The Dim Sum Dollies are bouncing back from tragedy with a return to the stage - and a new member.
Actress and DJ Denise Tan, 38, will be joining seasoned performers Pam Oei and Selena Tan as the final third of the popular cabaret act.
The trio had taken a break with the death of actress Emma Yong in May last year from late-stage stomach cancer. The much-loved actress, who was 37, had been a crucial third of the group from its debut in 2002.
Audience members will get to see the new incarnation of the Dollies at theatre company Dream Academy's annual year-end Christmas revue, Crazy Christmas: Ting Tong Belles, from Dec 11 to 22 at the Esplanade Theatre. They will also be making a full-length comeback to the stage in the second half of next year.
Actress-director Selena Tan, 40, tells Life! in an exclusive interview: "We actually hadn't been thinking about bringing the Dollies back.
"But people kept approaching us, and I must admit when that first happened, I was a little bit upset. Because it was like having to deal with it constantly when I was not really prepared to yet."
Tan and Yong were very close friends, and she was still struggling to deal with her grief. But after talking to her husband as well as director Glen Goei and fellow Dolly Oei, she says: "The reason people were asking was that they didn't want to see the spirit of the Dim Sum Dollies slide away into the background.
"I started to appreciate what people were helping me to come to realise: I couldn't indulge in my own grief for so long without dealing with what I felt was the original spirit of the Dim Sum Dollies. We are go-getters, we are brave, we are daring, we say what's on our minds, we're open to our feelings - all those kinds of things, the things we had worked so hard to share with everybody."
Things began to fall into place. Yong's family was deeply supportive of the move to bring the Dollies back, and Tan says: "It allows us, at Christmas time, to come out and say: We're ready to move on. And there will be more to come after it."