Comebacking actor Junix in ‘Jekyll’

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Yay! My article on the upcoming production of "Jekyll and Hyde" was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its March 12, 2012 issue.

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Comebacking actor Junix in ‘Jekyll’
By Walter Ang

Junix Inocian
The ballad “This Is the Moment,” popularized by pop singers Martin Nievera and Erik Santos in the 2000s, is from the Broadway musical “Jekyll and Hyde.”

The musical will be staged by Repertory Philippines, featuring Michael Williams and Jett Pangan alternating in the lead role of Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde.

The musical is based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel set in Victorian-era London. The respectable scientist Dr. Jekyll begins to display alarmingly erratic behavior apparently due to a chemical formula he creates and ingests, resulting in a sadistic and murderous alterego, Hyde.

Joining the cast is a Filipino actor who’s been based in London since joining the original cast of “Miss Saigon” in the early ’90s: Rufino “Junix” Inocian.  Before leaving Manila, Inocian was introduced to a generation of Filipino audiences via his role as Kuya Mario on the TV show “Batibot.”

London and back
“I’ve been in London 23 years now,” he says. “After ‘Miss Saigon,’ I did other musicals: ‘Cats,’ ‘Just So,’ ‘Pacific Overtures’; ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.’ I did plays, films and television.

“I’d been wanting to go to the Philippines to see my kids and finally meet my grandchildren. I always hope for a chance to work with Repertory Philippines again.

“When I knew I was going this year, I e-mailed [Rep associate artistic director] Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo.  I had always wanted to do ‘Jekyll and Hyde,’ and when she offered me a role, I said yes, naturally.  And enthusiastically.”

Inocian will play Gabriel John Utterson, Jekyll’s lawyer and friend.

Coming home
He joined Rep in 1978.  “At the time, having an audience occupying half of the theater was considered a full-house!” he laughs.

During his stay with the group, he acted in over 60 productions.

“To see the company grow from there to the present where houses are filled to capacity, where audiences are clamoring for tickets and demanding for extensions of performances, makes me absolutely proud of being part of its history, of being part of its tradition of excellence. To be part of a Rep production again—it feels like coming home.”

It will be a birthday gift as well, since the musical opens a day before his natal day.

From page to stage
With music by Frank Wildhorn and book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, this production is directed by Yulo.

While Yulo has not changed anything in the script, she’s introducing new directorial devices.  “The story is taken from Utterson’s perspective; he tells the story.  I’ve added the concept of a Greek chorus to represent narrators, emotion and situations. During rehearsals, I had to workshop the idea to see if it would work, since the script is not written [to be staged] that way. I think I managed to make it work.  Luckily, I have a very good and patient cast.”

Yulo is also setting the action on stage in a “Victorian [medical] operating theater” set, designed by Joey Mendoza.  “Jekyll being a doctor, I thought this would be an interesting take. It allows for a lot of leeway in the staging.”

Cris Villonco plays Emma Carew, Jekyll’s fiancée. Kalila Aguilos plays Lucy Harris, a prostitute that Hyde obsesses over.

Onyl Torres is musical director; Raven Ong, costume designer; and John Batalla, lighting designer.

“Jekyll and Hyde” runs March 16-April 15 at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1 Mall, Makati City. Contact 5716926, 5714941; info@repertory.ph; or Ticketworld, 8919999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph.

Also published online:
http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/38735/comebacking-actor-junix-is-%E2%80%98jekyll%E2%80%99

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

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