Valida Rassoulova: My Thoughts

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Last Saturday me and my sister along with my friend BV and her cousin watched the piano concierto at the Philamlife Theater in UN Avenue. It was the first time that I was going to watch a piano concierto and I was excited and eagerly anticipating the show. At exactly 8pm, the show started and I was chagrined to see a couple of prominent people in the audience although the theater was not packed. I could see Senator Franklin Drilon and wifey, Senator Nikki Coseteng and Senator Rodolfo Biazon among those clapping after every piece was completed. Valida was about late 40’s or early 50’s wearing glasses but she still had the love for playing as I could see she was really into the pieces that she was playing. Beethoven, Debussy and for her encore, Chopin. After she was given a standing ovation, she played another piece by Debussy. Her piano music was mesmerizing and soothing to the nerves. Music that could put you at ease and make you feel so relaxed. Me and my sister thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and it was some bonding time for both of us as we had lots to talk about on the way back home. I enjoyed the concierto and am looking forward to another one in the future. It was a nice and relaxing Saturday evening. Not a bad night at all.

My “theater” history

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Last night was one of firsts for me. First time to watch a stage play in Manila. My stage experiences having been limited to productions in Cebu. I realized that my own theater history was something that I should write about to thank the people who have been instrumental in making me enjoy and love plays. Life certainly has been more interesting with the addition of theater.

My first encounter with a play was when I was still working for this cozy coffee shop in Cebu when I was still in college. It was called East, West and with that stint at East, West I gained good friends and a huge amount of very interesting memories. I was working as a Barista then. During that time, my employer H, who was a great lover of theater, started his own production outfit which he aptly named “Little Boy Productions”. In one of their events, they brought Eve Ensler’s the “Vagina Monologues” to Cebu and I was asked to usher in the event. That was my first stage play. I loved that experience and ever since then I got hooked on theater. During my Barista days, I met good friends who have made a mark in my life and one of these was Anne. We had good times getting drunk together, partying on Friday’s and sleep over parties. Up until now, she has remained an anchor in my life. It was with her that I watched “Once on this Island”, “Love Letters” and etc. We enjoyed plays together. So with this entry I hereby thank H, who introduced me to my first stage play and to Anne who has been my constant companion on our forays into getting ourselves more immersed in “theater”.

ansot-pose1Thanks H and thanks Anne! Anne, more happy years to our friendship. My life would not have been the same without you by my side.

“Hairspray”-My Review

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Last night by blogger TheBachelorGirl invite, I was able to watch ‘Hairspray” before its regular show dates. It was the first time ever in Manila soil that I was able to watch a hairspray02play. Back in Cebu, I was a big fan of plays thanks to Anne, a very close friend of mine. We went to a lot of really nice ones by Little Boy Productions and it made me appreciate and love plays hence I was always on the lookout for them. That is how I discovered BachelorGirl and her passion about theater and plays. She invited me and a few other bloggers for first dibs. I was not disappointed. I was so excited that I could barely catch my breath. I was running because I was afraid that I might be late but thankfully, I was not. It was the first time for me to meet Lorna and am grateful for the chance to get to know her a little bit.

As the theater lights dimmed and the curtain went up, I was smiling. This is it. I was not disappointed. The set was done in bright colors all evoking that 60’s feel as well as the costumes. I was entertained. The cast was delightful and I can only say WOW to seeing Dulce and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo perform on stage. Michael de Mesa in his woman role was very good. He pulled it off without a hair out of place. Madel Ching as Tracy was very good for her first professional debut on stage. And oh! Can Nyoy Volante dance! The play relays the message to dream big always and it also relates to racial discrimination and how we should stand up to abolish it in society. It conveys that message in a very funny and entertaining way. I had a good laugh about some parts and I very much enjoyed the time that I spent watching it and also getting to know Lorna in between curtain calls. My night was well spent. Thumbs up for director Bobby Garcia and to the cast and crew of Hairspray. Thanks once again Lorna. It was a nice break for me.

Catch “Hairspray” from Nov. 14 to Dec. 7 at the Star Theatre, CCP Complex. Tickets are on sale now by calling Atlantis Productions at 892-7078, 840-1187 or Ticketworld at 891-9999.

Cast List:

Madel Ching as Tracy Turnblad
Michael de Mesa as Edna (played by John Travolta)
Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as Velma Von Tussle (played by Michelle Pfeiffer)
Dulce as Motormouth Maybelle (played by Queen Latifah)
Tim Espinosa as Link Larkin (played by Zac Efron)
Nyoy Volante as Seaweed J. Stubbs (played by Elijah Kelley)
Leo Rialp as Wilbur (played by Christopher Walken)
Noel Rayos as Corny Collins (played by James Marsden)
Christine Allado as Amber (played by Brittany Snow)
Monica Reynoso as Penny (played by Amanda Bynes)

Gabe Mercado will play the Male Authority Figure, while Enchang Kaimo will be the Female Authority Figure.

In the ensemble are Jordan Aguilar, Emy Alcid, Caisa Borromeo, Mayen Bustamante-Cadd, Erika Cedilla, Red Concepcion, Gerlin Francisco, Bea Garcia, Crienna House, Yanah Laurel, Cheeno Macaraig, Michael Odoemene, Anthony Ong, Myrene Santos, Mark Tayag, and Lee Villoria.

My Invite to the run-through Rehearsal of “Hairspray”

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Thanks to Lorna Lopez aka “TheBachelorGirl”, she gave us the chance to get first dibs on “Hairspray” the musical…

Below is her email to all bloggers who got invited to the event…

Hello guys and gidgets,

Shimmy your way to Hairspray Manila! All 10 bloggers have been kindly accommodated by Atlantis Productions.

Please be reminded of the ff:

1. Date and Venue
Date: 12 November 2008 (Wednesday)
Time: 8pm (please arrive earlier so that there will be time to locate the venue, etc.)
Venue: Star Theater, CCP Complex, Manila (The Star City Compound has two theaters — Aliw and Star Theater. The entrance to Star Theater is on the street parallel to Roxas Blvd., which is at the back of the Star City Compound.)

2. No Photography/Video
Please be reminded that Hairspray is NOT owned by Atlantis Productions so there are contractual agreements re its publicity between its owners and Atlantis. Atlantis must honor those agreements or risk losing its international theatre reputation and/or suffer legal action. Not to worry, Atlantis will provide official photographs, which I’ll email to everybody.

Of course, we can take pictures outside the theater and if the actors go to the lobby, so please bring your camera along just in case.

3. Limited Passes
You will have to shake and shimmy with your fellow bloggers because the passes are limited, and only one blogger per pass can be accommodated.

4. Please Publish by 14 Nov 12nn
As requested, please publish by 14 Nov 12nn. Please note that you are watching BEFORE the press preview, so you have an opportunity to have the first set of reviews about Hairspray Manila. Please remember to email me the link as soon as you’re done.

Just in case you need to contact me (but I’ll turn it off at 7.55pm):
(Globe) 0917.XXXXXXX

Thank you very much.

Shake and shimmy,
Lorna

Manila Welcomes “Hairspray” the Musical

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hairsprayHairspray” is actually based on a New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters. It is set in the 1960’s. People welcome the 1960’s and say goodbye to the 50’s and change is in the air. Baltimore’s Tracy Turnbald, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, who is passionate about dancing auditions for a spot on a local TV dance program. She wins the spot on “The Corny Collins Show’ and overnight is transformed from being a local ordinary girl into a teenage celebrity. The role of Tracy Turnbald will be played by Madel Ching, a junior Ateneo de Manila student majoring in Political Science and this is actually her first major role as well as first professional debut. She is excited about the musical and so are the rest of the “Hairspray” staff which includes: Tim Espinosa (Link Larkin), Michael de Mesa (Edna Turnbald), Dulce (Motor mouth Maybelle), Mechu Lauchengco-Yulo ( as the villainous Velma Von Tussle) just to name a few.

Hairspray is the winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical. It was recently made into a hit film starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and Queen Latifah

Hairspray is directed by Bobby Garcia, choreography by Cecile Martinez, sets and costumes by Gino Gonzales, lighting design by Shoko Matsumoto and Musical Director Archie Castillo conducts FILharmoniKA. It runs from Nov. 14 to Dec. 7 at the Star Theatre, CCP Complex. Tickets are on sale now by calling Atlantis Productions at 892-7078, 840-1187 or Ticketworld at 891-9999.

Hopefully, now I get the chance to watch the rehearsal for this play and get to enjoy myself.

Photograph courtesy of: thebachelorgirl.com

An Invitation to “Master Class” the Opera

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Just recently I came across a blogger who is an advocate of the theater scene here in Manila. She is also popularly known as Lorna Lopez aka “The Bachelor Girl”. She was inviting bloggers to compare “La Boheme” and “Rent”. Bloggers were supposed to watch a rehearsal of ‘La Boheme”. I commented on her post and she was kind enough to include me in the roster. Unfortunately one of our seasonal typhoons hit Manila that day and we had work so even if it was a national holiday I still ended up working and wasn’t able to watch it because I feared that the rain might get worse and I might not be able to catch a ride going home seeing that it was a holiday and transportation is kind of scarce. Then, now I received another invite. This time to watch the opera rehearsal of “Master Class” starring Cherie Gil. It is today at 4:30pm. Seeing that it is already 4:21pm on my watch, I know for sure that I will miss this again. I can’t get out of the office. I’ve been contemplating on my desk if I should go on under time but I can’t. I am apprehensive. Just lately, I have witnessed the effects of this global recession in our office. We are an executive search group operating in the APAC region and right now, hiring is being frozen because companies are more conservative in their spending. Hiring is our bread and butter and if companies don’t hire then no need for recruiters and most importantly no revenue for us. Domino effect of this recession. This is one of those days were I wish that I was still working the graveyard shift and maybe I would not have missed this rehearsal. Anyway, I just want to thank Lorna Lopez for her efforts in bringing theater arts to the bloggers. Hopefully, I get to attend another rehearsal in the future. Below is her email…

Hello,

Pablo Tariman of the Philippine Daily Inquirer describes Master Class as a “play not to be missed.”
http://karlagutz.multiply.com/journal/item/140/MY_OBSESSION_WITH_MARIA_CALLAS_AND_WHY_THE_INTERNET_by_Pablo_A._Tariman

On behalf of Karla Gutierrez, the managing director of the Philippine Opera Company, I would like to invite you to the run through rehearsal of Master Class, starring Cherie Gil as the legendary Maria Callas.

1. Date: 16 October 2008 (Thursday)
Time: 4.30pm (please arrive earlier so that there will be time to locate the venue, etc.)
Venue: Carlos P. Romulo Theater, 4F, RCBC Plaza, Sen. Gil Puyat cor Ayala Ave., Makati

2. ONLY taking of photos (without flash) will be allowed. NO VIDEO. Security will most probably ask about your equipment. Please say that you’re going to the Master Class rehearsal of the Philippine Opera Company and you have permission from Karla Gutierrez, the POC head.

3.You will be viewing a run through rehearsal of Master Class, i.e. although the show will run in its entirety, the director (Michael Williams) may, at any point, interrupt the rehearsal. Please maintain silence in respect of the creative process and we request for your patience in case of any delay/s.

4. The play will only have 5 performances. May I request that you send me a link to your thoughts/review so that I may collate all of them on my blog by 12nn of 18 October 2008.

Just in case you need assistance on 16 Oct, I will have my mobile phone on till 4.30pm.
MP: 0917.xxxxxxx

Thank you very much for your kind understanding and cooperation.

Warm Regards,
Lorna Lopez aka TheBachelorGirl

P.S. Jennifer Uy, the opera singer who played Mimi on 01 Oct, sent a thank you email:

Many thanks to you and the bloggers for keeping an open heart and mind to the recent production of La Boheme at the CCP.

This was really a labour of love stemming from the artistic and production sides of this Opera.

It was wonderful to see how interested and open the bloggers were on La Boheme.

I had personally wanted to thank you all after the October 1st tech run but was held back after the run through to work out some details with the wardrobe and stage depts.

By the time I had finished, the house lights were all off and the door leading from backstage to the CCP Main lobby had been locked.

Please do extend my heartfelt gratitude to all who came that night and to those who continually returned and eventually watched the show(s).

This is a big leap for Opera. The melding of a traditional form of art and new media.

I’ve always said these are exciting times for the Opera. Thanks for helping make this one of the most memorable productions I’ve been part of, to date.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Uy
Mimi