Peter Pan!

Second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning! — Peter Pan is currently playing at the Meralco Theater!

Peter Pan is the first collaboration of Repertory Philippines and Stages, and the first time this particular version, by Stiles and Drewe and the late Willis Hall, is being staged in Asia. The musical is, of course, based on the timeless tale written by J.M. Barrie.

I’ve always loved Peter Pan, and I was excited to watch it on stage. Lucky I caught the press preview over a week ago (special thanks to my boss and Rep).

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Caught Repertory Philippines’ Seussical previews this weekend (thanks to Jeeves for the friday night, and my boss for Saturday morning) and I’m still singing along to the songs. Even my dog likes Seussical — he wags his tail every time I play the soundtrack.

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I read T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats last year and found out it was the book on which the musical Cats was based. I didn’t think I would get to see the musical on its Manila run because the tickets are fabulously expensive, but a couple of orchestra tickets magically fell into my hands on Friday afternoon, courtesy of my boss (thank you! thank you!), so my sister and I got to watch the musical that same night.

Cats is one of the longest-running shows in the history of musical theater. Its composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, counts Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats as one of his favorite childhood books, and most of the musical is based on the cats in Eliot’s verse, except mainly Grizabella the glamor cat  (who has grown old and gray) and a few other cats, who (presumably) were written in to tie the story together.

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Love, love, love


For some reason, a bunch of books I’ve read recently has been about love. So in an attempt to hack off a chunk of the reading backlog, this post will tackle four books that revolve around this theme, namely: Aspects of Love by David Garnett; Oliver’s Story by Erich Segal; Forever by Judy Blume; and Shakespeare in Love: The Love Poetry of William Shakespeare (books # 91-94 of 2009).

aspectsAspects of Love is the novella on which the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same title is based. I’ve never seen the musical, but I remember reading about it when it was staged by a local production here in the Philippines, so I was curious about the book.

Aspects of Love deals with different forms of love, involving the web of relationships that involve the sultry actress Rose Vibert; her young admirer Alexis Dillingham; his uncle, the wealthy gentleman George Dillingham; George’s mistress, the fiery artist Giuletta Trappani; and Rose and George’s daughter, Jenny.

It was a quick read for me, but I wasn’t fully invested in it because I felt that it was merely narrating a story and didn’t really break the surface of what the characters were supposedly feeling. It was hard to empathize with the characters because the brevity of the novella (which spans 17 years) didn’t really give you much to work with, and it really reads as if it were meant for another medium, such as the stage, or even film.

I imagine it works better as a musical, as the characters can break out into song and act out their feelings. My officemates seem to love it though, as the book is currently making the rounds at work.

The next two books are two I’ve wanted to read for some time now, both mooched from Tina.

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ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal (2nd time around)

Yesterday, I watched Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal with my best friend, my sister, and fellow Flippers Czar, Marie, MayD, and Ihop (with Mr. Ihop and friend) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

ZZZ 2009 poster (from

Because I have readers outside of the Philippines, I need to explain: Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah is a campy, original Filipino graphic novel by Carlo Vergara. It’s about a gay parlorista (hairdresser/ beauty specialist) whose alter ego is the busty, bodacious FEMALE superhero Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah.

The graphic novel

Last July, the Flippers had a Zsa Zsa book discussion and we were lucky enough to have Carlo Vergara on hand to listen to our discussion and answer our questions about the book (and sign autographs too!). With him was Tuxqs Rutaquio, who plays the lead, Ada, in the musical.

CarVer and Tuxqs at the FFP discussion

Flippers take on ZsaZsa!

Yesterday was actually the second time I watched the musical, as I watched it on its second run at the PETA theater nearly three years ago, before I even read the book, and I have to say it was one of the best things I’ve ever watched onstage. The theater was small and the stage was in the center, and I really enjoyed watching it up close.

So I didn’t mind watching it a second time, although turned out to be a different experience for me.

A few boos: we had reserved P600 seats, only to find out when we claimed the tickets that our reserved seats had been sold to some other people (they refunded P100) and we had seats at the far end of the theater, along the side, and the most annoying of them all: right next to the exit door so all the latecomers had to pass in front of us. Granted, it was a night of horrendous traffic (Eheads concert at MOA), but theater policy should limit late entrance to the intermission, or else they need to devise a way to let the people in without disturbing any of the seated audience who came on time to watch the show.

And my beef: the theater’s audio was really bad. There were times when it was too loud (the earsplitting scene when Ada and Didi were screaming, thinking the house was getting attacked by stone-throwers) and times when the mics were crackly or picked up feedback. But most of the time, especially for the songs layered with background music and solos performed upstage — we couldn’t make out the solos. The play is a musical, they should have made sure everyone could hear it properly — isn’t that a theater rule, to make sure “the deaf old lady in the back row” could hear everything clearly?

The show was still enjoyable despite the aforementioned logistical and technical flaws, if only because of the show’s entertainment value. The camaraderie between Ada and Didi (played by Tuxqs Rutaquio and Joey Paras) was as fascinating as I remembered it, and Eula Valdez as Zsa Zsa was quite possibly even more stellar this time around. I also love that they updated the script and it was still laugh-out-loud funny (at least for what dialogue made it to our far end of the theater), but I really missed the overall WOW experience I had first time I watched it.

Oh, and I should have brought my copy of the book for a third autograph!

My copy: paperback (books I & II combined), bought at PETA run, autographed twice by CarVer (first at the PETA run, second at the FFP reading)

My rating: book 5/5 stars; musical – PETA run 5/5 stars; 2009 run 3.5/5 stars