Honestly, I was not expecting a lot from the second run of Rent in Manila, especially when I learned that Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Maureen was only playing on Sundays.

In last year’s performance of RENT, Carla’s Moo performance in the song “Over the Moon” and Job Job Bautista’s portrayal of Angel Dumott Schunard were the highlights of the entire show.

I thought it would be the same as last year, just with a new cast.

I was wrong.

I was actually surprised at how awesome the entire show was, particularly the new cast members playing Mimi Sheree Bautista (and Ciara Sotto) — and Carla’s Maureen alternate — Mian Dimacali.

The actors have matured and own their roles already. You can feel the angst and the emotions leading up to the second act of the show.

Here is why I love RENT this time around…


Fredison Lo as Mark Cohen is now quite convincing. He’s not trying hard anymore; plus, the song lyrics he sings make sense now that they are in sync with his acting.

Gian Magdangal is now Roger Davis. Very mature performance, complete with angst and the Team Edward look.

Both Fredison and Gian were able to connect with the audience throughout the show. Keep it up!


    Job Bautista‘s Angel Dumott Schunard and OJ Mariano‘s Tom Collins performances have leveled up. Something to watch out for in this 2011 run!

      I must say people should watch Mian’s Maureen performance. Despite her young face, she was able to give the audience a very credible and entertaining Maureen.

      She had big shoes to fill, but she ran away with the role and gave it her own personality. She acted as if she was not pressured at all and, in the process, won the hearts of Filipino theatergoers.

      I love watching fresh, raw talent onstage, and Mian is definitely someone to look out for in the 2011 theater scene. Congratulations to Blue Rep for developing such a gem!

      With last year’s criticism that Roger (played by Gian Magdangal) and Mimi (played by Nicole Asensio) did not have any chemistry at all, 9 Works was very clever in casting Sheree Bautista — Gian’s real-life girlfriend — as Mimi.

      As I watched Gian and Sheree onstage, it was obvious that there was instant chemistry (almost bordering on a very suggestive, sensual connection). Roger and Mimi’s love story carried the entire show until its climax.

      It’s nice to see that Sheree is no longer just a sexy star, but a full-fledged theater actress. 🙂

      Congrats to 9 Works Theatrical for believing in the Filipino talent and not being afraid to cast new talents and even celebrities who do not have prior theater experience. 🙂

      (Some people are watching RENT for Ciara Sotto’s pole-dancing performances. She plays an alternate for Mimi — I have not watched it, though. You’ll only know which Mimi is playing on the actual show date itself. )

      Finally, RENT has a superb ensemble. We love Johann dela Fuente and Mark Tayag’s “love team”, which was the comic relief of the show. We also enjoyed their solo performances. 🙂 Great job!

      Don’t miss out on RENT this year! This year’s staging is how RENT should have been performed the first time around.


      RENT in Manila 2011 remaining shows:

      Fri, February 25, 2011  8:00 PM           
      Contact: +63 915.621.6512                                                                        
      Website: www.showsinmanila.tk

      Sat, February 26, 2011  3:30 PM           
      Contact: +63 923.814.1408 • +63 917.988.3814
      Website: www.rentmanila2011.weebly.com                                                                                        

      Sat, February 26, 2011  8:00 PM           
      Contact: +632 557.5860 • 586.7105 • +63 917.554.5560             
      Website: www.9workstheatrical.com

      Sun, February 27, 2011  4:30 PM           
      Contact: +63 917.800.1298 • +63 917.891.1266 • +63 917.537.1068        
      Website: rentmusical2011.blogspot.com

      Sun, February 27, 2011  8:00 PM           
      Contact: +63 917.519.7009                                                                 
      Website: www.rent-feb27.weebly.com

      Fri, March 4, 2011 8:00 PM           
      Contact: +63 917.539.3536

      Sat, March 5, 2011 3:30 PM           
      Contact: +63 918.536.2116 • +63 922.888.5348 • +63 922.888.5344               
      Website: www.watchplays.blogspot.com

      Sat, March 5, 2011 8:00 PM           
      Contact: +632 557.5860 • 586.7105 • +63 917.554.5560                                   

      Sun, March 6, 2011  4:30 PM           
      Contact: +632 557.5860 • 586.7105 • +63 917.554.5560     
      Website: www.9workstheatrical.com

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      Full Disclosure: We are show buyers of the Feb. 19 RENT Show — this means we paid for the entire show at a discounted rate and we market the show. I’m NOT connected with, compensated by, or represented by any PR firm.

      Related Posts:
      OAP | Rent in Manila 2010 Review
      OAP | [RENT The Musical in Manila 2011] How Did you Measure Your Life in 2010?

      P.S. The show is very suggestive (particularly with Gian and Sheree 🙂 ). I don’t think it is appropriate for kids. Aidan loved the RENT songs, but I think he will be shocked to see his favorite song was actually the sexually charged song in the second act.

      P.P.S. Have you watched Ciara’s Mimi performance?