FEMALE Chats With Dana Lee, star of ‘Mud: The Story of Kuala Lumpur’!

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After catching the live musical, we sat down for a convo with the spunky star of hit Malaysian musical, Mud: The Story of Kuala Lumpur (or Mud KL as it’s referred to)!  

Malaysia’s longest running musical will sadly come to an end this month, but Mud KL’s female lead Dana Lee is just getting started with her career! Dana majored in film production and minored in theatre at University of Central Arkansas in the United States, but it was being on stage and in front of the camera that ultimately drew her in. Deciding that acting was her calling, she moved to Hollywood after graduation, where she got featured in stage productions, short films, commercials and even as an extra in popular TV shows, including one of our fave comedies ever, How I Met Your Mother! In 2013, she moved back to KL; soon after she got involved in the Tiara Jacquelina-produced musical production. We catch up with Dana, who stars as the bubbly, optimistic Xiao Yen in Mud KL, and here’s the scoop!

Dana Lee stars as Xiao Yen, who (despite this austere-looking portrait) serves as a positive influence in the show. Credit: Mud KL

FEMALE: How did you get involved with Mud KL?

D: “I was initially working with Enfiniti Vision Media, the company that brought us Mud KL, back in 2013 as an administrator. One day, there was a call for auditions. No one knew what it was for, it just said “We’re looking for full time performers”. I was hesitant about auditioning at first, but Joanna Bessey, my boss at the time, told me to go for it! Two months later, I got called back. The people in charge told us that this was for a full time musical, which had never been done before in Malaysia. I knew I had to be in it, because I love theatre! To be given the opportunity to be a part of this has really been a blessing.”

F: Do you have any memorable performances or special audience moments?

D: “No particular special moment, but I love it when the crowd really enjoys the show and they show it. When we have audiences who are very into it, you know what you’re doing has made an impact. When they come up on the stage, if they cry, if they’re movedthat’s what I love most.”

F: Any favourite moments with your cast members?

D: “It’s always secretly funny when people forget their lines, and they have to ad-lib or improvise! That has happened so many times! I’ve tripped on stage before, and everyone found it hilarious. During certain scenes there aren’t set scripts, but there are times where I just get brain farts. Luckily, you can just cover it up.”

The ‘Mud’ fam! Credit: Mud KL

F: How long did you take to rehearse for the show?

D: “We were told about Mud by the end of April 2014. Rehearsals started on the first of May. We rehearsed fully for almost two months, and previewed the show in the last week of June. The rehearsals were pretty hardcore, from 10:00am to 10:00pm, 12 hours a day, almost every day. When we started, the show was still in the workshop phase, so the cast actually contributed a lot to what we could add to the show. We spent time playing around, experimenting with what worked and what wouldn’t.”

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