By Malie Bifc USA
An Epic New Broadway Musical
featuring Bie Sukrit Wisetkaew & Emily Padgett
Book and Lyrics: Tony Award Winner Richard Maltby Jr.
Music: Academy Award Winner David Shire
Choreographer: Tony Award Nominee Dan Knechtges
Director & Co-Director: Takonkiet Viravan & DAN KNECHTGES
Orchestrations: JONATHAN TUNICK
The creative team for Waterfall includes Kenneth Ferrone (Assistant Director), Jessica Hartman (Associate Choreographer), John McDaniel (Music Supervisor/Conductor), Sasavat (Ja) Busayabandh (Scenic Designer), Wade Laboissonniere (Costume Designer), Ken Billington (Lighting Designer), Dan Moses Schreier (Sound Designer) and Caite Hevner Kemp (Projection Designer).
Scenario Company Ltd. and Jack M. Dalgleish Production.
The World Premiere Musical WATERFALL is set in Bangkok and Tokyo between the turbulent years of 1933 and 1939, as a monarchy falls in Thailand and Japan is on the brink of war. A young Thai student named Nopporn (Thai superstar Bie Sukrit) falls in love with Katherine (Emily Padgett), the American wife of a Thai diplomat, and the story of their forbidden love parallels history as the new democracy of Siam moves into the vortex of Japan prior to WWII.
With a gloriously romantic score from Tony Award-winner Richard Maltby Jr. and Academy Award-winner David Shire, WATERFALL is a modern love story of timeless scale.
Running Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes (including a 15-minute intermission).
Bie Sukrit as Nopporn, a young Thai student who falls head over hill in love with Katherine, the American wife of a Thai diplomat, Chao Khun Atikarn.
Emily Padgett as Katherine: an American living in Siam with her much older Thai husband. Aristocratic yet lively, fun, open-minded and high-spirited. She loves to dance and a lover of art. She tries to bury a past full of hardship with a life of grand parties and a radiant, positive personality. She appreciates beauty and all that life has given her – taking notice of the special moments in life and embracing them completely. She loves to see others around her do the same thing. She tried very hard to assimilate to Thai culture.
Thom Sesma as Chao-Khun Atikarn: Thai; a diplomat in the foreign service. A widower who has just married an American woman 30 years younger than he is. In his professional life, he is a man of powerful eminence. In his personal life, he is scared, shy, and confused, because he knows he cannot make his young wife happy. Good heart, yet can be aggressive.
J. Elaine Marco as Nuan: Nuan is Chao-Khun’s devoted and long time family servant. Holds firmly to the traditions of Thai culture and status. Her devotion to Chao-Kun is tested by his new younger American wife. Through the course of the play, they find mutual respect and affection.
Marcus Choi as Japanese Attache/ Thai Minister/ Ensemble
Steven Eng as Foreign Minister Takamoto/ Ensemble: Japanese, rigid, yet very well mannered in a diplomatic way. Does not like America because he is afraid that America will be taking over Asia
Eymard Cabling as Siamese Ambassador/ ensemble
KIMBERLY IMMANUEL as Pree, Nopporn’s fiance/ ensemble
Lisa Helmi JoHAnson as Kumiko: Japanese university student who has lived in New York.
RONA FIGUEROA, Koh Mochizuki , Kenway Hon Wai k. Kua, LEON LE, CELIA MEI RUBIN, KAY TRINIDAD, DARRYL SEMIRA, MINAMI YUSUI & RIZA TAKAHASHI
Broadway World: April 17, 2015
Director Tak Viravan of Waterfall, says, “I am so excited and thrilled to be working with this beautiful and talented cast, and I feel blessed to be among this amazing creative team, many of whom I have been idolizing ever since I knew musical theatre. Waterfall has been a wonderful journey, and I’m sure will continue to be so. I hope its beauty will touch everyone who comes to experience it. It is such a beautiful and special world.”
Tak Viravan is the leading figure of Thailand’s burgeoning theatre scene, where he has directed 14 musicals and plays and has presented many international touring productions. Waterfall is adapted from an earlier musical, Behind the Painting, which Viravan directed in Thailand. He has also been a producer for several Broadway musicals, including the Tony-nominated revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2011) and Nice Work If You Can Get It. Viravan is one of the most prominent and influential figures of Thailand’s entertainment industry, where he is also known as a television producer/director and for music and artist management.
Thai superstar Bie Sukrit (Nopporn) will make his American stage debut in Waterfall. From his discovery in 2006 on the Thai television talent contest, The Star, Bie has become one of Thailand’s most famous and recognizable young talents, starring on stage, screen and television. As a recording artist, his credits include several top-selling albums and sold-out concert tours. Bie created the role of Nopporn in the musical Behind the Painting, the earlier version of Waterfall.
By Michelle Mills, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Love can be transformative, affecting your life long after you and that special someone have parted ways. It’s what we learn from these experiences and how we use that knowledge that is at the core of the new musical, “Waterfall,” premiering at the Pasadena Playhouse on May 29 for a run through June 28.
“Waterfall,” based on the novel “Behind the Painting” by Siburapha, tells the story of an affair between a Thai student and an American woman. Set in the 1930s as the Thai monarchy is falling and Japan is about to enter the war, the tale also explores politics, culture and the impact of relationships.
“(The student) meets this real-life American woman for the first time, who happens to be the wife of the Thai diplomat that he is supposed to be escorting while in Japan,” said “Waterfall” director Tak Viravan. “She makes him sees the beauty of the world and the beauty of his roots, his own culture and in turn makes him appreciate the things around him. It makes him become a better person.”
Viravan is a leading figure in Thailand’s theater scene. He has directed 14 musicals and plays, including the musical “Behind the Painting,” from which “Waterfall” has been adapted. He’s also produced several shows on Broadway.
“Waterfall” features book and lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and music by David Shire. It is choreographed, and co-directed, by Dan Knechtges and the cast includes Emily Padgett, Thom Sesma, J. Elaine Marcos and Bie Sukrit.
Sukrit plays the student in his 20s, while Padgett is his 35-year-old lover married to a much older man.
“I think this role is just right for (Padgett),” Viravan said. “Her emotional love and her sincerity of emotions, she’s the Katherine we’ve been looking for. She and Bie have great chemistry together and that’s very important for a love story to work.”
New York City resident Padgett, who has been in “Side Show,” “Grease,” “Rock of Ages” and “Legally Blonde” on Broadway, has mutual admiration for Viravan.
“He’s so respected in Thailand, he’s such a huge deal there. He’s very collaborative. He lives to workshop things and try new things. This is his baby and he definitely has a vision,” she said.
Viravan also has the wisdom to have surrounded himself with a top-notch creative team to ensure the show will work for American audiences as well as its previous incarnation in Thailand, Padgett added.
She calls her character Katherine the “Western Wind,” as she is a force of nature who comes into a younger man’s life and makes him believe that despite his humble beginnings he can change the world.
“She is a New Yorker, she’s a socialite, she’s an artist. She’s just the most fun to play. She’s full of life and sees the beauty in everything,” Padgett said. “I think of her as the girl at the party who stays til the end and maybe goes on the roof, takes her shoes off and watches the sun rise, and that’s OK.
“Katherine is such a relatable character because she loves hard and she makes mistakes and she’s charming. I think having that kind of dynamic in this Thai show is going to be great for American audiences.”
In the book “Behind the Painting” and the movies, as well as Viravan’s 2008 musical, all of the characters were Thai. In this adaptation, Viravan wanted to connect with an international audience. The basic love story is universal, so the key was in the characters.
“When we changed the leading lady to be an American, that changed a lot and opened up into a whole new world of the difference of cultures, the difference of understanding the perception of the world and being able to open yourself to different kinds of beauty,” Viravan said.
Adding to this tale of romance and enlightenment is a lush musical score and a visually appealing set that includes a working waterfall. All this makes for a production boasting a classic feel blended into a modern presentation.
“I want the audience to just come and be taken on a journey,” Padgett said. “This is an epic love story where every character throughout the show changes in a dramatic way from beginning to end. It will be such a beautiful escape for audiences.”