Oh, hey there everyone. It feels like it’s been a while since I wrote something on this blog. In reality, it’s only been about a week, but given how I usually churn out a new blog entry almost every day – sometimes even more than once a day – it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve updated this.
Last Thursday (December 1), Charity, Lou, Lou’s mom and I went to see The Sound of Music at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila. I’ve always been a fan of musicals, but I consider The Sound of Music as the most special of them all. It was the very first film that I’ve seen in a movie theater (I think I was about six or seven years old at the time). I also have fond memories of it because every time it’s on TV, my entire family would be glued to it even if we have seen it thousands of times. My father was – and still is – this movie’s biggest fan. Kinda funny, though, that he loves the movie so much, he refuses to watch the live theater version of it. Unless, maybe, if Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer will be the actual actors reprising their roles onstage…
Let me get this out of the way first: we arrived 5 minutes late for the play. Since latecomers will not be allowed in until the next scene change, we missed the first two scenes (the nuns singing at the abbey and Maria singing the title theme). I don’t think it makes that much of a difference, though, especially for me who has seen the movie countless times, I know even the dialog by heart. There were a few songs which were not in the movie version and some scenes were a bit different, but that is to be expected. But about 75% of it is practically a duplicate of the movie, which for me is very commendable given the limitations of a live stage as compared to film.
My comments, in bullets:
- The stage production is simply FABULOUS. Your jaw will just drop at how beautiful the sets were. The production design, the lighting, the amazing backdrop, the special effects… It’s definitely a world-class production. The first glimpse of the interiors of the Von Trapp mansion and the wedding scene, in particular, gave me serious goosebumps.
- The Manila Philharmonic Orchestra provided the scoring for the musical. Wala pa rin silang kupas.
- For this particular show that we saw, Audie Gemora played Captain Von Trapp and Cris Villonco was Maria. Audie is still classic Audie: a very convincing actor and a prolific singer. Cris did well with her singing, but the acting is a bit lacking, IMO. I have no issues with her singing. She hit all the notes and she enunciated every word perfectly. It’s like she was concentrating really hard on nearly perfecting her singing that she forgone the acting part. This became evident in two particular scenes that I found to be quite disappointing: Her rendition of I Got Confidence, where she, ironically, was noticeably lacking in confidence; and the duet Something Good which she sang perfectly but her voice did not “act”. (Also, for some reason, she sounded like her grandmother Armida on this number.) Audie was wonderful in this number; Charity even pointed out that she felt kilig towards Audie despite his age. Audie was so good here that Cris really paled in comparison. In fact, it came to a point that when they kissed, Lou and I felt icky because we know that Audie was already playing leading man roles when then-child Cris started out in theater. With her “innocent” singing and Audie’s so-much-in-love performance, it felt like Audie was a pedo in that scene. Ew. Too bad, because when I became old enough to feel kilig while watching movies or dramas, Something Good became one of my favorite scenes in The Sound of Music. The play didn’t quite deliver on this part.
- Aga and Charlene Muhlach’s daughter Atasha was also part of this particular show that we saw. Her role is Brigitta, the smartass Von Trapp daughter, thus giving her the most lines among the children aside from Liesl. Surprisingly, the kid is quite good. The singing is not bad, and she definitely has inherited her father’s acting chops. She’s also very pretty in person. Photos and videos do not give justice to the child’s beauty. She could be a future beauty queen like her mom.
- But the one Von Trapp child that stole the entire show was Gretl, played by Alexa Villaroel (yes, she’s related to Carmina). At times she seemed to be just playing around and not even caring that she’s onstage in the middle of a play. But she’s always right on cue whenever Gretl has to say a line or sing and/or dance.
- Other actors that made a mark on me here were Pinky Marquez as Mother Abbess, Pinky Amador as Baroness Schraeder (she played the classy bitch with a combination of sophistication and a hint of parody) and the hilarious Debraliz Valazote as Frau Schmidt.
- Some of the ensemble’s dancing weren’t as sophisticated as it should have been, particularly at the party scene at the Von Trapp mansion.
- At the festival scene, I was expecting – hoping – that the Von Trapps will ask the audience to sing Edelweiss along with them, just like in the movie. They didn’t, but I sang along, anyway.
- I don’t know, but I somehow felt that the final few scenes were a bit too rushed. This, despite the fact that the show ran for three hours. It didn’t feel like that at all.
The Sound of Music will run until December 15, 2011. We might catch it again.