In celebration of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 45th anniversary, around 200 theater actors performed for what may be called the “biggest gathering of theater superstars” in history – “Musikal,” held last Friday (September 5) and Saturday (September 6) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The celebration was led by theater superstars Isay Alvarez and Robert Sena, Sheila Francisco, Dulce, and Karylle, who did not take her spot in the front line during the All-Star Finale.
Karylle’s gesture was lauded by some people who noted her humility.
A guest, who refused to be named, said, “Karylle obviously had a spot in the first row, but she was humble enough to stick to her place beside theater heavyweights like Isay, Robert, Dulce, and Sheila. Aside from her excellent performance that night, her humility and character shone during ‘Musikal.’”
Karylle performed lead roles in stage musicals like “The Little Mermaid,” “West Side Story,” and “Cinderella,” and reprised her Sita role from last year’s successful staging of Ballet Philippines’ “Rama Hari.”
“Musikal” opened with the overture by The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra with Gerard Salonga.
The revue started with musicals, which tackled old Philippines – “Walang Sugat,” represented by the comic spot “Makikiliti Kang Totoo,” performed by international musical star Sheila Francisco and Red Nuestro. It was followed by chosen numbers from “Ang Kababaihan Ng Malolos” and “San Andres B.”
The Ryan Cayabyab Singers performed a medley of songs from the musical “Lorenzo,” which elicited loud applause from the audience.
Former Sugarfree vocalist Ebe Dancel’s vocals soared in the “Rock Supremo” spot. He was accompanied by Ballet Philippines’ stars Carissa Adea, Kathrina Trofeo, and Richardson Yadao.
Children musicals came next. The segment opened with “Sandosenang Sapatos,” followed by last year’s multi-awarded “Bluebird of Happiness,” and “Batang Rizal.”
The “vaudeville” musicals were presented next with Roeder’s sexy, comic number “Titina” and the showstopping “Aba Ba Boogie,” from the 1980’s hit musical Katy with Isay Alvarez, star of last year’s revival.
The first act closed on a high note with a performance of some of the songs from Ryan Cayabyab and Bienvenido Lumbera’s “Noli Me Tangere” by the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers and the “Munting Pangarap” number of perhaps the most successful musical in recent years “Rak of Aegis.”
The second act opened with Myke Salomon’s performance of “Magsimula Ka.” Followed by spots from Ateneo’s “Sinta,” “Toilet the Musical,” and Ed Gatchalian’s “Rivalry.”
The cast of “Sa Wakas” performed next with the song “Bawat Daan.”
These numbers mirror the youth’s psyche.
The “Himala” spot was undeniably intense with powerhouse performances from May Bayot, Isay Alvarez, Cynthia Guico. and Dulce.
The mood turned gay when Myke Salomon opened the “Rainbow Segment,” with performances from “gay-themed” musicals like “Caredivas,” “Zsa Zsa Zaturnah,” and “Maxie.”
These fun numbers were followed by a revue of “Rama Hari,” perhaps the most important Filipino musical as it was made by icons of the industry – National Artists Bien Lumbera, Alice Reyes, and Salvador Bernal with the respected Ryan Cayabyab.
“Rama Hari” is based on the love story of Rama and Sita, as presented in the Asian epic “Ramayana.”
OJ Mariano (Rama) opened the suite with “Tagistis ng Ulan.” He was followed by Karylle (Sita), who looked every inch a royalty. She sang the most popular tune from the musical – “Magbalik Ka Na Mahal.” Then, a dance solo was performed by dancers from Ballet Philippines. Robert Sena joined OJ and Karylle for “Awit ng Pagsinta.”
The “Rama Hari” was greeted by thunderous applause.
“Musikal” ended with “Minsan Ang Minahal Ay Ako,” a song from the musical “Katy.” The said anthemic song has unofficially been the “theme of stage performers.” Dulce, Isay, and Aicelle, stars of last year’s revival, led all the performers in singing the song.
After that magical, emotional number, thunderous applause, and a long standing ovation greeted the more than 200 cast members of “Musikal,” further proving that the local theater industry is experiencing a new “high.”