December 16, 2007, 9 Works Theatrical invited some media for the THE SNEAK PEEK: A day in the rehearsals of RENT at the Rockwell dance studio 1 located at Rockwell Club, Makati City. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go for some personal reason (my husband and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary). LOL
Anyway, this post is not about me; this is about the award winning musical RENT.
Based on Giacomo Puccini’s LA BOHEME but set on the Lower East Side of New York City, RENT is the story of young bohemians Mark, ROger, Maureen, Tom Collins, Angel, Mimi, Joanne and their friends, all-struggling to create and survive during the rise of a mysterious, deadly disease — AIDS. Socially relevant, youthful, and moving, RENT lives on, along with the affirmation that there is “no day but today.”
RENT was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score for Jonathan Larson, and the Best Featured Actor in Musical for Wilson Jermaine Heredia. It was the eight longest running BROADWAY SHOW.
9 Works Theatrical is set to rock the Philippines with a new production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical come February 2010.
The artistic team led by director Robbie Guevara, choreographer Charles Thompson and vocal coach Onyl Torres fused together their expertise in bringing out the message of the two songs. Two production numbers “La Vie Boheme” and “Finale B” were performed with very basic props only.
“La vie Boheme” is the finale number of act 1, that starts off as a mock-answer to the statement “Bohemia is dead…”, smugly exclaimed by the quasi-antagonistic character Benny (Noel Rayos). As the song progresses, the rest of the cast, led by Mark (Fredison Lo), show the audience the contrary: that Bohemia is not dead, but indeed very much alive through the lifestyle they all choose to lead with much passion and fun.
“Finale B” is the closing number of the entire show. It encapsulates the whole message that rent aims to speak of: there is no day but today and that life is meaningless without you or without each other.
Robbie Guevara, who also handles the acting workshop before each rehearsal session, made use of various theatre exercises that helped the cast formulate their own thoughts and decisions about their characters. The exercises also included activities that made sure the cast was working as a unified ensemble.
Charles Thompson emphasized on the body movement in order to effectively reflect not only the lyrics of each song, but the melodies that the composer wrote to convey the true feelings and thoughts of each character. He started by giving the cast dance classes, which gave them a uniform sense of body movement, then proceeded on to the specific choreographies per number, in constant consultation with the director.
Ony Torres studied the voice qualities of each member of the cast and ran them through ‘warm up’ techniques. Power and strength are two key elements needed to sustain the vocal requirements of the musical. In teaching the songs, he further refined the notes by emphasizing their nuances in detail.
The cast of RENT includes Gian Magdangal as Roger Davis, a songwriter who is HIV-positive; Fredison Lo as Mark Cohen, an independent filmmaker and Roger’s roommate and Nicole Asensio as Mimi Márquez, an exotic dancer with HIV.
The cast also features OJ Mariano as Tom Collins, a gay philosophy professor and anarchist with AIDS; Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Maureen Johnson, a bisexual performance artist; Noel Rayos as Benjamin ‘Benny’ Coffin III, the local landlord and a former room mate of Roger, Mark, Collins, and Maureen; Job Bautista as Angel Dumott Schunard, a gay drag queen percussionist with AIDS; Jenny Villegas as Joanne Jefferson, a lawyer, who is Maureen’s partner; and Cara Barredo, as Mimi Marquez (at certain performances).
Ensemble members include Ring Antonio, Peachy Atilano, Harold Cruz, Johann Dela Fuente, Gary Junsay, Raul Montesa, Anna Santamaria and Mark Tayag.
The Rent production team is composed of executive producer Santi Santamaria, director Robbie Guevara, production manager Weng lopez, musical director Ceejay Javier, vocal coach Onyl Torres, vocal consultant Lionel Guico, scenographer Mio Infante, lighting designer Martin Esteva, sound designer Rards Corpuz, pr / publicity director Toots O. Tolentino, PR Manager Jonjon Martin, marketing manager Shelyn Tayanes, and stage manager Jojo Amboy.
RENT is presented thorugh special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) 421 West 54th Street, New York, New York 10019. Tel.: (212) 541-4684 www.mtishows.com
Febraury 5,6,7,12,14,19,20,21,26,27 and 28
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:00PM
Saturdays at 3:30PM and Sundays at 4:30PM
Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaze
Ayala Corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenues, Makati City 1200.
Call 557.58.60 or visit www.9workstheatrical.com or call TicketWorld at 891.9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.