CPAC’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ Dazzles with Young Talent, Spectacular Effects


Cempaka Performing Arts Company recently staged Disney’s The Little Mermaid at the North Hall Theatre, Cheras as their 2024 annual musical theatre production. Since 2005, CPAC has produced other licensed musicals such as West Side StoryLegally BlondeTarzanHairspray and more. In 2017, CPAC wrote and staged their own musical, titled Alice’s Wonderland with new music and lyrics. This endeavour earned them recognition in the Malaysia Book of Records. Two other new musicals followed in 2019 (Dames & Dimes, Musical) and 2023 (Spooks, the Musical). 

The Little Mermaid featured a very young and extremely talented cast. Their ages range between 8 to 16 years old with 9-year-old Kimberly Chan from Cempaka International School playing the lead character Ariel. Auditions had taken place in October 2023 and lead characters were all required to sing and attend training sessions to enhance their vocal techniques. 

Known for professional musical theatre productions and clinching several awards in the past, such as at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards, CPAC made sure that this would be another awe-inspiring show. Full rehearsals took 6 weeks and the cast had to learn all their songs and choreography under strict time-management and discipline. Scott McQuaid, the director, thought of new creative ideas to make the show different.

For example, he wanted a crab puppet for the role of Sebastian, played by Razan Raiz. Though Razan operates the puppet and is not seen most of the time, he does appear in costume for the songs he sings. Other ‘wow’ moments in the show include a giant stingray which appears at the start of the show right before Ariel pops out from a clam to sing the opening song, “The World Above”. In the iconic scene when Ariel sings “Part of Your World”, she is elevated while singing in full flow via an aerial system almost throughout the song. This effect aimed to create the impression of Ariel swimming.

Aside from the special effects, the costumes were fantastic and the set was absolutely amazing. The lighting design further enhanced it to create the magical ambience which is only possible in musical theatre. The music played by the orchestra was carefully crafted and led by Shen Vee, the Music Director and Piano Conductor. He made the music sound rich and full with the limited number of musicians. 

In the concluding show last Sunday, the Royal Guest of Honour, Tunku Zain Al-’Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz gave a closing address to the audience and commended the entire production team for the impressive show: “Another fantastic production by CPAC. The Little Mermaid is the most familiar show to me and I enjoyed it tremendously as the cast and production excelled and exceeded all expectations.” Dato Freida Pilus, Patron of CPAC and Founder of Cempaka Schools, also thanked everyone present for their continuous support. 

CPAC is working on the next new musical for 2025, which will be written by Scott McQuaid with new music and lyrics by Nick Choo. For more information, please visit CPAC’s website.

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