Onstage in 2012

I haven’t been collecting as much info as I should regarding the theater scene this year. But from the little info I have, these are productions that will be making a dent in MY credit card bill this 2012.

  • You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (9Works Theatrical) – After scoring a home run with Sweet Charity last year, this should be a fun a way to experience your second (or third, or fourth) childhood.. The songs are recognizable as commercial jingles and Sesame Street songs from ages ago.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gL-kWD8Gtdg&w=420&h=315]

  • Jekyll & Hyde (Repertory Philippines) – This is one of those cast recordings I’ve been playing for what seems like forever. The once overplayed “This Is The Moment” comes from this musical. Besides that, there are are other more powerful, darker and more interesting pieces in this show. I’m really curious how they will present the transformation scene where Jekyll turns into Hyde.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k23ztv7Qyhk&w=420&h=315]

  • Rock Of Ages (Atlantis) –  This promises to be a fun rock musical with the music of Starship, Journey, Twisted Sister, REO Speedwagon among others being used (and lyrics amusing mangled) to tell the tale of up-and-coming rocker Drew, the in-danger-of-being demolished rock club, the Bourbon and mega-ego rocker, Stacee Jax.  It’s interesting that the movie version of this with Tom Cruise will be showing this year too.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBI0DNn0g_c&w=560&h=315]

  • God Of Carnage (Atlantis) – Lea Salonga and Menchu Lauchengco-Laurel in one play sharing the same stage. ‘Nuff Said. This has a VERY limited run so expect tickets to disappear really quickly. The movie version of this play will also be showing next.
  • Forbidden Broadway (Upstart)a mishmash of broadway parodies making fun of Les Mis, Miss Saigon, Rent, Wicked and other hit shows. Though it might not be as enjoyable for those who aren’t familiar with the songs and the shows, the inside jokes and numerous winks will have theater regulars rolling in the aisles.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa0pw6SIWtA&w=420&h=315]

  • Virgin Labfest 2012 (Tanghalang Pilipino)this annual collection of short plays performed at the CCP showcases the best of the best of Filipino playwrights. Check out the CCP website for featured shows and schedules when this comes around.
  • The Phantom Of The Opera (Concertus) –  The company that brought Cats and Stomp! to CCP will be bringing an Australian cast to stage Phantom in the CCP. I really want to watch this though I’m sure ticket prices will be through the roof. Not really happy about the acoustics of CCP from watching Cats. Expensive seats are a must to get full satisfaction from this. But if anything, Cats was a spectacle. Phantom, with the lavish sets and costumes will be even more so. If they use digital backdrops like they did with the 25th anniversary at Royal Albert Hall, this is really gonna blow the audience away!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGUSFVEvTio&w=560&h=315]

There will be returning shows from last year. Atlantis will be restaging Next To Normal and 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?)

The Cat in The Hat, Horton, Mayzie, Gertrude, The Sour Kangaroo and Whoville… LIVE!

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.