Thursday, December 12, 2019

Ground up in the musical mill, Bie looks ahead

Jun 16. 2016
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By The Nation

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Cheers to Hamburger magazine for giving us an update on singer Sukrit “Bie” Wisetkaew, who had a concert last weekend to celebrate his 10 years in show business.
CHEERS TO HAMBURGER magazine for giving us an update on singer Sukrit “Bie” Wisetkaew, who had a concert last weekend to celebrate his 10 years in show business. Yep, it’s been a decade since Bie was first runner-up in Season 3 of “The Star”, but what a decade it’s been.
Quite apart from becoming a superstar in Thailand thanks to a lot of canny promotion, Bie flung himself into efforts to get the musical version of a beloved Siamese tale on Broadway.
He tells Hamburger there were a lot of sacrifices early in his career, back when he was still drawing taunts for his unpolished singing style. Hard work and practice turned that around, though, and he soon had millions of fans. Bie says he’s most proud of the fact that he’s been able to support his family and buy a nice house for his parents.
The greatest challenge – and the greatest joy – has been trying to get the musical “Waterfall” onto the Great White Way in New York, the world capital of song and dance. Bie’s boss, Takonkiet Viravan, has spent years (and plenty of money, surely) guiding and shaping the production as it makes its way slowly towards Broadway. 
Unfortunately Hamburger is unable to offer any real news about the show’s progress. Like any play aiming for Broadway, “Waterfall” – which is based on the classic romance novel “Khang Lung Phab” – has had test runs elsewhere in the US, notably in Pasadena and Seattle on the West Coast.
Takonkiet, co-producing the show with a proven Broadway outfit, naturally wanted Bie to take the role of Nopporn, as he’d done on Thai stages already. Bie says he refused at first, fearing his talents weren’t up to international standards, but over the course of a year so many people urged him to accept the role that he finally accepted.
Life on the road wasn’t much fun, he says. On his own in New York City, he was homesick to the point of tears and worn out by the constant, difficult rehearsals, which stretched his abilities with the English language as well as singing and acting. He also struggled to adapt to the tougher work ethic.
“Being criticised by members of the team was one of the worst moments of my career. Everyone was speaking English all the time, so I didn’t always understand everything. When I came in for criticism, it hurt – a lot, because it was very true.”
With no indication whether “Waterfall” is getting any closer to Broadway, Bie is back home concentrating on other projects. He wonders if being overseas so long has undercut his popularity here but, knowing he’s done his best to help Takonkiet fulfil a dream, he’s confident his boss won’t let him down at this stage of his career.
Now 30, Bie knows he’s no longer the youthful pop idol he once was, and he’s adjusted his working style accordingly. Never one to rest on his laurels, he’s still honing acting and dancing skills and looking for sustainable ways to replace the pop star with an entertainer for all seasons and all stages.

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