Monday, May 21, 2007

'Rama at Sita' on video! (Part 1)

This is the big surprise I hinted at in an earlier post, friends.

I've gotten permission to post video excerpts of "Rama at Sita" on the Web! By special arrangement with Franco Laurel and Ayen Munji-Laurel of ML Entertainment, owners of the copyright to the musical, clips of "Rama at Sita's" major musical numbers are now available on YouTube, the first time this musical will be seen again since its last curtain call in 1999, or eight years ago.

Bless the generous souls of the Laurel couple, who are giving us all a chance to enjoy this musical treat absolutely for free. No need to buy a DVD copy (none is available anyway, whether bootleg or original); just pop over to YouTube via the track links I've provided below, and enjoy the show! (Note: Except for the clip of the opening number, embedding has been disabled to ensure copyright protection.)

Take note, there are no plans to re-stage this musical. The rights to the Cayabyab-Lumbera parts of the musical--the "Rama Hari" excerpts--have lapsed, and reacquiring them to mount "Rama at Sita" anew is an impractical option at present. Which means this may be our last chance to savor, at least on video, the "engrossing audio-visual feast" (Raul Teehankee, Manila Bulletin) that marked a particularly lavish point in the evolution of Philippine musical theater.

Thank you, Franco and Ayen, for this wonderful gift to Pinoy musical theater fans.

For those who caught the production at the UP Theater, here's a chance to relive its magic. For those who missed it, now's the time to watch, from dazzling opening number to exhilarating finale, the most-talked-about theater event of that long-ago season.

This video captures the closing performance of the musical on the evening of March 6, 1999, with Ariel Rivera as Rama, Chiqui Pineda as Sita, John Arcilla as Rama's brother Lakshmana, Robert Sena as the villain Ravana, Jaya as Ravana's sister Soorphanaka, Mr. Laurel as Rama's youngest brother Bharata, and Edward Granadosin as Rama's teacher Vishmavitra. (Click on the images below for the complete cast list.)

A sampling of the raves:

"More than just a visual spectacle. Never have we seen such a case of stage pomp and pageantry." (Mary Ann Bautista and Ricky Gallardo, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

"Certainly one of the best local musicals we've ever seen. First-rate production values, fabulous sets and costumes, lots of spectacle. Lani Misalucha is superb as Sita, with a sparkling voice really meant for theater. The revelations for us are Franco Laurel as Bharata, Rama's younger brother (he shines in his solo number, 'Kaya Ko') and Nonie Buencamino who performs with devilish energy as the villainous Ravana." (Mario Bautista, The Manila Times)

"A mesmerizing musical!" (Monique Buensalido, The Philippine Star)

"Chiqui Pineda is effectively touching in 'Rama at Sita'... May Bayot's performance as the female villain only served to affirm her reputation as an outstanding performer." (Nestor Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Curtains up on Act 1! Let the show begin!

1. Sadyang Pinagtagpo--Edward Granadosin, Chorus. In the kingdom of Ayodhaya, the guru Vishmavitra narrates Rama's decision to seek a righteous life by following his dharma (sacred duty), which will lead him to his great love, Sita.

2. Huwag Takasan--Ariel Rivera. Rama prays to the gods Vishnu (Bimbo Cerrudo) and Shiva (Girl Valencia) and agrees to seek his destiny in the city of Mithila, accompanied by his brother Lakshmana.

3. Kaya Ko--Franco Laurel. Rama's youngest brother Bharata sings of his frustration at not being allowed to join his brothers' journey outside the kingdom.

4. Halina Sa Mithila--Ariel Rivera, John Arcilla, Edward Granadosin, Michael Williams, Gelo Francisco, Zebedee Zuniga, Chorus. Rama's party arrives in Mithila in grand style, the prince astride an elephant. (Watch that amazingly life-like pachyderm!) Mithila's king Janaka invites the brothers to take part in a contest of strength, the prize of which is his daughter Sita.

5. Sana'y Siya Na Nga--Chiqui Pineda, John Arcilla, Ariel Rivera. Lakshmana is smitten with Sita, but so is Rama, who professes his love to the princess inside a temple. Rama wins the competition, and Sita accepts her destiny as Rama's bride-to-be.

The original cast album of "Rama at Sita" had Lani Misalucha singing this gorgeous ballad with Ariel Rivera and John Arcilla. Here's an audio clip:

6. Iisa Ang Tibok/Awit ng Pagsinta--Ariel Rivera, Chiqui Pineda, Edward Granadosin, Chorus. Rama and Sita are wed in glittering ceremonies.

7. Tayo Na, Nariyan Na--Ariel Rivera, Chiqui Pineda, John Arcilla, Pinky Marquez, Eugene Villaluz, Franco Laurel, Chorus. The newlyweds return to Ayodhaya, only to be confronted by an upheaval. Kaikeyi, one of the king's wives, has blackmailed the king to install her reluctant son Bharata as the new sovereign. Rama and Sita, accompanied by Lakshmana, are exiled to a far-off forest.

Coming up: Act 2 of "Rama at Sita" on video! Highlights include "Magbalik Ka Na, Mahal" plus Jaya and Robert Sena's showstopping turns. 'Wag bibitaw!


1. Franco Laurel's Multiply site has five audio clips from the original cast album of "Rama at Sita." Check out his site here.

2. Splendor in pictures!


erasmusa said...

thanks for this! i only ripped the finale and awit ng pagsinta from the rama at sita CD so that i can listen to them here in denmark. now i can watch them, too :)

anna said...

Thanks for this smorgas of treats. Only from gibbscadiz!

Have watched the first part of rama at sita. Downloading the others.

Wanted to play the Misalucha number (she's magnificent .. where is she na ba?) but it stopped playing after few seconds. ay naku.

Anonymous said...

wow! i miss this musical. i remember watching it with my brother. i wish they would stage another musical of this grandeur.

thanks for posting this video. :)

Abaniko said...

Nostalgic tuloy ako. Tayong tatlo ni E. ang nanood ng Rama At Sita sa UP, di ba? Binentahan mo kami ng tickets na sobrang taas ng mark-up, right? Haha. Joke. Tagal na noon. Musmos ka pa lang Gibbs. :)

Hazelnut Latte said...

I found you searching for the track listing of one of Ryan Cayabyab's albums.

I'm glad I clicked on the different links, thank you so much for sharing.

I caught the musical when I was a student in UP, fell in love with it. I have the recording on original CD. I'm glad I can still relive the majesty of that experience.

Thanks again!

jj said...

nakapangingilabot. naaadik na ako kakapaulit-ulit. salamat sa nagproduce at nagpost dito! dapat talaga madocument ng maayos ang mga ganitong klaseng 'gems of philippine theater'... kahit sa blog lang.:)

the philosphical bastard said...

galing naman.. i'm not a theatre type of person pero mukhang papanoorin ko 'to... hypothetically, nasa ibang bayan ako. =)

utakGAGO said...

i remember back at second year when my teacher discussed Ramayana: about Rama, Sita and Ravana's adventures. Lol.

it's a gooood story.

^_^ what more if it's made in a theater... :p

sure! :) i'll link you up! thanks. :D

gibbs cadiz said...

hi ERASMUSA, you're welcome! do enjoy the videos. :)

hey ANNA, the audio streaming might be a bit slow. do try again, lani misalucha's always worth it. :)

hi ANONYMOUS, thanks for your comment. :)

ABANIKO, di lang tayong tatlo, we were a big group, and i even brought along my mom, remember? kasama pa sina edcel, etc. :)

hi HAZELNUT, yep, it's great to see the musical again even if only on video, right? enjoy the clips! :)

hi JJ! ayan ha, since you're starting (in a big way, i might add, yehey!) in professional theater na, i hope your generation would do a much better job of preserving our theater heritage. otherwise, future audiences wouldn't know how good an actor you are! :)

hi PAOLO, 'lika, sama tayo manood! hypothetical din, but what the heck. :)

hey UTAKGAGO, thanks for the link! enjoy the clips. :)

Althea said...

SALAMAT!!! I wasn't able to watch this, and after reading Ramayana last year, it really hit me what a great musical I missed.

Paeng said...

Gibbs, baka meron kang makuhang clips ng Lean: The Filipino Musical. alam ko di magaling acting dun, pero hayup yung pagkakasulat ni Gary Granada ng mga kanta. di ako nagsasawa sa pakikinig ng album.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting videos of Rama at Sita at You tube. My son is working on a class play of Ramayana as part of Asian Literature (3rd yrHS at Pisay) requirement. It's a reader's theater format and they badly need costumes. Since they don't have a budget, we're trying to find costumes they can borrow for the play. Can you help us source costumes (for free or for a minimal fee?)? Thank you!


gibbs cadiz said...

hi ANGELA, try tanghalang pilipino at ccp. they rent out their costumes at reasonable fees; you might find something useful. call jing 09285047779 and tell her i referred you. good luck on your son's project! :)

Monique said...

GIBBS!! I read this entry because I LOVE Rama at Sita, and then I was like, "Hey! He quoted me!!" Haha! Wow, thanks so much! I seriously never got over this musical, it was fantastic.

gibbs cadiz said...

hi MONIQUE! thanks for the visit and the comments! see, i was quoting you even when we hadn't met yet, hehe. see ya again soon, reunion tayo! :)

Chiqui said...

THANK YOU. thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for making my long time wish to see this come true.

Hi, Cadiz. My name is Chiqui. Yes, THAT Chiqui and you have no idea how grateful I am that I can finally see me in my glory days on was the best experience ever!

Bravo to you, Ayen and Franco for allowing this to be shared. Now my hundreds and hundreds of relatives will be happy! HEE!

God bless you!


Chiqui said...

oops...i meant


sorry. excited kasi...

tm8 said...

i remember watching this in UP when i was maybe 14 or 15 years old. it was my first filipino musical. it was really really something. it's a shame how it's always the lack of funds and lack of patrons that stop or discourage producers from staging musicals such as this.

the video looks like a very clear copy and carefully edited version. hope they would release this on dvd someday (like Into The Woods has one). it would be a sin if the young people today (and the not so young who missed it) never get to this production which was truly a Filipino masterpiece.

mikko said...

wow.grabe.hanggang ngaun hindi ako makagetover sa Rama at Sita. and to think na nde ko sya npnood sa UP noon, dito lang over the net.

pero i can relieve the magic over and over dahil sa vids sa youtube at sa soundtrack which i got way back in 2004.

thanks for the posts.
sana mapost din ung ibang parts o kea in a dvd package na.

is that possible?

gibbs cadiz said...

hi MIKKO! thanks, video clips of the other major musical highlights of rama at sita are also in youtube. happy viewing! :)

drei said...

wow i didn't know you wrote for rama at sita! and thanks for the audio links :) i so enjoyed this musical, and i'm still wondering why they never remade the production.

and yeah, sad to hear about newman's passing away.

gibbs!! magkakaroon ng Rent dito sa november!!!! :) :) :)

beektur said...

Asan kopya ko ng video? :)

Renen said...

Hi Hazelnut Latte :)

I had the opportunity to witness this wonderful musical and really loved it. Is it okay to ask a favor? I've been looking for the CD of this musicalle, and based from the thread, you are lucky to keep one. Is it okay if I can get a copy from you? Thanks


Anonymous said...

Ngayon ko lang nakita yung site na to.. pero hindi na ma play yung nasa YouTube... Just like ren can I have a copy of the video... I really love this play...

Thanks so much

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