There will be returning shows from last year. Atlantis will be restaging Next To Normal and cialis 5mg prix In The Heights. Defending the Caveman and Love, Loss and What I Wore will also be restaged for those who missed it last year (or those who want to see it again).
And Yes, I know there are other awesome productions this year. With my severely limited budget (‘specially after Phantom), I have to be really
choosy stingy. 🙁 The list is also subject to change (we all have dreams of winning the lotto, right?)
It really wasn’t a good start to 2012. I was down in the dumps partly because of a really long recovery period from an injury. But really, my sad state was really because of a series of related questions that I couldn’t find any convincing answer to end 2011. The questions were “What are you passionate about?” “What makes you happy?” “What is it that will make you jump out of bed in the morning rarin’ to go?”
Two weekends into 2012, I found a copy of the 25th Anniversary of Les Miserables. The one that was performed at the O2 theater in London. Wasn’t really expecting much from it. Loaded up. Clicked play…
…and I found myself singing along to the entire musical. I found it astounding because I really couldn’t remember the last time I Iistened to the CDs. I first listened to this over two decades ago. I was instantly transported back to the first time I’ve ever heard the Les Miserables Cast Recording. I remember falling in love with the wit of the book and the power of the music. This was the cast recording that made me fall for the music of the theater and discover Sondheim, Bricusse, Lloyd Weber, diPietro and other lyricists and composers of the theater.
I remember trooping to Meralco Theater over two decades ago only to be told there were no tickets left.
I remember the confrontation duet where Valjean and Javert face off after Fantine’s death.
I remember RED AND BLACK!
I remember STARS!
I remember ONE MORE DAY!
I remember ON MY OWN and a very heated debate over who was the better Eponine: Lea Salonga or Kaho Shimada. (ME: Kaho Shimada because of the vulnerability she brought to the role. THEM: Lea Salonga for power and style)
I remember BRING HIM HOME! (Alfie Boe’s operatic interpretation was something else)
I remember that killer call to action FINALE.
The copy I got came with some great supplementary documentaries. Matt Lucas’ (Little Britain fame) road to playing Thenardier, a day in the life of Cameron Mackintosh as he closes down the production at the Barbican and oversees the 25th anniversary production, and a behind the scenes of the first run through of the anniversary performance.
The O2 performance was a concert just like the 10th anniversary celebration. They had clever ways of showing key scenes. I particularly liked the way they “built” the barricade in this performance. It was symbolic, high-tech and very dramatic. I will not spoil it for anyone planning to catch this.
Alfie Boe sang a really different interpretation of Valjean. An opera singer by trade, he had some operatic affectations that I sometimes found distracting. But after “Bring Him Home”, I was sold. It felt like “The Prayer” where the power of his voice….
Lea, as always, killed it with Fantine. I thought Samantha Barks, the girl who played, Eponine, had some missteps with some songs. Very pretty Eponine though. Nick Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers) was just okay as Marius. Nothing really spectacular. The guy who played Javert was also okay. But I felt he lacked the power of the Javert in the cast recordings. I thought he was too easily overshadowed by Alfie Boe during the confrontation duet.
I missed this when it was shown in the cinemas. Seeing the Phantom Of The Opera on the big screen in digital HD was a treat. Would have loved seeing this in larger than life HD. Would love it even more to finally see this live. (sigh). Ah well, one for the bucket list.
Don’t get me wrong. The musical is awesome! Shades of the dark setting and powerful pieces of “Les Miserables” and “Jekyll & Hyde”, this is what Repertory Philippine’s Miong should’ve been. With music by Ryan Cayabyab and book by National Artist For Literature (DADAS) Bienvenido Lumbera, song, poetry and prose come together under Audie Gemora’s direction to deliver a heavy-handed message.
I’ve never been a fan of Mark Bautista. His Crisostomo Ibarra was a powerful presence on stage. He should do more of these. All of the supporting characters had their moments. Cris Villonco‘s Maria Clara was not the typical helpless damsel in distress. Padre Damaso, Kapitan Tiago, and the supporting cast had their moments.
Don Tiburcio and Doña Victorina really reminded me of the Thenardiers from Les Miserables. But even though, they were very slapstick-ish. I felt that their pretentiousness have real life counterparts in the society pages.
The power of this play really comes from how powerful, and at times creepy, the production staged key scenes. Elias sung conversation with Ibarra is particularly dark and heavy with meaning. The mock revolution staged by Padre Salvi to frame Ibarra. These are moments that just have to be seen live!
We accuse ourselves of having really short memories. I really thought that applied to anything after the EDSA Revolution. Turns out we’ve been forgetting more often, and for much longer.
This wasn’t a light-hearted night at the theater. If you want a kick in the ass that just happens to be accompanied by powerful music and prose, this version of Noli Me Tangere is for you. Art can be though-provoking and disturbing. This one did both for me.
I went into Atlantis Productions “In The Heights” blissfully ignorant of the play. I thought that it was just another West Side Story clone. I was wrong, dead wrong.
Without giving much away, “In The Heights” has more in common with Rent than West Side. There was even a song that reminded me of that emotional hand grenade “Will I?” from Rent. It tells the stories of a community of Puerto Ricans trying to get by in New York. Usnavi operates a bodega trying to make ends meet. He takes care of his abuela (Grandmother) while trying to get the attention of the hot and sultry Vanessa, a hairdresser who’s perpetually behind with her rent. Across the street is the Rosario Taxi Service, run by Kevin and Camila, whose daughter Nina is coming home from college with a spot of bad news. Benny, an ambitious employee of the Rosarios, is trying to make his way and may get to rekindle his childhood crush towards Nina. (Incidentally, Benny is supposed to be BLACK. This will make the ethnic Romeo and Juliet storyline make sense. This was not clear during the performance)
The music is a catchy blend of rap, latin and salsa. The music is a joy to listen to. Nyoy Volante’s Usnavi was poignant and his background as a pop singer really helped with some of the numbers. Though the the faster and more frenetic raps sometimes got muffled to the point of losing clarity. It’s when he slows down and lowers the volume that his rhyme sets an emotional vibe. K-la, who plays Nina, is a revelation. She had a really sweet and vulnerable presence on stage. Calvin Millado was powerful as Kevin Rosario. You can feel him overtaken by grief in one pivotal scene. Jackie Lou Blanco was a welcome addition to the cast. Haven’t seen her in a long time. I gotta hand it to Atlantis. It’s really a nice touch that they’re bringing back long missed personalities like what they did with Noel Trinidad in Xanadu.
I usually get the emotional impact of a musical with the power of the finale. It took some time to sink in. I looked up the video on youtube (which came with lyrics). Lin Manuel is a genius. I just had to include his incredible acceptance speech when “In The Heights” won for best musical.
I think there are a lot of parallels between the Puerto Rican and the Filipino culture. This play will resonate with the Manila audience because of the underlying themes of family bonds, traditional values and the struggle to stick together in hard times.
In the end, “In The Heights” is about change, about failure, about moving on and staying put. And with paciencia y fe, to just find paradise where we are with what we have.
“In The Heights” runs at the RCBC plaza until September. Do visit www.atlantisproductions.com for showdates and times.
The last time I was so looking forward to a local staging of a play was when Repertory Philippines did “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” I was so addicted to the cast recording that it was on loop ad infinitum in the car. (and I could sing a lot of the songs from memory)
This time, the subject of such anticipation was Flaherty and Ahren’s “Seussical” – a musical mishmash of the books of Dr. Seuss. The duo also did the book and music of “Once On This Island”. I loved the carribean vibe of this play. Loved it so much that watching the Rep production back in the 1990’s was one of the best ever nights I’ve had in a theater. The Seussical cast recording has the catchy tunes and the brilliant book of “Once…”. Combine this with the lyrical rhyme of Dr. Seuss and you get a gem of a musical.
With expectations through the roof, I dragged some friends to the preview of Seussical.
Repertory Philippines’ production of Seussical is typical Rep. The production design, sets, costumes are a feast for the eyes. The productions seen on YouTube are PEDESTRIAN compared to what’s on stage. Slow Claps for the way they pulled off the clover field and Gertrude’s tail!
The Rep children’s theater has been known for giving new theater actors stage time to earn their acting legs. It was nice to note that Seussical has its share of theater vets headed by Bituin Escalante as the Sour Kangaroo. Veterans share the limelight with upcoming stars.
There were some technical quibbles with the sound. A shame, really. Ahren’s and Flaherty’s book is a such a joy to listen to. This ended up garbled and muffled from where we ended up sitting. This somewhat brought down the enjoyment of the play. I just hope that they fix this before the actual run.
I wasn’t content seeing (or hearing) it this way. I will watch this again during the regular run.
One last thing, this is actually Seussical Jr. (aka Seussical for Younger Audiences), it’s Seussical without some of the more adult themes cut out. For those who have listened to the cast recording, the parts (and songs performed) where Jojo gets “drafted” into military school have been omitted. Still a minor quibble.
Repertory Philippines’ production captures the magic of Dr. Seuss. I dare anyone to listen to this and NOT break out into “Aaaawwww”s when the line “And I found your clover toooooo….” is sung.
Highly recommended for people who are in touch with their inner child. And even MORE highly recommended for people who desperately NEED to get in touch with their inner child, (You know who you are!)
“Seussical” runs until December 18 at OnStage Greenbelt 1. Check out www.repertory.ph or call (632) 571-6926 or 571-4941 for showdates and times.
I was able to catch Anton Juan’s viagra ohne rezept aus deutschland Screen: Macbeth this weekend and I wasn’t expecting much. It’s Shakespeare… It’s Macbeth… Now where’d I put my pillow?
I was really expecting a snoozefest given that I had yet to see a decent staging of a period drama hereabouts. I’m happy to say that not only did I not yawn or take a nap during the 3 hour running time. I was wide awake and had a blast.
Macbeth is a classic tale of ambition. Director Anton Juan’s wink, wink, nudge, nudge touches all over the production showing pictures of Asian dictators (including GMA), religious imagery (I’m guessing that it has something to do about the Catholic Church strong arming it’s anti-RH agenda) and shoes being thrown all over the place on Lady Macbeth’s first appearance (perhaps an allusion to the Imeldific one) nicely ties in its relevance to the lamentable state of the nation.
The production is nothing like anything I’ve seen before. The stage is a big X. The audience occupies the spaces in between. The theater itself is walled by huge white sheets where backdrops are shown by digital projector. Since the backdrops are computer generated, animation and video are used to further immerse the audience into the dark world of Macbeth-ian Scotland. The effect is eerie and sometimes disturbing.
The whole production is a kinetic feast for the senses. There is just so much going on. Actors come down from the ceiling. Witches chant in various dialects and Loud Drunken Merrymaking in shadow from behind the screens. Audience members have to constantly sit up and look around where the action is taking place. Looking back, I think this is why it was impossible to get bored. The kinetic nature of the production just swept the audience in.
The director knows when to pull back during pivotal scenes like Lady Macbeth’s “Out Damn Spot” monologue where dramaturgist viagra best price uk Judy Ick does this as water is dripping down from the ceiling onto her face. It’s a powerful scene made more compelling with jaw-dropping staging. The battle scenes are taken out of classic period war movies like Braveheart and the Last Of The Mohicans making use of “Bullet Time” to show how the tide of battle shifts from Macbeth to Macduff. I like the nods to cosplay when it came to the costume designs. The weapons looked like they came from a period anime series.
Great performances all around. Macbeth was played by Teroy Guzman. I’ve never heard of him before seeing him here. He has all the trappings of a veteran thespian, giving his Macbeth gravitas and torment. The surprise for me was Romnick Sarmenta, best remembered as a teen idol decades ago. Great delivery of lines and nailed the Scottish accent. cialis funziona forum Jamie Wilson was spot-on as Macduff. Gruff, Barbaric and dangerous. I thought Earl Ignacio was the weakest of the cast. Rhythm was off and it was distracting.
A lot of local theater productions are flights of fancy and candy coated entertainment. Screen: Macbeth is defiantly not one of these. It’s powerful. It’s compelling, It’s disturbing. Akin to a punch in the gut. In this age of runaway corruption, perhaps this is just what we need.
Just felt like doing this after that Facebook 15 Films meme. Consider this a self-indulgent way of sifting through memories NOT better left forgotten.
I cite these, not only for the plays themselves, but really for the whole experience of watching the live performance. To friends in the world of theater, thanks for some awesome nights of music, wit and after-performance dinner/coffee discussion fodder.
Just hope that this list pushes some of you to look em up on YouTube or Google (‘specially some of the more obscure ones) and to continue catching theater performances (even if they are a tad more expensive than movies)
Company – Stephen Sondheim – (Repertory Philippines, William J. Shaw Theater / Kookabura Theater Company, Theater Royal, Sydney) If there ever was a perfect night at the theater. This was when I saw this the first time at the Shangri-La. If there ever was an argument on why people should choose live theater over movies. This would be the experience I’d make ’em live through. I don’t know how he did it but the great Cocoy Laurel found a way to transmit emotion through his performance that night. This introduced me to Stephen Sondheim’s body of work through “Marry Me A Little”, what does viagra cost at walmart “Being Alive” and the vocal nightmare of “Not Getting Married” ( flydende viagra jelly Lisa Infante! What ever happened to her?)
Saw this again in Sydney. Was sorta disappointed because the performances were nowhere near the caliber of the Manila Cast. “Not Getting Married” was SPOKEN instead of sung. The “moment” of the performance was during “Marry Me A Little” when the repetiteur went absolutely nuts on the piano, pounding on the keys matching Bobby’s angst on stage. Another good night courtesy of Mr. Sondheim.
Noises Off! – (Repertory Philippines, William J. Shaw Theater) This is the connection to the 15 films meme. This is the play that got me wanting to watch Live Theater. I saw the movie (killer cast – Christopher Reeve, Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, Nicolette Sheridan, the late John Ritter aka Jack Tripper, Mark Linn-Baker aka Cousin Larry From Perfect Strangers). Hilarious Movie! The second act of the movie involved turning the whole set around to show the backstage area, half of it done in silence and gestures. I really watched the play just to see if they would pull it off live. And they did! And I’ve been watching theater ever since. I do hope someone restages this in Manila.
Les Miserablés – Schonberg/Boublil (Repertory Philippines, MERALCO Theater <sniff!>) – The only play in this list that I didn’t actually get to watch. Got as far as the Meralco Theatre hoping there were still tickets… but alas… was not meant to be. The reason why this is on my list is that this is what really opened the door to my appreciating Musical Theater. Probably had one of the most heated arguments (who was the better Eponine? Lea or Kaho Shimada from the complete symphonic recordings) because of this. Also read that monster Les Miserables novel because of this only to find out that the play is just one small portion dug inside a lot of philosophical meanderings by M. Hugo.
Angels In America aka Perestroika/Millenium Approaches – Tony Kushner (New Voice, Music Museum) Before the great CarVer became a celebrity comic book artist, he was once a great theater actor. We as loyal friends trooped to watch this 7 HOUR play. (3.5 Hours for Perestroika and 3.5 Hours for Millenium Approaches). This was a pretty risky play to stage in Manila those days. But still, pretty well received. The HBO mini series with Al Pacino and Mary Louise Parker is also highly recommended. “The Great Work Begins!”
generyczna viagra opinie Once On This Island – Ahrens/Flaherty (Repertory Philippines, William J. Shaw Theater) I remember this as Maya Barredo’s last performance in Manila before leaving for Miss Saigon. Had this huge circular stage that extended three or four rows into the audience. My only beef with this is that most of the good songs were for the women. Fairytale/Romeo and Juliet mutation told in a Caribbean setting. IMHO, “Why We Tell The Story” has got to be one of the most poignant finales ever written. I get somewhat teary eyed when they get to the “You are Why” part of the song.
The Lottery – Shirley Jackson (Harlequin Theater Guild/TAP, DLSU Multi-Purpose Hall) The first of two forays performing on stage. Saw the movie version a coupla years back on the Hallmark Channel and did it bring back memories (sigh!). Can’t help but think that Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games had it’s roots here. (That and the uber-violent and maybe unintentionally funny Japanese film “Battle Royale”)
purchasing cialis on the internet Love Letters – A.R. Gurney (Free Performance, Eastwood) Beautiful play with just a cast of two (Michael Williams and Pinky Amador if I remember correctly) just reading letters to each other on stage. Story told with just the letters and the vocal affectations of the two actors.
mp research supply viagra Rent – Jonathan Larson (New Voice, Music Museum) – The first run of this had an awesome, amazing, powerful cast! Bituin Escalante killed that night as Mimi. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I watched this. By the time that double sucker-punch – the optimistic viagra ohne rezept auf rechnung “Another Day” and the haunting “Will I?” came in, I was hooked. There’s this side story of getting to watch the thing with a complete Rent-Head stranger, but that’s for another day. The reprise of buy viagra uk “I’ll Cover You” is in my Most Romantic Songs Top Ten.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change – DiPietro/Roberts (Repertory Philippines, OnStage Greenbelt) This was an off-broadway gem that I never thought would get here. I watched this THREE times during the THREE stagings with three different groups of people! People know my obsession with the songs on this play. viagra for sale uk “Tear Jerk”, “Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love With You”, viagra receptfritt “I Can Live With That” are all awesome in their own right. Nice play that doesn’t sugar coat this whole relationship thingie. Though those last bits were poignant enough to make a believer out of a hard-core cynic… even just for a coupla minutes.
Fools – Neil Simon (Repertory Philippines, William J. Shaw Theater) – What happens when you send a smart professor to the village of Kolyanchakov, a village of fools to make em smart. One of Neil Simon’s lesser known works but still brimming with wit through parody and farce. I think seeing this play paved the way for my liking IDIOCRACY so much. I remember watching The Fugitive and this for a birthday outing soooo long ago.
viagra capsule for female Miss Saigon – Shonberg/Boublil (National Tour Production, Lyric Theater, Star City, Sydney) I saw the performance at CCP and it just didn’t connect with me. Maybe it was the lousy acoustics of the CCP or maybe it was just being dazzled by the sheer spectacle of the moving sets and that helicopter. Not a good sign when all you can say about seeing a play is “Wow! Great Special Effects”
Then I was sorta dragged to watch this again in Sydney. Really lousy seats in the uppermost back of the theater. But I enjoyed that performance a lot more than the one in Manila. By this time, Cameron Mackintosh relaxed some of his “MUST-HAVES” (gigantic statue of Ho Chi Minh, full scale helicopter landing on stage, etc.) before anyone could mount a Miss Saigon production. This version was “raw-er” and the performances just connected with me. Loved the way they pulled off the helicopter by just projecting the image onto the stage. Using helicopter engine noises coupled with the venue’s superior sound system (a la THX) to make the audience believe that the helicopter was circling over and around the theater was awesome!
Dong-Ao – F. Sionil Jose (PETA/Virgin Labgest, Tanghalang Huseng Batute CCP) This play in Filipino introduced me to F. Sionil’s works. Powerhouse cast with Bembol Roco and Tommy Abuel. Never thought that eulogies at a funeral could have me riveted to my seat. Affected me so much I couldn’t stop talking about the play afterwards. It was a side story to “Mass”, the final book in “The Rosales Saga” quintology I had to go and buy the 5 books the following day just to see the world of Dong-Ao. Looking forward to reading more of F. Sionil’s books because of this.
viagra generico barato contrareembolso Avenue Q – R. Lopez/J. Marx (Atlantis Productions, RCBC Theater) First heard of this by someone pushing me to listen to “The Internet is For Porn”. I was somewhat chronically depressed when this hit. Could Soooooo relate to 10mg cialis review “It Sucks To Be Me” and woman playing tennis in cialis commercial “Schadenfreude”. I “pushed” this to a lot of unsuspecting friends. Which is a good thing because I was able to get a group discount when I bought the tickets three months early! Rachel Alejandro rocked as Kate Monster. I just had to stay after the performance just to say she really sounded like Stephanie D’Abruzzio from the Original Avenue Q Cast Recording.
Defending The Caveman – (RCBC Theater) One Actor. Two Hours. No Intermission. ROTFLMAO romp through the history chronicling the battle of the Sexes. Whodathunk “Men Are Hunters, Women are Gatherers” could explain soooo much about the bliss (or lack of it) relationships bring to people.
Cats – (CCP, RUTG Asia) Spectacle. ‘Nuff said. Though I would really like a copy of those Filipino “Memory” lyrics.
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Xanadu (Atlantis Productions, RCBC Theater) – Was nostalgic seeing Noel Trinidad perform on stage again after a looong absence.
Miong (Repertory Philippines, AFP Theater) – The folks from Rep wrote an original Filipino musical for the centennial celebrating the life of Emilio Aguinaldo. Felt that the music and book were greatly influenced by Les Miserablés. Had its moments but in the end, it was a spectacular try. Hope more original stuff gets produced soon.
viagra for men over 60 Songs For A New World (9 Works Theatrical, RCBC Theater) – Was really curious about this because of lyricist/composer James Robert Brown. Big fan of “The Last 5 Years” Cast Recording (and never saw it so it doesn’t make it anywhere on this list). Ty Taylor from Rockstar INXS was part of the original cast recording. Very nice songs. Watched this from the Lodge section of RCBC with that annoying railing. Kinda diminished the experience a bit.
canadian pharcharmy online Enter Laughing (Repertory Philippines, William J. Shaw Theater) – Actually a dishonorable mention. Proof that great tragedy can come from mediocre comedy. Never saw that many people walk out in the middle of a performance. Wanted to just exit snoring. The play was sooo bad that I can still remember wanting to leave the theater to this day.