I had counted down the days towards the much awaited event on June 26, 2011, Sunday.
For those of you who've dropped in some guesses...
It's not a post independence day celebration.
It's not my graduation day.
No, It's not my birthday.
Someone did not propose to me.
It's not the second coming of Christ. Although I heard that it's near.
Of course, I did not propose to anyone either.
It's AW Day -- The Andrew Lloyd Webber Day!
For those who fancy the breed of art that delights both your visual and auditory senses, this is for you. Broadway.
I was ten years old when I got to watch my first musical. I can still remember the intense mood blanketing the hall.. the heavy percussion beating at the beginning, the chorus adamantly singing "Do you hear the people sing.. singing the songs of angry men..," the little girl pitifully sweeping the floors while wishing for a castle on a cloud. Although I didn't understand Les Miserables then -- since a bulk of the story was sung in songs, it was love at first sight.
Fifteen years later, the fervor hasn't really faded. I got extremely excited when I saw an ad in the newspaper that had featured an all-star cast from Australia that was coming to perform hits of the internationally-acclaimed music icon, Andrew Lloyd Webber. I booked for tickets as soon as I could get my hand on a phone. True enough, it was indeed a great experience enter the world of Andrew Lloyd Webber and enjoy his masterpieces.
The show had started on time and we were 3 minutes late. Boo. Restroom traffic. Because of that, my brother-in-Christ/boyfriend David and I missed the opening of what seemed to be the song my dad used to play in the car. I was quite surprised that they opted for a mellow song, Love Changes Everything, as the opening act.
Maybe The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber wants to make a point that love is the most wonderful, beautiful, moving, catalyst in the world. Maybe they want to show that it is Andrew Lloyd Webber's love of music that has made the event possible... and maybe it is his love for music that has captured hearts of people from various generations... or maybe it's his love for the world that leads him to create music... and maybe inspires us to make a positive change through love..
We got to enter during the energetic beaty song, Jellicle Ball. Hurrying to our seats, I noticed that the stage set-up was simple and very versatile. There were two flat screens, one faced diagonally to the right, the other to the left. They showed titles of the musicals and visuals to color the stage during song numbers. There were also two mobile staircases the cast could tumble, run and dance on.
The costumes were also very simple. The black skimpy dress for the ladies was a staple. The only changes I remember were the cat outfits in Cats, leather jackets for the guys in Whistle Down the Wind and Delia Hannah's white gown in Evita. Despite the simplicity, their superb acting was able to compensate for whatever that's lacking. Even from my seat at the lower box, I could see the depth of emotion in the eyes of Michael Cormick when he was singing The Music of the Night.
Below are the songs performed by the cast of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber in Manila. I've embedded links of available videos online to give you a feel of the songs.
Love Changes Everything (Aspects of Love)
Jellicle Ball (Cats)
Take that Look off Your Face (Tell Me on a Sunday)
And the Money Kept rolling in (Evita)
High Flying, Adored (Evita)
Don't Cry for Me Argentine (Evita) - The transitions of the Evita songs were seamless. The acting was really good. Even if it was just something as plain as walking, I could see the 'nervousness' Delia was trying to portray in Evita. The way she delivered the song --the facial expressions, the tones-- was also very moving.
One Rock n' Roll Too Many (Starlight Express)
Light at the End of the Tunnel (Starlight Express)
Unexpected Song (Song and Dance)
I Don't Know How to Love Him (Jesus Christ Superstar)
Coney Island Waltz (Love Never Dies) - This musical is a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. I still prefer the songs from the first musical.
Till I Hear You Sing (Love Never Dies)
All I Ask of You (The Phantom of the Opera)
Heaven on Their Minds (Jesus Christ Superstar) - This musical sees Jesus from the point of view of Judas Iscariot.
I Believe My Heart (The Woman in White) - I love this song! Perfect for weddings. One creepy psychological musical that is a must watch!
Tell Me on a Sunday (Tell Me on a Sunday)
Sunset Boulevard (Sunset Boulevard)
Pie Jesu (Requiem) - this is a musical Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote when his father died.
No Matter What (Whistle Down the Wind) - the quartet delivered it a lot better than Boyzone. Don't get me wrong, I was once a Boyzone fan.
Whistle Down the Wind (Whistle Down the Wind)
The Vaults of Heaven (Whistle Down the Wind)
With One Look (Sunset Boulevard)
The Music of the Night (The Phantom of the Opera) - Great duet. It could be better if there were more props and grander costumes.
Superstar (Jesus Christ Superstar)
Would you believe that there were only eight of them singing, acting and dancing all throughout the show? And yet, they were able to pull the audience off their seats with a standing ovation.
Two thumbs up for The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber... which was four in our case.