Singapore Repertory Theatre

Reviewer Quotes:

“Forbidden City: Portrait Of An Empress an epic feast for the senses” – The Straits Times

“As a Singaporean, I am proud of it and I truly think that Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress is Broadway-worthy and you should not miss it.” -

“it's no wonder then that even in its fourth staging, Forbidden City undoubtedly remains one of Singapore’s absolute best musicals, a timeless classic that brings an epic story of love, trust and betrayal to life.” –


Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi - adored, revered, feared and hated. The life of one of the most controversial figures in Chinese history is explored in Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress. Starring the dynamic Singapore singer/actress Kit Chan as Tzu Hsi, this musical features the creative talents of Olivier award-winning lyricist Stephen Clark, London-based director Steven Dexter and Singapore composer Dick Lee.

Just who is the real Tzu Hsi? A young concubine scheming for survival and love amidst the political intrigue of the Forbidden City rises to become Empress, only to end her days as an aging Dowager fearing for her safety.

What of her relationships with the men in her life? Three Emperors, the powerful head Eunuch and a journalist all feature in her fascinating story as seen through the eyes of an American artist, who was the first Westerner invited to China to paint her portrait.

All vividly brought to life with a stirring score and sumptuous costumes designed by London-based Singapore designer Yang Derong.


Cast size: 24

Original Creative Team:
Music by: Dick Lee
Book by: Stephen Clark and Dick Lee
Lyrics by: Stephen Clark
Idea development: Stephen Clark, Steven Dexter and Dick Lee
Director: Steven Dexter
Musical Director: Sydney Tan
Choreographer: George Chan
Set Designer: Francis O' Connor
Costume Designer: Yang Derong
Lighting Designer: Chris Ellis
Sound Designer: Mike Walker
Hair and Accessories Designer: Ashley Lim
Stage Manager: Anna Jordahl