Tuesday, January 19, 2010


9 Works Theatrical’s new production RENT is set to open 2010’s local musical theatre scene on February 5 at the Carlos P. Romulo Theatre, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.

RENT is set in New York City's gritty East Village, and this revolutionary rock musical is an imaginative retelling of the classic Puccini opera, La Boheme. This unforgettable and timeless story of a group of starving artists, who, despite poverty and illness, learn to fall in love and find their voices, brings a universal message of hope for everyone.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize, RENT with Book, Music and Lyrics by the late Jonathan Larson, has made a lasting mark on Broadway with songs that rock and a story that really resonates.

Robbie Guevara takes off from his acting job to direct this musical.

    According to Robbie, “To bring this musical to Manila was both a challenge and a risk. But notwithstanding the many processes involved in acquiring rights from New York down to the nitty gritty of the entire production timetable, the audition processes and up to the workshop sessions, RENT will definitely make its mark to the young theatre audiences today who were still too young to watch it 10 years ago.”

Prior to the rehearsals, director Robbie Guevara also held workshops for his actors. The sessions were held at the Philippine Opera Company’s rehearsal hall, serendipitously called La Boheme. The Rockwell Dance Studio located at Rockwell Club, Makati City, played generous host to the company’s two-month long rehearsal process.

    Robbie 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.

Also included in the workshop were sessions on choreography and voice.

Choreographer 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.

Vocal coach Onyl 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, Johann Dela Fuente, Harold Cruz, 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 Engineer Rards Corpuz, Sound Designer Chuck Ledesma, PR / Publicity Director Toots O. Tolentino, PR Manager Jonjon Martin, Marketing Manager Shelyn Tayanes, and Stage Manager Jojo Amboy. Cast Photography by Jojit Lorenzo and Production Photography by Sundee Guevara.

RENT is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) 421 West 54th Street, New York, New York 10019 Tel.: (212) 541-4684 • www.mtishows.com

Show dates are February 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:00PM
Saturdays at 3:30PM & Sundays at 4:30PM
Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza
Ayala Corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenues, Makati City 1200

For tickets:

Call 9 Works Theatrical at 557.58.60 or visit www.9workstheatrical.com or call TicketWorld at 891.9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.

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