Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Local Disney Princesses Make it to MISS SAIGON Final Auditions

Rachelle Ann Go (Ariel), Erik Santos (Prince
Eric) in the Asian premiere of Disney's
"The Little Mermaid" by Atlantis Productions;
Photo c/o Atlantis Productions
By Oliver Oliveros,

Manila, Philippines, November 21, 2012 ­— Local Disney princesses Rachelle Ann Go, who played the title role in the Asian premiere of Disney’s stage musical adaptation of “The Little Mermaid,” and K-La Rivera, who is currently playing the role of Princess Jasmine in the Asian premiere of Disney’s stage musical adaptation of “Aladdin,” both made it to the final round of auditions, mainly dance auditions, for the much-talked-about “Miss Saigon” tryouts, which began last Monday, November 19, and will end tomorrow, Thursday, November 22 at the Opera Haus, Philippine Opera Company’s newly opened headquarters in Makati City.

British choreographer Geoffrey Garratt (“Mary Poppins,” “Oliver!”) has just arrived in Manila for the last leg of the auditions, which have attracted nearly 1,000 aspirants coming from the Philippines, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand.

Garratt completes the auditioning panel made up of executive producer Trevor Jackson (“The Phantom of the Opera,” “Oliver!”), stage director Laurence Connor (“Les Miserables,” “Miss Saigon"), musical supervisor Stephen Brooker (“My Fair Lady,” “Les Miserables”), and Cameron Mackintosh’s representative in the Philippines, Dong Alegre (“Miss Saigon”).

Contrary to previous media reports that these auditions were meant to cast for a supposedly “Miss Saigon” revival production in London next year, notices posted on walls at the audition venue have indicated that “These auditions seek to find suitable candidates to play the role of Kim and the male and female Asian ensemble performers for future productions of ‘Miss Saigon’…There shall be no cast announcements made during the course of the audition exercise. As in past auditions, this audition exercise is ‘exploratory’ in nature.”

Besides Go and Rivera, seasoned theater actors Jun Ofrasio, Topper Fabregas, Noel Rayos, and Lorenz Martinez; and opera singers Marian Santiago and Kelly Peralejo, among others (BroadwayWorld does not have a complete list as of this writing) were also told to show up at the dance auditions tomorrow.

Other local celebrities and thespians Angeline Quinto, Ciara Sotto, Karylle Tatlonghari, OJ Mariano, Cathy Azanza, Sitti Navarro, and Laarni Lozada did not make the final round.

BroadwayWorld Philippines’ news team will be tweeting live from the audition venue tomorrow.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

'Like Broadway, PH theater can go global'

 By Miguel Dumaual, 

MANILA, Philippines -- Like a number of original Broadway and West End shows that have made it to Philippine shores, theater productions originating here also have a "chance to shine" overseas.

As shown by touring productions and adaptations of foreign plays staged in the Philippines, theater has become a global enterprise, according to Oliver Oliveros, editor at theater news website BroadwayWorld (BWW) Philippines.

The Philippine BWW website is the local counterpart of the leading theater news site in the United States and the United Kingdom, and is one of over 20 international editions of the online news source.

"We believe that anything that's coming from theater, specifically Broadway, is already global," Oliveros told ANC Alerts in an interview on Friday.

"Like for instance, Disney's 'Little Mermaid' opened on Broadway three years ago, and then last year it opened in Manila," added the New York-based theater enthusiast.

In November 2011, local theater production company Atlantis Productions brought the stage adaptation of the classic Disney film to the Philippines, with former Kapamilya singer Rachelle Ann Go taking on the role of Ariel.

Atlantis Productions also staged Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," and is now set to bring yet another animated classic to the local theater scene, via Disney's "Aladdin."

On top of international touring productions visiting the country -- “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Mamma Mia!” and Cirque du Soleil's "Varekai" recently staged shows here -- other local theater companies have also taken inspiration from foreign plays, with Repertory Philippines' "Jekyll and Hyde" and Resorts World Manila's "Sound of Music" enjoying their respective runs.

"It has legs already," Oliveros said, referring to productions originating from Broadway and the West End, "So we believe it's global. Anything that's happening here (New York), can happen in Manila."

Oliveros also believes that, like these foreign productions, original Filipino theater has equal chance to go "global."

"We believe in equality. Here in New York, it's diverse, everybody is equal, everybody has a chance to shine. That's what we wanted as well to happen in the Philippines -- everybody has a chance to shine, local or international," Oliveros said, explaining the objective of BWW Philippines' sophomore list of local nominees for its annual online poll-driven awards.

The local theater news website earlier this week announced the nominees for this year's BWW Philippines Awards. According to Oliveros, around 4,000 entries were submitted as nominations over the last month -- compared to last year's mere 500.

"I'm so happy that BroadwayWorld is opening a platform for local artists and productions to be known in the other side of the world," Oliveros said, referring to the online polls.

As such, it has devoted several categories to Filipino plays and musicals, with Tanghalang Pilipino's "Walang Kukurap," Gatimpala Theater Foundation's "Kanser," and Philippine Educational Theater Association's "Bona" among those nominated.

Pointing to the growing interest of Filipinos in theater over the last few years, Oliveros said it was high time BWW Philippines recognized local stage talents.

"Two years ago, my team realized that the Philippines is ready for the same awards because of the readership coming from the Philippines, so we launched it last year," he said.

"This is happening [simultaneously] all over the world and in other states in the US," Oliveros added.

Filipino theater fans can vote online for their favorites in the 2012 BWW Philippines Awards until December 15.

Partial results can be seen after casting a vote, but are still subject to auditing to remove fake, duplicate and other invalid votes.