Friday, November 11, 2011

My ABRSM Non-Experience

Last year, some people I knew talked to me about the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. For those who are not aware, ABRSM is a music board exam that is very popular in the UK and its former colonies. There are many different exams you can take, and in a way it serves as a sort of certification or accreditation of your skills. There are are theory and practical exams for students as well as teachers. I was convinced to apply for a DipABRSM, which is the first and lowest among the diplomas given for those who are interested in teaching music. I already had a Bachelor's Degree from UP, but I figured that a DipABRSM could add to my list of accomplishments especially since there are a number of countries that regard it with esteem.

When I paid the application fee on the 1st of September, there was no exam date given yet for the Philippines, but I was informed that it would be either November or December. Finally, by late October, I was contacted that my exam date was to be on December 14. There's just one big problem: I'm scheduled to arrive from Malaysia on that date. I contacted them that I cannot take my exam on that date, so is it possible to move it to another date. Unfortunately, I was informed that although the exam period is from December 4-14, I can only take my exam on December 14 (?). The examiner has free days but these are her rest days. How disappointing, a 10-day exam period and they can only offer me a one-day-or-no-deal deal. They offered me an option to receive a re-entry voucher for next year instead, but if I cannot comply with the schedule next year, I forfeit my voucher. When I told them that I didn't plan on being in the Philippines by this time next year, the last option they gave me was to refund 50% of what I paid. If I only paid P2000 or less and got only 50% back, I wouldn't feel so bad. However, I paid close to P7000 for an exam that I didn't even need that badly. I felt that it was unfair that I only get 50% back, but ABRSM said that they have to follow regulations, etc.

So now here I am, soon to be around P3500 poorer without accomplishing anything. My advice to others who plan to take ABRSM in the Philippines especially for the diploma exams: be prepared to drop whatever schedule you have planned once they give you their desired schedule, because once you pay there are no taker-backers. I for one will not deprive myself the experience of performing in a foreign land to comply with the rules of a system that is inconsiderate to its examinees who have paid a good amount of money. Rest assured, I will not be applying with ABRSM again. Thankfully, I don't plan to migrate to a former British colony anytime soon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Theaterbator: Resorts World Manila's "Sound of Music" Oct 15-Dec...

Theaterbator: Resorts World Manila's "Sound of Music" Oct 15-Dec...: [Facebook "Share," Twitter "Tweet this," and Google+ "+1" buttons are found at the bottom of this post.] I submitted the article below to ...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Musical Theater Review: 9 Works Theatrical's Sweet Charity

I was fortunate enough to watch the very first public show of 9 Works Theatrical’s Sweet Charity last August 3, which was the technical dress rehearsal. Before the start of the show, Director Robbie Guevarra gave a few words. He talked about how it’s been a long time since Manila has seen a dance musical, so they wanted to have a test audience before the run actually began. So I was to be a guinea pig for that night, and was encouraged to give my feedback, whether positive or not, to members of the cast or crew.

Having seen this show almost a decade ago in the US, I had some idea about what the show was about. Sweet Charity tells the adventures of Charity Hope Valentine, a bar hostess with a big heart who is unlucky in love. In the lead role of Charity is Nikki Gil. Although known to most as a pop singer, TV actress and host, she is proving to be quite the asset to the local musical theater scene. She doesn’t fail to capture the audience when she is on stage (which is most of the time).

The supporting cast kept up the energy as well. Ciara Sotto-Oconer and Sheree Vidal-Bautista are both sexy and funny as Charity’s co-dancers. Kris Lawrence is hilarious in his role of Oscar, the nervous, claustrophobic man. OJ Mariano was also enjoyable both as the movie actor Vittorio Vidal and “church” leader Daddy Johann Sebastian Brubeck. As I have previously cited in my musical review of RENT, however, OJ still tends to force out his high notes.

What struck me the most about this musical was the number of musicians employed. I saw around 9-11 musicians to create a “big band” kind of sound. This is a step up from previous musicals staged in RCBC, wherein a number of synthesizers are used to replace real instruments for the sake of cost-cutting as well as space-saving. For Sweet Charity, I was pleased to hear actual instruments, which greatly reduced the synthesized sound that I have grown accustomed to hearing in RCBC.

This musical does not have the typical fairy tale ending one would normally expect from a comedy musical like this, but, nevertheless, Sweet Charity proves to be entertaining. So what does this guinea pig audience member have to say? Well, it was sure worth the trip to the heavy-traffic-land of Makati. Well done, 9 Works Theatrical.

Monday, July 4, 2011

It is Finally Confirmed, Ramin Karimloo Will Lead Phantom of the Opera's 25th Anniversary!

At long last, it is confirmed! There has been speculation for several months already, but this weekend, it has finally been confirmed that Ramin Karimloo (one of my ultimate favorite broadway singers) will be headlining the Phantom's 25th Annivesary at the Royal Albert Hall this October 1 and 2. Joining him will be Sierra Boggess as his muse, Christine. I must say that I am happy with this decision because Ramin is my 2nd favorite Phantom, as Sierra is my favorite Christine. No word yet on who will be cast as Raoul. 

To learn more, read on here.

And I will leave you with some footage of the london production with Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom, Gina Beck as Christine (who is also one of my favorites) and Simon Bailey as Raoul.

Monday, June 20, 2011

30-Day Musical Theater Song Challenge: Day 8

For day 8, I am to post a song by my favorite male singer in a musical. I have to say, that for the moment, my favorite singer is West End star Ramin Karimloo. He's played the roles of Chris is Miss Saigon, Enjolras in Les Miserables, Raoul in Phantom of the Opera, but it wasn't until he played the lead role in Phantom of the Opera (at a young age, I might add) that people really started to take notice. He brought a fresh perspective to the role by portraying the Phantom with Asperger's Syndrome. Coupled with a slightly rock-type voice, he brought a different kind of edge to the role. Andrew Lloyd Webber has said that he is "a very sexy Phantom." Which is why when Lloyd Webber premiered his new musical 'Love Never Dies,' he chose Karimloo to headline the cast. And so I bring you, my favorite song from 'Love Never Dies' entitled 'Til I Hear You Sing.

Friday, June 17, 2011

30-Day Musical Theater Song Challenge: Day 7

Hello everyone! I put the 30-day Musical Theater Song Challenge on hold because I went on vacation, but now I'm back to blogging. For Day 7, I am to post a song sung by my favorite female singer in a musical. I have to make a confession. I'm very biased towards male voices. For a long time now, I always prefer songs sung by men with lush baritone voices, so I don't really have a favorite female singer. However, that doesn't mean that I can't recognize a good female voice when I see one. So for this day, why not post a song by Ms. Lea Salonga herself? You can't deny all the accomplishments she has achieved. She even performed in both the 10th and 25th anniversary concerts of Les Miserables! It just makes me so happy. So I leave you with a song from the musical that started it all for her. I leave you with 'I'd Give My Life for You' from 'Miss Saigon.'

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Broadway is Not Just for Gays Anymore!

The Tony Awards 2011 was just aired recently, and I have to say that the opening number by host Neil Patrick Harris (from How I Met Your Mother) is just awesome (LOL)! What a great way to start the show.