Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Repertory Philippines' Camp Rock: The Musical to Open Nov. 16

Many parents with a tween or teen must have watched Disney Channel's two Camp Rock movies at least once since the first one came out on TV. Me? I can't remember any more how many times I've seen both films. One of my sons, who has special needs and who likes any show with music, have watched our Camp Rock 1 and 2 DVDs over and over for months. 

So yes, I know what the story's all about, how the songs go, and who the characters are. This is very reminiscent of the Barney the Dinosaur and Blue's Clues periods many years ago. I guess it's a kind of second childhood that moms and dads have to go through with each kid. When I found out late last year that Repertory Philippines is coming up with Camp Rock: The Musical during the 2012 Season launch, I knew I'd have to watch it with my son. 

Repertory's version of Camp Rock is based on the hit Disney Channel Original Movies that star teen idols Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers. It is a fast-moving and engaging young love story set to music with catchy and foot-tapping songs such as "This is Me," "Can't Back Down," "It's On," and "We Rock."

Fans of Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam would be delighted to know that the stage version merges both stories. The musical opens with Mitchie and her friends arriving at Camp Rock, ready to spend another summer jamming out and having the time of their lives. Unfortunately, their new and flashy rival, Camp Star, across the lake threatens Camp Rock's very existence. To keep their camp going, Mitchie steps up, rallies her fellow Camp Rockers, and gets them into top shape for the ultimate showdown.

Having two pop-music summer camps competing would be like watching a David vs. Goliath reality show competition between the "good" camp and the "bad" camp. Directing Camp Rock is noted theater veteran Audie Gemora.

According to Audie, "This musical is like cotton candy. Delightful, fluffy, sweet, melts in your mouth in a jiffy but leaves you feeling good after. I agreed to work on this light weight musical because it's my way of sowing into the next generation of musical theater actors." He affirms how much the Philippines is blessed with so many young talents and regrets there are so few shows appropriate for their age. 

"Camp Rock is an ideal material for youngsters. To prepare myself for this production, I recite a mantra, 'Think young! Think young!' The majority of the cast are neophytes. I teach the basics of acting as I direct them. It's like a summer workshop and more," describes Audie. "I love working with young people who have such enthusiasm and energy. My fulfillment is in seeing them grow artistically." What made the press con guests laugh out loud though was when Audie suddenly blurted out, "I feel like Kuya Germs!"

Rep's Associate Artistic Director Menchu Launchengco-Yulo acknowledges the young peoples' talents as a cut above the rest because they underwent a rigorous screening process during the series of auditions. She also reveals that they require all the students to keep up their grades and never neglect school work. The young actors and actresses, who rehearse every night even bring their homework to the theater so they could work on them during breaks. I really find that kind of dedication admirable.

During the press con, we got to hear samples of the songs and felt the energy of the cast during the dance scenes. Performing as Mitchie Torres, a smart, talented, passionate girl who fights for what she believes in, is Morisette Amon

Markki Stroem plays Shane Gray, a spoiled pop star who's the charismatic lead singer of Connect 3 and who is Mitche's boyfriend from last summer. Nacho Tambunting plays Nate Gray, the shy drummer of Connect 3, and Jef Flores plays Jason Gray, the comical, easy-going guitarist of the brothers' band.

Playing Tess Tyler, the diva of Camp Rock and daughter of rockstar T.J. Tyler, is Cheska Ortega

Justine Pena plays the role of Dana Turner, a sweet young girl who plays the keyboard and is the daughter of Camp Star Owner Axel Turner to be played by Rem Zamora

Nel Gomez plays the role of Luke Williams, a big talent with an ego to match. Cara Barredo will be Caitlyn Geller, a quirky and gifted girl who is Mitchie's bestfriend while Mica Fajardo will be Ella Pador, a longtime camper who's very much into fashion.

To play Margaret "Peggy" Dupree, the loyal Camp Rocker who won last year's Final Jam, is David Shawn Delgado. Kiara Dario plays the role of Rosie Day, the new girl at Camp Rock. Justin Valiente plays the role of Barron James, a fabulous hip-hop dancer. Hans Braga plays the role of Sander Loya, Barron's best friend and partner in crime.

Eric Mercado will play Andy Hosten, the guy that is never without his drum sticks. Karyl Factor shall play the role of Georgina Farlow, a slick, enthusiastic reality TV host. Hans Eckstein shall play Brown Cesario, owner and director of Camp Rock, a former rocker who has seen it all.

The ensemble is composed of Jim Dimson, Jazmine Zabala, Alex Reyes, Chaye Magg, Shalee Vicencio, Eddie Thompson, Jim Ferrer, Sam Aquino, Steve Hotchkiss, Kelly Nicolas, Fran Jose, Antonio Lane, Daniel Delgado, Erika Pangan, Aly Wijangco, and Arianna Norton.

Camp Rock: The Musical shall run from November 16 to December 16, 2012 at Onstage, 2/F Greenbelt 1 in Makati City. It is co-presented by Velvet Channel and the City of Makati. This show promises to be an enjoyable treat for the whole family!

Repertory Philippines welcomes reservations for schools, civic groups, and corporate sponsorships. For show details, please call 5716926 or 5714941 or email info@repertory.ph or log on to www.repertory.ph. Tickets are also available through Ticketworld at 8919999 and www.ticketworld.com.ph

For updates, visit www.repertory.ph, subscribe to youtube.com/repertoryphils, and Like Repertory Philippines on Facebook.

* To view more photos during the press con, please click here.

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