Monday, September 6, 2010

CHASING TOFF: It's Your Wedding Day

No photoThis is your wedding day
CHASING TOFF By Christopher De Venecia (The Philippine Star) Updated September 06, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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All I wanna do is grow old with you: Iya Villania as Julia and Gian Magdangal as Robbie in 9 Works Theatrical’s The Wedding Singer| Zoom
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” and not so much the “green” in the first place.
The premise is simple. Guy gets dumped. Guy meets Girl. Girl gets engaged. Guy and Girl, though star-crossed, fall in love. Girl dumps annoying Fiancé. While in Vegas, Guy and Girl get married and live happily ever after. Nothing fancy. Just your typical love story, except for the Vegas part — unless you’re Demi Moore or Britney Spears, and just about everybody else in Hollywood. But when I saw the Broadwayadaptation of the New Line Cinema film starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore a while back, incidentally on the night of its final performance before the show was slated to close and go on tour, my mind and my heart were literally blown away.

Amidst the scores of The Wedding Singer aficionados, bedazzled in actual wedding gowns and tuxedos, sore from camping out within the vicinity of the theater the night before the show (flashback on the diehards camping outside Manhattan’s AMC Theater for days in anticipation of Star Wars Episode One), there I sat and excitedly stood as early as the denouement of the first musical number, “It’s Your Wedding Day!” The energy, quirkiness, and passion of the cast, and specifically the show, were so infectious that it summoned an unprecedented standing ovation from everyone in the audience — a feat I had never quite experienced on Broadway before.

That was my most vivid memory of The Wedding Singer, sans the guy who played Robbie Hart who snuck out some other exit to avoid giving autographs and getting his picture taken with the fans. I mean, come on, it was the last performance! But that’s a story to tell for another day. One story though that is worth telling is that this celebrated musical, having won the hearts of everyone in America for its mind-blowing tribute to the ’80s, is finally coming to Manila, under the creative reigns of director Robbie Guevara and his company, 9 Works Theatrical.
Hot on the heels of Rent the Musical in RCBC, Guevara with executive producer Santi Santamaria, have taken on the challenge of bringing the neon, fun, and riotous spirit of the ’80s into the mishmash, forward-thinking melting pot of 2010. Hello Lady Gaga and an ’80s revival in just about anywhere. “When we encountered the material, we knew that we had to do it,” relates artistic director 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!”

Melting the hearts of many, especially with the show’s jukebox song, Grow Old With You, is Party Pilipinas’ Gian Magdangal who will play the role of Robbie Hart. Here, he is reunited with pals Iya Villania and Nikki Valdez who he previously shared the stage with in Stages’ Footloose the Musical back in 2005. TV personality and MYX VJ Iya Villania will play the role of waitress Julia Sullivan, alternating with Hong Kong Disneyland alumna and stage veteran Shiela Valderrama Martinez. Meanwhile TV and movie personality Nikki Valdez will play the role of Holly, Julia’s polar opposite and lovable cousin. Valdez will be alternating with Analin Bantug who once played the role of Kim in Miss Saigon.

Also joining the cast are Jeremy Aguado as Julia’s fiancé Glen Guglia (Yes, if Julia married him, she would degenerate to Julia Guglia), Lorenz Martinez as Sammy, Johann dela Fuente as the flamboyantly eccentric George, Myrene Santos as Robbie’s ex-girlfriend from hell Linda, and Enchang Kaimo as the kooky grandmamma, Rosie.
The show will be directed by Robbie Guevara, accompanied by musical director Rodel Colmenar conducting the Manila PhilharmonicOrchestra, choreographer Francis Matheu, vocal coach Onyl Torres, scenographer Mio Infante, lighting designer Martin Esteva, sound designer Chuck Ledesma, and costume stylist Rosanna Aranaz.
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The Wedding Singer will open at the Meralco Theater on October 23, 2010 and will run until November 14, 2010. There will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows at 8pm, with Saturday matinees at 330pm and Sunday matinees at 4pm. For details, you may call 586.71.05, 557.58.60, 0917.554.5560, or visit or Ticketworld at 891.9999.

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