Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rocking the Ages

My husband's cousin-in-law contacted me about the tickets that they were selling for their block show of Rock of Ages. I realized that it has been a LONG time ever since my husband and I watched a musical. I think our last one was Spring Awakening and I just gave birth then!

My love affair with the musicals started way back in High School when Lea Salonga became the star of Miss Saigon. My classmates and I memorized all the lines of the whole musical and we would sing them during our breaks. My dad, who also loved music, bought the cassettes of Miss Saigon and even threw in Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera which we would listen a lot at home.The music was just so beautiful.

When my college friend, Joelle, invited me to watch Rent at Music Museum in the late 90's/early 2000's, I did not hesitate twice and watched with her--more than once, I think. I remember crying everytime (or maybe that was her and I just cried in reaction to her tears. :P). Since then, I was hooked. Since my friend got into the side-business of buying block shows, I would be updated with whatever musical was in town.

After Rent, there were Jesus Christ Superstar which Basti Artadi of Wolfgang headlined (I remember shouting, "I LOVE YOU BASTI!!!" during the encore--and on a side note, my son was named after that show's star), Miss Saigon (this was the one that Cameron Mackintosh brought to the Philippines and which Ms. Salonga starred in at CCP. Since I was a struggling young professional then, I was only able to afford the balcony tickets which was so high up that Lea was just a small dot on the stage),  Proof (but then, this was not a musical but a play but I am a fan of Lea Salonga that's why I watched it), Avenue Q (first time I saw Aiza Seguerra in a musical), Hairpray (I was on my last month of pregnancy. My husband was nervous in bringing me to Aliw Theater all the way in Star City as the traffic was so bad due to the Christmas season. But never underestimate the hormones of a pregnant woman.), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (which the audience participation amused me) and Spring Awakening.

When we were in the US last 2011, I was so desperate to watch The Book of Mormon which recently won Best Musical in that year's Tony Awards, but the lines were too long and I did not have the foresight to buy tickets before we went to the US. Les Miserables was also having their 25th Anniversary tour but the only show in the US that time was in Los Angeles but we were only staying in NYC. So we went home without me being able to check off that one item in my bucket list (watch a broadway play or Les Miserables which is my favourite musical of all time).

Going back to Rock of Ages, Atlantis Productions was able to get Mig Ayesa, a Fil-Australian guy who rose to fame when he made the finals of  Rockstar:INXS last 2005, to play Stacee Jaxx, which was played by Tom Cruise in the movie version. Vina Morales played Sherrie, the waitress and wanna-be singer from the country and Nyoy Violante played Drew, the barback who wanted to be a rockstar. Rounding off the other cast members were Jett Pangan as Lonny (whom I did not recognize until the end of the show. Boohoo! I wanna watch again), Calvin Millado as Hertz (he was so unrecognizable as his physique has undoubtedly changed since his Rent days more than 10 years ago), Aiza Seguerra as Regina (pronounced as Re-jaaay-na...yes, which sounds like the female reproductive anatomy and she brought the house down when she wore a tangga) and Rachel Alejandro as Justice (I like her low tones).

The music was wonderful and my favorite song (thanks to Finn singing it in Glee), "I Can't Fight this Feeling" was sung by Lonny and Dennis. It helped that all of the songs were the famous ones in the 80's--the decade where I spent much of my youth in. I found myself rocking with the music although the audience was a bit stoic. My only gripe with the musical, was the lack of chemistry between Vina and Nyoy. Vina really needs to work on her diction and she's completely overshadowed by the more competent members of the cast. I did enjoy the moments that Mig Ayesa took the stage. His abs really made up for the musical's other shortcomings. Also, Aiza and the guy who played Hans (I was not able to buy the program and I can't find his name online) chemistry was better than that of Nyoy and Vina's.

Will I watch it again? Yes, so I could watch more of Jett Pangan and Calvin Millado who are really talented. If they can find someone to replace Vina then so much the better. I think Rachel could play her character in a beat. Don't get me wrong, Vina's great as a singer and I saw her perform live at the wedding of a common friend but she really needs work harder if she wants to make it in musicals like her other co-stars. As for Nyoy, he really hits the high notes well. I saw him first at Hairspray and I knew then how bountiful his talent can be. But as I said, there's something missing between him and Vina to make their pairing acceptable for me.

Last day of the repeat run is today. If you can still catch it, please do watch it.

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