Abstract

Dama Orchestra in Malaysia has transformed through the implant of theatrical elements as exemplified by Butterfly Lovers—The Musical staged in 2006. This concert orchestra of the Chinese diaspora has grown into a musical theatre production company with regular full-house audiences for a series of productions of between ten and twenty shows a year. As composers and music arrangers working with the production team, the authors are participant observers of the work. This paper elucidates how the group responds to local demands, popular culture, and the tide of globalization to develop a modern Malaysian Chinese musical for Kuala Lumpur’s contemporary multiracial stage.

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