1. I got my bespren Judd, his wife Paz and their first-born little darling, Psalm (my goddaughter), tickets to Ateneo Blue Repertory's "High School Musical," now on its last weekend at SM Cinema 4. The stage version of the hit Disney movie is packaged for kids, tweens, teens and everyone young-at-heart, so I thought the best way to gauge whether the musical was any good was to ask a member of its target demographic. Did Psalm like it? Well, my goddaughter, smart and spunky at 4 years old, told her Pop after the show, "That was a great play, Dad!" You heard her, folks!
2. If you've any talent for bilocation, better make use of it this weekend. Aside from "High School Musical" and PETA's brilliant "Belong Puti," Repertory Philippines' "Song & Dance" is also on its last showdates. My full reviews for these shows will be out in a couple of weeks yet, so here in brief is what I think of "Song & Dance:" fine lead (Carla Guevara), fantastic set and lighting (Gino Gonzales and Monino Duque), thrilling dancing by PowerDance (especially by the lovely Melanie Motus--but then, what do I really know of dance?), and one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's light-hearted, less self-conscious scores ("Unexpected Song" and "Tell Me on a Sunday" in one show!).
3. Dennis Marasigan, the artistic director of Tanghalang Pilipino, now has a blog. Check out his just-launched A Life in the Theater. Mr. Marasigan has 30 years' worth of stories to tell us about his remarkably versatile stint in theater acting in, writing, directing, lighting, stage-managing, technical-directing and even marketing shows. Yes, he's covered both the creative and administrative sides of the aisle with equal ease--rather rare for an artist. And we're not talking of his film and TV work yet. Welcome to blogging, Dennis! Link him up, friends!
4. The poster above is how the venerable Playbill.com is touting Lea Salonga's return to Broadway via "Les Miserables." Gives you a warm feeling, right?
5. Doing the full monty at 17 years old was worth it after all. Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, has won standing ovations and rapturous reviews from the London press for his debut stage appearance in Peter Shaffer's vintage drama, "Equus," now playing at the Gielgud Theater. "A thrilling stage actor of unexpected range and depth," said The Daily Telegraph. "No flash in the magic pan," agreed The Guardian, while The Daily Mail noted that "What was striking was the emergence of young Dan Radcliffe in the artistic raw, tested as an actor and found equal to the stretching role." Take a hint, sirs and mesdames of showbiz and TV. Try your hand at theater, and you just might surprise yourself.
6. Sheridan Morley, the well-known British theater critic and writer, died last Feb. 17 at 65 years old. Mr. Morley wrote the liner notes for the CD soundtrack of "Les Miserables." It's worth recalling that when "Les Miz" first opened in London, the critical reaction was less-than-enthusiastic, hostile even. Mr. Morley, then writing for the International Herald Tribune, was one of the first influential critics to come out swinging for the new musical. His glowing liner notes in the "Les Miz" CD were an imprimatur, and the musical's enduring popularity will only ensure that he will be remembered by its fans (as I remember him now). Plus: reading Mr. Morley gave me the idea that it would be nice to see a review of mine excerpted in a CD sleeve someday. Surprise, I discovered that the bestselling "ZsaZsa Zaturnnah" remastered soundtrack features a quote from my review, alongside blurbs by Rome Jorge of Manila Times and Rina Jimenez-David of PDI. Whoopee!
7. "The Producers" has announced that it will close on April 22 after 33 previews and 2,502 performances, making it the 18th-longest running show in Broadway history. The NY Times has crunched the numbers: 12 Tony awards (the most by any show), a post-opening day sales record of $3.3 million, $283 million in current grosses and a further $1 billion from worldwide tours, with eight productions currently running in different countries "plus one in Las Vegas featuring David Hasselhoff." "The Producers" was the first Broadway show on an "open-ended commercial run" to charge $100 for orchestra seats, and the then-unheard of $480 for a premium ticket (or a staggering P23,000-plus at current exchange rates). And to think our local musical plays can't even charge prices higher than the average ticket to a Martin or Regine pop concert!
8. Listen to this--an online radio station that plays showtunes 24/7. It's called Max Broadway [at] ZeroHour, and it has everything from the great Zero Mostel bellowing "Tradition" in "Fiddler on the Roof" to a J. Mark McVey covering "If You Remember Me" for a Marvin Hamlisch anthology album. Maximum Broadway Radio's owner is a guy named Zack. Bless you, Zack.