Category Archives: Events

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in Manila!

Beauty and the Beast BroadwayEarly last year, it was announced that the Broadway musical of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will be coming to the Philippines as part of its international tour. Despite the shows being scheduled just this year, tickets were sold beginning mid-August of last year. This was another once in a lifetime opportunity I cannot miss, so I immediately bought tickets for me and my family. And since then, I patiently marked off the dates of my calendar until the most-awaited day came.

On January 17, it was the day I got to witness the love story of Beauty and Beast unfold before my eyes. The musical was based on Disney’s movie adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. On one hand, it intrigued me how they were going to relive the movie through Broadway. On the other hand, I also looked forward to the show being vibrant and entertaining. I wasn’t able to watch the local production of Beauty and the Beast before, but now that the show comprised of international cast, it set my expectations higher.

I remembered I couldn’t contain my excitement that apart from reaching CCP earlier than expected, time seemed to be ticking by slowly as we waited for the show to start. A couple of hours passed, once we were allowed to enter the theater, we were greeted by a mesmerizing backdrop on the stage with branches and thorns surrounding the border and a blooming big red rose projected on the upper right side of the backdrop. I must say, it greatly contributed to our anticipation for an enchanting journey of the show. When the show began, I inevitably found myself being lured in to it as my eyes were glued on the stage, concentrating on what’s about to be revealed.

Despite my knowledge on the show’s plot, I was still eager to watch the show and see how it fared to the movie. The opening song alone convinced me enough that it will not be a disappointment. Hilary Maiberger, the one who played as Belle, was definitely a beauty. When she appeared on stage, I knew she would make a good characterization of Belle. It didn’t stop there. I was utterly impressed by the other cast – from the Beast, Mrs. Potts, Lumière, Cogsworth, to the villains such as Gaston and Le Fou. All the cast were able to perfectly capture and portray the characters from the movie. They truly owned it! I won’t deny that they made some changes from the movie, but that didn’t stop me from loving the Broadway musical. Their unique musical adaptation of the story surely brought laughter and heartfelt feelings to the audience.

Overall, having watched this show was worth the money and wait. Aside from the cast, the props as well as the costumes used in the production added to the magical element of the show. The production team evidently utilized a wide array of colors to capture the mood of the scenes. Even the choreography was spectacular! It left me speechless and at awe. But of course, everything wouldn’t be complete without the live orchestra. In a way, they created a portal that allowed us to transport ourselves into the world of fairy tale which demonstrated the true meaning of love and beauty in its simplest form. Kudos to all the people who made the production a success. I was undoubtedly entertained all throughout. May the tale of Beauty and the Beast live on for as long as time could tell.


Stephanie Perkins in Manila!

Stephanie Perkins in Manila PosterA couple of months ago, I saw a tweet from National Book Store officially announcing the upcoming book signing event of Stephanie Perkins to be held on July 5 (in Cebu) and July 6 (in Manila). I didn’t hesitate to immediately reserve that day for the event. I got so excited that I also asked my sister to accompany me, knowing that she’d read and loved Stephanie Perkins’ books. After checking the mechanics and rules of the event, the only thing left for me to do was to buy her books form National Book Store in order to be eligible to have Stephanie Perkins sign them.

Since the books of Stephanie Perkins I owned were not brought from National Book Store, I was kind of forced to buy her books again. On the one hand, I have to spend, again. But on the other hand, at least I got to own two copies of each of her books with different editions.

There was not a day when I didn’t mark off the days of my calendar and count how many more were left until the most-awaited event. Months turned to weeks; then weeks turned to days, and days turned to hours. This event may not be a big deal to some, if not most, but to book bloggers and avid readers, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity they wouldn’t want to miss, including myself.

As the event was nearing, I had to physically and mentally prepare myself for what’s to come. Having been to Nicholas Sparks’ book signing event in 2011, I can imagine what the crowd would be like. However, this is far from what I expected.

The night before the event, I found out that people had already begun lining up. There were seven at first, but around midnight, it became thirteen! I feared the worst. At the day of the event, my sister and I left our house around 7:30am. Upon reaching Glorietta 1 at 8am, the line was longer than what I expected. I started to dread what my signing pass number would be. Since the registration starts at 10am, we patiently waited.

Time seemed to be longer when you have nothing to do. So while waiting, I opted to continue writing my review of a book on my small notebook. More than an hour later, another unexpected thing happened! Minutes before 10am, we heard people screaming and the screams gradually grew louder and nearer towards our location. At first we thought National Book Store started the registration early or people were just too excited, but no. Apparently, a car drove past the vicinity and Stephanie Perkins was in it! To make things more exciting, she waved at all of us! And then the registration began.

Want to guess what my signing pass number was? It was 240! And there were more people lined up behind me. For such a big crowd, I feel that the venue of the event wasn’t enough to accommodate that large number of people. Moreover, seats were also limited, so people resorted to sit on the floor.

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Stephanie Perkins04Since the event was scheduled for 2pm, we decided to roam around the mall first and eat lunch. Minutes before it began, we returned to the store and saw fans gathered and waited. The stage wasn’t that big and the viewing angle was also quite limited. I tried going to the second floor and checked if the stage was viewable. It was, only if you sat down.

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Finally, it was the moment we’d all been waiting for. Before Stephanie Perkins came out, National Book Store did a short introduction while the fans stood up and gathered near the stage. I wasn’t able to take a picture because it was already crowded and the air conditioning seemed to be not functioning well. So we just stood at the back and listened to the speaker.

Then Stephanie Perkins appeared! Alongside her was her husband, Jarrod Perkins. Fans grew more excited and the screams grew louder. I was happy to hear Stephanie Perkins enjoying her stay here in the Philippines. During the interview, Stephanie Perkins answered each question enthusiastically. Questions ranged from her previous books, her upcoming book, and the concept of the new book she’s currently writing, to her experiences as a writer, her inspirations, and insightful advices to aspiring writers. After the interview, she gave ARCs of Isla and the Happily Ever After to the first seven people who lined up since the night before. And apparently, the first person in line started lining up since 1pm! Unbelievable, but true.

Stephanie Perkins07After that, it was followed by book signing! It was by batch of 20s and since my sister and I were still in the 200s, we just stayed in a coffee shop first. An hour or so later, when we returned, we saw a long line allotted for Jarrod Perkins. I didn’t have time to have him sign the books we brought and my patience was growing short, so I just took pictures of him interacting with the fans and signing their books. When my batch was called, nervousness and excitement filled me. But everything was forgotten once I was faced with Stephanie Perkins. She’s pretty and kind and sweet. She made sure she interacted with her fans and took time to take pictures with them.

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And here it is – my signed copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door! Apart from getting a signed book, I was also able to take a picture with her. I went home with a smile plastered on my face. The waiting and standing for hours surely drained my energy, but it was all worth it.

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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.