Singapore singer-songwriter Dick Lee is back to doing what he does best - mashing music and comedy together in perfect harmony.
As part of celebrating his 40th anni- versary in show business this year, the 57-year-old will be staging a revival of his 1970s-themed musical comedy Hotpants, which he wrote and directed in 1997.
Hotpants, set in 1972 Singapore, features 10 quirky characters coming to terms with the changing times. The story focuses on the journey of three mother-daughter pairs, whose lives take a turn when the three girls decide to join an inter-school Talentime competition.
Since 1988, Lee has written many musicals, including Beauty World, Fried Rice Paradise, Kampong Amber, Sing To The Dawn and Forbidden City.
More recently, he has ventured into uncharted waters such as holding a solo art exhibition last October and writing war-time play Rising Son, which was staged in March.
Next year, he will be directing his first feature film with the movie Sunshine Girls, produced by Singapore's mm2 Entertainment and Modernasia Studios.
Lee says: "All these opportunities give me room to grow and I'm grateful that there are companies willing to put their money on me in letting me explore new areas. Knowing I have so much support makes trying these things less scary."
He is understandably excited to return to his forte, adding: "Even though I'm doing these new things, at the end of the day, the essence of what I am is really in this show. In Hotpants, I can just be me."
Hotpants is close to his heart because he created it from scratch and put the project together himself, he says. "This is a show I wanted to do for myself. I didn't follow any guidelines or rules. I just wrote what I felt inside and it ended up becoming something I enjoyed doing."
This is the musical's second run. The original 1997 cast included veterans Kumar, Jacintha Abisheganaden, Tan Kheng Hua and the late Emma Yong, but this year's production features a new ensemble including Denise Tan from The Dim Sum Dollies and Singapore Idol alumni Tabitha Nauser, Joakim Gomez and Dwayne Tan.
Nauser and Gomez are thrilled to be working with ex-Idol judge Lee again.
Nauser, 22, the second runner-up in the third season of Singapore Idol in 2009, says: "The moment I knew Dick was going to be directing Hotpants, I knew I wanted to be a part of this."