Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cats in Manila: Memories of the moonlight

Last night, I finally saw Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats: Now and Forever in Manila at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in Pasay City for a huge fan of stage plays especially musicals it is a dream come true and of course seeing Lea Salonga doing the Grizabella role. It was the second time I saw her performed in the stage, the first one is during the presentation of Ms. Saigon in Manila in 2000 and yes I did skipped my lunch and snack breaks to avail a ticket to see the performance and my mother didn’t know that until now.

(Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats - The Company)

Going back to the Cats, the musical play is based from the 1939 children novel of T.S. Eliot entitled Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats and it was first performed at the West End Theater, London in 1981 and Broadway, New York in 1982 and now it is here in Manila until August 22. Lea Salonga will be joining Shaun Rennie (Munkustrap), John Ellis (Old Deuteronomy) and John O' Hara (Rum Tum Tugger). The story follows the lives of the members of Jellicle Tribe where Grizabella abandoned during her younger years as the most glamorous cat in her generation, and after facing the sufferings and pains caused by the world to her she returns to the tribe facing the disapproval of its members. The musical play features and made the song Memory popular where Salonga will be singing and the translated version (in Filipino) was performed by an Aussie cast member named Alyse Davies who plays Sillabub, the translation was done by Pete Lacaba a multi-awarded Filipino poet.

(John O' Hara as the feisty feline named Rum Tum Tugger)

The performance was beautiful and it was the second performance I know that it interacts with the audience next to Master Class of Terrence McNally. In that way it creates an atmosphere between the viewers and the performers in form of attachment to the story especially when the performers are in their character.

The musical play was presented in 300 cities in over 26 countries including Vienna (Austria), Los Angeles (USA), Sydney Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, and Horbart (Australia), Mexico City (Mexico), Madrid (Spain), Warsaw (Poland), Singapore, South Korea, Hongkong, China and São Paulo (Brazil). It won Olivier Awards for Best New Musical and Outstanding Achievement of the Year in Musicals in 1981 and the 1983 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Book of a Musical, Original Score, Featured Actress, Costume Design, Direction and Lightning Design.

(Lea Salonga as the old and now "glamor less" Grizabella seeking for acceptance)

Cats: Now and Forever in Manila is extended until August 22. Here are the details on the last 2 weeks performance of Cats; Matinee Performance that runs every Saturday (3:00pm) and Sunday (2:30pm) the ticket price are PhP7000, PhP5000, PhP3500, PhP2000 and PhP1000, for Evening Performance that runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (8:00pm) and Sunday (7:30pm) the ticket price are PhP6000, PhP4500, PhP3000, PhP1500, and PhP750 and lastly for Friday and Saturday Night Performance that starts on 8:00PM the ticket price are PhP7000, PhP5000, PhP3500, PhP2000, Php1000. Tickets are available at Ticketworld just call 8919999 for reservation and purchase. The Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece is presented by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, David Atkins Enterprises and Concertus in association with The Really Useful Company Asia Pacific.

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