Erik, Rachelle Ann venture into theater via ‘The Little Mermaid’

Erik, Rachelle Ann venture into theater via ‘The Little Mermaid’
mb.com.ph
By JOJO P. PANALIGAN
May 20, 2011, 4:31am

erik santos MANILA, Philippines — Champion singers and real-life best friends Erik Santos and Rachelle Ann Go venture into theater big time by playing lead in the local staging of the Broadway Musical Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” which runs from Nov. 18 to Dec. 11, 2011 at the Meralco Theater.

In an interview with Bulletin Entertainment last May 17, Santos disclosed that him playing the role of Prince Eric was something director Bobby Garcia had “told” him about two years ago.

“After watching one of his plays back then, he gave me a CD and said, ‘Pakinggan mo ito because you will be doing this for a play two years from now.’ It’s not as if tinatanong niya ako kung gusto ko or what, kundi sinabi niya na ito ang gagawin ko,” Erik said.

The CD contained music from “The Little Mermaid,” which got Santos both excited and nervous when he heard it.

“Iba kasi ang placement ng boses na ginamit and ang gaganda talaga ng mga kanta. I’ve not had acting experience that time so I wasn’t sure if I can do it though gusto ko talaga sanang gawin.”

True to his word, Garcia had only Santos in mind when time finally came to cast an actor for the role Prince Eric.

“Siguro kasi Erik din ang pangalan ko sa totoong buhay,” the singer joked.

Two of Santos’ favorite songs in the musical are “One Step Closer” and “Her Voice.” Santos even plans to record a pop version of the second song for his forthcoming album due out July.

Although Go had to audition for the title role, she was a shoo-in the moment the people heard her sing and saw her test shots. Santos, himself, said that it was as if the role was made for her.

Her first time to do a musical though he had long wanted to be in one, Go is thankful that her first try has turned out to be huge.

“Who doesn’t know ‘The Little Mermaid?’ Andaming bata ang lumaki sa music from the Disney version at hanggang ngayon, pinapanood pa din ito,” she said.

She reveals praying for the right project in theater for some time now. And although she has been offered roles in musicals before, she knew the moment she heard about “The Little Mermaid” being staged in Manila that it was the perfect project for her.

“Ni hindi ko na inisip kung makukuha ko ba yung role. What was important to me was that I don’t let pass the opportunity.”

There are other firsts for Go in “Little Mermaid:” First time to wear a mermaid’s costume, and first time to do a kissing scene.

“Fortunately, Erik and I are really good friends in life kaya I don’t think magkakaron pa ng “ilangan” factor between us. We even call each other ‘Bes’ [as in best friend],” she said.

Go is as excited with the music of “The Little Mermaid” as Santos. Although one of the best vocalists around, she plans to take up advanced voice lessons just to ensure that her voice can keep up with the demands of the role.

“Hindi lang yung placement at register ng boses, kundi yung stamina na kailangan ang dapat i-develop kasi we’ll be singing almost everyday when the run starts,” she noted.

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” features the songs “Part Of Your World,” “Kiss The Girl” and the Academy Award-winning Best Original Song, “Under The Sea,” composed by the renowned songwriting team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. The stage adaptation also features 10 new songs by Menken and Glenn slater, plu a book by tony-winning playwright Doug Wright.

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” to be staged in the Philippines by Atlantis Production, will be directed by Bobby Garcia and Chari Arepacochaga, both of whom were in Hawaii last year to take an Asian Puppetry workshop which they will use for many of the sea creatures.

“We are creating a ‘Little Mermaid’ unlike any other. It will be an exciting fusion of East meets West elements. Our underwater kingdom will be completely Asian in theme and our above water world will be Western, representing two different worlds. We will also be using traditional forms of Asian and Western puppetry including Wayang shadow play, bunraku, nang kaloung and western hand puppetry. We can’t wait to begin!” Garcia was quoted as saying

in a release.

Atlantis Productions’ staging of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” is made possible through a special licensing agreement with Music Theatre International.

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