Category Archives: Events

The Addams Family: A New Musical

The Addams FamilyThe Addams Family – Do you still remember them? Looking back, I think it’s already more than a decade since I’ve last watched the cartoon TV show. I couldn’t remember the cartoon’s storylines, but I vividly remember how the family looks like and most especially their addicting and upbeat theme song. Thus, when my boyfriend and I found out that Atlantis Productions will produce a musical show of The Addams Family, we didn’t hesitate to buy tickets as soon as they became available.

Here’s what the show is about:

The Addams Family features an original story, and it’s every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met.

And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomes Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Mortricia.

Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents.

Right at the beginning, the show already grabbed my full attention. The catchy introduction and the appearance of the whole Addams family members immediately put a smile on my face. They’re just exactly what I remembered from the cartoon. Seeing them once again is nostalgic enough to wish to relive my childhood memories.

The Addams Family Cast

The Addamses are described as one bunch of bizarre family and they certainly emit a dark, sinister atmosphere that will doubt one’s intention to befriend them; more so as they live in a massive, creepy mansion in the middle of nowhere. But this show isn’t about their house or their everyday lifestyles. This is about Wednesday Addams’ confession to her father about her engagement with Lucas Beineke and how the father should keep it a secret from her mother. More interesting things will happen as the Addamses invited the Beinekes for a dinner.

Talk about awkwardness. Witnessing the situation Lucas and Wednesday are in, I could definitely understand their firm instructions to their family to act “normal”. While the Addamses have their own bizarre personalities, the audience could also see that the Beinekes aren’t that far from being peculiar as well, especially Lucas’ mother. But this doesn’t just happen in musical plays or movies, as this meet-the-parents stage also happens in real life and is experienced by the majority. I guess this makes the musical more enjoyable to watch. The audience could definitely relate to Lucas and Wednesday, as well as to the people surrounding them with regards to how each member of the family handles and reacts to the situation.

As much as the Addams family is peculiar and seems to be living in their own version of the world, they’re still like any other families we meet. Aside from young love, I love how the show is able to represent the ideal concept of family in them. The Addamses may not be perfect, but their value in familial relationship is given importance. They’re honest and open with their feelings which prove to be one of the significant factors to build a relationship stronger – from the husband and wife to the parent and daughters/sons relationships. Who would’ve thought that they could unexpectedly change the lives of the Beinekes for the better as well?

All I can say is that I’m deeply impressed with this musical. Throughout the show, I’m mesmerized by the performance. The show is well executed and the talented cast members are just perfect for their roles. Seated near the stage, I could see the cast’s vibrant expressions, evident that they know their characters well. They have successfully demonstrated the unique personalities of each member of the Addams and Beineke families.

I am also equally impressed with the choreography, make-up, props, and costumes made for this musical show. The production team undoubtedly captures the essence of the show. This is definitely a great place to let our imaginations run wild. Watching The Addams Family makes me feel like I’m transported into another world. The cast absolutely deliver their dialogues well and sing and dance amazingly. The live orchestra just proves to be just as talented as well.

Two-thumbs up for the show and for everyone who took part in this production! I’m highly entertained and amazed with the outcome of the musical. It’s unexpectedly witty, reflective, and humorous. It’s heartwarming to even hear children in the audience laughing with us. I could watch it again and again without any hint of hesitation. Shows like this will definitely uplift the Philippines’ theater industry to the global stage.

Main Cast: Arnel Ignacio as Gomez Addams; Eula Valdez as Mortricia Addams; Kayla Rivera as Wednesday Addams; Ryan Gallagher as Lucas Beineke; Jamie Wilson as Uncle Fester; Jimmy Marquez as Grandma; Calvin Millado as Mal Beineke; Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Alice Beineke; Ikey Canoy as Lurch; Anton Posadas as Pugsley Addams

Two Worlds… One Family

Last June 23, my best friend and I booked the day to watch Disney’s Tarzan: The Stage Musical show at the Meralco Theater. Here’s the show’s description taken from the program booklet:

Tarzan_June_14-29Based on Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan of the Apes and the smash-hit 1999 Disney animated film, TARZAN tells the story of an infant boy orphaned on the shores of West Africa. Taken in and raised by a tribe of gorillas, the young boy strives for acceptance by his ape father while grappling with his uniqueness. When a human expedition enters their territory, Tarzan – now a man – encounters strangers like himself for the first time.

TARZAN features music and lyrics by pop icon Phil Collins, including the Grammy and Oscar winning song, “You’ll Be in My Heart”, and book by Tony Award-winning playwright, David Henry Hwang.

I truly enjoy watching theatrical plays. I’ve actually seen quite a number of shows already. While a few disappoint me, there are some that impress me a lot and Disney’s Tarzan falls on the latter. True, I’ve watched the Disney version movie several times and most of you might have as well, but what make the show worth-watching are the live singing and acting.

My familiarity of the story in the movie does not stop me from watching the musical version. I am honestly intrigued to find out how the production team will impress their audiences especially since the show’s cast mostly consists of animal characters. And most of all, I’m dying to know who they will appoint for the lead role of Tarzan. I must say, the chosen cast should come in a whole package: not just good looks, but the talent should be there as well.

Who would’ve thought that Dan Domenech, an international celebrity, would portray the character of Tarzan? And Rachelle Ann Go as Jane? These two just convince me more to anticipate the show and raise my standard on this musical even higher. I just hope it’ll live up to my expectations.

Upon entering the theater, the stage is already breathtaking. Even though it’s just the outline prop being shown, it still evokes a Tarzan-liness feeling to the audience. And the rest of the props simply blow our minds away. The trees, vines, rocks… everything is done with intricate designs. It’s like the audience is being transported to the jungle world and get a glimpse of the life of gorillas as well as Tarzan’s.

I could say the same for the costumes. The costumes of gorillas are weaved creatively and colorful up to the very detail. They’re not the usual costumes you could see anywhere. The single strips sewn together and worn on the arms, legs, and shoulders allow some room for mobility as they follow the movement of the body. Furthermore, Jane’s costumes indicate sophistication and class, far from the jungle life, as what is really intended by the show. And lastly, the picturesque costumes of the different plant species Jane comes across are strikingly stunning. In fact, I am still at awe just thinking about the costumes.

Tarzan casts

Of course, everything wouldn’t be the same without the cast. Each one of them is fit for his and/or her role and that’s impressive enough to see them perform live. All cast members are able to deliver their lines well. Even the young Terk and Tarzan amaze me with their God-given talents. Dan Domenech also perfectly portrays how to act like an ape man, with the body posture and movement. The same goes for those who played the gorillas, especially Ima Castro, Calvin Millado, and Jeffrey Hidalgo. And most of all, I’m very much surprised to see how well Rachelle Ann Go performed. I’ve known her to be a good singer, but I haven’t witnessed her skills when it comes to acting (I wasn’t able to watch her debut role in The Little Mermaid). During the show, it is evident that she even flawlessly captures the British accent of Jane.

All in all, hands down to the cast and crew behind this successful show. Just as I fell in love with their performance, I also fell in love with the songs. Through the famous song, You’ll Be in My Heart, I could undeniably feel the love of a mother to her child. The way they sing the songs has certainly reached my heart unexpectedly. All of them sing well and naturally and that’s what makes the show more entertaining to watch. I could watch the show again for the second time if I were given a chance.

Disney’s Tarzan is not just a romantic story about two persons falling in love, but it tackles about the importance of family as well. I’m definitely looking forward to more shows like this in the future. I truly enjoyed this show and it has definitely lived up to my expectations. Directed by Chari Arespacochaga, Disney’s Tarzan: The Stage Musical has surely won my heart.

The Choice… Not For A Day But For Eternity…

Last Saturday, my sister and my friend attended and watched The Choice, a theatrical play presented by the Chancel Repertory Theatre in partnership with Jubilee Evangelical Church, at Music Museum for free. Here’s the synopsis from the program book:

The ChoiceDuring the rule of Tiberius Caesar in the seaside city of Capernaum, a young Roman centurion, Marcus, falls in love with a beautiful Jewish girl, Hannah. She is a follower of Jesus, the radical teacher from Nazareth. As Marcus becomes fatefully intertwined in the tumultuous events leading to the execution of Jesus, he weighs the words and example of Christ against the wealth and power of the world. In the balance hangs… The Choice.

At a glance, The Choice seems to center on Marcus and Hannah’s love story, but that’s just the tip of an iceberg. Evident from the synopsis, the play is mainly about choosing between becoming a follower of Christ and possessing the mundane wonders of the world. To some, the choice may be easy, but in Marcus’ case, he struggles and is torn to choose, weighing the importance of the two in his life. Eventually, though, Marcus chooses what is right for him and bravely prepares himself for what’s to come.

For those of you who’ve been reading this, I’m pretty sure you’ve already figured out the ending to this story. However, despite the predictability of it, it’s the middle part that keeps us guessing, wanting to anticipate Marcus’ reaction and how he’d handle the situation presented. I’m amazed by the bravery and humility of Marcus to break the status quo and somehow, make a difference. On the other hand, Hannah shows to be a true follower of Christ. With her dedication and faithfulness to Jesus, no matter how hard the difficulties she faces, she continues to fight her battle and trust Jesus. Moreover, it is also in this play that the audience gets to witness Jesus’ performance of some of the miracles, His crucifixion, death, and resurrection.

Overall, The Choice is a perfect example of a good show to portray what it means to forgive and to have faith. I actually didn’t expect the venue to be full house and throughout the show, I can see that the audience actually enjoyed it. The only problems I have with the show are the sound system and lighting. They lack timing and glitches are evident at some parts. Because of this, the play doesn’t quite project an impressive show to me. Other than that, the performance of the talented casts is amazing and they explicitly gave their best to perform for the Lord. The powerful lines and lyrics are able to reach one’s heart and leave a heartfelt message for everyone to remember and reflect, hoping it will to continue to live in the hearts and minds of people, allowing them to choose the choice not for a day, but for eternity.

It’s a Bird? It’s an Airplane? It’s a Flying Magic Carpet!

From what it’s usually known for its film version, Disney’s ALADDIN takes the stage to offer us a musical production, something I fervently believe each one of us should look forward to. And for me, I cannot let this pass so easily. To give you a brief background of the show, here’s a description taken from the program booklet:

Based on the much-loved animated film, Disney’s ALADDIN tells the story of a street-smart commoner whose whole life changes with one rub of a magic lamp. The brand new romantic musical adventures incorporates all the beloved songs from the film’s Oscar-winning score and brings some of the movie’s most memorable characters to life. Jafar, Iago, the Sultan, the Genie and of course Aladdin and Jasmine come together to create a whole new world of magical musical theatre for the whole family. Disney’s ALADDIN features music by eight time Oscar award Alan Menken and Lyrics by Oscar Award winner Howard Ashman, Oscar Award winner Tim Rise, and Tony Award nominated lyricist Chad Beguelin (who also wrote the brand new book of the musical).

I have always been a Disney fan and ALADDIN was no exception. Once my boyfriend told me about the production, he immediately bought tickets for both of us. And thus, on the evening of November 17th, the highly-anticipated date had come and we just couldn’t contain our excitement!

The show overwhelmed me with feelings so much that I couldn’t find the right words to describe how much I enjoyed the musical production. You know what I mean? There are so many things I want to say, yet I’m afraid I might diminish the value of the show’s effect on me. I hope could do this right, so I’ll just pour my heart out and somehow, make meaningful sense out of it.

Disney’s ALADDIN’s newest stage musical somewhat differs from the animated film. The show presents us with more songs aside from those we’re familiar with in the movie; thus, letting the audience connect more with the characters, as well as the story itself. From the famous songs like Arabian Nights, One Jump Ahead, Friend Like Me, Prince Ali, and A Whole New World, the show also introduces us to new songs such as Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim, Proud of Your Boy, Call Me a Princess, A Million Miles Away, Somebody’s Got Your Back, and a lot more.

It is evident that some details have been tweaked a bit, but the whole concept of the story remains the same. With the absence of animal characters such as Abu and Rajah, they are, instead, replaced by Aladdin’s three astonishing, significant sidekicks – Babkak, Kassim, and Omar. They also serve as narrators of the story while scenes transition from one to another, entertaining the audience with their striking personalities, funny dialogues, and out-of-this-world song numbers.

Atlantis Productions’ Disney’s ALADDIN is beyond expectation. Everything and every character seem to come out directly from the movie. It’s like witnessing a fantasy happening in reality. Each actor/actress succeeds in portraying their designated roles and I can’t help but be amazed by their God-given talents. For one, I never expected Tom Rodriguez to represent Aladdin perfectly. I knew him from Pinoy Big Brother before, but since I don’t update myself much with showbiz news, I’m not familiar with his acting skills, let alone his singing skills. I’m, indeed, quite surprised by his performance. He talks, acts, and sings exactly like Aladdin from the movie. Amazing, right? You guys have to watch to believe it. On the other hand, K-La Rivera never disappoints. Her voice pitch reminds me of Jasmine as well. Her performance is just as wonderful. Furthermore, I won’t forget Calvin Millado, too! His portrayal of the Genie is entertaining and unforgettable. What makes the show more interesting is the fact that Calvin Millado tries to make it interactive by engaging the audience to be part of the show. It truly melts my heart hearing the children laugh with us – a remarkable experience worth remembering and repeating. I just hope I could watch it again with Aiza Seguerra in it.

Overall, I cannot describe how I feel about the musical production. The cast did an outstanding performance. Even though I can follow some of the lines or dialogues similar to the movie, the cast still never fails to make me laugh and feel connected to the show. I guess it’s the way they deliver their lines and how they sing and act that capture me the most. Moreover, the staff also did a superb job in giving the show an Arabian feel to the audience. The lighting, the intricate and creative designs of props and costumes – everything is made perfect. True enough, Disney’s ALADDIN takes the young and old on a journey on a magic carpet ride to see a whole new world of Aladdin. Hands down to everyone who took part in making the show a success. In four words, Disney’s ALADDIN is: Amazing. Funny. Memorable. Nostalgic.

Buy your tickets now while it’s not yet too late! The show’s ongoing until December 9, 2012. And may you enjoy the show as much as I did.

The Cast: Tom Rodriguez as Aladdin; K-La Rivera as Jasmine; Aiza Seguerra and Calvin Millado as Genie; Jun Ofrasio as Sultan; Raul Montesa as Jafar; Bibo Reyes as Babkak; Johann dela Fuente as Omar; Jamie Wilson as Kassim; and Jimmy Marquez as Iago.

On Higher Ground with Gary V Takes Me to Cloud Nine

From the day I found out the schedule for Gary Valenciano’s concert to celebrate his 29th anniversary in the industry, I immediately booked tickets for me, my sister, and my friend. The concert series will be held in Music Museum for 8 days during the month of April and May, and we decided to watch on the 27th of April.

I remember before, my high school alma mater would invite Gary V to perform for their founding anniversary (I forgot the exact date). I think he was invited twice when I studied there. There was this time when my sister asked us to watch one of Gary V’s performances with her and the moment when I first knew and saw Gary V turned out to be a cathartic moment. Because since then, I became his fan.

Fast forward to present. On the day of Gary V.’s Day 6 On Higher Ground concert series, my sister, my friend, and I planned to leave our house earlier so that we won’t be late and avoid the horrible traffic congestion in Greenhills. Unfortunately, since it was a Friday and the Avengers movie is showing in theaters, our plan didn’t exactly work out the way we wanted it to be. All parking spaces and valet services near Music Museum were full, but good thing there’s still valet service in front of Promenade.

Upon entering the theater, the backdrop of the stage was quite intriguing. I think it was almost 8 in the evening when we entered, but the seats weren’t full yet.

After minutes of waiting, the show started. Jordan Escusa did the opening act of the concert. I was impressed by his hosting skills because he can very well entertain the audience by imitating the voice of sponsor ads, as well as Optimus Prime from Transformers. According to my friend, he was once invited as speaker for our high school alma mater retreat last time.

Next, Quest performed some songs before the main event the audiences were waiting for. I can certainly say that Quest did an amazing job incorporating Gary V’s song titles into a structured, meaningful lyric of his rap.

And the wait is over, Gary V finally appeared! I was able to capture some cool pictures during the show:

This part was where Gary had a blooper moment (haha!). I wouldn’t mention what happened, but I’m pretty sure everyone who watched that night will know what I’m talking about, including Gary V himself.

Julianne, another talented artist, was the guest of the concert. After her solo performance, she and Gary sang a medley of some of his mellow songs.

Gary was also able to share the Word of God through his performance. That night, the verse that best described him was Psalm 92:14. It says: They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh… (NIV version). Gary V brought out music alive and fresh. Both young and old can undoubtedly relate to his songs.

And Gary V sang a quintet version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow with a recording of himself in four distinct voices.

And then, the shoulder pads (!!!), as Gary V would call it. The songs performed during this session transported the audience back to the 80s, letting the older ones feel nostalgic over their childhood days. Juan Miguel Salvador played the keyboard. The only song I recognized was Don’t Stop Believing (because I am young… LOL).

My sister, my friend, and I wouldn’t have noticed that Jed Madela was seated right in front of us if Gary V didn’t call out to him. So Jed Madela was requested to go on stage and sing for the fans who requested for a sample. He sang Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos? – he possessed such an amazing voice, by the way.

As the concert was nearing its end, Gary V sang a few songs which included my all-time-favorite: How Did You Know. He also sang Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin, Kung Tayo’y Magkakalayo, and Sana Maulit Muli.

The concert, without a doubt, provided a great opportunity where the audience can witness Gary V’s amazing God-given talents in singing and dancing. His passion for it shows that he’s not doing it in vain, but instead, he’s doing it for Him. It’s kind of hard to imagine the fact that he’s already 47 years old and yet he can still sing and dance his heart out. I don’t think I could still do what he can do if I were in his shoes.

With that said, it is evident that he is a living example of God’s unconditional love for us. Gary V proves to have complete faith in the Lord by not letting his diabetes become a hindrance to always bring out and show the best of what he can do. He is a walking, singing, and dancing miracle. Amazing, right? I guess it is in this very situation that we can humble ourselves and trust in God because at the end of the day, He’s still the one who gives us strength during times of darkness.

No words can express how immensely happy I was to experience this moment. Not only did Gary V’s songs and message touch my heart, but seeing him perform on stage left me speechless. Even the sounds and visuals captured the moment as well. I was so starstruck-ed that the time when I got the chance to take a picture with him, the muscles in my face were trembling! I hope nobody noticed it. However, on the brighter side, the experience was fulfilling – it was a dream come true to see him close up, take a picture with him, and hold his hand even just for a while.

But everything comes to an end. I wished and hoped to have more even though the concert ended. It seemed that I couldn’t get enough of it. The feeling was, indeed, so overwhelming. Up to now, I can’t stop smiling – Gary V hangover, I guess, haha! If only I could relive this moment, I would’ve gone back to it for as long as I live.

Overall, I’m glad to have watched his concert and I’m definitely looking forward to his 30th anniversary. This is truly a night to remember. His inspiring songs have surely lifted us up to stand on higher ground with him – letting us move our feet, as well as our hearts and souls.

(The other songs he sang during the show (those of which I recognize): Halina, Tara Na, Di Na Natuto, Wait Forever, Each Passing Night, Even For A While, Love is Real, Break Me, Take Me Out of the Dark, Warrior is a Child, Eto Na Naman, When She Smiles)


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