Her character may be known as Little Voice, but Mina Kaye’s talent is definitely huge and abundant. Having snagged the role of ‘Rapunzel’ in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods when she was only in her second year at LASELLE, she has since acquired a plethora of musical credits under her belt. The gifted actress has been involved in many well-received productions such as EDGES: The Musical, Crazy Christmas and Michael Chiang’s High Class, with her latest performance being alongside Hossain Leong in the recently concluded A Singaporean in Paris.
This May, Mina returns to dazzle audiences yet again in Pangdemonium’s The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. She will be playing the titular role of Little Voice, a socially-withdrawn girl with a hidden knack for impersonating famous divas such as Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland. The production also features other talented thespians such as Adrian Pang, Denise Tan and Siti Khalijah Zainal.
In our interview with Mina, the gorgeous songstress shares with us what it’s like being part of the crazy beautiful world that is musical theatre, and pursuing a full-time degree in it no less. We’re also given a sneak preview of her wicked impersonation skills, one of the many treats we can expect from this production. Judging by her immense discipline and dedication to her craft, it’s practically a given that Mina’s star will continue to shine long into the future.
Popspoken: Congrats on your first role with Pangdemonium. What can audiences look forward to in this production?
The audience can look forward to a sparkling night of music, divas and romance! The production will feature songs from some of the world’s most iconic divas, including Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Bassey and Judy Garland. There is also an exclusive cabaret table option, where audience can enhance their LITTLE VOICE experience by enjoying the show up-close-and-personal, complete with two glasses of champagne! So you get to be part of the play!
Popspoken: What drew you to become a part of this production?
The script is brilliant. I first heard about the film through a friend of mine who told me that I reminded her of Little Voice, because I do a lot of voice impersonations, just like the character. I fell in love with the story, and I can very much relate to Little Voice. Not to mention, I get the opportunity to impersonate 10 different divas, and I really wanted to challenge myself!
Popspoken: Could you describe your character Little Voice. Are there any similarities between you and her?
Plenty! As much as I love performing, I tend to be very shy in social situations. I never know what to do with myself! I spend a lot of time in my bedroom whenever I can, and like Little Voice, I am an only child to a single mother! My mom is pretty extroverted too, but just not wildly out of control like Little Voice’s mom, Mari!
Throughout my childhood, I would spend hours attempting to impersonate different cartoons, film and TV characters by playing and rewinding and playing my video cassette tapes, so that I can match my voice with it. I can probably recite the entire movie of MATILDA, THE LITTLE RASCALS and ALADDIN, even till today, because I’ve seen it so many times over and over as a child!
Popspoken: Who were your own musical influences growing up?
Bernadette Peters! I adore her, she is a living legend! I love her so much, she was the first female diva I’ve ever publicly impersonated! Here’s a video link of my impersonation as Bernadette Peters.
Popspoken: What would you say was the most valuable thing you learnt from your schooling days in Lasalle?
Time management! The musical theatre program at LASALLE is pretty intense! On top of your school productions, you have to juggle countless homework and researching, practice piano pieces and dance routines, and because I’m crazy, I also signed up to perform every Friday for Performance Prac, which is a time allocated for students to prepare a piece (a song, scene, or dance) and present them to your peers and professors. You then get constructive criticism for your work. I really enjoyed Performance Prac, but if I wanted to put any effort in my performances, I had to prioritize and manage my time wisely so I could get all my important schoolwork done before working on my Performance Prac piece.
Popspoken: Do you recall your professional debut on stage? What was the experience like?
My professional stage debut was in “Into The Woods” at the Esplanade Theatre in 2011 while I was still in my second year at LASALLE. It was one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences. I was honored that I was chosen to play the part of Rapunzel, despite still being a full time student. It was the first of many shows I did later with Dream Academy Productions, who are pretty much like family to me.
Popspoken: Lastly, tell us some of the challenges and rewards of a career in Musical Theatre.
Musical Theatre is like nothing else! You have to deal with a massive rush of adrenaline every night, but the adrenaline really sharpens you. It’s the hard work that really takes its toll; with 8 shows a week, musical theatre is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Lots of drinking water, a lot of early nights, no partying, no staying up late, I’m usually in bed by midnight! You really have to discipline yourself and take good care of your health because you can’t get sick! But to be able to do what you love doing every night, it is totally worth it! I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Be sure to catch Mina Kaye in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Tickets available at SISTIC.
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
Date: 2-18 May
Image credit: The Peak for Pangdemonium