Friday, August 22, 2008

Joanna Ampil invites you to 'West Side Story'

But before that, she talks about her preparations for the role of Maria, how different her interpretation is from co-star and alternate Karylle, why she left her thriving London career for now to work in Manila. And she reveals a tidbit that thrills me and gives me one more good excuse to keep this blog going. Guess where she first learned about the auditions for Stages' West Side Story?

PLUS: A treasure trove of West Side Story-related clips on YouTube--not including the blow-by-blow excerpts from the 1961 movie, which don't need much searching for.

1. If you want an early peek at how they look and sound together, here's Joanna and Christian Bautista singing Tonight live during a recent media meet-and-greet.

2. Debbie Allen performs a scintillating America at the Tony Awards, from the 1980 Broadway revival of the musical. Awesome dancing.

3. West Side Story has been called an American opera. Composer Leonard Bernstein did record a studio version of the score with opera stars Jose Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa singing the parts of Tony and Maria, respectively. In a video of them rehearsing One Hand, One Heart, Dame Kiri could be seen shaking her head in frustration after her final truncated note; she reportedly had colds that day. But the sound they made--and that of the orchestra--was still glorious.

4. A rare recording: Bosom friends Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett duet (beautifully) on A Boy Like That/I Have a Love. The song comes at the end of an enjoyable medley of songs from hit musicals; the two are just dynamite together, and Julie's voice is a miracle.

5. The adorable John Barrowman croons Maria, and bats it out of the ballpark. Take note of his funny, perceptive intro.

6. A truly historic moment captured on video: Some 24 surviving members of the original Broadway cast of West Side Story, including Carol Lawrence (Maria) and the amazing Chita Rivera (Anita), reunite and join forces with a new cast in honor of the show's 50th anniversary. Singing Somewhere again brings many to tears.

7. Broadway stars Audra McDonald, Vanessa Williams, James Barbour and Jason Daniely lead a performance of Tonight (Quintet) in honor of Stephen Sondheim's 75th birthday, at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles. The number includes a valuable clip of Sondheim talking about how he ended up writing the lyrics for West Side Story.

8. Larry Kert, who originated the role of Tony in the 1957 Broadway run, sings his character's first song, Something's Coming, at a White House reception. And Kert and his co-star Carol Lawrence are showcased in all their youthful attractiveness in a vintage Bell Telephone Hour broadcast, singing a medley of Maria and Tonight.

9. Barbra Streisand's cosmic-sounding version of Somewhere, courtesy of arranger David Foster, here. A stunning live performance here, from the One Voice concert.

Stages' production of 'West Side Story' runs Sept. 5-Oct. 12 at the Meralco Theater. For tickets, call Ticketworld at 8919999 or Stages at 8181111 loc. 225, or visit Ticketworld at Ticket prices are from P500 to P1,200.


TheBachelorGirl said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for all the links! I'm getting even more hyper about West Side!

And, although she wasn't able to mention your blog name, Joanna said she found the advert about WSS on the Internet last Wed during the grand launch at Trinoma. You have our appreciation and gratitude!

the spy in the sandwich said...

when i was in college, i played the role of diesel, one of the jets. sometimes i look back and shake my head, and wonder, "wow, i was part of that?"

gibbs cadiz said...

hi LORNA, gracias too. :)

IAN, well well well, there's got to be a video of you dancing the jerome robbins ballet! hehe. must've been one of an experience, huh. :)

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