|Pop singers Rachelle Ann Go (Ariel) and Erik Santos (Prince Eric) make their|
professional musical theater debuts in Atlantis Productions' Disney's
The Little Mermaid; photo by Jaime Unson
by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com
New York, November 24, 2011 -- Manila-based theater company Atlantis Productions Inc.'s Asian premiere of Disney’s The Little Mermaid could have been a spectacular float addition in today’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Times Square.
One shouldn't wonder at Atlantis’ Disneyesque feat because The Little Mermaid’s co-director, Bobby Garcia (the other director is Chari Arespacochaga), happened to work at Disneyland Hong Kong as its entertainment director when the theme park opened in 2005. Needless to say, working on Disney theatrical materials is second nature to Garcia by now.
|Rachelle Ann Go as the little mermaid, Ariel, has been|
earning raves and praises from critics and audience
alike; photo by Jaime Unson
Broadway’s The Little Mermaid had starred the talented, incandescent Sierra Boggess in the title role (Ariel); while Manila’s production has found a new ingénue in strong pop singer Rachelle Ann Go. Tony Award-winning actress Lea Salonga, who’s also a columnist in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, only had praises and raves for Go’s opening night (November 18) performance, “As for Go, I don’t know that the superlatives in my vocabulary could cover just how wonderful I thought she was. Bundles of charm oozed from her, as well as an easy sense of humor and adventure. Her voice was also a great mix of that clean and pristine Disney sound, plus a deep pop sensibility that made this score (and her Ariel) accessible to everyone. She was a perfect Ariel, and her portrayal will only continue to deepen and improve. She blew me away on opening night.”
|Power belter Jinky Llamanzares as the sea witch, Ursula,|
brings the house down in every performance;
photo by Jaime Unson
On the other hand, what the production lacks in expensive set pieces and flying harnesses, which are common currency in Broadway musicals nowadays, it makes up for with puppeteer-actors, who control wayang or shadow puppets, bunraku or traditional Japanese puppets, and nang kaloung or Cambodian puppets during certain parts of the show. By the way, merfolks are not strapped on rollerblades in this production!
Go, Llamanzares, Mariano, and Millado are joined by Erik Santos as Prince Eric (his professional musical theater debut), Lee Villoria as Flounder, Enrique Canoy as Scuttle, Felix Rivera as Flotsam, Jamie Barcelon as Jetsam, Raymond Concepcion as Grimsby, and Juliene Mendoza as Chef Louis.
The Little Mermaid also features choreography by Cecile Martinez, set design by Lex Marcos, lighting design by Jay Aranda, puppetry design and execution by Liz and Benny Batoctoy and Sam Fuentes, projection design by GA Fallarme, musical direction by Ceejay Javier, vocal coaching by Manman Angsico, and production management by Liza Camus.
Catch the show’s last three weeks (it runs until December 11) at Meralco Theater. For tickets, visit www.atlantisproductionsinc.com.
For more photos, click HERE.