Resorts World Manila Philippines finally raised up its curtains for the world’s most popular musical play of all time, “The Sound of Music.” Audaciously sentimental with a timeless tale and a certified box office smash, the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical, makes its much-anticipated return to Philippine Theatre at Resorts World Manila’s world-class stage- The Newport Performing Arts Theatre. When In Manila this is one musical play you would not dare to miss. True story, adorable children, singing nuns, lush scenery, even fierce Nazis.. these are just some of the elements why The Sound of Music has a cult following even up to this generation. It has established its own mass appeal, that’s a fact.
The Sound of Music is the Tony- winning Richard Rodgers musical that spawned numerous classics such as Do-Re-Mi, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, My Favorite Things, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, Edelweiss, and So Long, Farewell. It leads a pack of stellar cast and will be shown from October 15 to December 15, 2011 at none other than Resorts World Manila.
Based on a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, a musical by Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, The Sound of Music showcases the story of Maria Rainer, a young postulant appointed as governess over the seven children of widower Captain Georg von Trapp. Maria takes on the role of a mother to her charges, teaches them the art of music and singing, and captivates the heart of the once cold and stern captain.
Theatre superstars Joanna Ampil and Cris Villonco play the lead Maria Rainer, the angelic voiced nun-turned-governess of the von Trapp family (alternatively). Audie Gemora takes on the role of the iron fisted/Maria’s love interest Austrian Navy Captain Georg von Trapp, with Ed Feist and Jon Joven as alternates.
Adding splendour performances are Pinky Marquez and Shiela Franciso as the Mother Abbess, head of Maria’s convent. Pinky Amador and Lynn Sherman as the Baroness Elsa Schraeder, the captain’s fiancée, and Marvin Ong as Rolf. Other cast members include Robbie Guevara/ Miguel Faustmann as “Uncle Max” .
The 7 von Trapp children are played by Tanya Manalang and Rachel Coates (Liesl), Paolo Luis Ocampo, Luis Nieto (Friedrich),Danielle Sanghio, Rebecca Coates (Louisa), Janina Punzalan, Atasha Muhlach, the daughter of veteran actor Aga Muhlach and beauty queen Charlene Gonzales, makes her acting debut as Brigitta von Trapp; with alternate Alessandra Allado, Roberto Sison, Anton Posadas, Justin Sian (Kurt), Alida Moberg, Paula Therese Zamesa, Sofia Yabyabin (Marta), Alexa Villarroel, and Shanti Gleason (Gretl).
Aside from the triumphant cast, the production have put together a celestial creative team personified with Director Roxanne Lapus, live orchestration by the The Manila Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) led by Maestro Rodel Colmenar, vocal directress Lyn Fabella, designer Francis Libiran, scenographer Mio Infante, and video producer Paul Soriano.
The Sound of Music Press Premiere
It can be rightfully sensed that 90% of the people present that night had so much high expectations for this extravagant musical play. Overall, the show cascaded great veteran actors, immense musical scoring and showcased a striking flow of an impressive video design. The only thing I’ve come to notice were a few glitches when it comes to the directing aspect. Beginning with the scene of Joanna Ampil’s performance of the title song, Video Designer Paul Soriano matches the glorious Alpine landscapes and Salzburg sites with Joanna’s rendition of high spirited songs. That opening scene in which Maria is spinning around in the fields, singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music,” brings you nostalgic memories once again. In fact, even the word “memorable” would be an understatement.
The music rendered is of fine quality, and the MPO’s orchestrations complemented the singing tastefully without actually domineering or challenging it in any way. Lyrics? Crystal clarity. The ensemble singing from the nuns is truly enchanting…as well as the children didn’t fail to delight the audience.
The much anticipated romantic moments between Maria and Capt. von Trapp are set in the more intimate yet still picturesque von Trapp garden. The blossoming romance gives the audience that warmth feeling amidst the cool ambiance of the Resorts World Theatre. Every scene becomes a beautifully executed set piece in itself with the state-of-the art giant LED screen of the New Performance Arts Theatre that camouflages as the stage backdrop. This was steered as the largest in Southeast Asia, talkin’ bout larger than life production eh? An audience can even get so engrossed to it; it’s like watching a movie and a musical play simultaneously. Don’t get lost alright? I was like a mesmerized kid, feels like asking for a 6D glasses in some parts of the play. It’s that G-O-O-D alright.
Joanna Ampil as Maria did not fail to enthrall every critic with her charm, proving to everyone that she deserved the role. Her acting is as creditable as her singing. Joanna has a high quality singing voice which lavishly captures the melodic qualities of Richard Rodgers’ tunes. Stage presence is intact all throughout for this Ms. Saigon talent. She has the Mary Poppins charisma from what I have observed. Acting wise, she was honed to master Maria’s characterization. Audie Gemora may not look fierce at all but his solid and vast experience as a theatre actor worked magic for him and yes, he was dashing on stage. I was hoping he would wear more military uniforms that night rather than those formal suits. Pinky Amador is as usual her excellent self, au naturelle theatre acting! The von Trapp children were of course, the scene stealers of the night. They were like sweet candies on stage, though at times you’d notice that they tend to miss some of the important aspects such as theatre blocking and choreography. Sound of Music offers almost everything you want from a play: a beautiful storyline, solid music, romance, great characters, awesome visual design and direction, sensible emotions, squeezed comedy high and low with a dash of adventure. From nuns at the beginning to Nazis in the ending? Undeniably classic.
The Sound of Music comes alive again right before your very eyes. With an impressive technology, great musical score, incredible choreography and a heart warming message, you have all the reasons to watch this When In Manila. It will rekindle your yearning hearts for this timeless classical tale of love, hope and faith. This is one musical odyssey suitable for the entire family. It’s like having a slice of heaven so come and be a witness to the spectacular recreation of an immortal musical.
Call the Resorts World Manila Tourist/Visitor Hotline at 836-6333, 908-8833 OR
TicketWorld at 811-9999 for more information.