In the final story of the three-week series about Hong Kong's top theatre playwrights, Tatler talks to Sunny Chan, a director and scriptwriter who has created Hong Kong's most memorable crime and detective shows, family comedies and historical drama. But television and films aren't enough for Chan, as he decides to create Yat-sen, his first Cantonese musical. Here's why.
Two decades into his career as a director and film scriptwriter, Sunny Chan decided to take a leap of faith and venture into the world of musicals, something he had wanted to work on since he was a teenager. “My first experience of musicals was with musical films such as Moulin Rouge! and Chicago, with which I fell in love,” Chan says. “There’s something so powerful with music onstage. It’s cheesy and simple, but any line in Come What May by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor conveys so much more love than what you can say in a thousand sentences.”
In 2019, the Hong Kong Arts Festival brought together local composer Peter Kam and lyricist Chris Sham, both renowned in their respective arenas, and approached Chan to write the script for original Cantonese musical Yat-sen. Despite his lack of prior experience writing for musicals, Chan immediately agreed.