Monday, November 23, 2015

The Bridges of Madison County (The Musical) First International Production

The Bridges of Madison County is a 1992 best-selling novel by Robert James Waller that tells the story of a married but lonely Italian woman living in 1960s Madison County, Iowa. Wikipedia

Before the blockbuster movie was shown I was able to read the book.  Everyone seemed to have read it before I did, but I didn't want to jump the bandwagon.  It was a bit controversial for someone serving in Church like me so it took a while before I read it.  When I finally read it, I think a year before the movie was shown, I couldn't put the book down.  It was a page turner for me and I found myself imagining what I would do if I were in her situation.  I had no idea that Clint Eastwood would be personifying Robert Kincaid and Meryl Streep would give life to Francesca.  

I had my own vision on how Francesca and Robert connected with each other and how inviting someone over for iced tea meant something else.

If I were Francesca, would I let someone like Robert in?  I'm such a paranoid person, but if I were lonely like her, would I forget my principles for someone like him?

When I was reading the book in 1994, I told myself I would.  Are my thoughts still the same? I guess not.  

A moving love story about a photographer on assignment to shoot the historic bridges of Madison County. He meets a housewife, whose husband and children are away on a trip, and the film traces a brief affair that is never sordid but instead one of two soul mates who have met too late. -WWW

Did Clint Eastwood destroy my visualization of Robert? Yes and no. Clint Eastwood is a very good actor.  He may not be that handsome like he was in his younger years, but I didn't mind Clint Eastwood playing Robert, but I must say I had someone else in mind.  Who?  I don't even remember anymore, because somehow, Clint became Robert.  As for dear Ms. Meryl Streep, she was very convincing in playing a role of a woman younger than she was in real life whose dreams were stolen from her.  I could relate in a way because I never imagined myself in my current situation, but like what I always say, I know I am where I belong.  I may have all the 'what ifs' or 'what if I didn't' in my head, but this is where I am supposed to be.

The movie was beautiful and still is.  They could've deleted the part where children were discussing the love story with clinking wine glasses, but...(wait, is there anyone who haven't seen this film or has not read the book? I don't want to give spoilers).


In 2014 this Musical won a couple of Tony Awards: Best Original Score and Best Orchestration for Jason Robert Brown,  "The Band" did justice to Mr. Jason Robert Brown's work.

MiG Ayesa is one of my crushes(I even call him my ultimate crush at times---sometimes it's him sometimes it's Gerard Butler....earlier it was Richard Gere).  According to my mom we're probably related because he is the cousin of Katrina Legarda, because she's from the line of Lola Trining Fernandez(I wonder how she's connected with Lolo Clemente), but hey, I don't even know Katrina Legarda personally, and besides, it's just a harmless (the kind where you just admire someone from afar and not dream of having all those escapades with him etc. or the kind that could lead to a fatal attraction or even having a family with him---there are reality checks---the kind where you won't get angry at the person he loves---the kind where you're happy with his choice)crush, so whether we're related or not, I believe it's immaterial.  :-D

Fan girl mode

When I heard he was playing Robert Kincaid opposite Joanna Ampil, I told myself, You have to watch this!

Thank goodness, my dear friend, Cristine, invited me along with Bettina and her son, Mito and we were psyched for the longest time imaginable. 

We had the grandest time.

I like the way it was written and the music brought out different emotions that were apt for the moment.  Some songs and situations brought tears to my eyes. 
(more below)

Act I

To Build a Home - Francesca and Company

Home Before You Know It - Bud, Michael, Carolyn and Francesca

Temporarily Lost - Robert

What Do You Call a Man? - Francesca

You're Never Alone - Bud and Company

Another Life - Marian

Wondering - Robert and Francesca

Look At Me - Francesca, Robert and Company


The World Inside a Frame - Robert

Something From a Dream - Bud

Get Closer - Marge and Radio Singers

Falling Into You - Robert and Francesca

Act II

State Road 21/The Real World - State Fair Singer, Michael, Carolyn and Company

Who We Are and Who We Want to Be - Robert, Francesca and Company

Almost Real - Francesca

Before and After You/One Second and a Million Miles - Robert and Francesca 

When I'm Gone - Charlie, Bud and Company

It All Fades Away - Robert

Always Better - Francesca, Robert and Company

Nothing beats the original, I know, but among the three formats, I like this one best.  It's the first international production, and I must say, I am very, very impressed.  

I love Joanna Ampil here.  She's my friend's idol and she's the reason why my friend wanted to watch this musical in the first place. OK, she didn't get the Neapolitan(listen to Sophia Loren) accent much(hope she won't get mad at me because she did sort of get it), but her voice(she sings so effortlessly) and her acting were excellent, so I believe it could be overlooked.  What can I say?  She is truly world class. Besides, she has great chemistry with Mr. Ayesa and both of them made a lot of us feel what Francesca and Robert were feeling. They also look awesome together.   (Trivia: She wanted to be a nun before Miss Saigon)

MiG Ayesa, of course, is a great actor and singer, there is no doubt about that.  He is sexy too, and the girls were giggling at Francesca's reaction to a shirtless Robert, and as I observed how Robert kissed Francesca, I must say that he kisses well too.  Sigh.  I'm a super fan and I even admitted to him that he's my crush since...forever! 

While I was immersed in every scene, I momentarily forgot that he was MiG.  He definitely was Robert Kincaid.  I know the story by heart, but I wanted to shout to Francesca, "Run away with him." 

There were a lot of scenes I could relate to there.  Francesca and I are so different, but I connected with her and I felt her agony.  Yes, there was a man who loved her for eighteen years or more, but the past four days...

I mentioned above that the music and certain scenes brought tears to my eyes, but some of those scenes really made me cry.  I remembered that just a few months ago I wanted to run away with someone, but...

Anyways, I wondered how they would show "the struggle".  All I can say is that I liked the way it was presented.


Carla Guevara-Laforteza's voice was so melodic and it resonated from the theater straight to my heart.  Although I have seen her on stage before, I normally see her on TV as an antagonist or something, but she's really a chameleon.  She can play anything. Here, she plays Chiara, Francesca's sister and Marian, Robert's ex-wife.  You know what, if I did not have the program at hand, I wouldn't know that it was played by the same actor.  It's probably because of the lighting, but I believe it's because she's really very versatile.

Nino Alejandro is a revelation here.  I know he's good, but I didn't know he's THAT good.  He had the perfect accent as Bud, Francesca's husband that truly loved her, but didn't know how to make her happy.  His voice has always been wonderful, but boy, he can really, really act so well.  Nino Alejandro, outside the performing arts industry, is a businessman and he has a kind heart too.  Whether he has forgotten about this or not, I will never ever forget that he was very, very nice to my autistic savant brother, RJ, who has already crossed over.  That will always leave a mark in my heart.  God bless him and his family.  

Emeline Celis-Guinid was perfect as Marge and she had great chemistry with Jamie Wilson, who played her husband, Charlie. I'm at a loss for words for the two of them.  They are too talented!

The children were played by beautiful Mikkie Bradshaw and handsome Bibo Reyes, both not new to the stage.  They have played lead roles before.  They sing and act well.  Enough said.

Kudos to the WHOLE cast and crew, most especially to Bobby Garcia, the great director and the virtuoso Ceejay Javier, the Musical Director.  You all did great!  I still have a hangover until now.  Sigh... The ladies at the back said, "It captured the kilig of the book." Do I agree with them?  Yes, of course.  I even think that this version has more of the kilig factor than the book.  Sorry Mr. Waller.  There won't be a movie or a musical about this without your story anyway.  Peace.  :-)

Congratulations too to Ten Bridges Media Corp. and ATLANTIS THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP for another great production!

Some of the photos 

Nel Gomez with Bettina and me

The gang with Nino Alejandro and Emeline Celis- Guinid

Tin and Bettina with MiG Ayesa and Joanna Ampil

Of course, I had to squeeze in

Cristine, Bettina, MiG, Joanna and Mito

With the beautiful versatile thespian, Carla Guevara-Laforteza

Thanks to all of you who signed my souvenir program

Bibo Reyes and Mikkie Bradshaw

Emilene Celis-Guinid (to the guy in pink, thanks for taking one of our pictures)

Nel Gomez

This young man would go places one day

The great musical director, Maestro Ceejay Javier

I was tickled pink because the genius was signing my souvenir program

Get your tickets now!

Ticket World

Date of Performances:
November 20 to December 6, 2015

Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium
4th Floor, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Ave.
cor. Gil Puyat Ave. Makati City

Ticket Prices:
Inclusive of Service Charge

Price Zone 1:
PREMIUM SEATS (center rows D,E,F)
P 3,135

Price Zone 2:
P 2,612.50

Price Zone 3: LOGE CENTER
P 1,776.50

Price Zone 4: LOGE SIDE
P 1,358.50

Price Zone 5: BALCONY
P 940.50 

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