Two production numbers, “La Vie Boheme” and “Finale B” [see video below] were performed by the cast with very basic props. “La Vie Boheme” is the finale number of Act 1, while “Finale B” is the closing number of the entire show.
Director Robbie Guevara, choreographer Charles Thompson and vocal coach Onyl Torres were on hand to guide the rehearsals and performances. Earlier, Guevara, who also handles the acting workshop before each rehearsal session, made use of various theatre exercises to help the cast formulate their own thoughts and decisions about their characters. The exercises also included activities designed to ensure the cast was working as a unified ensemble.
Thompson emphasized the body movement as an effective tool to reflect not only the lyrics of each song, but the melodies the composer wrote to convey the true feelings and thoughts of each character. He started by giving the cast dance classes to provide a uniform sense of body movement, then proceeded to the specific choreography of each individual number.
Torres studied the voice qualities of each member of the cast and ran them through warm-up techniques. Power and strength are two key elements needed to sustain the vocal requirements of the musical. In teaching the songs, he further refined the notes by emphasizing their nuances.
The cast of “Rent” includes Gian Magdangal as Roger Davis, Fredison Lo as Mark Cohen, Nicole Asensio as Mimi Márquez (Cara Barredo alternates at certain performances), OJ Mariano as Tom Collins, Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Maureen Johnson, Noel Rayos as Benjamin 'Benny' Coffin III, Job Bautista as Angel Dumott Schunard and Jenny Villegas as Joanne Jefferson.
Ensemble members include Ring Antonio, Peachy Atilano, Johann Dela Fuente, Harold Cruz, Gary Junsay, Raul Montesa, Anna Santamaria and Mark Tayag.
The production team is composed of executive producer Santi Santamaria, director Robbie Guevara, production manager Weng Lopez, musical director Ceejay Javier, vocal coach Onyl Torres, vocal consultant Lionel Guico, scenographer Mio Infante, lighting designer Martin Esteva, sound designer Rards Corpuz, PR/publicity director Toots O. Tolentino and PR manager Jonjon Martin, marketing manager Shelyn Tayanes and stage manager Jojo Amboy. Cast photography by Jojit Lorenzo and production photography by Sandee Guevara.
“Rent” is presented by special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI), 421 West 54th Street, New York, New York 10019. Tel. (212) 541-4684. Visit www.mtishows.com
Show dates are February 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. and Sundays at 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 or TicketWorld 8919999. Visit www.ticketworld.com.ph or www.9workstheatrical.com
Video courtesy of Anton Diaz