Roger: Gian Magdangal
Mark: Fred Lo
Mimi: Nicole Laurel Asensio/Cara Barredo
Tom Collins: OJ Mariano
Angel: Job Bautista
Maureen: Carla Guevara-Laforteza
Joanne: Jenny Villegas
Benny: Noel Rayos
Ensemble members: Gugi Lorenzana, Johann Dela Fuente, Raul Montesa, Gary Junsay, Ring Antonio, Peachy Atilano and Anna Santamaria
The Rent creative team also includes musical director Ceejay Javier, vocal coach Onyl Torres, vocal consultant Lionel Guico, scenographer Mio Infante, production manager Weng Lopez, technical director/lighting designer Dong Calingacion, sound designer Rards Corpuz, publicity director Toots Tolentino, PR manager Jonjon Martin, marketing manager Shelyn Tayanes and stage manager Jojo Amboy.
Early this year, 9 Works Theatrical also staged Jason Robert Brown's Songs For a New World. Its scheduled staging of Rent next year comes 11 years after the Tony Award-winning musical first made a splash in Manila in late 1999, when Bobby Garcia and Monique Wilson mounted the inaugural local staging at the Music Museum under the banner of the New Voice Company.
A star was born in that production when Bituin Escalante, then an ensemble member, scorched the boards with her solo in Seasons of Love. The other cast members included Calvin Millado as Roger, JM Rodriguez as Mark, Michael De Mesa as Collins, Ricci Chan as Angel, Amparo Sietereales as Mimi, Monique Wilson as Maureen, Lynne Sherman as Joanne and Jamie Wilson as Benny.
Monique and Bobby would part ways soon after Rent, ending several years of fruitful collaboration that had seen them bring groundbreaking plays like Oleanna and Angels in America to Manila. Bobby's newly formed Atlantis Productions retained the licensing rights to Rent and mounted the show a couple more times in both Manila and Singapore with some casting changes. Rachel Alejandro got to play Mimi, Jake Macapagal replaced Ricci Chan as Angel, Lana Jalosjos and Ana Fegi had their turns as Maureen and Bituin graduated to playing Joanne.
What I know about some of the new cast members: Gian Magdangal, a veteran theater performer, is now more often seen in the GMA-7 Sunday noontime show SOP. Fred Lo recently played a youthful God in the Trumpets musical NOAH. Cara Barredo appeared in Mulan Jr. last year and recently replaced Julia Abueva in the one-day restaging of The Fantasticks, both of Rep. Miss Saigon alumna Carla Guevara-Laforteza was in both Songs For a New World and Atlantis' The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which returns for a limited run this December. Noel Rayos, after performing stints in HK Disneyland and Macau, returned to Manila and played Corny Collins in Atlantis' Hairspray last year.
Show dates are February 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 8 p.m., Saturdays 3:30 p.m. and Sundays 4:30 p.m. At the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenues, Makati City 1200.
For tickets, call 5575860, visit www.9workstheatrical.com or call TicketWorld at 8919999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph. "Rent" is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) 421 West 54th Street, New York, New York 10019.