Wednesday, October 20, 2010

STARWEEK: Gian Magdangal and Iya Villania in "The Wedding Singer": Singing I do

By Cheeko Ruiz

MANILA, Philippines - It will definitely be a treat, not trick, for the hopelessly romantic Pinoy by the end of October as 9 Works Theatrical brings to the stage their musical version of the hit romantic comedy film “The Wedding Singer” that starred Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.

The musical, which capitalizes on the 1998 blockbuster, which reportedly had a modest budget of $21 million but registered a whopping $123 million in ticket sales, has for its lead stars Gian Magdangal of GMA-7 and Iya Villania of ABS-CBN.

“The Wedding Singer” was mounted on Broadway in the early months of 2006 and ran all the way to the end of the year, with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin and book by Beguelin and Tim Herlihy. Executive producer Santi Santamaria and director Robbie Guevara say they had always been impressed by “The Wedding Singer.”

“The music struck me. It was great, there was romance,” says Santamaria.

“Santi was wondering how come ‘The Wedding Singer’ was not being staged locally. He said it is such a good show,” Guevara says.

It was in early 2008 when Guevara started working to secure the rights to locally produce the musical, which was staged in Britain after it closed on Broadway.

“When the rights finally became available in 2010, it was a dream come true,” Guevara reveals.

The plot takes place in 1985 when Robbie Hart is New Jersey’s favorite wedding singer, rocking reception halls with his signature tune, “It’s Your Wedding Day.” He is the life of the party, until his own fiancĂ©e leaves him at the altar. Shot through the heart, Robbie makes every wedding he plays in as disastrous as his own failed romance.

Enter Julia Sullivan, a winsome waitress who wins his affection. The only trouble is, Julia is about to be married to Wall Street tycoon Glen Guglia and unless Robbie can pull off the performance of his life, the girl of his dreams will be gone forever.

The cast of the musical is a mixture of people from showbiz and veteran and newbie theater actors and actresses chosen from hundreds who auditioned.

Magdangal plays Sandler’s role as hopeless romantic wedding singer Robbie Hart.

Magdangal is a mainstay on GMA 7’s Sunday noontime show “Party Pilipinas” and most recently, he appeared as Roger in 9 Works Theatrical’s “Rent the Musical.”

Villania stars as waitress Julia Sullivan, with theater veteran Shiela Valderrama-Martinez as alternate.
Martinez was part of the opening team of Hong Kong Disneyland as the first Asian to play Nala in the
“Festival of the Lion King” and Bebe in the “Golden Mickeys.”

It is Magdangal and Villania’s second time to work together since “Footloose the Musical” five years ago, and Villania says both of them have grown as actors over the years.

“The story was made more emotional, to adopt to the Pinoy taste,” says Magdangal, who was also part of 9 Works Theatrical’s “Rent.”

“Robbie’s character is fun and crazy. The musical is very energetic so I guarantee that people will enjoy it,” he shares.

 “This is one of the biggest reasons why I came back. This is one of the roles that I’ve always wanted to do,” Martinez adds.

 Nikki Valdez is Julia’s bubbly and lovable cousin Holly, with former Miss Saigon-UK tour talent Analin Bantug as her alternate. Jeremy Aguado is Julia’s fiancĂ© Glen Guglia.

“This is one of my biggest breaks in theater. Holly’s role is beautiful. Filipinos will like it because we are hopeless romantics,” Valdez says.

Other members of the cast are Lorenz Martinez (Sammy), Johann de la Fuente (George), and Myrene Santos (Linda).

“The Wedding Singer” is known for its tribute to pop songs of the 80s, hilarious script and hits like “Someday,” “ If I Told You,” “Single” and “Grow Old With You.”

Choreographer Francis Matheu said the dance steps were made more vibrant. “We injected a lot of 80s moves that people will be very familiar with. No boring moment, the lines are very witty from start to finish. We tried to capture every inch of the 80s,” he says.

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)

To view available seats, click here: 

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