9 Works Theatrical's Grease Manila: The One That We Want!

I remember listening to an Olivia Newton-John album as a young kid and being fascinated with some of the songs she sang. I recall liking the upbeat melodies of Summer Lovin' and You're The One That I Want. So it was a pleasant surprise to find out later that those songs were sung in a film that stars Olivia and John Travolta

This 2013, Manila is in for a treat as 9 Works Theatrical brings Grease to life on stage. The production is made up of theater veterans and talented newbies who promise to take audiences on a rockin' ride to the 1950s for huge doses of laughter, love, great music, and lots of a-wop-bam-boom!

For those who are only familiar with the movie version, Grease was originally staged on Broadway in 1972. With book, music, and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, it became one of the longest-running musicals. The movie, on the other hand, came out in 1978 and has the distinction of being one of the highest-grossing movie musicals of all time.

The story is about a small town called Rydell where the senior class from the local high school are all concerned about fitting in, growing up, and, of course, finding love. Two groups, the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies rule the school. 

The tale begins when the T-Bird gang leader Danny Zuko and new-girl-in-town Sandy Dumbrowski have a summer fling. Leading the cast as the teenage lovebirds are Gian Magdangal and Francheska Farr, both popular TV personalities who are no strangers to the theater stage.

Returning home to 9WT is singer, actress, and MYX VJ Iya Villania, who will play the role of Betty Rizzo, the outspoken and sassy leader of the Pink Ladies. She was last seen on stage as Julia Sullivan in The Wedding Singer. Alternating with her is Jennifer Blair-Bianco, a Fil-Am actress, singer, and songwriter who performed early this year in Repertory Philippines' Boeing Boeing.

Another fresh face making a Philippine stage debut is Rafa Siguion-Reyna who plays the T-Birds' second-in-command, Kenickie. Adding to the mix of newbies is Romanian-Chinese Carla Dunareanu who will play Marty, the fashion-conscious beauty of the Pink Ladies.

Joining the main actors are some of the country's notable theater performers that include Reb Atadero as the mischievous Roger, Mark Tayag as lady-killer Sonny Latierri, Vince Lim as dopey guitar-playing Doody, Peachy Atilano as good-natured, beauty school dropout Frenchie, and Sarah Facuri as the awkward and compulsive-eating Jan.

Rounding up the rest of the cast are Carlos Canlas who will play the all-American rockstar "greaser" Johnny Casino, James Stacey as the fast-talking DJ Vince Fontaine, Harold Cruz as the awkward class valedictorian Eugene Florcyzk, Sab Jose as the enthusiastic cheerleader Patty Simcox, Angela Padilla as the no-nonsense English teacher Miss Lynch, and Carmelle Ros as the loud-mouthed dancer Cha-cha Digregorio.

Something that audiences would be excited to know is that there will be a surprise guest every show to play the role of Teen Angel who serenades the character of Frenchie during "Beauty School Dropout". All the Teen Angels, we were told, would definitely be either a notable stage, film, or TV actor.

Grease's artistic team is composed of director Robbie Guevarra and assistant director Lorenz Martinez, Joseph Tolentino as musical director for instrumentation, Sweet Plantado-Tiongson as musical director for vocals, Arnold Trinidad and Francis Matheu as choreographers, Mio Infante as scenographer (set and costume design), John Batalla as lighting designer, Chuck Ledesma as sound designer, Myrene Santos as hair and makeup designer, Twinkle Zamora for costume execution, Leo Castillo as photographer, Tin Samson as playbill editor, and Larry Palma as graphic designer.

Heading the production team is Santi Santamaria, with Anna Santamaria as company manager, Toff de Venecia as PR director, GM Hernandez as marketing manager, Jonjon Martin as PR manager, Sunshine Domine as production manager, and Aries Alcayaga as stage manager.

Grease will be staged at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium all weekends starting November 9 to December 1, 2013. It will have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday galas at 8PM with Saturday matinees at 3:30PM and Sunday matinees at 4PM.

A limited number of performances are available for fundraising and block-buying. For tickets and other inquiries, please call 586.7105 or 0917.554.5560. You may also email info@9workstheatrical.com. for updates, please like 9workstheatrical on Facebook, and follow @9WTonline on Twitter and Instagram. Please use the hashtag #GREASEManila.

Grease is presented by 9 Works Theatrical together with The Rockwell Club and Raffles Makati. It is presented through special arrangement with, and all authorized performance materials are supplied by Theatrical Rights Worlwide (RTW), www.theatricalrights.com

* See more photos of the cast during the press conference here

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