Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Video: Not While I'm Around, by Marvin Ong and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo

She plays Mrs. Lovett, he plays Tobias in Repertory Philippines' production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, which opens November 14, 2009 at Onstage Greenbelt 1, Makati City.

For some reason, YouTube has been acting up and won't upload my new videos, except this clip of Marvin and Menchu singing perhaps Sweeney Todd's most familiar song, during the presscon held last week. Preceding the YouTube fuck-up (excuse my Fwench) is my Flip video running out of battery during the song and chopping off the closing lines. When it rains--it floods, indeed.

What refuses to be uploaded are two more clips--one of Franco Laurel (as Anthony) and Lena Mackenzie (as Johanna) singing Kiss Me, and, most interestingly, Audie Gemora (as Sweeney Todd) and Menchu tearing into A Little Priest, at the end of which hot pies were served to the media crowd. Macabre touch, delicious pies.

After having listened to them, I can say with assurance at this point that this Sweeney Todd will be better--much better--sung than the movie version. The score, including the choral parts excised from the Tim Burton film, will be performed in its entirety.

The rest of the cast includes Roger Chua (Judge Turpin), Robbie Guevara (Beadle), Liesl Batucan (Beggar Woman), Robbie Zialcita (Pirelli) and Juno Henares (Mrs. Lovett understudy).

And the ensemble: Ring Antonio, Cara Barredo, Teenee Chan, Red Concepcion, David Cruz, Hans Eckstein, Jejie Esguerra, Naths Everett, Jay Glorioso, Rona Guba, Collins Gutierrez, Gary Junsay, Raul Montesa, Jay Pangilinan, Meynard Penalosa (who also understudies Sweeney Todd), Marisse Santos, Glory Sicam, James Stacey, Oliver Usison (Mr. Fogg and Judge Turpin understudy), Joy Virata and Rem Zamora.

A sprawling cast, an expensive musical that's also dark and daunting, and in December yet. Why this, why now, why not next year, say February--was a question asked of co-director Michael Williams. “It'd be worse in February, during Valentine,” he quipped. The long and short of it: Rep wants a topnotch musical to close its season with a bang, and the actors are keen to challenge themselves. “Sweeney Todd is like the Olympics for any theater actor,” said Audie.

“A dream come true,” echoed everyone else--a trite phrase, but you could tell they were dead serious about it. This is Sondheim, after all--and not only minor Sondheim, but Sweeney frickin' Todd.

The musical runs November 14-December 19, 2009. For tickets and inquiries: 8870710, 8880887, 8919999. Visit or


munkey said...


I'm listening to the recording now trying to familiarize myself again with the labyrinthine musical passages. Kaloka. Ano kaya ang kinain ni Sondheim noong bata siya? Ha ha ha.

Break a leg, guys!

Noynoy Aquino said...

the guy's voice is spectacular... He can sing Disney songs or perform in Broadway. Nice talent

Anonymous said...

I hope better directed as well. would definitely watch this. my first experience of listening to sweeney todd is the catalan version. grabe.

Anonymous said...

bagay kayo noong actor gibbs, hihihihi

mel said...

Gorgeous gorgeous voices, but the sporadic Brit accent is off-putting to say the least, and unintentionally hilarious (demons are prowling everywhere nowadaaaaays, as in DAY, bongga ka).

Why can't they just sing in standard neutral accent (American in essence I suppose, the norm in the Phils, if ever there's one) since suspension of disbelief, as far as the Philippine milieu is concerned, in thinking that these actors are English nationals telling/singing a story set in London is almost impossible?
That's why for me, the accent distracts rather than enhances the storytelling, which should be the point of it all-- the story and nothing else.

Unfairly or not, the degree of artificiality with Pinoy actors putting on a Brit accent (or any kind of accent for that matter) is immensely greater than with their counterparts in the West. For example, the artificial accent worked for Renee Zelwegger in Bridget Jones's Diary although it did not for Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd and Julia Roberts in Mary Reilly. (ugh!)

Taken to a wider field, this idea of artificiality can apply to Asian performers in general (by Asian, I mean geographically). The Japanese and the Koreans stage Broadway shows translated into their own language. It all boils down to accessibility. We don't need to translate these shows because we have 'access' to the English language. This access, however, does not mean that we are magically experts in accents all of a sudden. (We're not.) For me, an actor who strains (and more often than not fails miserably) to keep a borrowed accent makes for a cringe-worthy performance and is therefore no fun to watch.

Should we not put up these copies of Broadway shows? Absolutely not. Those who say otherwise and say it's because the local versions won't ever measure up to the production values of the original (which they have seen, they must make sure to mention) are snobs, plain and simple. But please, can we just do away with the put-on accents?

gibbs cadiz said...

very good point, MEL. same sentiment here--when it comes to accents, either you do it well--consistently, seamlessly, flawlessly, and some actors do have the talent for that--or 'wag na lang because you'll just mar an otherwise truthful performance and ruin the play. :)

Oliver Oliveros said...

Hi Gibbs,

Thanks for this =)

=) Oliver

Toilet Thoughts said...

Marvin Ong? is he the one in batboy?

gibbs cadiz said...

yep, JEPS, marvin ong of bat boy, the musical. :)

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