Ready for a theatrical whirlwind that'll sweep you off your feet? Brace yourselves, because Waterfall: A New Musical is gearing up to take Bangkok by storm this month! This showstopper, born from the vibrant fusion of Thai and Broadway talent, promises a dazzling and unforgettable ride through time, emotions, and forbidden love.
Under the masterful direction of Takonkiat “Boy” Viravan, Waterfall breathes new life into the Thai classic Khang Lang Parp (or Behind the Painting: The Musical for our friends around the globe). Prepare to be whisked away on a mesmerizing journey where love takes the spotlight, transcending borders and cultures in this remarkable Thailand-Broadway collaboration.
But what's at the heart of this captivating tale? Picture this: It's the 1930s, and Katherine, a spirited young American woman, returns to the enchanting land of Siam, her cherished childhood haven. She's seeking solace after the Great Depression's turmoil. Here, she reconnects with Than Chao Khun, a prominent Thai government official who once captured her heart. An engagement appears to seal their fate. But wait, there's a twist!
Enter Noppon, a vivacious young Thai man on a mission to climb the government ladder as Than Chao Khun's trusty assistant. He's irresistibly drawn to Katherine's American spirit, sparking an intense and genuine love triangle.
Now, picture this sizzling love triangle against a backdrop of global transformations – the shifting governance of 1930s Siam, America's turbulent economic rollercoaster, the ascent of Western culture, and Japan's imperialistic ambitions, ultimately sparking World War II. From the vibrant streets of Bangkok to the bustling heart of Tokyo, this is a story that paints the beauty of first love against the ever-changing canvas of the world.
In the early 1930s, during Thailand's shift from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy, Noppon, a young Thai man from a provincial town, experienced a life-altering encounter. A chance discovery of an American history book ignited a brilliant idea: Thailand should follow in the footsteps of the United States.
As Thailand's transformation unfolded, Noppon seized the opportunity, pursuing higher education and landing a prestigious role at the Foreign Ministry as an assistant to the ministry's chief, known as Than Chao Khun director-general.
But here's where it gets intriguing. Years before Thailand's pivotal 1932 transformation, Than Chao Khun crossed paths with an American ambassador who brought along his 18-year-old daughter, Katherine, during his diplomatic mission to Thailand. Enchanted as he was, Than Chao Khun was already a married man, left to admire the captivating American from afar. During their shared time in Thailand, Than Chao Khun introduced Katherine to the rich tapestry of Thai culture and art. Katherine was deeply moved by her experiences, and upon returning to the United States, she aspired to become a painter despite the challenges faced by women of her era. Against all odds, she pursued her dreams and achieved fame as a renowned artist.
Fast forward to 1929. The United States was grappling with the despair of economic depression. Katherine, now a successful painter, plunged into a profound depression after her father's tragic suicide and her mother's heartbreaking death due to heart failure. Devastated by these tragic events, Katherine found herself questioning the path her life had taken. Her heart ached for the place that had ignited her artistic passion – Siam.
In a heartfelt letter, she reached out to Than Chao Khun, inquiring if he remembered her. At that time, Than Chao Khun had recently lost his wife, so he eagerly embraced the chance to reconnect with Katherine. Their reunion forged a deep connection, leading to a marriage proposal that Katherine accepted.
But here's the twist in this enthralling narrative! Katherine's path collided with Noppon, setting the stage for a captivating love triangle. Subsequently, Than Chao Khun's diplomatic journey to Japan, accompanied by Noppon and Katherine, unraveled profound bonds as they explored the captivating landscape of Japan together.
This period coincided with the influx of American culture into Japan, despite growing anti-American sentiments among the Japanese. Than Chao Khun's efforts to establish diplomatic ties with Japan were further complicated by the presence of his American wife. It became increasingly apparent that Japan was on the cusp of significant change, and the world stood on the precipice of World War II.
As the world grapples with its ever-shifting tides, Waterfall plunges deep into a story of love, beauty, and passion, leaving us with a burning question: how will this enchanting love triangle unravel? Only Katherine, Than Chao Khun, and Noppon hold the answers.
And what's a captivating story without a stellar cast? Waterfall boasts a lineup of global talents, including the charismatic Josh Dela Cruz as Noppon, a name that echoes in both theater and television. With Broadway and Off-Broadway gems like Aladdin, Here Lies Love, The King and I, and Merrily We Roll Along under his belt, Josh is a force to be reckoned with. Fun fact: He's also the first Asian-American to step into the beloved TV host role on Blue's Clues & You! after a selection process that involved a staggering 3,000 candidates.
Danielle Hope, our Katherine, is a British sensation with an impressive theater portfolio. From The Wizard of Oz to Les Misérables, she has enchanted audiences with her talent. Fun tidbit: She triumphed over 9,000 contestants to snag the coveted role of Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of The Wizard of Oz after winning the BBC’s singing competition television show Over The Rainbow.
Jon Jon Briones, or Than Chao Khun, is a Filipino-American dynamo who has conquered both stage and screen. His unforgettable role as the Engineer in Miss Saigon (2014) earned him nominations for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. But that's just the beginning. He has ventured into films and TV shows like The Mentalist and Designated Survivor, as well as Netflix shows, including The Assassination of Gianni Versace, American Horror Story: Apocalypse, and Ratched. Talk about versatility!
Now, let's peek behind the velvet curtain and discover the genius behind Waterfall. We're talking about the gifted writers and composers straight from the heart of New York.
There’s Richard Maltby Jr. – a Tony Award-winning American playwright with a dazzling array of talents, including directing and lyric writing. Brace yourselves; he's been nominated for over 14 prestigious awards from various institutions. Some of his award-winning productions include:
- 1978 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – Ain't Misbehaving
- 1990 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Score – Closer Than Ever
- 1999 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – Fosse
- 2001 Laurence Olivier Award – Fosse
But that's not all! Maltby's lyrical prowess shone in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance (1986) and Miss Saigon, where he clinched an Evening Standard Award in 1990 and a Tony Nomination for Best Score in 1991.
There’s also David Shire – a remarkable American composer and songwriter who has left an indelible mark across theater, film, and television. His notable musical contributions have earned him widespread recognition, not just for movie soundtracks but also standalone music compositions. His works include iconic projects like:
- Saturday Night Fever
- The Big Bus
- The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
- The Conversation
- All The President's Men
Oh, did we mention that he clinched the Academy Award for Best Song for It Goes Like It Goes in the film Norma Rae (1979)? But that's not all. He's also had a legendary collaboration with the iconic Barbra Streisand, resulting in the recording of up to five songs together.
Now that you're acquainted with these luminaries, it's time to mark your calendars! Waterfall: A New Musical' is set to make a splash from September 13 to October 1 at the Muang Thai Ratchadalai Theater for only 20 showings. Don't miss your chance to be part of this exhilarating journey filled with love, drama, and Broadway's pizzazz, right in the heart of Bangkok. Your front-row seat to Waterfall awaits!
Get ready for a theatrical phenomenon that's more than just a musical; it's a captivating tapestry woven with passion, talent, and a touch of magic. Bangkok is in for a theatrical treat, and you won't want to miss it. Secure your tickets at ThaiTicketMajor counters or book online viabit.ly/WATERFALL_BKMAG, where Thai subtitles will be provided for all showings. It's time to dive into the world of "Waterfall" and witness theater at its electrifying best!