Joanna Ampil stars in ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Joanna Ampil stars in ‘The Bridges of Madison County’

/ 12:15 AM November 02, 2015

Joanna Ampil is so down-to-earth that it almost makes one forget how world-renowned she is. After her critically acclaimed portrayals of Kim in “Miss Saigon” in London’s West End, Mary Magdalene in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and Christmas Eve in “Avenue Q,” Jo is out to enchant us once again as Francesca Johnson in “The Bridges of Madison County” (to be mounted by the Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group).

The first international production of the Tony Award-winning musical will run from Nov. 20 to Dec. 6 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati. (For tickets, visit


I fell in love with the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller. And I’m sure its stage version will make hopeless romantics comme moi swoon all the more.

MIG AYESA and Ampil in “The Bridges of Madison County”

MIG AYESA and Ampil in “The Bridges of Madison County”

It tells the story of Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson and her life-changing, four-day whirlwind romance with traveling photographer Robert Kincaid (portrayed by MiG Ayesa). It’s an unforgettable story of two people caught between decision and desire, a celebration of chance encounters and unexpected love.


How is the stage play version different from the book, “The Bridges of Madison County?”

The score makes the play extra-special…one of Jason Robert Brown’s best works. The book is already so wonderful. Adding the score to this story takes it to a different level.

What is your fave scene and line in the play?

There are two—it’s when she’s being persuaded by Robert to go with him and she gives him her decision and sings: “How can I go, tell me how can I go with you? How do I pack a bag, close a door, turn a key, walk away? Look at where I am, and who I am and tell me. Is there something I don’t know? How do I go, How do I go with you?”

The other is the scene where she recalls her past and talks about her life in Italy as a young lady during the war. The song is called “Almost


How did “The Bridges of Madison County” change your perspective on life and love?


It has reinforced my beliefs about love in all its forms.

Is it harder to perform for a foreign or a Pinoy audience?

Harder in the Philippines only because I know how critical Filipinos can be…in the most positive sense of the word.

Any embarrassing or funny moment on stage?

JOANNA Ampil: “I’m falling in love with the piece, the characters and the score more and more every day.”

JOANNA Ampil: “I’m falling in love with the piece, the characters and the score more and more every day.”

A lot! A major one was when I was doing a very dramatic scene as Fantine in “Les Miserables.” I saw what resembled a rodent onstage, when I looked at it, I freaked out, thinking, “What is this rat doing onstage?” It was actually my wig that came off my head. I had to do the rest of the scene with just my stocking cap on.

How would you assess the state of Philippine theater?

It’s thriving and I love the fact that there are so many new Filipino musicals now that are very successful and getting a lot of support.

What’s the best thing you learned from “Miss Saigon” and “Les Miz” producer Cameron Mackintosh?

Focus, discipline and leaving no room for mediocrity.

Among all the roles you’ve played, which one is closest to your heart and why?

It’s always what I’m doing currently. Right now, it’s “The Bridges of Madison County.” I’m falling in love with the piece, the characters and the score more and more every day.

What are your dos and don’ts in the dressing room? Any special ritual or quirk before a performance?

Noise in the dressing room when I’m about to get ready for a performance is not welcome. It’s the time when I’m trying to focus and get in the mood of the character. Getting my makeup done relaxes me and helps psych me up.

If your life story were made into a play, what would the title be?

I’m not really sure…“Been There, Done That?” But that’s almost giving away the story…I haven’t really decided yet…


Gadgets galore

Smart Communications’ daily “Share the Joy Gadget Giveaway” promo has been giving consumers surprise-of-their-life moments! Under this campaign, Smart Prepaid, Postpaid and Bro subscribers are experiencing the ultimate joy felt when you get a new premium gadget for free.

“We do our best to be consistent in our goal to allow more Filipinos to live the Smart Life,” said executive vice president and consumer business head Ariel Fermin. “We are now pulling out all the stops to empower our subscribers to live out their passions and we now equip them with the means to continue doing so,” he added.

To amplify the spirit of inspiration in this promo, the mobile company has tapped Jasmine Curtis-Smith to be the face of this new offer.

“I’ve heard stories of unfulfilled passions and that drives me to continuously help in campaigns that inspire and empower people,” said Jasmine. “This is why I feel honored to be the face of this promo. This is a good step toward helping more subscribers to experience the power of digital living.

“These gadgets aren’t mere gadgets, but a gateway to awesome moments with loved ones and a wealth of exciting opportunities, whatever your passion may be,” she said.

What a joy to have a new “toy!”(Visit

Teleserye fashion

Teleserye rivals Amor and Claudia add a touch of drama in real life as ABS-CBN and CLN showcase a fashion collection inspired by the styles of the two characters of the “Pangako Sa ’Yo” remake.

The Amor and Claudia Collection, which is now available in select CLN boutiques nationwide, is the latest rage among fashionistas.

The collection features dresses, tops, bags, clutches, and shoes that will make fans feel like they are raiding the closets of the two ladies.

Unleash your inner Amor and Claudia!

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TAGS: Entertainment, Joanna Ampil, Musical, The Bridges of Madison County, Theater
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