Friday, June 14, 2013

"To us, the spoofing was the best part of the Atlantis version which sent the audience close to hysteria, and the excellent surprise performance of theater newbie Vina Morales which elicited much applause."
- From PhilStar's Review of Last Year's Rock of Ages Run

Telling the Rock of Ages story the Atlantis way
Original Article can be found HERE

We woke up to a reaction to our story last Monday on the Tom Cruise film version of Rock of Ages from Toni Talley. “Very interesting review,” she said, suggesting, “It would be interesting to have a review comparing the movie to the stage production, and the actors in the roles.”

We don’t know that having first watched Tom in film was a better introduction to the play on which it was based. We kept searching for the Catherine Zeta-Jones character, which we later found to have been added to the movie.
Nyoy Volante and Vina Morales as young lovers

We wondered if Jinky Llamanzares felt pressured knowing that her role as Venus Club owner had been essayed by the consummate Mary J. Blige in the movie. All we know now is that theater and film belong to different genres and anyone watching should simply resist comparing one with the other especially if they happened to show at the same time.

Atlantis Productions’ Rock of Ages is a love story of city boy Nyoy Volante and country girl Vina Morales who pursue their dreams against the hilarious, wild and free environment of L.A.’s Sunset Strip with Bourbon Room as its most famous rock ‘n roll bar in the ’50s. When German developers Calvin Millado and son Bibo Reyes threaten to clean up the Strip and close the Bourbon, bar owner Jamie Wilson with partner/narrator Jett Pangan move to prevent its closure supported by activist Aiza Seguerra who whips up a storm with her stunning performance, Venus Club owner Jinky (whose iconic, evil Ursula role in Little Mermaid simply refuses to leave her), and a coterie of dancers and rock fanatics.

MiG with Vina
Meantime, the love story of Vina and Nyoy is waylaid by the arrival of sexy, attention-grabbing rock star MiG Ayesa who seduces Vina, causing the lovers’ painful separation, then ultimately strength.

“We specifically made sure that our approach to this show was completely ours from the sets to the staging to the costumes and to the interpretation. The story is, of course, the same and we share the same script and music as the Broadway show. However, it was important for us to tell the story in our own way. It was also important to me to make the spoofs and the gags come from the contributions of the actors,” explains Chari Arespacochaga, the show’s director.  

To us, the spoofing was the best part of the Atlantis version which sent the audience close to hysteria, and the excellent surprise performance of theater newbie Vina Morales which elicited much applause. “She is 200 percent committed all the time… It was serendipitous that we found the perfect role for her to play,” assesses Chari. 
Jinky Llamanzares
As a celebrity theater performer cast in various rock musicals, MiG’s big break started in London with Rent, Queen’s We Will Rock You, Handel’s Messiah Rocks, Thriller Live, then Broadway and Rock of Ages. The role of Stacee Jaxx, however, seems peculiarly blessed for MiG. There were just too many coincidences, too many breaks. MiG couldn’t quite believe Tom had actually watched and offered his congratulations backstage. Then, there was Chari, fully aware of his Broadway and London commitments, who still sought him out for Atlantis. In something straight out of a believe-it-or-not episode, MiG suddenly found himself available. Incredible but true!

The press in meeting MiG for the first time found a boy-next-door and not a big-time celebrity. He exuded friendly positive vibes, immediately bonding with “this group of ultra-talented, happy, good-looking Pinoys whose fun attitude was most contagious.” We ask him on what he thinks of the first-timer in theater. “She’s absolutely lying,” he kids Vina who has confessed she chickened out of her first audition for Legally Blonde and had to force herself to face the music literally for Rock of Ages. 

We wondered why this part-Australian seemed so much at home with the Pinoys. MiG answers that he was born Miguel Alfonso Ramon Legarda Ayesa in the Philippines, “and this is your scoop, I am full blown Pinoy.” Their dad apparently brought the entire family to work in Australia in 1982 but remained Filipino.

Aiza Seguerra
Popular ’80s songs are found in the play like We Built This City, More Than Words, I Want To Know What Love Is, Can’t Fight This Feeling and Every Rose Has Its Thorn. Still, what distinguishes this production is its aim at originality. “I was always very clear that I wanted more than just a gag show that this material initially presents itself to be,” says Chari. Chari, who has directed Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Doubt, Legally Blonde, Aida, among others defines Rock of Ages as a rock concert and musical combined, different from anything else she has done. “It is also a grand night of wholesome debauchery.” 

Catch it on its closing weekend run!
JULY 27, 2013 / SATURDAY / 8PM /RCBC
Ticket Prices: 2000, 1750, 1500, 900 and 700
Contact Us:
Robert Ceazar Marzan  (0922.888.5348)
Jayme del Rosario (0927.202.2017)
  Onay Sales (0917.908.0565)

Buena Elizondo (0917.888.7179)

Last Year, all shows were SOLD OUT.
Don't wait until it's too late!

View Seat Plan HERE:

No comments:

Post a Comment