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Musicals

Musicals

TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil (A Review)


Title : Hoop Dancer2 Picture credit : Daniel Desmarais © 2010 Cirque du Soleil Inc. | Costume credit : Kym Barrett

I got the chance to  watch the opening night of TOTEM (at the AT&T park in San Francisco last October 28, 2011.) This is my 5th Cirque du Soleil show.   I had a great time with my memorable Varekai Act and I was hoping to experience the wonder again.

Totem  is an acrobatic show about man’s evolution from our primitive origins to our current human state. This is a touring show that started in Montreal last April 2010. It is performed in Cirque du Soleil’s signature big top tent known as Grand Chapiteau.

Here is our Totem experience:

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Musicals

♬ The hills ♪ are alive with ♩The Sound of Music ♫…


If the timeless movie The Sound of Music was part of your childhood, you’ll certainly enjoy watching it onstage this time around.

The musical features the all-time favorite songs of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, like “The Sound of Music”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, “My Favorite Things”, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “Do-Re-Mi”.

Watching this show with your family is a great way to introduce the younger generation to this classic. Don’t miss it!

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Musicals

A Next to Normal Life?

You might be interested to watch this too: A Seussical Affair

Life is Crazy

I realized that all of us live a crazy kind of life.

We turn into our own monsters at times, just  to cope with the pressure of everyday living.

The insanity is only made bearable by our family and friends.

When you are an employee, you long for the day when you own your own time and hit it big with your own business.

When you are an entrepreneur, you think of your more carefree employee days when you had a consistent salary and comfortable benefits.

You wish for a perfect family but instead you get a quirky one with little habits that annoy you at times.

You hate living a life of compromises.

We all have our personal crazy stories that we are afraid to share with other people because we might lose face.

Natalie sings it beautifully in the song, Maybe (Next to Normal)

I don’t need a life that’s normal.
That’s way too far away. 
But something next to normal,
Would be okay
.”

Yes, I agree — A Life Next to Normal is OK.

 

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Musicals

IN THE HEIGHTS, A Review

I love watching Broadway musicals because they are usually very innovative and offer a different perspective to life.

IN THE HEIGHTS tells the story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythmof three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. (Source: www.intheheightsthemusical.com)

In The Heights got mixed reviews from theater lovers. As for me, here’s my take on it:

What I like about IN THE HEIGHTS:

1. New Theater Actors to Watch Out For

It is exciting to watch plays in Manila these days because new talented actors are appearing onstage with every new production.

In In The Heights, K-La made her debut as the lead female role, Nina . I was surprised by her powerful voice; it was quite enjoyable to listen to her sing. This new MYX VJ has a bright future in theater, and we will be there to watch her success on stage.

This was also Jackie Lou Blanco’s first full-length English musical. I think she was perfect for the role of Camila,  Nina’s mom. I personally liked her solo “Enough”, which I think most young families can relate to. 🙂

We also enjoyed Bibo Reyes’ funny, hip hop-dancing character, Sonny. In The Heights is also Bibo’s first foray into professional theater. He is a product of the country’s premier college musical theater — Ateneo Blue Repertory.

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Musicals

A Seussical Affair

One thing I realized about this show is that you need to be familiar with the world of Dr. Seuss to enjoy it with your kids. We know Cat in the Hat and Horton the Elephant — but that’s about it.

I must admit I got bored with the first part of the musical. I came in without any expectations and I did not read any prior information about Seussical in Manila.

During the latter act, the plot started to seem familiar. I recognized it as part of Dr. Seuss’ book “Horton Hatches the Egg“.   The show ended with a dance musical of “Green Eggs and Ham“. Those parts got me excited because I’ve been reading those books to Aidan and Joshua ever since they were little.

To  appreciate it, you and your kids need to be fans of the books so that you can enjoy the compilation of the story plot and personification of Dr. Seuss’ famous characters.

Here is a sneak peek into the Seussical world…

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Musicals

STOMP Live in Manila – See What All The Noise Is About!

Official Press Release

STOMP Live in Manila
See What All The Noise Is About!

STOMP, the most invigorating and innovative musical spectacle that has gotten the world clamoring for more, is finally coming to Manila! The highly-anticipated show that features a unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy, will be staged at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, CCP from October 18-23. 2011 for a limited season only.

Brought to you by VISA, STOMP is a high-energy, percussive symphony, coupled with dance. Although STOMP is played entirely on non-traditional instruments, such as garbage can lids, buckets, brooms and sticks, it transforms the stage into a pulsating, witty, and utterly irresistible theatrical event. It has little or no melody in the traditional sense, so it doesn’t matter if your taste in music is jazz, classical, dance or pop. STOMP has no words yet, everyone can understand it.

Founded in Brighton, UK, in the summer of 1991, STOMP was the result of 10-year collaboration between its creators, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. STOMP was previewed at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre and premiered at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, where it became the Guardian’s “Critic’s Choice” and won the Daily Express “Best of the Fringe” award. 

Between 1991 and 1994 the original cast of STOMP played to capacity audiences around the world: from Hong Kong to Barcelona, from Dublin to Sydney. The touring culminated in a sellout season at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre in January 1994, where STOMP received an Olivier nomination for “Best Entertainment” and won “Best Choreography in a West End show”.

STOMP began its run at the Orpheum Theatre in New York in February 1994 and quickly went on to win both an Obie and a Drama Desk award for “Most Unique Theatre Experience”. By the summer of 1994 the first American cast was in place at the Orpheum, freeing the original cast for sell out tours of North America and Japan.

STOMP, now on its 9th year in London’s West End and its 17th year on Broadway, sets its unique feet stamping, fingers drumming and adrenaline rushing feel good sensations to audiences totaling more than 15 million in 48 countries across 5 continents, producing pure stage magic.


History of STOMP! 

STOMP!, a unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy, was created in Brighton, UK, in the summer of 1991. It was the result of a ten year collaboration between its creators, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas.

They first worked together in 1981, as members of the street band Pookiesnackenburger and the theatre group, Cliff Hanger. Together, these groups presented a series of street comedy musicals at the Edinburgh Festival throughout the early ‘80s. After two albums, a UK TV series and extensive touring throughout Europe, Pookiesnackenburger also produced the highly acclaimed “Bins” commercial for Heineken lager. The piece was originally written and choreographed by Luke as part of the band’s stage show: it proved to be the starting point for STOMP!’s climatic dustbin dance.

In 1986, Luke and Steve created an eight minute “percussive movie” for Bette Midler’s HBO special, “Mondo Beyondo”.

Between 1987 and 1990, Luke staged, as artistic and musical director, four large scale outdoor events, including “Beat the Clyde”, which involved floating a drum orchestra on a pontoon in the centre of Glasgow; the largest of these events, the “Heineken Hove Lagoon show”, involved a hundred and twenty piece drum orchestra featuring the Brighton Festival Chorus and a full orchestral string section.

In 1991 Steve and Luke first created “STOMP!”, previewing at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre and premiering at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, where it became the Guardian’s “Critic’s Choice” and won the Daily Express “Best of the Fringe” award.

Between 1991 and 1994 the original cast of STOMP! played to capacity audiences around the world: from Hong Kong to Barcelona, from Dublin to Sydney. The touring culminated in a sellout season at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre in January 1994, where STOMP! received an Olivier nomination for “Best Entertainment” and won “Best Choreography in a West End show”.

An expanded version of STOMP!, involving up to 30 cast members, was originally created for the Brighton Festival, UK, and was subsequently presented in Melbourne, Australia. It was most recently seen in September 1995, open air, at the Acropolis in Athens and at the Royal Festival Hall, London. This production broke all box office records, which had been established by Frank Sinatra in 1972.

STOMP! began its run at the Orpheum Theatre in New York in February 1994 and quickly went on to win both an Obie and a Drama Desk award for “Most Unique Theatre Experience”. By the summer of 1994 the first American cast was in place at the Orpheum, freeing the original cast for sell out tours of North America and Japan.

In the summer of 1995, two more American productions were created for the sole purpose of US touring, which continues to this day. US casts have also debuted STOMP! in Chile, Brazil and Korea. Meanwhile, a fifth STOMP! company, also touring from the UK, was formed in 1997 and has consistently toured the world ever since. This company presented STOMP! for the first time in Scandinavia and South Africa and has been a regular visitor to Germany, Holland and France. Another STOMP! production opened in San Francisco in May 2000 running for two and a half years.

The original cast of STOMP! have recorded music for the Tank Girl movie soundtrack and appeared on the Quincy Jones album, “Q’s Jook Joint”. A soundtrack recorded by Steve and Luke for the Showtime Movie, “Riot”, was released in the Spring of 1997. STOMP! has also featured in a number of commercials, including Coca Cola’s “Ice Pick” and numerous spots for both Target stores in the US and Toyota in Japan.

STOMP! also created the “Mr Frears’ Ears” series of short films created for Nickelodeon, whilst “Brooms”, a fifteen minute short based around the opening routine, was nominated for an Academy Award. “Brooms was also selected for screening at Robert Redford’s Sundance Festival and for competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

STOMP! made a special appearance at the Academy Awards in March 1996 with an original piece involving the live synchronization of classic film clips and onstage action, featuring 20 performers from all five productions.

In the summer of 1997, Steve and Luke created and directed “STOMP! Out Loud”, a 45 minute television special for HBO, which combined stage material with new pieces created for TV. It was premiered in the USA in December 1997 and subsequently received 4 Emmy nominations, for direction, sound mixing, multi-camera editing and art direction. 1998 saw the release of the

STOMP! OUT LOUD video and DVD around the world. Another unique blend of live action and film footage was created for the Emmy Awards, in which STOMP! effectively performed with Spike Jones! 

STOMP! performed after midnight on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at US President Clinton’s Millennium celebrations. During 2000, a Sesame Street special, “Let’s Make Music”, a collaboration between STOMP! and the muppets, was released on TV and video in North America. 

Luke and Steve began production of their IMAX movie PULSE: a STOMP! Odyssey, in Brazil during Carnival 2000 and completed it in the summer of 2002. PULSE takes the IMAX audience on a spectacular global journey, featuring performances from KODO, TIMBALADA and EVA YERBABUENA. It was released to critical acclaim in New York in the autumn of 2002, and went on to win 2 major awards at the International Festival of La Geode in Paris. In September 2002, STOMP! finally entered London’s West End at the Vaudeville Theatre, and later that year STOMP! performed as part of the Royal Variety Show for the second time.

2003 saw a new STOMP! production open at the Stuart Street Theatre in Boston and a unique Dolby Digital trailer featuring STOMP! performances debuted in cinemas across the globe.

In 2004 New York celebrated 10 years of continuous performances of STOMP! at the Orpheum Theatre by renaming 2nd Avenue on 8th Street: STOMP! Avenue. 

Original UK cast: Luke Cresswell, Nick Dwyer, Sarah Eddy, Theseus Gerard, Fraser Morrison, David Olrod, Carl Smith and Fiona Wilkes.

 

TICKETING INFORMATION

STOMP is staged at CCP, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo from October 18-23. Tickets are priced at P750, P1000, P1500, P2000, P2500, P3000, P3500, P4000, P4500, P5000, P5500, and P7000. Senior citizens enjoy a 20% discount.

All tickets are available at all TicketWorld outlets, selected National Bookstore branches, Robinsons Department Store (Galleria, Malate, Metro East, Festival Mall & Starmill Pampanga), and Ayala Center (Greenbelt 1, Glorietta 4, and Trinoma Mall Cinema Booths) and TicketWorld Office at 6793 Ayala Avenue, Suite 701 V. Madrigal Building, Makati City.  To book, call +632 891 9999, or visit TicketWorld’s website www.ticketworld.com.ph

STOMP is brought to you by VISA. OOCL is the Official Ocean Carrier. Dusit Thani Manila is the Official Hotel. Special thanks to STOMP media partners: ETC, 2nd Avenue, Jack TV, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, Business World, Manila Bulletin, Crossover 105.1 FM, Monster Radio RX 93.1, and Radio High 105.9FM

Musicals

DISNEY LIVE! in Manila

Official Press Release

A NEW BRAND OF LIVE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
FROM THE PRODUCERS OF DISNEY ON ICE
COMES TO MANILA AND CEBU CITY FOR THE FIRST TIME 

Mickey Mouse and his band of friends, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy will be performing in a music mash-up of mega proportions  as Disney Live! comes to Manila and Cebu City for the first time with its newest stage show Mickey’s Music Festival.  Concert goers will hear greatest hits from the blockbuster movies, AladdinThe Little Mermaid, and Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story remixed to rock, pop, reggae, hip-hop, jazz and country, among other jams.  Produced by Feld Entertainment, Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festivalbrings the biggest concert experience to hit live family entertainment. 

 “One song can touch millions of people around the world and Disney has been at the beat of this concept for years by making music a main ingredient of storytelling,” said Producer and CEO of Feld Entertainment Kenneth Feld.  “In Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival we are celebrating with the Disney characters to a soundtrack of the latest sounds and chart-topping hits. We want our guests to walk away with lasting memories and singing these unforgettable melodies long after they leave the show.” 

Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival, featuring an all star line-up of more than 25 Disney characters,   begins with audiences watching a state-of-the-art video projection of the frenzy backstage which spills onto the stage as Mickey welcomes guests to his concert tour.  Soon thereafter, they will be transported to a new world of hip hop beats, dizzying acrobatics, flying carpets and magical transformations with Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie.  Underwater is where the crowd will meet up with Ariel, Sebastian and their nautical pals to groove to the reggae rhythm. And, family and friends will stomp to the beat as Woody, Buzz and Jessie teach them how to boogie rodeo-style.  Anyone can be a member of the band as giant-sized balloons fall from the ceiling in one scene and then in the next, Disney characters are dancing in the aisles.    

“We’ve created an environment where audience members will be able to connect with the Disney stars,” said Alana Feld, Producer and Executive Vice President of Feld Entertainment. “Within each concert moment are elements of personal interaction and they will be harmonizing, dancing, laughing and having an outrageously good time with the characters right there in their city.”

Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival was built with a global audience in mind and a goal of being as universal as its featured music.  The father-daughter production team, Kenneth Feld and Alana Feld, has hand selected award-winning creative talents whose credits span from working with Madonna to winning a Latin Grammy®  Award to designing hundreds of costumes for Disney theme park shows:

  • Director/Choreographer Fred Tallaksen is the award-winning choreographer of Madonna’s “Sorry” video and the finale of her Confessions World Tour.  In 2008, he earned a Latin Grammy® in the Best Video category for Juanes’s “Me Enamora.” Tallaksen was also skating choreographer for “Austin Powers III-Goldmember”
  • Writer Jeremy Desmon’s credits include The Girl in the Frame, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie & Other Storybooks and Curious George Live!He received the 2007 Kleban Award for excellence in Musical Theatre Bookwriting, and is also a recipient of the Dramatists Guild’s Jonathan Larson Fellowship
  • Scenic Designer Rick Papineau is the vice president of Scenic Elements at Feld Entertainment and is credited for leading the creation of life-like versions of the characters from Disney/Pixar’s Cars that move on ice for Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy
  • Costume Designer Cynthia Nordstrom designed costumes for more than 15 original dance shows in Downtown Disney from 1996 until 1999 and is credited for designing costumes for Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy
  • Lighting Designer Sam Doty is eager to work on his second Disney Live! show after Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show put him in the spotlight
  • Music Director Stan Beard has arranged and written the musical score for numerous domestic and international Disney On Iceproductions; has worked in the recording studio with such luminaries as Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra

Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival is presented in the Philippines by Vivre Fort Entertainment Inc. and is set to be staged this year at theWaterfront Cebu City Hotel from September 23-25 and at the Araneta Coliseum from October 5-9. For Manila shows, tickets are exclusively available at Ticketnet (911-5555) located in SM Department stores and at the Araneta Coliseum. For Cebu shows, tickets can be purchased at SM Tickets (032-231-3876) located in SM Cinemas, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel (032-232-6888), Ayala Center Cebu and also at Ticketnet. For more details, visit www.disneylive.com.ph or call Vivre Fort Entertainment at (02) 470 6956.

Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival is also brought to you by Araneta Coliseum, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel, Araneta Center, Gateway Cineplex 10, Alimall Cineplex 4, SM Cinemas, Discovery Suites, Businessworld, Sunstar, Cebu Daily News, Crossover 105.1, Power FM Cebu and Love Radio 97.9.

 

 

Musicals

IN THE HEIGHTS, Tony Award winning Broadway Musical

Official Press Release

NYOY, JACKIE LOU AND K-LA LEAD CAST OF IN THE HEIGHTS

Manila, Philippines – Atlantis Productions, in cooperation with DELTA AIRLINES, continues it’s spectacular 2011 season with the highly anticipated staging of the IN THE HEIGHTS, which runs from September 2 – 18, 2011 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati.

Leading the cast of the hit musical are acoustic Balladeer and songwriter NyoyVolante, one of the country’s most versatile film and television actresses Jackie Lou Blanco and upcoming singer/actress and MYX MJ K-La Rivera.

Nyoy Volante has always been vocal about his love for musical theatre. He has performed with Atlantis Productions in shows such as THE ROCKY HORRORSHOW, DREAMGIRLS, HAIRSPRAY, for which he received critical acclaim as Seaweed J. Stubbs, and, most recently, as Emmett in LEGALLY BLONDE. Nyoy says, “I’ve always been in love with musical theatre! Whether performing in them or merely watching them, I find the degree of technique and expertise outstanding! Also, it never fails to produce a certain kind of bond and fellowship between cast members so, more often than not, you’re bound to end up having lot’s of newly found friends!”

Nyoy takes on his biggest role to date as Usnavi, the Washington Heights bodega owner who dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic, in the hit musical with a hip-hop, salsa, merengue and soul music infused score by Tony Award winner Lin Manuel Miranda. Nyoy says of IN THE HEIGHTS, “It’s fresh! Hip hop,rap, the latin flavor. Definitely one of a kind! Thank goodness Broadway just keeps coming up with stuff to wow us with. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius!”

IN THE HEIGHTS marks Jackie Lou Blanco’s first musical stage role and also her first time to do an English language play. She says, “This is a show of firsts forme! It is my first musical. My first English language production. And my firstshow with Atlantis. I am very excited!” She plays the role of Camila, mother of Nina (played by K-La Rivera). She describes her character, “Camila is a woman of strong character trying to handle difficulties the family faces but always trying to keep her family together.”

Asked what her biggest challenge in the musical is, Jackie Lou says, “The singingis definitely my biggest challenge, as I know singing is not my genius!”

K-La Rivera was a finalist on the recent talent competition STAR POWER and was recently selected to join the MYX family as one of their new VJ’s. Many see K-La’s star quickly rising in the entertainment industry. Asked what attracted her to auditioning for IN THE HEIGHTS, she says, “I really wanted the chance to experience the life and disciplined training it takes to be a Musical Theatre performer. I’m excited because this is the first time this Tony Award winning musical will be performed outside of the United States. It’s a huge honor for me to be a part of this musical alongside some of the best national and even international performers here in the Philippines. With rehearsals already undergoing, this will be a big stepping stone for me with not only singing, but performing in all aspects whether singing, acting and dancing.”

K-La plays Nina Rosario, the 19-year old Stanford student who returns to her old neighborhood with some surprising news. K-La says, “This is a character I can relate to and internalize, as I moved from Canada when I was 18 to pursue my dreams of being a performer here in the Philippines, with the greatest amount of support behind me from my family and friends back home. It is very true when they say, “Everything happens for a reason” as I believe God allows everything to happen in our life with a purpose behind it. My sincere thanks toBackroom Entertainment for introducing me to Atlantis Productions, most especially Direk Bobby Garcia and Ms. Chari Arespacochaga.”

Director Bobby Garcia, who directs IN THE HEIGHTS after receiving critical acclaim for his staging of NEXT TO NORMAL, says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled with the cast that we have assembled for IN THE HEIGHTS. They are some of the most talented performers in the country. They all come from different parts of the entertainment industry and that always makes it more exciting. I couldn’timagine a better cast than who we have.”

IN THE HEIGHTS tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. It is the winner of three Tony Awards including BEST MUSICAL.

Joining them in an all-star cast that includes Ima Castro, Tex Ordonez, CalvinMillado, Felix Rivera, Jay Glorioso and Jimmy Marquez among many others.

The Manila premiere of IN THE HEIGHTS is made possible through a special licensing arrangement with Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatricals and Broadway Asia Entertainment. For tickets call Atlantis Productions at 892-7078 or 840-1187.

Musicals

Sweet Charity Hope Valentine!

Most of the people who watched the show during press night, I think,  had low or no expectation about Sweet Charity. Personally, I was not sure if I can relate to the show and its 1960’s setting, fosse-type of dance choreography, and the concept of a “taxi-dancer” during that era.

However, since this show was produced by 9 Works Theatrical with star studded cast of Nikki Gil, Ciara Sotto, Shiela Valderrama – Martinez, Sheree, and OJ Mariano, we decided to go and watched it.

At the end of the show, most of the people we talked to was pleasantly surprised with its entertainment value highlighted by  a couple of explosive dance numbers and scenes that the viewers  were raving about.

The first half was a blast with Nikki Gil’s driving the energy of the entire production and an awesome elevator scene that became the defining moment for Kris Lawrence’s baptism into the theater scene.

The second half was a bit slow, and dragging after the Rhythm of Life production number.  The only thing that saved it was the  emotional rollercoaster of the plot towards  the end.

These are the top 5 reasons why you should watch it:

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Musicals

My Varekai Act :)

 

The first time a Cirque du Soleil show visited Manila, I ignored it. I thought it was just another circus.

But I was bitten by the Cirque du Soleil bug when I watched La Nouba at the Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida during our honeymoon. 🙂

I love Cirque du Soleil shows because of the wonderful storytelling, lighting, costumes, and original music, which set the tone for an unbelievable acrobatic show. It is a plus that they don’t use any animals in any of their performances.

Needless to say, I got addicted.

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