All of 10 years old, Chloe Choo is no stranger to the stage. You may have spotted her as one of our FIRST STAGE K!DS in last year’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. Later this month, she’ll be treading the boards once again for W!LD RICE’s upcoming pantomime, Monkey Goes West.
“I love to entertain people,” she tells us about her passion for performing. “I like that I can show everyone what I can do!”
And what Chloe can do is impressive. She has sung, danced and acted alongside professional actors, playing featured roles in classic musicals such as Annie and The Sound of Music.
What she can’t do is choose between singing, dancing and acting. “I love all of it,” she says cheerfully. “They call musical theatre performers ‘triple threats’ – which involves doing all three at once – and that’s what I want to be!”
Chloe credits her mother, Maria, with introducing her to the theatre. “I didn’t really feel much excitement about it,” she confesses about her initial reluctance to audition for Annie when she was six years old. Fortunately, she changed her mind and decided that she should try something new. The rest is history.
“When I’m performing, I feel so alive and so free,” she enthuses. “I get nervous and a bit scared backstage, but once I go on stage, I forget about everything else. I just think about staying in character and having fun.”
Most actors have a tale or two to share about on-stage mishaps, and Chloe is no different. She recalls a moment in a 2014 production of The Sound of Music, in which she played Gretl, the youngest daughter of the Von Trapp family. As she was walking off-stage, someone accidentally stepped on her shoe.
“I went off with only one shoe on!” she laughs. “They had to find a way to get it back.” Everything turned out well, of course – thanks to some quick thinking on the part of her stage father, who salvaged the shoe and placed it safely on a table to be brought off-stage.
As much as she likes the limelight, Chloe has gained a deep appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes. She has come to understand just how much unseen work goes into creating any theatre production.
“I enjoy the whole process,” she says. “As a performer, I’ve learnt that you have to be disciplined, prepared and punctual. You have to learn your lines, and really get to know your characters.”
For Chloe, one of the perks of working in theatre is meeting new people. “I love making new friends!” she declares happily.
Being a part of W!LD RICE’s FIRST STAGE Programme means that she’s had the opportunity to catch up with old friends too. Last year, she formed a ‘Lepak Crew’ with Nadim Sazwan, Rizq Anaqi and Sarah Syazlina.
This year, they have all been reunited for Monkey Goes West. Over the past few weeks, Chloe has been in rehearsals, learning brand-new dance moves and watching the adult cast members in action.
The pantomime has also given Chloe the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the top talents in Singapore’s theatre industry.
These include Auntie Pam Oei, her “fun, cool” director for The Emperor’s New Clothes; and Uncle Ivan Heng – without whom, she declares, “there is no W!LD RICE at all!”
“It has been an incredible learning journey,” she adds. “I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me to improve as a performer!”
Most importantly, she loves being in the W!LD RICE pantomime because of the spotlight it shines on the children on stage.
“Most of the time, in other musicals, the focus is on the adults,” she explains. “In the pantomime, it’s more on the kids. It’s like we’re the stars, too!”