Tuesday, May 31, 2011

30-Day Musical Theater Song Challenge: Day 1

I encountered this 30-Day Musical Theater Song Challenge in another person's blog and thought that this would be a good way to kick off my blog. It says to post it on Facebook but I'm going to do it in blogger instead.

For Day 1, I should post a song from the first musical you saw/heard. As I said in my introductory post, the first musical that I saw when I was already aware is a VHS tape of Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert. It's been my favorite musical ever since. So I bring you "Do You Hear the People Sing" sung by Michael Maguire and company. He plays Enjolras, who happens to be my favorite character in the musical, too. Enjoy!

Review of 9 Works Theatrical's RENT

And just to kick off my blog with some content, I'm reposting my review of 9 Works Theatrical's RENT (originally posted on feb, 28, 2011)

I don't consider myself to be a Renthead, because there are other musicals that I prefer over Rent. Nonetheless, I'm very familiar with the show, owning the DVD's of the movie and the Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway. I also have the movie soundtrack as well as the Original Broadway Cast. Having said so, I entered the theater with high hopes. After all, as far as I know this is already the 3rd run of this musical. The first run was early 2010, when I couldn't find tickets because I bought too late already. The second run was late last year, when the tickets were expensive since it was staged in Rockwell. So I bought my tickets early and was happy for the chance to finally see the musical.

The good thing about Rent is that production-wise, it isn't hard to replicate. The set isn't extravagant (and doesn't change either) and the costumes are simple, too. They're everyday outfits that can be pulled out of an ordinary person's closet. The musicians are composed of a small band of 4 or 5 people. Having said this, you don't need to put in an extravagant amount of money to replicate this in Manila. 9 Works was able to give a good feel of the Broadway show.

Of course, a production doesn't mean anything without a good cast. When it came to acting, the cast was able to capture the essence of their characters. I was especially impressed with Job Bautista as Angel. They got the perfect man to play Angel, the optimistic, dancing, AIDS-stricken cross dresser. Singing-wise (which is the most important part of me), they were okay. Gian Magdangal (Roger) at times reminded me of Adam Pascal's rocky, edgy voice. However, the high ranges of the male characters proved to be a challenge to the male members of the cast. They had to resort to almost shouting their high notes. As a result, power ballads such as Roger's Your Eyes and Collins' I'll Cover You (Reprise) fell a little short for me. This, coupled with the fact that the sound engineer failed to notice that the high was too high (leaving a very penetrating sound when the actors sang in their high range). It's a little hard to explain, but if you know how to operate a sound mixer, you'll know what I'm talking about.

All-in-all, I would say that this was a good production, although it would have been better if the cast were better able to hit the high notes. Nevertheless, this a fresh, young cast whose faces are relatively new in the musical theater scene. I look forward to their blossoming in the years to come.

List of cast that I THINK I saw:
Gian Magdangal - Roger
Sherry Bautista – Mimi
Fredison Lo – Mark
OJ Mariano -Collins
Job Bautista – Angel
Mian Dimacali – Maureen
Jenny Villegas- Joanne
Lorenz Martinez – Benny

Welcome to my Music Blog!

I've finally created a new blog! Thank you for supporting my first blog Musicalfan Loves Minerals, which was all about the kikay side of me. I won't be ignoring my blog (because let's face it, I am very kikay) but after some pondering, I think I'm ready to write about my me and my music. So let me introduce myself.

My name is Crystal. My mom played the piano in her youth, and she wanted me to learn music as well. At the age of five, my mom signed me up for music lessons at the Yamaha School of Music. I don't remember much about those years, but I know that I learned how to read, write and listen to music because of those classes. After that I took organ lessons, but then I stopped. I was without music for a few years, but then, as fate would have it, I was reunited with music when I was in grade five. It's that time in every Filipino's life when children are required to learn the bamboo flute in school. The day I bought my bamboo flute, I found that I could already play tunes (since I've been playing by ear for a very long time). My mom, who has always been supportive of her children's talents, asked if I wanted to play the flute (not the bamboo one) and I said yes! Little did I know that that was the beginning of my music career.

Around that time, my best friend lent me a VHS tape of the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert. I was so amazed by the singing and the music that I became hooked! Pretty soon I started discovering other musicals! I was mesmerized by the mega-musicals of the 80's and 90's. I discovered Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Superstar, and all the smash hits!

Shortly after that, it was time for me to enter high school. My mom encouraged me to lug my flute up Mt. Makiling and audition for the Philippine High School for the Arts. By that time, I was only playing for a year and thought that I had no chance, but by some divine intervention, I passed! I spent my high school life being immersed in art and nature that it seemed like a no-brainer for me to continue my music-making in college. 

I continued my studies in UP Diliman after my high school. I got immersed in classical music, yet I never forgot my first love, musical theater. No, I can't act nor can I sing, but there's really something about the combination of theater, singing and orchestra that gets me high like no other.

Anyway, I'm digressing again, since I am supposed to be introducing myself. So now, it's been two years since I graduated from college as a flute major, and I make my living by doing gigs, playing in concerts and teaching kids how to play flute and piano (I'm also a makeup artist on the side, but I cover that aspect of my life in my other blog). So yes, music is a big part of my life. 

So there. Here's me from my solo concert that I just did at Paco Park Presents last May 20 (just to give you an idea).

What do you expect from this blog? This blog will be mostly about music, reviews on concerts/recitals, musical theater, and a bit of my personal life. Yes, this blog is definitely more personal. I hope you will follow me as I open a new door in my life.

SO, will I be watching The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber when it comes here to the Philippines? Probably not. A concert by various artists is not so much my thing, but I DESPERATELY want to go to London this October for the 25th Anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera, or at the very least, go to Australia to watch Love Never Dies.