Sunday, February 27, 2011

Your Rent is due again

BY SAM L. MARCELO, Senior Reporter
for BUSINESS WORLD Weekender
Original Article can be found HERE

When Robbie Guevara, artistic director of 9 Works Theatrical, chose to restage Jonathan Larson’s Rent in 2010, he was apprehensive. The musical based on Puccini’s La Boheme had been "done to death" and he feared that people were tired of it. He was pleasantly surprised when the company’s production played to a packed theater several times.
Gian Magdangal and Sheree Bautista as Roger and Mimi in 9 Works Theatrical‘s restaging of <i>Rent</i>
Gian Magdangal and Sheree Bautista as Roger and Mimi in 9 Works Theatrical‘s restaging of Rent

A limited run mounted at Rockwell in December was also well-received. "Due to insistent public demand, we knew that we needed to bring Rent back," said Mr. Guevara. And so here it is again: eight bohemian friends in the Lower East Village of New York City dealing with life, love and AIDS.

What is it about the show that makes it stick? Is it the songs -- those 525,600 minutes that will cover you in vindaloo and make you moo? "People will always relate to the story," the director said. "Fine, it’s set in New York but who doesn’t have a family? Who doesn’t have best friends? Who doesn’t lose loved ones or cope with pain? It’s so simple that if you find
Rent alienating, there’s something wrong with you. That’s my take on it."

This February staging features additions to the cast, chief among them Ciara Sotto who alternates with Sheree Bautista in the role of exotic dancer and druggie Mimi. Incidentally, Ms. Bautista is the real-life girlfriend of Gian Magdangal, who returns as songwriter Roger Davis.

Carla Guevara-Laforteza rejoins the cast as performance artist Maureen Johnson. Mian Dimacali, who took over the role in December 2010, alternates with Ms. Guevara-Laforteza.

Also reprising their roles are Fredison Lo as filmmaker Mark Cohen; OJ Mariano as philosophy professor Tom Collins; Job Bautista as drag queen Angel Dummott Schunard; Jenny Villegas as lawyer Joanne Jefferson; and Lorenz Martinez as landlord Benjamin Coffin III.

The director pushed aside concerns about the cast’s relative inexperience (many are newcomers to the stage). "
Rent’s been put on a pedestal, which is well-deserved. People think that it’s an intimidating debut but they forget that the original Broadway cast was composed of first-timers. If they did it, so can we. It’s difficult but it’s doable."

Broadway star Idina Menzel, for example, was a wedding and bar mitzvah singer before she originated the role of Maureen in 1996.

"Whether you’re a complex main character or a chorus member juggling three or four roles, it’s not easy. The actors have to put in the work and these guys definitely have," Mr. Guevara said. He added that this version will have "newer and more exciting choreography" -- pole-dancing at the Cat Scratch Club included.

The director isn’t worried about how this run will do because people have called in advance and expressed interest in seeing the show. "The question now is, do we do it next year?," said Mr. Guevara. "I’m leaning towards -- no." He paused and added: "I don’t know. Maybe. We’ll see."

MARCH 5, 2011 / 3:30PM / Saturday / RCBC

Contact: Onay Sales (0918.536.2116)
Borgy Marzan (0922.888.5344)
Robert Marzan (0922.888.5348)
To view available seats, click here:


No comments:

Post a Comment