Thursday, June 9, 2011

Aida in Manila June 24-July 10

  (The Philippine Star)
Original Article can be found HERE

Fresh from presenting the hit musical Next To Normal, Atlantis Productions now brings the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Aida to Manila! Featuring an exciting pop-rock score by Elton John and Tim Rice, Aida is a timeless story of forbidden love that blooms and endures despite overwhelming, dangerous odds.

Aida, played by Ima Castro, is an enslaved Nubian princess who falls in love with her captor, Radames a captain in the Egyptian army and the betrothed lover of Princess Amneris, played by Rachel Alejandro. The young lovers are forced to face death or part forever. Together, they set a shining example of true devotion that ultimately brings peace between their warring nations.

The young man caught in the middle of this love triangle is Myke Salomon who plays Radames, leader of the Egyptian army who in his quest for adventure and finds true love instead.

Myke says, “It is an honor to finally be part of an Atlantis show. I am very thankful that they entrusted me with this role. I am looking forward to becoming Radames. Aida is a very simple, moving love story with gorgeous songs. It is very musically challenging and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Myke rose to prominence as the human beatbox of the Akafellas. While the rest of the boys sang in harmony sans musical accompaniment, Myke provided every other imaginable percussive sound and accent for the group. These skills quickly overshadowed the singer in Myke until recently. He has gone solo and has released an album titled Homework. He is also part of the Sabado Boys. He has dabbled in theater of late as part of Magsimula Ka and Care Divas. With Aida, he takes on his biggest challenge to date.

“Myke wowed us at our auditions with his effortless singing and musicality,” says Aida director, Chari Arespacochaga. “He will be a great foil to Ima, Rachel, Hajji Alejandro and the rest of the cast.”

Disney Theatricals premiered Aida on Broadway on March 23, 2000, running for 1,852 performances until Sept. 5, 2004. It was nominated for five Tony Awards and won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical Score. The musical ran from 2001-2003 and 2006-2007 in two US national tours, performed on international productions in 20 countries, and continues to be produced all over the world.

Catch Atlantis Productions' AIDA on its closing weekend!
July 9, 2011  (Saturday) 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
 @ RCBC Plaza, Makati City

Contact the following ticket sellers: 
Borgy Marzan (0922.888.5344)
Robert Marzan (0922.888.5348)
or Onay Sales (0918.536.2116)

Click here to view July 9 - 2PM Seat Plan:

Click here to view July 9 - 8PM Seat Plan

Ima Castro back in Manila for ‘Aida,’ ‘In The Heights’

Original Article can be found HERE

MANILA, Philippines — Though based in London since playing Kim in “Miss Saigon” in 2001, singer Ima Castro is still very Filipino and she even refuses to put on a British accent when talking to kababayans.

“Nakakapagod kasi mag-accent ng ganun,” she said in a recent interview, laughing. “Pero kung gusto mo akong maglagay ng British accent pag nag-English ako, why nowt.”

Castro, who, before “Miss Saigon,” popularized the songs “Shine” and “Nanliligaw, Naliligaw,” takes with a grain of salt what many here consider undesirable. She remarked about the sweltering weather, the traffic and the mosquitoes inside her house in Tiaong, Quezon, but just in passing---as if these are parcel of life even for someone who has traveled and lived in many of the most beautiful places in the world including Tokyo, Singapore and Dublin.

Then again, the singer is in good spirits because she is home for the first time in 10 years in order to play lead roles in two musicals produced by Atlantis Productions. These are the title role in Elton John/Tim Rice pop rock musical “Aida,” and Vanessa in the smash hit Tony Award winning musical, “In The Heights.”

“I’ve been learning the songs even before I came here. Especially ‘Written In The Stars’ from ‘Aida.’ I think that song is one the best Broadway songs ever written,” she said.

According to the release, Aida is a Nubian princess who fell in love with a captain in the Egyptian army after her capture and enslavement by the Egyptian empire. As forbidden loves blossom between them, the young lovers are forced to face death or part forever.  “Aida” will run at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati from June 24 to July 10, 2011.

Aside from studying her character in the musical, Castro plans to take lessons in swordsmanship for the role. Though she only has one scene in “Aida” to utilize this skill, Castro is the type of actress who wants to be excellent in everything she does, even the little things.

No wonder that “Miss Saigon” composer Claude-Michel Schonberg has dubbed the singer his “Miracle from Manila.” Castro was Lea Salonga’s replacement in that musical after the latter finished her contract.

“In The Heights,” on the other hand, tells the story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood. To quote the release, it is a community “on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.” Like “Aida,” the musical will be staged at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium but from Sept. 2 to 18, 2011.

Castro would like to record a pop album while she’s here and if offered to do one. “Miss Saigon” folded up years ago but Castro has moved on to other shows that have honed her singing skills even more. Before flying to Manila, she has been touring with a group that puts on a show featuring a repertoire of songs from hit Broadway shows.

Recall, too, that Castro recorded a duet with Enrique Iglesias titled “You’re My Number One.” She also did concerts in Manila and Tokyo with Russell Watson in 2005; and was hailed Best Interpreter in the “First Asia Song Festival” in Bali, Indonesia. She recently recorded demo tracks for the upcoming West End musical “Sacrifice.”

Catch Atlantis Productions' AIDA on its closing weekend!
July 9, 2011  (Saturday) 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
 @ RCBC Plaza, Makati City

Contact the following ticket sellers: 
Borgy Marzan (0922.888.5344)
Robert Marzan (0922.888.5348)
or Onay Sales (0918.536.2116)
Click here to view July 9 - 2PM Seat Plan:
Click here to view July 9 - 8PM Seat Plan

Thank you, Kim; hello, Aida

By Jerry Donato 
  (The Philippine Star)
Read Original Article HERE

MANILA, Philippines - Her Vietnamese costume called ao dai will be stashed in the closet for sometime now as Ima Castro plays the title role in the Elton John and Tim Rice musical Aida. It will be locally staged by Atlantis Productions.
Portraying the Nubian princess is a breather for Ima who had essayed Miss Saigon’s Kim on the London stage since Lea Salonga made her final curtain call in 2001. It’s a welcome change Ima can’t wait to be part of. So, for her, it’s “Thank you, Kim. Hello, Aida.”

“Aida is more feisty. She is a strong woman,” Ima says, comparing her character with the lady from Saigon. “I think she is also boyish in a way because she can sword fight. I have to train to do that. Kim, on the other hand, is also a feisty and modern woman.”

Aida and Kim are both women in love. Princess-turned-slave Aida falls for an Egyptian army captain, while bar girl Kim for an American soldier. In the midst of warring nations and Vietnam War set as backdrop in Aida and Miss Saigon, respectively, love blooms and lives have been changed.

“(Aida) is very positive and it makes you feel good,” says Ima. “But the story is just heartbreaking. Aida and Miss Saigon are both tragic. Aida’s (ending) is more theatrical and subtle. Miss Saigon’s, on the other hand, is shocking. Both deaths are treated differently.”

Who is more selfless between Aida and Kim?

“Kim is willing to give up her own happiness for her kid while Aida is willing to give up her own happiness for her people,” answers Ima. “Aida is doing it as her duty as a princess while Kim as a mother.”

Although she has the West End experience to back her up in the new musical, Ima is not spared from having first-time jitters. She has studied the songs prior her return to Manila what with the challenge of having to sing them in low keys. 

“They are difficult because Aida’s songs are low for me as a belter,” shares Ima. “Most of the songs are in the lower notes. But the range is wide. It’s a big challenge but I’m very excited. You know it’s hard once you’ve warmed up your voice singing high notes and then you go back to low notes. That’s why I have to keep training (my voice) and singing to build my vocal stamina to sing those kinds of songs.”

“I’m gonna do around five solos and then the rest are production numbers,” she adds. “I love Dance of the Robe among the songs I’ll be performing. It has the highest note.”

Aida, which is set to run from June 24 to July 10 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, is not the only musical Ima will be doing while she’s in town. She will star as Vanessa, the salon worker with big dreams, in In the Heights in September. Ima shares that Pinoys can relate to the story because it’s about a community whose people are hell-bent on chasing their dreams and finding their true home.

How’s life in London? Ima recalls that her stint in Miss Saigon ended in 2006; and that it’s been a while for her since she last did a West End musical. But she’s been touring around the UK and outside with shows called A Touch of West End and Encore. Ima has also formed an all-female band performing mainstream music.  

“Hopefully, I will stay here longer,” says Ima. “I would love to record a pop album. I’m very happy that I’ve experienced living there (in London). I’ll go back and forth anyway. I’d like to stay here more and spend more time here. I’m glad that I’m here.”

Hajji on fears, dreams & things he did for love

 (The Philippine Star)
View Original Article HERE

Hajji Alejandro plays the role of Zoser, Chief Minister of Egypt in the Tim Rice/Elton John Broadway musical Aida. Zoser is the father of Radames who will stop at nothing to assure his son’s rise to the throne. Hajji is one of the voices that defined OPM. Among his hits are Nakapagtataka and Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika. In Aida, he goes on stage with his daughter Rachel who plays a very important role as Princess Amneris.

In the title role of Aida is Ima Castro. Aida runs at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza from June 24 to July 10. For show buying, fundraising opportunities and tickets, call Atlantis Productions at 892-7078. For news and updates, follow AidaofManila on Twitter. Read on.

What other talent would you like to have aside from music and acting and why?
Since I was a kid I have always dreamed of becoming a super athlete. It could be any sport as long as I can excel in it; I guess it has to do with my competitive nature and the sheer joy of winning in whatever it is you’re good at.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being a singer?
The best part to being a singer are the many perks and VIP treatments one gets to enjoy as a celebrity. My concerts have taken me to the most beautiful places in the world. It’s pretty much like having an all-expenses-paid vacation and getting paid for it.

Are you afraid of getting old?
I have long accepted the reality that everyone grows old and dies. But what I would like is to gracefully surrender my youth. That’s why I’m very conscious about my heath. I try to live an active lifestyle but at the same time go about things in moderation. In other words, a stress-free life.

How well do you understand women?
With all the relationships I’ve had, I confess that to this day, women have remained a mystery to me. That’s probably what keeps it interesting. It’s an endless process of trying to understand them.

What childish thing do you still do as an adult?
I still love watching cartoons and playing video games.

How do you pray?
Every night before I sleep, I try to recall everything that happened during the day and thank God for all of them. First of all for keeping my family safe and in good health. For all the blessings as well as, at times, some painful lessons I have to learn that day to help me become a better person. Fully aware that my days are numbered, I constantly ask for wisdom and guidance that I may be able to fulfill everything He has pre-destined me to do in my lifetime for His greater glory.

If you were a song what would its title be?
Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika

What was the best thing you did for love? The worst? Why?
When I’m in love, I give it my all. My girl becomes the center of my universe. The worst thing is, since no relationship is perfect, at times my foolish pride gets in the way and I just have to let her go.

What color describes your life? Why?
Purple would best describe my life. As you know it is a combination of red and blue that makes this color. Red because it’s bright and colorful, passionate especially when it comes to my music and my love life. And blue because I’ve had my share of failures and painful experiences that one might refer to as the blues. Incidentally, I was a Red Lion in high school and a Blue Eagle in college.
How would you describe youstate of mind?
I would like to think that I am a very positive person. I always look at the bright side of any given situation. I don’t dwell on negative things that happen in life.

What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is losing my voice.

What makes you laugh?
A lot of things make me laugh: my dog’s antics, a funny line in a movie or play, slapstick comedy, stand-up comedy, you name it. Sometimes I even laugh at my own stupidity.

Who are your favorite singers of all time?
Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Marvin Gay, Lionel Ritchie, Peabo Bryson, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra.

What is the most romantic place on earth for you and why?
Vienna, Austria in May is the most romantic place I have been to. Flowers are in full bloom that time of year. Soft music, candlelight dinner and a bottle of red vintage wine are all you need to complete the picture.

The best gift you have ever received from a loved one?
On my 50th birthday, my son Ali gave me a huge painting for my living room. He painted a 1978 portrait of me singing at the Folk Arts Theater when I won the Grand Prize at the first Metropop. The best gift ever!

What role would you not play?
I will not play Dyesebel... hahaha! Kidding aside, I’m open to any role as long as it has great substance and challenging enough.

If you were a tree, what would you be? Why?
I’d probably be a cypress because it’s always fresh and evergreen. 

What is your philosophy in life?
Live life to the fullest but be mindful of your creator.

Your biggest regret?
My Dad died at 45. I should have spent more time with him.

If you were to confess only one sin to God, what would it be and why?
I would confess the sin of pride because it has cost me dearly with my past relationships.

If you were a wild flower, what would you be and why?
I’d probably be a makahiya flower because I can be very sensitive at times.

If you were a fictional character, who would you be? Why?
 I’ve always wanted to fly so I choose Superman.

Where do you think you would go? Heaven or hell? Why?
I don’t know about heaven or hell but I do know that I will return to my Creator when I die.

Who is the most beautiful person in the world and why?
For me the most beautiful person in the world is my Mom.

Write your epitaph?
Here lies the original kilabot ng mga kolehiyala. Kay ganda ng kanyang musika.

Catch Atlantis Productions' AIDA on its closing weekend!
July 9, 2011  (Saturday) 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
 @ RCBC Plaza, Makati City

Contact the following ticket sellers: 
Borgy Marzan (0922.888.5344)
Robert Marzan (0922.888.5348)
or Onay Sales (0918.536.2116)
Click here to view July 9 - 2PM Seat Plan:
Click here to view July 9 - 8PM Seat Plan