Can he hack it? It's Mark Bautista's first foray into theater, but at least from the vocal chops he displayed at the recent presscon for TP's upcoming show, I'd say--yes, he can, and rather beautifully at that. Mark sounded darkly dashing in the difficult number Lawa, a song that tests the mettle of the typically tenor-voiced Ibarras that have sung it (Mark is a light baritone, I think--the musical's punishing top notes would be his great challenge). Another thing going for him: he looks so right for the part, his natty, well-scrubbed all-Pinoy countenance evoking the province-born, Europe-educated ilustrado character very plausibly. Watch (sorry for the messed-up sound, I think I was positioned too close to the speakers):
As for acting, let's hope he measures up as well. Mark alternates with Gian Magdangal--a mestizo, and a tenor--in the role, so the contrast in their Ibarras would be interesting to see. The luminous Cris Villonco is Maria Clara, a role originally played by Monique Wilson (with--surprise!--Regine Velasquez alternating). Audie Gemora was the Ibarra in that 1994 inaugural production; now, he's the director of the latest TP restaging.
In honor of Jose Rizal’s 150th birthday, "Noli Me Tangere: The Musical" will officially open Tanghalang Pilipino’s 25th theater season.
The critically acclaimed musical, adapted by Ryan Cayabyab from Rizal’s most famous work with libretto by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, will be restaged under the direction of theater luminary Audie Gemora. Costume design is by National Artist Salvador Bernal.
Leading the cast as Crisostomo Ibarra are singer/TV host Mark Bautista (alternating with Arnold Reyes--updated: Gian Magdangal) and Cris Villonco as Maria Clara (understudied by Tasy Garucha). Joining them are Jerald Napoles and Riki Benedicto (Elias), Al Gatmaitan and Reyes (Padre Salvi), Ring Antonio (Don Victorina), Garry Lim (Don Tiburcio) alternating with Jonathan Tadioan, Red Nuestro (Kapitan Tiago), Jenny Villegas (Tia Isabel), Angeli Bayani (Sisa) and Paolo Rodriguez (leproso).
The ensemble includes Jenny Garcia, Pamela Imperial, Janine Santos, Sherine Ann Koa, Hazel Maranan, Diana Sison, Kat Castillo, Martha Comia, Erick Arenas, Gino Ramirez, Chesko Rodriguez, Jejie Esguerra, Von Ryan Yu, Berl William Angeles, Paolo Rodriguez, Baron Barbers and Greg de Leon.
Comprising the artistic staff are Audie Gemora (director), Rody Vera (dramaturg), Ryan Cayabyab (composer and arranger), Bienvenido Lumbera (librettist), Jed Balsamo (musical director), Mio Infante (set designer), Salvador Bernal (costume designer), Eric Cruz (costume consultant) Katsch Catoy (lighting designer), Agnes Locsin (choreographer) and Christine Crame (dance master.
"Noli Me Tangere: The Musical" runs August 5-28, 2011 at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater). Interested sponsors, show-buyers and block buyers may call Tanghalang Pilipino (632) 8323661 or 8321125 local 1620/1621, or CCP box-office 8323704.