polite friends.” (Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, 06/12/15)