Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Even when your arthritis is bad: A musical to grow old with

By Lia Alejo
The Philippine Star

(Original Article can be found here: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=619233&publicationSubCategoryId=448 )

MANILA, Philippines - One of the problems that has lasted through history and continues to beleaguer today’s society is the existence of the generation gap. However, there have been a number of notable attempts made to bridge this gap. In the world of film, for instance, one movie that successfully connects these generations is the 1998 romantic comedy The Wedding Singer.

The Wedding Singer is set at a time where hairspray and shoulder pads reigned supreme; where video had only just killed the radio star, marking the birth of MTV; and where pretty much everything was ruled by the mantra “more is more”. As baby boomers and Gen X-ers might correctly guess, this was the 1980s. Throw in two comedians well-loved by the younger generation, great songs that stay stuck in your head without being too annoying, and tons of laugh-‘til-you-cry jokes, and you have for yourself the perfect mix of fun for all generations.

‘Singer’ Goes To Manila
And now, 9 Works Theatrical, the company that brought Rent to Manila, is again making big sound waves in the Manila theater stage, by bringing you the local production of The Wedding Singer: The Musical Comedy. In fact, according to artistic director Robbie Guevara, it was precisely the prospect of staging this particular musical that first drove him and executive producer Santi Santamaria to put up the company. According to Guevara, “When we first encountered the material, we knew that we had to do it.”

Just like the film, the musical promises a world of fun for men and women of all ages and sizes. Still set in the ’80s, the musical tells the story of The Wedding Singer through songs both familiar (think Adam Sandler’s classic serenade-on-an-airplane song, “Grow Old With You”) and new.

The local production stays true to the original broadway script, and as Guevara puts it, “Everything is to a T.” However, the local staging does feature a bigger cast, as compared to the Broadway cast of only 20. Here, The Wedding Singer will feature a cast of 26, with theater veterans as well as many new faces. To lead the stellar cast, 9 Works Theatrical brought back Rent’s Roger Davis, Gian Magdangal. Magdangal plays Robbie Hart, the Wedding Singer whose runaway bride turned him into the Wedding Grinch, ruining every wedding he plays.

The Wedding Singer also sets the stage for the comeback of theater sweetheart and TV personality Iya Villania, who, after five years away from theater, found the story that would lure her back to the stage. “It was something I was so familiar with,” she explains why she decided to go back to theater on The Wedding Singer. Villania is Julia Sullivan, the waitress who wins Robbie Hart’s affection. Problem is, Julia Sullivan is set to go through a comical name change into Julia Guglia, with an impending wedding of her own. Villania alternates the role of Julia with theater veteran Sheila Valderrama-Martinez.

The man responsible for Julia’s looming fate as Julia Guglia is her fianc√© Glen Guglia, a money-hungry Wall Street shark whose character is brought to life by Jeremy Aguado. Meanwhile, the role of Julia’s best friend Holly is played by singer-actress Nikki Valdez, who alternates the role with Analin Bantug.

Lorenz Martinez plays Robbie’s head-banging best friend Sammy, while Johann dela Fuente shows his musical prowess as the band’s eccentric keyboardist George. Myrene Santos takes on the role of Robbie’s trashy girlfriend Linda, while Enchang Kaimo appears as Robbie’s ballsy grandmother Rosie.
With the help of funky stage design, costumes styled “with an attitude”, and glitzy lighting, this mishmash of crazy characters and 9 Works Theatrical promise to bring the audience back to the ’80s in the most contemporary way, to which men and women, both young and not-so-young, will relate. But more than being relatable, The Wedding Singer: The Musical Comedy will simply be pure, unadulterated enjoyment. Guevara exclaims, “One word to describe [The] Wedding Singer? Fun!”

Catch the Wedding Singer: The Musical Comedy
on November 7, 2010 (Sunday) 8 PM @ The Meralco Theater 

Contact Us:
Borgy Marzan (0922.888.5344)
Onay Sales (0918.536.2116)
Robert Marzan (0922.888.5348)
Email: watchplays@yahoo.com

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