Love Story The Musical

Last weekend was my first visit to KLPac, the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Center. This amazing non-profit is located in a park north of the central city, on the route to Batu Caves. The winding driveway took us past the historic buildings of the Sentul Railway station and engineering facility. The grounds are delightful, and the renovated KLPac performance center is an award-winning architectural treasure. Converted from an old railroad warehouse, KLPac was developed as a result of a teaming effort among The Artists’ Studio, who lost their facilities to a flood in 2003; Yayasan Budi Penyayang, a foundation that receives donations and provides funding for various philanthropic purposes in KL; and the property owner, Tan Sri Francis Yeoh and YTL Corporation. The facility opened its doors in May 2005, which is an impressive turn-around time. Today’s facility includes three performance spaces of various sizes and nine studios for rehearsals and training. Plus a very nice coffee shop.

Love Story the Musical was inspired by Erich Segal’s novel and written by Stephen Clark, with music by Howard Goodall and lyrics by Clark and Goodall. The musical was first performed in 2010 in London, and it was nominated for three Lawrence Olivier awards in 2011.

The play at KLPac was well performed, with elaborate set design and a talented cast. The story is partly timeless, in that the couple defies their parents’ advice about waiting for marriage, resulting in Oliver Barrett IV losing his inheritance. However, I recall that the character of Jenny in the book certainly fits the rebellious 1970s, Her character is an outspoken young woman at a time when brashness was cool. Her character’s anger doesn’t completely translate to 2017. Another example of the dated story was Jenny’s quick decision to give up her music scholarship, her lifelong dream to study music in Paris. Yet Oliver pursues his law degree and Jenny works as a teacher to support them. Hearing the plot after more than 40 years made me a little sad, and I hope that the story would take a different direction today.

Travel with Donna

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