One word that best describes Pinoy talent? World-Class. It seems only fitting specially now that Filipino actors are being recognized all over the world for their acting prowess, proving that Pinoy artists are forces to be reckoned with, be it on TV, on the big screen, or on stage.
What’s really cool and unique about Pinoy artists, is that they can pretty much do anything and everything. Here we often see hardcore dramatic actors-turned-hosts, TV hosts-turned-recording artists, and rock stars-turned-theater actors as in the case of The Voice of the Philippines Season 2 finalist and former lead vocalist of Rivermaya Jason Fernandez, who will be joining forces with Chicosci lead vocalist Miggy Chavez, and one of the Philippines’ most iconic rockstars, Basti Artadi of Wolfgang, for the local adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Green Day's American Idiot.
Based on Green Day’s (the band behind classic hits When September Ends and 21 Guns) number one comeback album of the same name, the musical, directed by Robbie Guevarra, tells the story of three suburban youths as they leave the comforts of their town and face reality head on dealing with timely issues of disillusionment, drugs, war, broken relationships, hope, and love, among other things.
Jason Fernandez, Miggy Chavez, and Nel Gomez as Johnny, Will, and Tunny
Talking about the similarities between him and his character Johnny, Jason says, “Dumating kasi ako sa point na may pangarap ako pero hindi ko alam paano ko sisimulan, meron akong gustong gawin sa buhay pero hindi ko alam kung saan ako pupunta. Si Johnny ganun, pero ang kagandanhan ang lesson dito basta meron sa puso mo nun, yung dream hindi ka titigil hangga’t hindi mo nakukuha. So ganun yung nangyari kay Johnny na nangyari din sa’kin.”
But unlike Jason who has experience in acting both on stage, with his former theater group Sining Pinagpala, and on TV (he’s currently on the Julia Montes-starrer afternoon drama Doble Kara), Miggy, on the other hand, has zero experience in theater. And when asked how he prepared for his first foray into theater, Miggy shares: “Well, we have to learn the songs tapos pag-uwi hindi pa tapos yun, kasi ako I practice at home. Sila kasi they do these talaga they sing really, really well and I keep telling myself that I have to work twice as hard, kasi ako I sing songs that we wrote, eto this a whole show of singing songs that aren’t mine, that I did not write. Tapos I have to play the guitar pa not just sing, kasi in my band I just sing but dito I have to play the guitar so I also have to learn that.”
Joining the three rock stars in the lead cast are some of the country’s most sought-after theater actors today such as former MYX VJ and veteran thespian Nel Gomez, Ela Lisondra of Disney Paris and Hong Kong, and most recently Miss Saigon, Yanah Laurel of Spring Awakening and Rizal X, and Alex Godinez of Grease and High School Musical who started acting at an early age. “I was nine-years-old when I did my first workshop and I did [the Philippine theatre adaptation of] High School Musical in 2007 as Sharpay Evans (originally played by Ashley Tisdale) and then I left for the States and studied music. For me I need it more than I want it—it’s not about the fame and fortune anymore, it’s more like if I don’t act at least once a year I might explode with emotions.”
Ela Lisondra, Yanah Laurel, and Alex Godinez as Extraordinary Girl, Whatsername, and Heather
With two Tony Awards under the Broadway musical’s belt, one could only imagine the pressure it puts on the cast, but Nel takes it all in stride. “No, it’s not daunting at all, this Tony award-winning show. If we win our own awards here in the Philippines it would be great, but I think the main thing for any actor or director coming into a show is to tell that story and you find your audience and you tell it to them and move them, awards or not.” He adds, “Plus it’s in a different country, that one is in the States in Broadway. Here, we have to deal with so many different things, we’re very fortunate that we have a blessing like Globe to back us up here, which is amazing because not all theater companies have this kind of backing and with somebody like Joe Caliro (one of the executive producers) involved in the process, it happens very seldom.”
Produced by Globe and 9 Works Theatrical, Green Day's American Idiot marks Globe’s first venture into theatre having been known for producing concerts of high caliber, with Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour being one of the latest. “If you look at entertainment, there is certain entertainment that’s unreachable. I can see a movie, I can see an EDM DJ, I can go to Hard Rock and listen to a band, but unless I got P8,000 I can’t go see theater right?” explains Mr. Joe Caliro, Globe’s Head of Stores and Retail Transformation Management. “Yes, I can see local productions but even local productions are around P4,000. So what we wanted to do is produce something at the Globe Iconic store where you can spend P2,000 and sitting in seats and see it the way people see theater or you can sit in the grass or stand there and watch it and its free.”
American Idiot the Musical will be held in what Joe calls an “accidental theater.” “This is an outdoor space, right, so as an outdoor space there are 600 seats that people would buy tickets or do something to get the tickets but if you are familiar with the BGC amphitheater there are people sitting in restaurants, there are people on seventh street, there are people walking down the sidewalks, all these people are going to walk by and go ‘Wow what is that?’. In most cases if it’s not interesting, you’ll keep going but if it’s interesting you stop. This show is so high energy, so octane, you are going to stop, then you’re going to stand, then you’re going to find a place to sit down and hopefully the next, you’ll buy tickets so you’re not sitting on the grass.”
The complete cast of Green Day's American Idiot the Musical
This brand new theatrical venue emerges as Globe opens its world-class flagship Globe Iconic Store. Two separate stores will open on opposite buildings, connected by a pioneering glass bridge. This bridge, flanked by two massive LED screens on each side can be converted into a performance space catering to an audience below. This structure is dynamic and innovative and when merged with the creative minds of the Philippine theatre industry, it becomes an open-air stage with limitless possibilities.
Talking about the Globe Iconic store Joe says, “The concept of the Globe Iconic Store is built on the Gen 3 store. The idea is we want to transform retail into experiential so people can experience content, because this is what we are, we are content savvy so what the Iconic Store intends to do is experience that on a grand scale, hence it’s why we picked theater to open it because most people have not experienced theater because of the price of the tickets so we got 9 Works—we’re going to roll the base of theater in the Philippines one person at a time or in the case of the Iconic Store, 3,000 people at a time.”
As to what you can definitely look forward to from the show Basti shares, “Expect a live action-packed, energy-filled extravaganza. That’s how I would describe it. There’s great music, great characters, and there’s an emotional story that’s under all of this action and music which something I think everyone can relate to.”
Check out this video for a sneak peek:
American Idiot will be shown on June 24, 25, 26, July 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 & 10, 2016 at 8PM, at the Globe Iconic Store, Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For tickets, contact +632-5867105, +63917-5545560, Ticketworld at +632-8919999, email [email protected], or visit www.globe.com.ph/American-Idiot. Facebook: 9WorksTheatrical. Twitter & Instagram: @9WTonline. Facebook: GlobePH. YouTube: GlobePH. Twitter & Instagram: @enjoyGlobe. Hashtag: #Globe9WTAmericanIdiot
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Photographs courtesy of Globe