Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Wedding Singer The Musical!

New Jersey. 1985. When Robbie, a charismatic wedding singer, is dumped in the altar by his longtime girlfriend Linda, the protagonist becomes a casualty of love and plunges into the depths of dumpster-level despair. But with the help of his friend Julia, a sweet and caring waitress who is oddly engaged to a smug of a guy and Wall Street type named Glen, Robbie rediscovers why he was all about the “love” in the first place.

From March 19 to 20, Manila’s theater scene was a twitter as one of the Philippines’ leading theater companies, 9 Works Theatrical, hot on the heels of its successful run of RENT THE MUSICAL at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC, held its hotly-anticipated auditions for THE WEDDING SINGER, a riotous yet heartwarming musical based on the New Line Cinema film starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.

With music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy, this Tony Award-nominated musical captured the hearts of audiences all over America with its mind-blowing tribute to the 80s, its hilariously written script, and songs like “Someday,” “If I Told You,” and the phenomenal hit, “Grow Old With You.”

The Philippine Opera Company headquarters in San Lorenzo Village and the Infinitif Dance Studios were filled to the brim as droves of theater aficionados flocked to the auditions to belt out popular 80s tunes. The larger-than-life singing, insurmountable passion, and energetic performances ran the gamut. From “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “Karma Chameleon,” to “Let’s Hear it For the Boy,” cast hopefuls sang their hearts out, after which they were given stylized, 80s-inspired choreography to perform by choreographer Francis Matheu.

Over a hundred contenders battled it out for a slot in the select cast of twenty-eight, which includes select chorus members who will play impersonators of notable characters from the 80s. Expect a familiar face from the Philippine cultural and political scene.

This time around, the panel was comprised of THE WEDDING SINGER Director Robbie Guevara (“Songs for a New World,” “Rent,”), Vocal Coach Onyl Torres, Choreographer Francis Matheu, PR and Publicity Director Toff de Venecia, and Executive Producer Santi Santamaria - the five of which meticulously deliberated on a cast that would do justice to the celebrated piece at the prestigious Meralco Theater in October 2010.

Incidentally, THE WEDDING SINGER is also the reason that propelled Executive Producer Santi Santamaria and Artistic Director Robbie Guevara to establish their theater company, 9 Works Theatrical. “When we first encountered the material, we knew that we had to do it,” relates Guevara. Santamaria adds, “Wedding Singer is a crazy and energetic musical, and audiences will surely enjoy,” to which Guevara interjects, “One word to describe Wedding Singer? Fun!”

After a most grueling saga of deliberations, 9 Works Theatrical is proud to announce the long-awaited cast of THE WEDDING SINGER.

* * * * * * *

Plucking on his guitar strings as Robbie Hart is Party Pilipinas’ Gian Magdangal who most recently appeared onstage as Roger in 9 Works Theatrical’s RENT THE MUSICAL. Here, he is reunited with TV personality and MYX VJ Iya Villania who he once shared the stage with in a local production of Footloose the Musical. Villania will play the role of waitress Julia Sullivan, alternating with theater veteran Shiela Valderrama-Martinez who 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. Singer-actress and TV personality Nikki Valdez, who also shared the stage with Magdangal and Villania in Footloose, returns to the stage as Holly, Julia’s bubbly, uninhibited and lovable cousin. Analin Bantug, who has played a bevy of roles, including Kim in her five-year stint with Miss Saigon, alternates with Valdez for the said role.

Completing the stellar cast are actors Jeremy Aguado as Julia’s fiance Glen Guglia, Lorenz Martinez as Robbie’s pal Sammy, Johann dela Fuente as Robbie’s flamboyantly eccentric friend George, Myrene Santos as Linda, and Enchang Kaimo as Rosie, Robbie’s feisty grandmother.

Also joining the cast are a potpourri of Philippine theater’s finest and up and coming actors who will show you how to party like it’s 1985. These include: Arnold Trinidad, Bym Buhain, Chinie Nepomuceno, Francis Matheu, Harold Cruz, Ikey Canoy, James Stacey, Jenny Villegas, Jonjon Martin, Luau Sablan, Mark Tayag, Mian Dimacali, Miguel Vasquez, Nikki Guevara, Peachy Atilano, Sab Jose, Shelyn Tayanes, and Sylveth Ong-iko.

The Artistic Production Team includes Musical Director for the Band Rodel Colmenar conducting the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, Choreographer Francis Matheu, Musical Director for Vocals Onyl Torres, Scenographer Mio Infante, Lighting Designer Martin Esteva, Sound Designer Chuck Ledesma, and Costume Stylist Rosanna Aranaz.

The Production Team is composed of Executive Producer Santi Santamaria, Production Manager Sunshine Domine, Technical Director Paul Domine, PR and Publicity Consultant Toots Tolentino. PR Director Christopher de Venecia, PR Manager Jonjon Martin, Marketing Manager Shelyn Tayanes, Stage Manager Lambert de Jesus, Company Manager Anna Santamaria and Photography by Revolution.

The show is presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI), 421 West 54th Street, New York, New York 10019, Tel.: (212) 541-4684,

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