“The Little Mermaid’ has got the sparks for Erik, Rachelle Ann

“The Little Mermaid’ has got the sparks for Erik, Rachelle Ann
Gossip Girl
By GISELLE SANCHEZ
mb.com – November 30, 2011

erik santosMANILA, Philippines — Gossip Girl just heard from a fish in the sea that lead star of Little Mermaid Rachelle Ann Go is healing a broken heart. According to my sea urchin (did I say fish a while ago?), Rachelle Anne who happens to be a kapuso star was dating a kapamilya TV host just about the same size and age as she. But her broken heart did not at all affect her acting and musical performance as Ariel in Atlantis Productions of “The Little Mermaid.”

As I quote Ursula, her “vibrato, her legato, and even her belt” was impeccable! Even her eyes, which supposedly mirrors what a person really feels, were bright and gleaming with happiness and bubbliness just like Ariel in the Disney movie. I can say that she can be the next Lea Salonga. Even Lea Salonga herself said, “I don’t know that the superlatives in my vocabulary could cover just how wonderful I thought she was (Rachelle Ann Go).”

Erik Santos was grand and regal, very princely indeed. From our trip two years ago in Santorini, his diction in English has vastly improved and I was impressed.

Of course his voice is forever enchanting and powerful which is the reason why he was the grand champion of the very first “Star in A Million” in ABS-CBN. He is also very handsome so I am just counting the days when Rachelle Ann gets smitten by his gentleness and charming looks.

My daughter and I who both watched their performance actually got “kilig” on their kissing scenes when both their lips pressed. Erik and Rachelle Ann have a loving chemistry onstage that I am hoping can develop offstage.

And if it won’t, something in the universe must be wrong for these two perfect beings not to fall in love with each other!

As for the other characters, my hands and knees are bent to venerate your flawless performances. Directors Bobby Garcia and Chari Arespacochaga did a very good job blocking and directing the cast.

Jinky Llamanzares who portrayed Ursula blew my mind, body and soul! I have always wanted to do Ursula, that’s my dream role! So I have already plotted every step that Ursula will make. Every note and lyric that Ursula will belt or growl is already directed in my mind.

And so if the actress does not even come close to the Ursula in my mind, she will definitely have a bad review from me. Jinky Llamanzares freakin’ beat the actress in my mind in voice, action, diction and song! Fantastic!

I can definitely say that OJ Mariano, who portrayed the role of Sebastian, is a very good actor and a fabulous singer. He can actually belt high notes a la Earth, Wind and Fire style then go down on the other side of the scale showing his grand vocal range. However OJ was more concerned on his acting and vocal technique that he tends to forget to be loose and comedic which is what Sebastian is all about.

There was a moment in the play, though, that I caught the real Sebastian in him. It was the scene where he was teaching Ariel to pucker her lips so that she can kiss the prince and get her voice back.

Knowing OJ, once he reads this article, he can definitely adjust and just enjoy his role because Sebastian is the vital key for laughter in the “Little Mermaid.”

It is always understood that musicales in the Philippines can never beat the Broadway musicales funded by the Jews in New York. And so I call our productions a miracle and the people behind it, wizards!

Wizards because they can actually transform a meager budget into a fantabulous production. It was obvious that the production design had a working budget but they were able to transform Meralco into a visual feast for the audience.

Even the cheap animation and puppet effect actually worked and served its purpose! The costumes were fantabulous especially Ursula’s, although I kinda thought Flounder was a sultan prince of the Alladin musicale lost at sea.

The mermaid fins were a little disturbing at first. It made me hungry because it reminded me of giant prawns in my surf and turf dinner plate. But when Ariel would lie down or lounge in a certain angle, the fins actually work.

Of course we cannot expect a Filipino production to have everybody in harnesses floating onstage all the time. It would be a nightmare for the mermaids to be belting while being constricted with harnesses.

Thank you, Atlantis Productions, for making us children again. Thank you, Ceejay Javier, because your musical direction made me high the entire play.

I wish we could have more musicales like this in the Philippines. And once the Jews see the talents of the Filipinos and start investing in musicales in the Philippines, count me in! Plan to be the next Ursula.

“The Little Mermaid” runs in Meralco Theater till Dec. 11.

Giselle Sanchez is a singer, stand-up comedienne and corporate host. She will have a concert with the Acafellas on Dec. 9 at The Philippine Heart Center. For tickets please call Dr. Jhulliet at 09175070560. Follow her on Twitter (@GiselleXanchez) and Facebook (gossipgirlgiselle@gmail.com). Her Bohol Beachfront hostel will officially open to guests on January 2012, go to http://www.gisellesanchez.com for details.

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