I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to watch the technical rehearsal of Hairspray last night (12 Nov. 2008 at 8pm) at the Star Theater (adjacent to Star City at the CCP Complex). I like watching technical rehearsals because it shows me the level of prepareness the company has before the actual performance.
I really enjoyed the show. I found all the actors were great! The cast was definitely well assembled. Vocally, though, I personally found Madel (Tracy) and Tim (Link) lacked the training that was apparent in the other actors (and this includes the ensemble). I chalk it up to not enough experience in musicals where one is required to sing, dance, and act at the same time. Despite the lack of conviction in singing, though, I found their earnestness and embodiment of their role quite endearing. Their characterization was believable, and therefore, while they didn't quite have the singing chops, I found it forgiveable.They made a really cute couple onstage and Madel, in particular, played the role of schoolgirl with a crush (in other words, "kilig na kilig") perfectly! You could almost hear her saying, "Oh Link! I can just eat you up! Ngrawr! Slurp!"
Michael de Mesa as Edna Turnblad
Click HERE to read the interview of Female Network with Michael de Mesa on playing a woman.
Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo is, as always, phenomenal onstage. I last saw her as The Baker's Wife in Into The Woods and I find it incredible that the full-bodied voice comes out of that slim body. As Velma Von Tussle she is very classy and snotty and fit the role to a T.
Dulce is a singing legend and no one can doubt that she has the singing chops to play Motormouth Maybelle. Her acting left me cold, though. She knew her lines, no doubt about that. She had the correct inflection and gesticulation. But somehow, it didn't feel like she connected with the audience. At times it felt like she was so focused on her lines that she was looking inward. In the company production number of "You Can't Stop The Beat" she had a lot of words to say and she had to say it to the audience but she did not make eye contact with anyone. Perhaps it is just nerves. I'm sure she will do better during the actual run.
I knew Nyoy Volante could sing. I suspected that he could act. But I was surprised that he could dance!. As Seaweed Stubbs he had to do some moves that the other "kids" didn't do. So, he moonwalked, did a little strut, etc.
Gabe Mercado (formerly of Da Pulis) and Enchang Kaimo (former ABS-CBN newsman, Mari's better half, and accomplished thespian) were great in their multiple roles. I found myself waiting in anticipation for what character either would come out as next and laughing out loud every time they did.
The rest of the ensemble blew me away, especially the ladies who played the roles of The Dynamites. Whoooeee! Those ladies can blow!
Productions like these are judged not just for the actors on the stage for they are but one aspect of the show. We also have to take into account the stage design, lighting, sounds, costumes, choreography, and directing. The people in charge of the sound system need to step up their act. After all the rehearsals, and this close to the actual run, you'd THINK they would know their cues already. So why weren't the lapel mics turned on when they were supposed to --- like when actors entered the stage. I can be forgiving for when the sound disappears in the middle of an actor's performance --- snafu's happen. But not mics that are off during entrances. I couldn't help but think that either a) the guy on the sound board is not paying attention and therefore, keeps missing the cues or b) the guy has no idea of the cues at all and is just winging it.
From left to right: Nyoy Volante (Seaweed J. Stubbs), Tim Espinosa (Link Larkin), Monica Reynoso (Penny Pingleton), Madel Ching (Tracy Turnblad), Dulce (Motormouth Maybelle, and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (Velma Van Tussle)
- Madel Ching as Tracy Turnblad
- Tim Espinosa as Link Larkin
- Michael de Mesa as Edna Turnblad
- Leo Rialp as Wilbur Turnblad
- Christine Allado sa Amber Von Tussle
- Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as Velma Von Tussle
- Nyoy Volante as Seaweed J. Stubbs
- Dulce as Motormouth Maybelle
- Monica Reynoso as Penny Pingleton
- Noel Rayos as Corny Collins
- Gabe Mercado as the male authority figure
- Enchang Kaimo as the female authority figure
- The ensemble is composed of the following actors: Jordan Aguilar, Emy Alcid, Caisa Borromeo, Mayen Bustamante-Cadd, Erika Cedilla, Red Concepcion, Gerlin Francisco, Bea Garcia, Crienna House, Yanah Laurel, Cheeno Macaraig, Michael Odoemene, Anthony Ong, Myrene Santos, Mark Tayag, Lee Villoria
Hairspray is directed by Bobby Garcia, choreography by Cecile Martinez, sets and costumes by Gino Gonzales, lighting design by Shoko Matsumoto and Musical Director Archie Castillo conducts FILharmoniKA. It runs from 14 November to 07 December 2008 at the Star Theatre, CCP Complex.
For those who are still looking to purchase tickets, here is Hairspray's show buyer directory:
|Day/Time||Show Buyer||Contact No.|
|14 Nov. 2008 (Friday, 8pm)||Timothy Liong||+639178735405|
|15 Nov. 2008 (Saturday, 2pm)||Allan Marasigan||+639174382299|
|15 Nov. 2008 (Saturday, 8pm)||Fritzie Villacortaemail@example.com
|16 Nov. 2008 (Sunday, 3pm)||Michelle Chanfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|16 Nov. 2008 (Sunday, 8pm)||Rosanne Unsonemail@example.com|
|21 Nov. 2008 (Friday, 8pm)||Atlantis Productions
|22 Nov. 2008 (Saturday, 2pm)||Camille Bautista
|22 Nov. 2008 (Saturday, 8pm)||Shirley Alinea||+639178903564|
|23 Nov. 2008 (Sunday, 3pm)||Jill Penafirstname.lastname@example.org|
|23 Nov. 2008 (Sunday, 8pm)||Timothy Liong||+639178735405|
|28 Nov. 2008 (Friday, 8pm)||Andrea Goemail@example.com|
|29 Nov. 2008 (Saturday, 2pm)||Theody Demaisipfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|29 Nov. 2008 (Saturday, 8pm)||Joelle Orca
|30 Nov. 2008 (Sunday, 3pm)||Jill Penaemail@example.com|
|30 Nov. 2008 (Sunday, 8pm)||Janna Chua
|05 Dec. 2008 (Friday, 8pm)||Ticketworld||+6328919999|
|06 Dec. 2008 (Saturday, 2pm)||Lorna Lopez||+639179256505
|07 Dec. 2008 (Sunday, 3pm)||Theody Demaisipfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|07 Dec. 2008 (Sunday, 8pm)||Mae Castro||+639063414559|
I would definitely recommend this musical to my family and friends. Guaranteed fun for everyone!