Winner of 4 Hong Kong Drama Awards
with live musical accompaniment for the first time
Alliance Engineering Co. proudly sponsors: Field of Dreams 2017 Live +
Hong Kongers in pursuit of their dreams had proven that
faith could change our future
【Hong Kong Repertory Theatre】As the new year begins, a grand original musical with live accompaniment—Field of Dreams 2017 LIVE+—brings to the stage a glorious page of local football history. In 1936, Lee Wai Tong, renowned as “Asia’s King of Football,” led the Republic of China team to compete in the Berlin Olympics. Among his teammates were eight members who hailed from a single fishing hamlet—Lo Wai Village—in Tai Hang. The team had not only faith but determination, overcoming all difficulties to make their way to Germany to pursue their dreams. Based on a real-life story, HKRep Artistic Director Anthony Chan’s script—which he also directs—combines with music and lyrics by Leon Ko and Chris Shum respectively. When Field of Dreams premiered in 2008, it was awarded Best Overall Performance, Best Original Music, Best Actor (Tragedy/Drama) and Top Ten Most Popular Productions at the Hong Kong Drama Awards. The musical has already been revived once in 2013. This new version, a co-production with the Hong Kong Dance Company and choreographer Yang Yuntao, features live musical accompaniment. Field of Dreams 2017 LIVE+ will be conducted by Anna Lo, featuring Lau Shau Ching, Wang Wei, Mercy Wong, Karrie Tan, Yau Ting Fai, Chris Sun, Ko Hon Man and Chow Chi Fai. The production will be presented at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre from 8th to 15th January 2017. Tickets are available now from URBTIX outlets.
Many athletes dream of the chance to compete in the Olympics. As early as 1936, athletes from Hong Kong tested their skills with teams from around the world. That year, the “King of Football” Lee Wai Tong was captain of the Republic of China football team, which had proven itself unbeatable throughout Asia; he led the team in making the long journey to Berlin. Among his teammates were eight players from Lo Wai Village, young men impassioned by their dreams to embark on this trip, using their skills to brave a new world. The musical Field of Dreams depicts how Kaiman (played by Lau Shau Ching) and Jiazhen (played by Wang Wei), initially rivals on the field, forged a friendship and built a football team to represent the Republic of China in the Olympics. During that era, Hong Kong was a simpler society with much less means. Thanks to their faith in football, these men made it to compete in the Olympic Games, to fight for their own dreams.
Playwright and director Anthony Chan states, “I began this script in 2008 when Beijing was hosting the Olympics, a fitting contrast to how the Chinese team went to Berlin decades ago. 1936 was a historic year. After much careful thought, I decided to create a script about ordinary people who were devoted to football. Although it appears to have little to do with nationhood, these men set out to participate in the Olympics in Berlin at a critical juncture in the history of China.”
Celebrated music-and-lyric duo Leon Ko and Chris Shum have won a Golden Horse Award for “Crossroads” in Perhaps Love and a Hong Kong Film Award for the theme song “Ding Feng Bo” for The Last Tycoon. Musical materials in Field of Dreams encompass 1930s nostalgia, Cantonese nanyin and Japanese elements. In order to raise this musical to an even higher level, this revival includes live accompaniment in addition to new musical numbers, delivering an even more bountiful feast for the ears.
Critical praise for Field of Dreams since its 2008 world premiere:
“A single incident draws out such plot points as nationhood and animosity, life and death, romance and love. The audience is engaged by these interesting strains throughout the show. And the finale has a rousing climax—football teammates from Tai Hang making their way to Berlin to participate in the Olympics.”—Cheung Kam Moon, Hong Kong Economic Journal
“Field of Dreams contains song and dance that excited the audience, creating great empathy among them. I’m most impressed by elements of 1930s Hong Kong that were injected into the script. This is an authentic, local story.” – Liang Yi Hua, Oriental Daily
“The director was masterful in recreating football matches through real and imaginary spaces on stage. One could feel the excitement of a football match without even seeing a football …”—Kuh Fei, Ta Kung Pao
“Field of Dreams contains musical numbers and dialogue scenes that are complementary. The songs are effective in portraying the inner feelings of the story’s characters, working hand in hand with the musical’s dramatic exposition. This show utilises characters and their actions to communicate a higher message rather than slogans to promote some educational campaign.”—Fo Lin, Ta Kung Pao
“The musical numbers that Leon Ko created include Chinese, Western and Japanese elements in song, dance, romantic ballads and humorous ditties. Chris Shum’s lyrics are exactly right for their purposes. For example, those who make a living in the wet markets and food stalls and their neighbours would use Cantonese wittily to describe their livelihoods and attitudes, creating a spirit of authentic, local living.”—Ho Chun Fai, Ta Kung Pao
“The vivid portrait of a slice of Chinese history and its Olympic dream reappears before the audience’s eyes and inspire them to ponder on the ups and downs of the era, the country as well as life.” – Professor Song Baozhen, Theatre Research Institute Fellow, China Academy of Art
“It is a serious topic that generates dramatic contrast and plumbs the depth of human character, sustaining throughout the show. Not only is it great to watch and to listen, but it makes us into ourselves. This is great drama!” –Perng Ching-Hsi, Guest Professor, Department of Drama and Foreign Languages, National Taiwan University
Chinese football’s first foray in the Olympics
In the summer of 1936, China was invited to participate in the 11th Olympic Games held in Berlin. In Hong Kong, then a British colony, the South China Athletic Association Football Team often played against visiting teams, having defeated many and was crowned winner of the Division A games. Among the 22 players in the Chinese national team, 14 are from South China, led by “Asia’s football king” Lee Wai Tong.
In May and June 1936, the team toured Asia in a series of games in the hopes of raising funds to travel to Germany. Overseas Chinese in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma welcomed and supported them wholeheartedly. In Singapore, during a match against Malaysia, the Anson Road Football Field—a venue that normally held 10,000—was overcrowded with 26,000. Football fans not only filled every inch of the stadium, but also stood right at the periphery of the field.
In addition to the Singapore victory, the China team beat its opponents in 23 games, drew for 4 and never lost, with a total score of 113 goals and an average of 4 goals won versus one goal lost. Apart from Lee Wai Tong leading the team, there was also defense Tam Kong Pak (Alan Tam’s father), known by the nickname “Head of Copper,” thanks to his amazing headshots.
On 6th August 1936, the China team drew lots at the Olympics and played against United Kingdom. Although the China team lost 0-2, the eight South China Football team members were outstanding. They were Pau Ka Ping, Lee Tin Sang, Tam Kong Pak, Wong Ki Leung, Tso Kwai Shing, Fung King Cheung, Lee Wai Tong and Ip Pak Wah.
(Information excerpted from the South China Football Club website)
About Music/ Music Director/ Orchestrator Leon Ko
Leon received a Master’s degree in Musical Theatre Writing from New York University. His musical Heading East won a Richard Rodgers Development Award in the U.S. For his Cantonese musicals, such as The Good Person of Szechwan, Field of Dreams and The Passage Beyond, he won five awards at the Hong Kong Drama Awards.
His music in the film Perhaps Love garnered a Golden Horse Award in Taiwan and a Hong Kong Film Award. He won Best Original Song at the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards for the title song in the movie The Last Tycoon. He was nominated for Best Original Score again in 2008 for his work in the movie Warlords. Other film scores include Warlords, Mr. Cinema, The Great Magician, Insanity and Dearest.
Ko was the musical director of Jacky Cheung’s 2004 world tour of Snow, Wolf, Lake, and put together the musical sequences in The Year of Jacky Cheung World Tour concert in 2007 and ½ Century Tour in 2011-12. He wrote new music for the classic Cantonese operas Princess Chang-ping (2006) and The Reincarnation of the Red Plum Blossom (2014). In 2011, his musical Takeaway, the first major British Chinese musical in the UK, premiered at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London.
Leon wrote music for the play The Liaisons for the Hong Kong Arts Festival and Fredric Mao Theatre Project in 2010. In 2014, he wrote music for the play Tonnochy, and an a cappella piece Our Immortal Cantata for the group Yat Po Singers, as well as a musical Sing High to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Macao Cultural Centre. Leon collaborated with Ms. Yip Wing-sie and Hong Kong Sinfonietta on The Passage Beyond In Concert in 2014 and 2016.
About Lyricist Chris Shum
Chris Shum graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Chinese Department and then received a Master of Philosophy Degree from the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. Currently he is a full-time lyricist focusing on musicals; he has also extended his work into film and television. In addition, Shum is a translator of scripts and lyrics.
A veteran in Hong Kong’s arts scene, Shum is a two-time winner of the Hong Kong Drama Award for Best Original Lyrics. He is also a two-time winner of the CASH Golden Sail Music Award, in addition winning a Golden Horse Award and a Hong Kong Film Award.
Shum made his debut as lyricist in Tales of the Walled City (1994), a joint production of the former Urban Council’s three flagship companies—Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Hong Kong Dance Company and Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. From then on, he wrote lyrics for many large-scale stage productions, such as Ricky My Love (Hong Kong Repertory Theatre), The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (Hong Kong Dance Company) and The Passage Beyond (Actors’ Family). In 2014, Shum wrote both the script and lyrics to Yat Po Singers’ a cappella work Our Immortal Cantata, which was presented in Taipei’s Hong Kong Week two years later. At the end of 2014, Shum wrote lyrics to a new musical, Sing High, commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Macau Cultural Centre. Recently, he provided the lyrics for all of the songs in both Cantonese and Putonghua versions of the film Monster Hunt, Cantonese lyrics to songs in Pixar’s Lava, Putonghua lyrics to Hong Kong Disneyland 10th anniversary song “Happily Ever After” and Cantonese translation and lyric adaptation for Nunsense A-Men, produced by the Chung Ying Theatre.
From 2010 onward, Chris Shum has translated playscripts, the first of which was Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn. In 2014, he translated Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life, providing not only the Cantonese script but also Cantonese lyrics.
His first book, Yin yue ju chang: shi bi yi ci (音樂劇場‧事筆宜遲), was published by Schoolmates.cc Limited. Earlier this year, his Ban bu ci: you yin yue ju dao kua mei jie de tian ci jin lu (半步詞：由音樂劇到跨媒界的填詞進路) was published by the Commercial Press.
About Choreographer Yang Yuntao
A member of the Bai ethnic minority in Yunnan, Yang Yuntao was a graduate of the Minzu University of China’s Faculty of Dance. A former member of the Guangdong Modern Dance Company and the Beijing Modern Dance Company, he won the Bronze Prize at the inaugural Central Modern Dance Competition and the Gold Prize and Outstanding Male Performer at the 2nd National Lotus Awards Competition for his performance as principal dancer in Ma and Le Visiting the Sky. Later at the 6th China Arts Festival, he received the Outstanding Performance Award. He also won the Gold Award in Solo Dance in South of the Cloud at the 7th National Dance Competition for Ethnic Minorities.
Yang joined the Hong Kong Dance Company in 2002 as Principal Dancer. A year later, he received the Hong Kong Dance Award from the Hong Kong Dance Alliance for his performance in Water Margin and The Song of the Earth. He joined the City Contemporary Dance Company in 2005, winning the Hong Kong Dance Award the following year for his performance in The Conqueror. Yang returned to the Hong Kong Dance Company in 2007 as Assistant Artistic Director and received the Award for Best Artist (Dance) at the 2009 Hong Kong Arts Development Awards, Outstanding Achievement in Production for his choreography Spring Ritual．Eulogy at the 2013 Hong Kong Dance Awards, and Outstanding Production and Outstanding Ensemble Performance for The Legend of Mulan at the 2014 Hong Kong Dance Awards. Most recently, Storm Clouds was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Production at the 2015 Hong Kong Dance Awards.
Yang has choreographed for the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, Beijing Modern Dance Company and City Contemporary Dance Company. His works for the Hong Kong Dance Company include Border Town; The Smiling, Proud Wanderer; Everlasting Love; Romance of the Three Kingdoms; Joseph Koo’s Classic Melodies; Spring Ritual．Eulogy; The Legend of Mulan; The Butterfly Lovers and Storm Clouds.
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