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I braved the rain for Legally Blonde

Here is Ms. Lea Salonga's review for Legally Blonde the Musical

I braved the rain for ‘Legally Blonde’

By Lea Salonga
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:53:00 06/30/2010

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Music, Celebrities

ON THE INVITATION OF ATlantis Productions’ Bobby Garcia and Chari Arespacochaga, I braved the Friday night rain and traffic to head to the Meralco Theater to catch the opening night of “Legally Blonde.”

Unfortunately, I missed a good half hour of the show. It took me nearly two hours to get from Parañaque to Pasig. Can’t somebody fix the problem, especially when it rains?

But I don’t mind watching the show again.

“Legally Blonde: The Musical” (music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and book by Heather Hach) is based on the 2001 film “Legally Blonde” starring Reese Witherspoon as the UCLA sorority girl turned Harvard Law School valedictorian Elle Woods.

The film was in turn based on the novel of the same name by Amanda Brown.

The musical opened on Broadway in 2007 starring Laura Bell Bundy and Christian Borle, and ran for 30 previews and 595 performances.

I saw the film, which I found utterly charming and sweet.

The local production contains those same two qualities in spades, especially in the two leads cast: Nikki Gil (as Elle Woods) and Nyoy Volante (as Emmett Forrest).

Every note in place

Ms Gil, in her first major musical lead role, has vocal chops and charm to spare. Every note was in its place and there were moments where she had the audience laughing out loud with a line or a move. It’s also pleasingly obvious to hear just how hard she has worked (kudos to Sweet Plantado and Kitchie Molina for whipping her voice into shape), and I laud her for the effort.

All the girl needs is more time to sink into Elle even further, to give her performance a bit more oomph. That said, congratulations, Ms Gil, on a successful opening.

After seeing Mr. Volante’s breathtaking turn as Seaweed Stubbs in “Hairspray” where he danced and sang like a whirling dervish on crack, it was a welcome sight to see him in a role that showed his more relaxed, acoustic sensibilities.

His Emmett was so easy and endearing (as one friend pointed out, in a warm and fuzzy muppet sort of way) that one could absolutely understand why Elle would fall for him.

As wonderful as these two performers are, for me, the main reason to see the show again and again is the stellar support cast that “Blonde’s” director, Ms Arespacochaga, has put together.

Precise and clear

Cris Villonco (as resident bitch-turned-Elle-ally Vivienne Kensington) is always one of my favorite performers, and with good reason. She was precise and clear, with a clarion voice that thrilled and pleased.

Jinky Llamanzares (a memorable Gigi in the Toronto production of “Miss Saigon”) was all at once incandescent, feisty and kick-ass amazing as the salon owner Paulette. I could not even once take my eyes off her every time she opened her mouth to sing.

Jett Pangan as the arrogant and lecherous Professor Callahan was fantastic. I regret missing his big solo (I was still stuck in traffic), but I enjoyed every brief moment he spent on stage, with his big, booming voice that resonated to the back of the theater.

Geneva Cruz as workout video queen and accused murderess Brooke Wyndham was a force of nature as she, with fierce energy and physicality, jumped rope, danced and sang all at the same time, while sporting the best set of abs I’ve ever seen (how annoying).

I must also give kudos to where they are due: Felix Rivera as the pool boy Nikos Argitakos made one meanly hilarious turn; Jenny Jamora as the perma-permed Chutney changed the temperature of the building the moment she walked on stage; as the three bimbettes-cum-Greek chorus, Myrene Santos, Emerita Alcid-Trinidad and Yanah Laurel were wonderful foils for Elle; and Guji Lorenzana (as Elle’s object of desire Warner Huntington III) gave a solid performance.

Calvin Millado spent perhaps less than 15 minutes on stage in the dual roles of Dewey, Paulette’s ex-boyfriend, and Kyle, the UPS Delivery man. He’s the requisite ass**** in the first role, but is a comedic genius in the second. Every moment he strutted onstage in the iconic brown shorts and shirt, he sent the audience roaring.

The technicals were a mixed bag for me. The sets by Mio Infante were wonderful, and the sound design by Bobbit Jacinto was great in spots, faulty in others.

The band led by Beth Martin was, although energetic from start to finish, sounded uneven.

There were also moments when Ms Gil’s delicate features were obscured by her blonde mane.

The solution to the production’s little hiccups is time. Over the next couple of weeks until the end of its run, the show should form into a more cohesive whole.

Posted by jayvee 04:13 Comments (0)

Legally Blonde, Legally Great!


After the long wait, I finally got the chance to watch Legally Blonde the Musical here in Manila!
It was staged at the Meralco Theatre by Atlantis Production. The Musical starred Nikki Gil as Elle Woods, Nyoy Volante as Emmett Forrest, and (OMG!) Guji Lorenzana as Warner Huntington. They were joined by a superb group of theatre actors whom I saw in other Atlantis' Productions.

Here are some of my pet peeves! HAHA.

The girls who played as the sorority sisters of Elle Woods was just "ok" for me. I cant understand the lyrics the sung at first, maybe because of the blockings and dancing they did during the first part. Buti na lang their choreography killed it, galing!


Nikki Gil was such a revelation for me in this production. Yes, I do love her voice even before but this was the first time that I saw her play in a musical and she did a great great job. I do hope she would play more musicals pa! On the other hand, Nyoy Volante still transported me into his world of pop vocals and guitars. But still, nice!

Guji was like 'Omigod', everytime he sings - people cant stop to murmur! Gwapo siya in person, great voice, great diction and very elegant - in fairness! Nakakainis ngalang he never got out after the show! Arrrgh!

Jett Pangan played Professor Callahan. As expected and as always - he never failed to give such powerful vocals! Being a rockstar and a theatre actor is never too bad!

Wohooo! At last, I saw once again Felix Rivera! HAHA. Na-aamaze talaga ako sa kanya. I love his voice and his acting. Sometimes ko nalang napapanood sa TV ang commercial niya for "Great Taste coffee" (hahaha!) I saw him first in Avenue Q where he played the role of Princeton and the maybe-gay Rod! In Legally Blonde, he played Grandmaster Chad and the gay Nikos! Im not just sure if he really did kiss his role's lover Carlos! LOL.

Other cast members whom I really adore are Cris Villonco, Calvin Millado, Geneva Cruz and Jinky Llamanzares. They are the Philippines' versatile theatre actors. Kakaiba talaga sila. Very broadways-ish!!!!

Still thinking if I would watch again! :)))

Posted by jayvee 22:21 Comments (0)

For the better...

To new beginnings.
I am full of hope.
Goodluck, Philippines!


Posted by jayvee 22:20 Comments (0)

To new beginnings!

noynoy aquino time magazine cover.jpg

Congratulations to the newly elected President of our country.

Last wednesday, June 30, Benigno S. Aquino III was sworn in as our 15th Preseident.
I was glued on TV the whole day actually hanggang gabi at hindi ko man lang naranasan ang makasakay ng libre sa MRT at LRT.

I was with full anticipation during this event - as in inabangan ko naman talaga. First time talaga ako nakawitness ng ganito on National Television. Wala pa akong muwang noong nag sworn into office si former president Gluring na Rep. Gloria na ang drama ngayon.

I hope Noynoy does well. I voted for him and i'm real proud.

As Mae Paner said - "I Juana Change". I hope the Filipino people especially the youth would make the most of this. Utang na loob, sana naman may mangyari na.

I am just hopeful of a better Philippines in the years to come.

Posted by jayvee 08:05 Comments (0)

Cats in Manila!

So excited for this!

CATS Now and Forever

With Lea Salonga as Grizabella

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Based on “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T. S. Eliot

Performances starting July 24
For a strictly limited season
Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, CCP

Ticket Prices:

SAT (3:00pm)
SUN (2:30pm)
PhP7000 PhP5000 PhP3500 PhP2000 PhP1000

TUE, WED, THU (8:00pm)
SUN (7:30pm)
PhP6000 PhP4500 PhP3000 PhP1500 PhP750

FRI, SAT (8:00pm)
PhP7000 PhP5000 PhP3500 PhP2000 Php1000

Ticket Prices are exclusive of Ticketworld fees.

SHOW DATES (as of April 2010)
SAT July 24 Matinee
SAT July 24 Evening
SUN July 25 Matinee
SUN July 25 Evening
TUE July 27 Evening
WED July 28 Evening
THU July 29 Evening
FRI July 30 Evening
SAT July 31 Matinee
SAT July 31 Evening
SUN August 1 Matinee
SUN August 1 Evening
TUE August 3 Evening
WED August 4 Evening
THU August 5 Evening
FRI August 6 Evening
SAT August 7 Matinee
SAT August 7 Evening
SUN August 8 Matinee
SUN August 8 Evening
TUE August 10 Evening
WED August 11 Evening
THU August 12 Evening
FRI August 13 Evening
SAT August 14 Matinee
SAT August 14 Evening
SUN August 15 Matinee
SUN August 15 Evening

Posted by jayvee 06:56 Comments (0)

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