October 13, 2009


Julia Miles Theater

One doesn't see too many Filipino musicals in these parts, especially with an all Filipino cast. So of course I had to see Pan Asian Repertory Theater's (in association with East West Players) production of Imelda: A New Musical. It was a 2 hour long look into the former first lady's life, starting from when she was an aspiring beauty queen dating a young and earnest Ninoy Aquino (Brian Jose) and ending in disgrace with the People Power Revolution.

Perhaps I was expecting too much, but I don't think Sachi Oayama's book truly captured Imelda Marcos' egomania, ambition and cunning. Or maybe Jaygee Macapugay is just too likeable and sympathetic. Too much emphasis was placed on Imeldific's shopaholism and not enough on the Machiavellian ways that earned her the "Steel Butterfly" nickname. Mel Sagrado Maghuyop's Ferdinand Marcos was menacing and devious, but maybe just a tad too sinister and only marginally hinting of that famous Marcos charm. Nathan Wang's pop-inspired score and Aaron Coleman's lyrics were entertaining. Three Muses---Angelica-Lee Aspiras, Sacha Iskra and Jonelle Margallo--- served as story-tellers. All the cast members did a wonderful job.

The highlight for me was Liz Casasola's (as the widowed Cory) stirring number in the second act, Myself, My Heart. It brought me to tears. I wept for the real Mrs. Aquino's life, her recent passing, as much as I did for my country, its current problems and uncertain future. Now there's a musical I'd like to see, one inspired by a true heroine, the woman-behind-the-man, former President Corazon Aquino.

The limited engagement ends this Sunday, the 18th of October.


Pinky said...

I agree that a better musical would be made out of Cory Aquino's life. That would be inspirational. They did have one in Manila with Isay Alvarez as Cory. I haven't heard reviews about it though.

LINK: http://broadwayworld.com/article/MISS_SAIGONs_Isay_Alvarez_Plays_Cory_Aquino_In_Musical_20090822

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