Yes, I confirm—I have a date with the King in September! I’m talking about the King and I, the renowned and beloved Broadway and West End musical production, which is set to take center stage next month here in Manila. I admit though, it’s not an exclusive date because I’m pretty sure everyone else, particularly fans of musical plays would troop to Resorts World just to watch it. I do love watching stage plays and other live performances, but unfortunately, for so many reasons and for many years, it had to take a back seat. It wasn’t until I attended the press preview of this musical late last month that I renewed my conviction to revert back to patronizing Filipino stage musicals and lend a hand in boosting Philippine performers and theater artists in the process.
Too bad I wasn’t able to watch ‘Kaos,’ and ‘The Sound of Music’ that RW previously hosted. But this time, I want to make sure to set aside some of my savings for this. ‘Coz judging from the promises made by the cast themselves during the exclusive “meet the press” forum, I bet the money I spend would be spent wisely. With a world-class, all-Filipino cast and gorgeous costumes to boot, this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, will be again an instant hit and will make waves in the Philippine theater anew.
My friend, co-blogger, Jen and I, were not able to take a prime seat so we did not get a chance to have a good view of the stage even though we were at the front row. But we felt compensated afterwards when to our surprise we learned that the man sitting just beside us, after Direk Freddie Santos (three-time Aliw Awardee for Best Stage Director) introduced the team behind the King and I, is famed Filipino costume designer Rajo Laurel! We were suddenly overcome with shyness that we forgot to take a picture with him. Talk about rare opportunities. I was literally rubbing elbows with Rajo, noted designer and TV personality, as I was sitting right beside him, and I didn’t know it was him! I was prodding Jen, since she’s the practical fashionista here, to take the chance, but unfortunately she wasn’t able to.
Direk Freddie was proud to say that though the essence of the play itself is political in nature, the Team opted for a “less operatic” but more “emotional” treatment to enable viewers to grasp that the King and I is a story about love that knows no boundaries. The play itself posits that despite differences in culture, respect can be built to bridge the gap between the East and the West. “In the King and I, love rules!” –as the Director said.
The main cast includes Leo Tavarro Valdez, one of the most regarded figures in the Philippine theater; and Bo Cerrudo, the premier classical balladeer and who is also a formidable figure in the local music industry, who will play the King or King Mongkut of the Kingdom of Siam. Monique Wilson, who landed the role of Kim in the original production of Miss Saigon and known for giving critically-acclaimed performances for leading roles here and abroad; and Shiela Valderrama, also a veteran theater actress and known for being the first Asian to play Nala in the Festival of the Lion King at the 2005 opening of Hong Kong Disneyland will play the role of Anna Leonowens, the British school teacher who was called to be the governess for the King’s children.
The King and I will be shown starting September 15, 2012. I’m going to mark my calendar. 🙂