Local delights dominate Istana Budaya’s 2015 calendar, with a steady stream of musicals and theatre shows as highlights. 

Last year saw much glitz and glamour at this venue with the Jersey Boys musical, the Laureus World Sports awards and China’s Dynamic Yunnan grabbing the headlines. 

But let’s not forget career-spanning concerts from Kembara, Ramli Sarip and Search that gave Istana Budaya packed out nights, while Awie wasn’t left out as he too returned to his favourite stage in the rerun of Supermokh The Musical and his concert Suara Kita featuring Erra Fazira and Ziana Zain.

Istana Budaya has a lot to live up to this new season. And yes, homegrown flavour is big on the 2015 programme calendar.

The first among these is Enfiniti Vision Media’s Puteri Guning Ledang Reunion Concert (March 20-24). Tagged as “refreshed, reconstructed, re-imagined”, the show was supposed to run from Nov 27-Dec 1 last year, but was postponed due to producer and actress Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina’s vocal cord nodules. 

It is expected to feature members from the original 2006 cast, including Stephen Rahman-Hughes and Adlin Aman Ramlie, as well as standouts from the musical’s subsequent staging.

With such an established following, Puteri Guning Ledang Reunion Concert is definitely set to bring back the production’s magic.

Rejang The Musical (April 14-May 2), which was also supposed to be staged last year by Tall Order Productions, has been listed again in this year’s programme.

This musical journey heralds the heroes living on the banks of the Sarawak river. The musical is full of conflict showcasing the rich legacy of the Sea Dayaks.

Of late, more musicals are being shown everywhere in town as they tend to cut the generation divide, so fans can look forward to an entertaining time in the coming months.

Among other shows are Muzikal Siti (Nov 14-22), a concert by one of Malaysia’s favourite singers Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Muzikal Bongkar (June 12-16) by Awie Entertainment, Muzikal Seniman Jalanan (Oct 10-14) and Muzikal Rock Oo! (Dec 26-Jan 3, 2016).

In November, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza looks the part to mirror her own illustrious pop career in Muzikal Siti at Istana Budaya.

Theatre offerings include Kena Main (March 27-April 5), Laksamana Cheng Ho (Aug 10-16), Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck (Sept 28-Oct 3) and the love story Laila Majnun (Nov 29-Dec 7).

Incidentally, Laila Majnun, was also the first Malay film to be shown in then Malaya in 1933. It was directed by B.S. Rajhans, who gave P. Ramlee his big break.

Veteran crooner A. Rahman Hassan & Orkes Nirwana will present a concert from June 5-7 while Imee Ooi, who composes and arranges music for Buddhist chants and mantras, will present her Sound Of Wisdom concert from July 30-Aug 2.

Last year, 31 productions were staged and RM10.9mil collected in tickets sales. Local rock band Search raked in one of the biggest ticket sales amounting to RM1mil during its four-night show to commemorate the group’s 33rd anniversary – a record for a local group.

“For this season, in conjunction with My Fest, Istana Budaya will to aim to showcase 50% local productions and 50% international productions. In 2014, we tried to attract young people to the arts and this will continue in 2015,” said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who launched the programme.

One of the few international productions for the year is Saturday Night Fever The Musical (Sept 5-15), last staged here in 2004. It’s a musical based on the phenomenal 1977 movie starring John Travolta.

It prompted a cultural revolution and produced one of the largest-selling movie soundtracks in history.

Only one ballet, La Bayadere, (July 25-26) by The Dance Society Malaysia and Danceworks Production has been slotted so far. Originally choreographed by French master Marius Petipa, it’s a tale about a beautiful temple dancer and a heroic warrior fighting for their love against a backdrop inspired by 19th-century visions of the exotic east.

Other dance theatre shows include The Royal Gala Mek Mulong (Feb 28-March 1) and Dramatari Matah Ati (May 7-10).

For more information, visit www.istana budaya.gov.my.