‘Beauty’ and globalization
ISTANBUL—“Filipinos should be competitive in response to globalization,” said concert promoter Renen de Guia, whose Ovations Productions is bringing the Broadway hit musical “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” to Manila in January 2015.
De Guia was replying to Filipino writers in an interview prior to the musical’s premiere here, at one of the world’s largest performing arts venues, Zorlu Center PSM in Besiktas.
“Filipinos are said to be partial to international productions,” De Guia said. “But we shouldn’t restrict foreign productions in Manila. We bring also Filipino-produced shows abroad now.”
“Beauty and the Beast” runs from Jan. 9 to 25 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City. This partnership with foreign companies Broadway Entertainment Group and NETworks Presentations, marks Ovation’s 35th year in the business.
Like an audition
De Guia said a CCP representative was his link to “Beauty and the Beast” international tour planner Liz Koops, CEO of Broadway Entertainment Group. De Guia recalled their first meeting as “like me auditioning. I sang songs from popular musicals. Two hours later, Liz was pretty much decided on me [as project partner].”
NETworks Presentations CEO Kenneth Gentry added, “What we’re interested in, is a Philippine partner for many shows.”
Koops said her group picked Manila as first stop for the show’s Asian tour. From there the production goes to Bangkok, Singapore, Jakarta, Macau, Taiwan, among other Asian cities. “We also recently found a theater in Ho Chi Minh City,” she said.
The CCP was the only venue option in Manila, Koops said. “It’s well-renowned.” She said the best thing about touring the show was “witnessing audiences delight in something they haven’t seen before.”
Gentry figured that the worst thing they might encounter was bad weather, “but it’s nothing we can’t survive.”
Work and play
Koops, whose stepson performed in the Manila leg of the musical “Wicked” last January, said she visited the Philippines six times in the last 18 months. “We’re combining work and seeing the islands when we return for the show,” she said.
“Everything will be transferred to the CCP, including the floor,” said theater company manager Kristin Stewart. “It will be taken apart, stacked together and then shipped out. Nothing is done locally in the countries we go to—just fixes in case something breaks.”
The company consists of 60 people—30 cast members, 11 band members, 15 crew members, two parents who look after the two Chip characters, and two show managers.
“Beauty and the Beast” features an all-American cast led by Hilary Maiberger (as Belle), Darick Pead (Beast), Hassan Nazari-Robati (Lumiere), Adam Dietlein (Gaston), and Charlie Jones and William Poon (alternating as Chip).
“Beauty and the Beast” is directed by Rob Roth, with Michael Kosarin as musical supervisor and arranger and Matt West as choreographer.