Resorts World Manila's "Sound of Music" Oct 15-Dec 30, 2011

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Yay! My article on the staging of "Sound of Music" by Resorts World Manila was published by Philippine Daily Inquirer in its Oct. 15, 2011 issue.
"Sound of Music" at Resorts World Manila starts Oct 15
By Walter Ang

Theater leading ladies Cris Villonco and Joanna Ampil will alternate as Maria Rainer in Resorts World Manila's staging of the musical "Sound of Music."

Both will bring to life the role of the earnest and determined postulant nun assigned as a governess to the untamed seven children of stern Navy Captain and widower Georg von Trapp.  Laughter and love blossoms when Maria wins the children (and their father) over with music.

Both have played other "Marias" prior to this production.

Villonco has played lead roles for Repertory Philippines, Dulaang UP and, recently, for Tanghalang Pilipino's "Noli Me Tangere" as Maria Clara.

Ampil has performed internationally, starting her career as Kim in the West End staging of "Miss Saigon" and recently as Maria in Stages Production Specialists' "West Side Story."

Leading men
Audie Gemora, Ed Feist and Jon Joven alternate as the Captain.

Gemora was last seen onstage playing the titular role in Repertory Philippines' "Sweeny Todd."

A former VJ for music channel Myx and theater actor (Bankard's "Diary of Anne Frank" and Actors' Actors' "Mother Tongue"), Feist returns to Manila after having been based in Australia the past few years as lead vocal for Soul Motel band.

Joven has played Thuy in the German staging of Miss Saigon and has credits on Broadway and off-Broadway.  Locally, he's played lead roles for TP such as Orly in "Himala the musical," and Crisostomo Ibarra in "Noli Me Tangere."

Memoir to musical
With music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, audiences may be more familiar with the 1965 film version starring Julie Andrews ("Princess Diaries") and Christopher Plummer (Pixar's "Up," "Inglourious Basterds"), though the musical premiered on Broadway six years prior.  The musical is based on Maria Augusta von Trapp's memoir "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers."

Since the film's release, songs that were added for the movie, such as "I Have Confidence" and "Something Good," are usually included in revivals.  Previous Manila stagings have been done by Company of Players (1997) and Repertory Philippines (2006).

Big theater
This production will be staged at RWM's 1,500-seater Newport Performing Arts Theater.

Set design is by Mio Infante with video design by television commercial director Paul Soriano.  Video backdrops will be shown via the theater's 30meter by 8meter LED (light emitting diode) screen, touted as the largest in Southeast Asia.  10feet x 14feet LED walls will also be placed at each end of the stage. The screens allows for showing of 3D sceneries.

Cast and collaborators
Theater veteran Pinky Amador and jazz singer Lynn Sherman alternate as the captain's fiancée Baroness Elsa Schraeder.  Miguel Faustman and Robbie Guevara alternate as von Trapp family friend Max Detweiler.

Pinky Marquez and Sheila Francisco alternate as Mother Abbess. TV and film comedienne Debraliz Valasote plays the von Trapp's housekeeper Frau Schmidt.

Liesl, the eldest of the von Trapp siblings is played by Tanya Manalang and Rachel Coates.  Rolf, Liesl's love interest, is played by former TV child star and current ABS-CBN talent Bryan Homecillo and 2009 Philstage Gawad Buhay! awardee for Best Featured Actor in a Musical ("Sweeny Todd") Marvin Ong.

The production is directed by dinner theater and concert director Roxanne Lapus. Lyn Fabella is vocal director.  Rodel Colmenar conducts the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra.  Choreographer is Terri Aldeguer of the dance duo Aldeguer Sisters.  Lighting design is by John Batalla. Costume design is by fashion designer Francis Libiran.

Since the theater's inauguration last year, it has hosted concerts of local and foreign artists (Lani Misalucha, Lea Salonga and David Pomeranz, Zsa Zsa Padilla and Basil Valdez, to name a few), beauty pageants, corporate events, and a Vegas-type musical spectacle show "Kaos."  Concerts will still be staged at the theater on days when "Sound of Music" is not running.

Newport Performing Arts Theater is located in Resorts World Manila, which combines hotels, restaurants, gaming facilities, entertainment spots and a luxury mall in one destination across Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, beside Villamor Golf Course.

RWM members using their Visa Platinum and Gold credit cards to purchase tickets can avail of up to 25% discount, applied to a maximum of four tickets per card per show, when transacted at RWM Box Office and Ticketworld outlets. RWM members can also use points earned in their membership cards towards purchase of tickets. Membership to RWM is free.

"The Sound of Music" runs Oct 15 to Dec 11, 2011. 8:00PM Wed to Sat with 3:00PM shows on Sat and Sun at Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City. Contact Resorts World Manila Box Office (836-6333) or Ticketworld (891-9999). 

UPDATE: Show is extended until Dec. 30, 2011

Also published online:

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