updated 11 May 2012, 04:52
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Fri, Mar 25, 2011
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Shh... it's Tiara's Secret Life
by Hizrenn Kamal

AFTER her award-winning Puteri Gunung Ledang The Musical and P. Ramlee The Musical, Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina returns to the stage with another extravaganza - The Secret Life Of Nora (TSLN).

To be produced by her production company Enfiniti Vision Media the musical is believed to be its most challenging venture to date.

It is slated to open at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur at the end of September and is said to carry elements of suspense, glamour and drama. TSLN will be staged in Malay and English.

According to the writer, Raymond Miranda, who is also Enfiniti's group vice president of content and strategy, TSLN, set in the '60s, revolves around Nora, a wealthy cabaret singer who owns a theatre. When she almost loses her club and nearly lands in jail, she is offered to be trained as a spy. Her mission? To infiltrate one of the biggest human trafficking rings in the world. Nora also falls in love but is forced to keep her life a secret.

Tiara, 44, will play the titular role of Nora.

"I've been asked many times on what sort of character I like to play. With Nora, I get to play someone who is fun, energetic and modern who goes on this exciting journey and turns out to be a strong-willed and admirable heroine," she said at a press conference to announce the show recently.

"It's a musical of many firsts. Not only it is the largest collaboration but it also features aerial spectacles," says Tiara who is also TSLN's executive producer.


To prepare for the role, the mother of two has been following a healthy diet and working out five times a week.

Although she looks fit and lean, Tiara says she still needs to lose more weight and improve her stamina. The former principal of Akademi Fantasia 7 says it has been her dream to stage such a musical.

"It is not a remake of the classic investigative film Nora Zain which starred Saadiah. But the film inspired me to come out with a new story.

"The idea for TSLN started several years ago when I was looking for a new musical, something different from what I'd done before.

"During my discussions with Pat Ibrahim (choreographer) and Raja Malik (set designer), they suggested that I come out with a story about a female spy. We were inspired by the Nora Zain film. "I had always been interested in Saadiah's character who is this energetic and stylish femme fatale. But since we did not want a remake of the film, we decided to only retain the name Nora Zain." To improve the quality of the production, Tiara roped in London West End director Steven Dexter, who is noted for his works in Peter Pan and Pirates Of Penzance.

"I watched Peter Pan where Dexter turns an awkward scene into something totally interesting. I'm hoping he can do something similar for TSLN." TSLN marks Dexter's directorial debut here.

Although Tiara and Dexter have yet to meet, the two have been communicating regularly on Skype.

Some may question the need to bring in a foreign director when PGLM was such a success under the direction of Datuk Zahim Albakri, but Tiara says PGLM was more of an experimental project. "We were lucky that the audience loved it. We were trying out new things without knowing whether they would work or not," she says, adding that she hopes to bring TSLN to international audiences.

"Every time we learn something new and set new benchmarks, it is a huge step for the local arts and entertainment industry.

"I hope TSLN will be able to make an impact and assure everyone, especially the large corporations, that a local production can transcend borders with the right support."

Auditions will be held at Enfiniti Vision Media, No. 28-2, Jalan PJU 5/20D, Pusat Perdagangan Kota Damansara PJU5, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor on March 25 (from 7pm to 11pm) and March 26 and 27 (from 11am to 10pm).

In Singapore, audition venue is at The Substation, 45 Armenian Street, Singapore 179936 on March 29 (5pm to 7pm) and March 30 (noon to 5pm and 7pm to 10.30pm).

To register, email [email protected]

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