Friday, April 24, 2009

Jake Macapagal, RJ Rosales cast in Singapore production of Victor/Victoria

The Asian premiere of the Henry Mancini-Leslie Bricusse musical Victor/Victoria is set for November 10, 2009 at the Esplanade Theatre in Singapore. Running until November 29, the musical will have international jazz singer Laura Fygi playing the lead role made famous by Julie Andrews.

Two Filipino theater actors, Jake Macapagal and RJ Rosales, also bagged major parts in the show.

Macapagal was last seen on the local stage as Bernardo in Stages' West Side Story. An alumnus of Miss Saigon productions in Europe, his other theater credits include Angel in Atlantis Productions' Manila rerun of Rent, the lead role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Alex in New Voice Company's Aspects of Love, and the Fil-Am grandson in Dulaang UP's musical production of Floy Quintos' period play, St. Louis Loves Dem Filipinos.

Rosales was already a theater star in Singapore before he came to Manila to try his luck in local show-biz as a TV host and concert performer. He and another Filipino performer, Roy Rolloda, were the leads in the Singapore production of the musical Chang and Eng, based on the lives of the trailblazing Siamese twins who became naturalized citizens in 19th-century America. One of his last local appearances was in the Joel Lamangan-Ricky Lee burlesque All About Men: Penis Talks 2, before he went back to his performing career in Singapore.

Victor/Victoria was first a movie musical before it transferred to the Broadway stage, in both cases headlined by Julie Andrews and directed by her husband, Blake Edwards. The 1982 movie, about an impoverished singer in 1930s Paris who finds fame by passing herself off as a drag queen, was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Actress for Julie Andrews, Best Supporting Actor for Robert Preston, Best Supporting Actress for Lesley Ann Warren, and Best Original Score for Henry Mancini.

Its Broadway adaptation also garnered a Tony Best Actress nomination for Ms. Andrews--a citation she refused in protest over the non-recognition of her co-stars in the musical (video of her remarks here). Tragically, the rigors of doing the show took a toll on her vocal instrument. The doctor who operated on her throat botched the procedure, thereby destroying one of the premiere voices of musical theater. After Ms. Andrews, another Broadway icon, Liza Minnelli, had a brief stint in the role. (The stage version has additional music by Frank Wildhorn, of Jekyll & Hyde/The Scarlet Pimpernel/Dracula, the Musical fame--or notoriety.)

Laura Fygi is a Dutch chanteuse who has made a name for herself singing jazz, swing and Tin Pan Alley standards in a variety of languages. She has released albums--11 in all--in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. The French composer Michel Legrand has collaborated with her on a CD of Legrand classics; another album, Bewitched, made it to the Billboard jazz charts and stayed there for weeks.

In the Singapore staging of Victor/Victoria, she will be directed by Loretta Chen. The rest of the cast form an international mix, hailing from UK, Australia, the Philippines and Singapore.

The complete press statement/details here. Victor/Victoria-Singapore is produced by Zebra Crossing Productions.

[Photos: Sean Lee]


1. Freshly posted on YouTube from my baul, Julie Andrews in a scintillating live performance of Victor/Victoria's signature number, Le Jazz Hot. The scene from the movie is here. The clip below is from Julie Andrews: Live in Concert.

2. Laura Fygi's smoky vocals in two classic Michel Legrand ditties: Summer Me, Winter Me and The Way He Makes Me Feel, from the album Watch What Happens When Laura Fygi Meets Michel Legrand.

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