Tuesday, February 01, 2011

From Viva Hot Babe to Mimi--Sheree tries the musical stage in Rent

Don't laugh--the former Viva Hot Babe played Mimi in Rent's second run, and was surprisingly more than adequate in it--tender and fragile and authentically sexy. If she goes for it, she can have a future on the musical stage.

That's me doing my year-end anointing-prognosticating bit here. I don't mind admitting that, when I first heard about Sheree getting cast as Mimi in 9 Works Theatrical's limited rerun of Rent at Rockwell last December 2010, my brain waves automatically registered “stunt casting”--another theater concession to showbiz pull. Sure she looked the part and brought celebrity buzz, but could she ace the arduous singing-dancing-emoting required by the role?

Count me among those pleasantly surprised that she could. It wasn't a spectacular or definitive turn, but for a musical-theater debut, it showed her off convincingly. Better yet, squaring off with real-life partner Gian Magdangal as (a much-improved) Roger made for scenes charged with chemistry and vibrancy--delight on Sheree's part at performing opposite someone she's extremely comfortable with, a felt solicitousness on Gian's part at seeing his wife step up to the challenge in her first stab at musical theater. That, I think, accounted for the extra tenderness, the palpable connection, in their scenes together.

Luck holding, more theatergoers will be able to see that pairing now that Rent is back for another run at the RCBC Theater, from Feb. 12 to March 6. Sheree is alternating as Mimi with another showbiz celebrity, Ciara Sotto. If Sheree seems bent on moving away from her celluloid sexpot image with her appearance in this most legit of Broadway behemoths, Ciara appears headed for the opposite direction: By taking on Mimi, she's discarding the prim persona and opting for a bolder, more edgy image. (They're doing full-on pole dancing in this production, by the way.)

The sad fortune of many a local theater production, as Lea Salonga once noted, is that, given the sparse time and resources for rehearsals, tryouts, previews and the like (unlike Broadway productions that enjoy the luxury of extensive fine-tuning before opening night), shows here can only truly begin trying to find their footing at the start of the run. By the time they've reached their best, most cohesive bend, it's the last weekend and the curtain's ringing down.

9 Works Theatrical's first attempt at Rent early last year left me quite disappointed--as were many others, judging from the chatter online. So it was a relief to find out from the December Rockwell rerun that the show had come together and was now a more compelling experience. Here's hoping the show is able to replicate that, stay on that pitch in its third outing.

Oh wait, Sheree... At the presscon yesterday, she sang Light My Candle with Gian (vid below), then made light of her transition from sexy movies to the stage by squealing during the Q&A, “Uy, theater actress na ako! Pak!” If she works hard enough at it, yes, why not?

"Rent's" show dates are February 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, March 4, 5 and 6. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. and Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenues, Makati City. For tickets, call 5575860, 5867105, or 0917-5545560, or visit www.9workstheatrical.com, or call TicketWorld 8919999.

PLUS: Class picture--the February 2011 cast of 9 Works Theatrical's Rent (not in photo are Alys Serdenia and Al Gatmaitan, the latter understudying Gian Magdangal's Roger).


Jean said...

For March 4 8pm showing of Rent, please text +639175393536. Thanks!

watchplays said...

Catch RENT on its Last Saturday run!

For tickets to the March 5, 2011 330PM schedule, contact Onay @ 0918.536.2116.

Available seats can be viewed here: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Au4HQl0TAAC_dGttZThYWUs5ajRlcFBBdTN6Zi1VYXc&hl=en#gid=0

For more details, visit : http://watchplays.blogspot.com/

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