Repertory Philippines has done it again. Its production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd had the preview night audience mesmerized and riveted to their seats...
Sweeney Todd requires two magnificent actors with very strong stage presence and powerful yet emotive singing voices for the roles of Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett. Directors Baby Barredo and Michael Williams found them in two veteran Repertory performers, Audie Gemora and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo.
Mr. Gemora gave the best performances of his life. He was a menacing, mad Sweeney Todd. His booming baritone was put to good use, combined with his body action and facial expression.
Ms. Lauchengco-Yulo has yet to give a bad performance. Again she gives her all as Mrs. Lovett... When she sings “A Little Priest” in the duet with Sweeney, you see what an excellent performer she is.
A revelation that evening was Franco Laurel. He possesses a radiant singing voice. Newcomer Lena McKenzie as Johanna had her moments where her crystal-clear coloratura shone.
Congratulations... for an excellent job.
[Full review here. Sweeney Todd runs until December 13, 2009 at Onstage Greenbelt 1, Makati City.]
Blogger Fred Hawson, on A Song of Joseph:
This is a beautifully staged original musical play. The libretto was by Ms. Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, while the uplifting music was by Raymond and Jeanelle Roldan.
The title role of Joseph was played by Jon Joven, and man, he was a great discovery. He had a strong soaring high tenor, strong enough for “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a play whose influence is palpable here in “Joseph.” His ability to reach those high notes was very evident from his very first song! The actress who played Mary was noted gospel singer Tricia Amper Jimenez, who matched Joven note for note with her strong soaring high soprano. Their anguished duet that ended the first act was hair-raising and breath-taking in its technical and emotional difficulty.
The other supporting characters also shone in their songs. Most notable for me were Emlyn Santos (as Hannah, Mary's mother) and Eladio Pamaran (as King Herod). I knew Marvin Gayramon but I did not recognize him onstage under his wigs and make-up tonight as King Balthazar. The bass voice of the Magi (Greg de Leon?) was incredibly deep, rich and reverberating.
[Full review here. A Song of Joseph has two more performances tomorrow and Friday, 7 p.m., at the Meralco Theater.]