My comments are based on the matinee show last November 23, 2008.
When the first news about Atlantis Productions’ doing Hairspray here in Manila came out, my Plurk friends and I started planning to see the said show. After months (or was it weeks?) of planning, we were able to see the show last November 23, 2008 at the Star Theater, CCP Complex. We were able to watch the matinee show with Madel Ching as Tracy Turnblad.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see the first musical number, Good Morning Baltimore, which I was really looking forward to. Anyway, we were able to hear the song but wasn’t able to see the execution for we were at the lobby. Latecomers are not allowed to enter the theater when a musical number is being performed. So for those catching the remaining shows of Hairspray, please be at the venue at least an hour before the show.
Madel Ching really shined during the November 23rd Matinee show. The role of Tracy Turnblad really fits her. But, I really want to see Karla Reyes (Tracy Understudy) perform. So if you have an idea when she’s performing as Tracy, please please please inform me! My friends and I were unanimous in saying the Tim Espinosa isn’t the best Link Larkin. We were actually disappointed with his performance. And, who would have thought that Nyoy Volante, who played Seaweed, dances very well? Props to Michael de Mesa (Edna) and Leo Rialp (Wilbur) for a superb performance; they looked very cute onstage. Dulce, who played Motormouth Maybelle saved the whole show from doom. Her performance that day was really superb and gave me the goosebumps especially during the “I Know Where I’ve Been” number. Claps to Mechu Lauchengco-Yulo who played Velma and Christine Allado who played Amber. I think some of the cast members lack the energy.
The sets and props are just fine — nothing extraordinary. As similar with my West Side Story experience, the sound system is a major distraction. There are a lot of times that crackling and popping sounds would come out of the speakers. Some of the body microphones were problematic too; hence, the bad audio quality. During the first part of the play, I actually thought that they are using canned music until one of my friends pointed out where the orchestra (Filharmonika) was located which happens to be at the right side of the theater.
My favorite musical numbers include Good Morning Baltimore, I Can Hear The Bells, Welcome to the 60s, I Know Where I’ve Been, Without Love and You Can’t Stop the Beat.
I know that flaws during a stage musical presentation are unavoidable. Despite all, I enjoyed the shows and it didn’t fail to make me laugh. Congratulations to the cast, the orchestra, producers, director, staff, crew, and everyone else behind Hairspray.
HAIRSPRAY is directed by Bobby Garcia, Choreography by Cecille Martinez, Musical Direction by Archie Castillo, Production Design by Gino Gonzales, Lighting Design by Shoko Matsumoto and Specialty wigs by The Broadway Wig Co.
Hairspray runs from November 14 to December 7, 2008 at the Star Theatre, CCP Complex. For tickets call Atlantis Productions at 892-7078, 840-1187 or Ticketworld at 891-9999. Tickets are priced at P1,200, P1,000, P800, and P600. Ticket Prices are subject to surcharges.