updated 7 May 2012, 12:35
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Sun, Apr 03, 2011
The New Paper
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Out of the woods?
by Germaine Lim

TWO months ago, local actress Emma Yong caused a stir in the arts scene when she suddenly pulled out of two high-profile stage productions, Closer and 881, due to "medical reasons".

She was reportedly seriously ill and undergoing treatment that would last four to five months.

She was replaced by actresses Tan Kheng Hua and Lindy Chia for Closer and 881 respectively.

Now, it seems 34-year-old Yong - who is one third of popular cabaret trio Dim Sum Dollies - is back in the spotlight.

In July, she'll be starring as Cinderella in the upcoming musical Into The Woods, which will be directed by Glen Goei and produced by local theatre company Dream Academy.

While Yong did not pick up The New Paper's calls, she got her Into The Woods co-star Selena Tan, 39, who is also part of Dim Sum Dollies and founder of Dream Academy, to relate this message to us: "Emma wants you to know that she is definitely going to be in the musical."

When contacted, 48-year-old director Goei declined to comment on Yong's ailment.

He would only say: "As far as I know, she's well. That's why she's doing this (musical)."

Into The Woods, which has won several Tony Awards, including Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical, intertwines the plots of fairy-tales such as Rapunzel and Cinderella.

It explores the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests.

Besides Tan and Yong, the heavyweight cast includes Sebastian Tan, Denise Tan, Adrian Pang and Lim Kay Siu.

This is the second time - the first was in 1994 - that Goei has directed this musical by renowned US composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and US stage director James Lapine.

Imaging was done in December and rehearsals begin in June, Dream Academy producer Shireen Abdullah said.

Pang, who staged and acted in Closer, said: "When Emma found out (about her illness), we were just about to start rehearsing for Closer in mid-January.

"(She pulled out because) she needed to do what she needed to do to take care of herself.

"A few days ago, she told me she's been responding well to treatment. (As for her appearing in Into The Woods and not in Closer), I guess it's a matter of the treatment's time-frame.

"Whether she ultimately decides to do the show, it is up to her. I certainly hope we'll be working together with Emma.

"But on a bigger picture, I hope Emma is going to be fit . The show is a milestone in terms of aiming for something. I love her dearly. Let's hope and pray that she's on the road to recovery."


WHAT: Into The Woods
WHEN: July 29 to Aug 7
WHERE: Esplanade Theatre
TICKETS: $48, $58, $68, $88, $108 and $118 from Sistic ( or 6348 5555)

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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