Former CCP president Nestor Jardin, who serves as executive producer of the musical, confirmed the casting. Mr. Pascual will alternate with Fil-Am Broadway actor Paolo Montalban in the role.
All other principal roles in the musical are up for grabs, with auditions set for this coming Monday, Feb. 8, and next Monday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., at CCP's Bulwagang Amado Hernandez.
Loy Arcenas (also at the helm of TP's Tatlong Mariya, which opens Feb. 19 at the CCP Little Theater), will direct the musical from the “revisal” (revision-revival) script created by playwright David Henry Hwang for the 2002 American production that starred Filipino performers Lea Salonga as Mei Li and Jose Llana as Ta. The reworked musical, based on the original book/libretto by Oscar Hammerstein and Joseph Fields and approved by the Rodgers and Hammerstein estate, opened first in Los Angeles before transferring to Broadway, where it ran for 169 performances.
Mr. Arcenas will also design the set, with Edna Vida doing the choreography and Gino Gonzales the costume design. The musical will run Oct. 15-Nov. 7 at CCP's Main Theater.
Is Lea Salonga being considered to reprise her role as Mei Li?
“No,” said Mr. Jardin. “Lea is an excellent singer and actress, but I understand she's currently busy with Cats. Also, we'd like to discover new people and give others a chance.”
More about Flower Drum Song here.
PLUS: Wang Ta's big musical moment is a short but soaring song called Like A God, which, in the 2002 cast recording, Jose Llana bats out of the ballpark (check out audio clips below--the third track is there for continuity).
No doubt Paolo Montalban can sing the role. Piolo? We're eager to find out. He might surprise us, you know--his roots are in theater (UST's Teatro Tomasino), and that voice can, with proper training, plausibly gain more heft, volume, stamina and control to step up to musical-theater--Rodgers and Hammerstein at that!--capabilities. And he'd be the handsomest Ta ever.