Lots and lots of singing
Allow me first and foremost to say a huge “thank you” to everyone who came to “Playlist: The Repeat” last Saturday. Once again, everyone on stage had a wonderful time, and we hope you did, too. Last December’s two-nighter didn’t feel quite enough, so we felt we needed to do this show just one more time.
In attendance on Saturday were familiar faces from show biz: Karylle, Iza Calzado, Lani Misalucha, Bamboo, talent manager Girlie Rodis, ABS-CBN president Charo Santos-Concio, director Olivia Lamasan, and a few artists of “The Voice” (including Radha, Klarisse de Guzman and Yuki Ito).
A couple of things were different. In December, the “Playlist” staff conspired to surprise me with guests Ai-Ai de las Alas and Ogie Alcasid performing a few numbers with me (which my brother and musical director Gerard Salonga and the orchestra secretly rehearsed). This time, it was my turn to pull a surprise, by allowing my daughter Nicole to perform. Gerard created a special orchestration of the song “Yesterday’s Dream” for her to sing.
Wearing a cream-colored dress with white tights and black patent leather shoes, she stood centerstage, able to see Gerard for her cues. My mother Ligaya was sitting in the front row, Kleenex in hand. I sat on a stool and watched her like a hawk, in case she needed anything. She didn’t; she made all of us very proud. She sang really, really well, unfazed by all the busy-ness.
The staff had something else up their sleeves: Right after my first encore, Martin Nievera crept down the center steps, gesturing for the audience to be quiet. Once behind me, he screamed, nearly giving me a heart attack! After some funny banter, we performed the Peter Cetera-Cher classic “After All.” What a rush! Thanks, Martin!
Later, friends came backstage to visit briefly for hugs and photo ops. Then it was time to meet the fans, who came to the show for autographs and pictures. Thank you all for staying until the wee hours.
I’m now resting at home, knowing that next week, there will be more singing to be done, of music that is deep in my bones, of songs that have literally changed my life.
‘Do You Hear the People Sing’
“Do You Hear the People Sing” (DYHTPS) is a celebration of the works of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, the dynamic duo who created “Les Misérables,” “Miss Saigon,” “Martin Guerre,” “The Pirate Queen.” My excitement bubbles more than usual because DYHTPS is coming to Manila as a special two-night event to benefit the survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” Habitat for Humanity is the beneficiary.
Coming to Manila to join us will be wonderful musical-theater talent: David Harris (Fiyero in “Wicked,” Chris in “Miss Saigon”) and Marie Zamora (from the Paris productions of “Barnum” and “Kiss Me, Kate,” Cosette in “Les Misérables”). As musical director, Gerard will conduct the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, and an 80-strong choir made up of some of our strongest choral groups.
Many of the other soloists have played major roles in previous Boublil-Schönberg musicals: Cocoy Laurel, Leo Tavarro Valdez, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Carla Guevara-Laforteza, Jed Madela, Jon Joven, Rachelle Ann Go and Michael Williams, plus a special alumni ensemble of “Miss Saigon.”
Alain and Claude-Michel will arrive in Manila soon to oversee rehearsals. Both have a soft spot for the Philippines due to the many actors from here who have played in “Miss Saigon.” Claude-Michel set up an orphanage called The Sun and Moon Foundation that he regularly visits at least three to four times a year.
This is their way, through the healing power of music, of helping “Yolanda” survivors get back on their feet by aiding Habitat for Humanity build homes. Come see us at Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, Jan. 29 and 30.
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