Erik Santos is still able to consult, ‘talk as friends,’ with Boy Abunda

Erik Santos is still able to consult, ‘talk as friends,’ with Boy Abunda
By: Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 7, 2011 | 12:23 am

erik santosErik Santos said all is well between him and TV host Boy Abunda, who used to head the talent management group Backroom Inc. that managed his career for more than seven years.

Santos ended his business relationship with Backroom in August, and is now comanaged by ABS-CBN’s Star Magic group and Cornerstone Talent Management Center. Abunda said his talent agency had to release the singer because he “badmouthed Backroom and lied to some of our common friends.”
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Disney-mania in Manila

Disney-mania in Manila
By Mirava M. Yuson
The Philippine Star
December 05, 2011

erik santosMANILA, Philippines – One of the most commonly heard complaints about local stage productions is that they’re not “big” enough. What exactly they’re not big enough for is something never quite elaborated on. Presumably, naysayers are picturing falling chandeliers and giant clock faces when they imply lack of stage space (even though CCP was able to fit a life-sized helicopter onstage back in 2000), or worse, a lack of variety in capable performers who can fill the shoes of Broadway greats. Sadly, such claims only prove that characteristic Filipino self-deprecation is still alive and well.

It may be true that we have a bizarre love for scaffolding, as well as abstract backgrounds that can stand in for different locations (a colorful one can be the stained-glass windows of a church, for example, or a uniquely starry night). However, these tendencies for “minimalist,” mostly urban-set musicals, are an indication of progress rather than proof of hindrance.

As theater companies work their way up the Tony-winning roster of play rights — while mixing in Broadway classics that aren’t being performed anywhere else — we are getting closer and closer to the showstoppers many have been yearning for. If Atlantis Production’s The Little Mermaid is any indication, more space and a myriad of stage actors are not a matter we should be concerned over.

Although it is based on the world-renowned Disney film of the same title, which was released all the way back in 1989, the musical opened on Jan. 10, 2008 and is actually a fairly new creation. Alan Menken, who composed the movie’s original score, and Greg Slater collaborated on around ten new songs. And the soundtrack garnered them a Tony Award for Best Original Score.

Amidst the general air of Disney-brand nostalgia that’s been floating around (The Lion King 3D is here for a reason), The Little Mermaid was therefore one of the more fitting choices of musicals for families to enjoy while anticipating the holidays.

The play opens — literally — with a storybook, though the parallels to Hans Christian Andersen’s short story stop there. Nevertheless, for every adult ready to judge the on-stage depictions of long popular numbers such as Part Of Your World, I Kissed A Girl and Under The Sea, there would be a much younger counterpart that is, in all likelihood, discovering the magic for the first time.

And what a magical first time it was, thanks to Atlantis Productions’ and directors Bobby Garcia and Chari Arespacochaga’s efforts in maintaining topnotch production value. From the get-go, the bottom of the ocean floor was quite the spectacle. And if the sequined fins, wispy threads and more than 20 different species of fauna weren’t enough to bring color to Ariel’s world, glow-y appendages, shadow puppetry and a lot of sparkling props and costumes made memorable appearances, and were a sight even for seasoned eyes.

erik santosThere are some notable differences from the animated movie version, naturally, most likely to justify bringing together such a large and diverse cast. Playing a slightly more demure Ariel is Rachelle Ann Go, while Erik Santos is love interest Prince Eric. The two characters provide solace for each other’s rather controlling families, and are woven together in a Cinderella-esque tale as Prince Eric tries to find the siren who serenaded him while he was sinking, and — you know the rest.
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Happily ever after

Going Out
BusinessWorld Online
Posted on 06:55 PM, December 01, 2011
Happily ever after

The Little Mermaid
Presented by Atlantis Productions
Until Dec. 11
Meralco Theater, Ortigas Ave., Pasig

WHEN The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway in January of 2008 amid high expectations and fanfare, it was met by a surprisingly uneven mix of reviews from critics and viewers alike. Those who liked it praised it for its inventiveness and unique take on underwater settings; those who didn’t, well, let’s just say that “garish,” “plastic,” and “too busy” were some of the kinder words used.

No wonder then that while Beauty and the Beast ran for 5,464 performances between 1994 and 2007, making it the 8th-longest running production in Broadway, and The Lion King is still being played on Broadway and in many other parts of the world (eclipsing Beauty and the Beast to become 7th in Broadway’s list), The Little Mermaid has found very limited success among the staged Disney musicals.
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“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 – 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.
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An under the sea, magical experience

An under the sea, magical experience
The Philippine Star

erik santosGiven the very good track record of the people at Atlantis Productions with staging musicals, there was really no question that they would be able to pull off Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Still, the results proved to be such a joyous surprise. Sweet, magical and lots of fun, the show now running at the Meralco Theater up to Dec. 11 is a total delight for kids and adults alike.

The songs that many recall from the animated film are all here. Then, there are new ones written for the stage version. It may take a while for the kiddies to relate to these but the adults will surely find lots to like in The World Above, Beyond My Wildest Dreams and If Only by The Little Mermaid played by Rachelle Ann Go; in the vampy I Want The Good Times Back and Poor Unfortunate Souls by Jinky Llamanzares as the sea witch Ursula; or in the other numbers like Human Stuff by Scuttle and the seagulls and the riotous Les Poissons by Chef Louis.
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Little Mermaid’s many more lives to live

Little Mermaid’s many more lives to live
By Bibsy M. Carballo
The Philippine Star
November 25, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Despite having grown up with Disney characters Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Mickey Mouse, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Lion King, the Princess and the Frog all associated with Disney in one way or another, we had by some quirk of fate never been exposed to the delightful story of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. We were, therefore, entering an unfamiliar territory watching Atlantis Productions’ version of it at the Meralco Theatre until Dec. 11.

Directed by Bobby Garcia and Chari Arespacochaga, the production is said to be among the first stagings of the musical since its Broadway run in 2008. Bobby says they decided to stage The Little Mermaid over a year ago when informed that rights would be made available to Atlantis. Based on Disney’s animated film, in turn based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, it tells of mermaid Rachelle Ann Go as Ariel willing to give up her life under the sea to gain the love of a human Prince Eric played by Erik Santos. The Atlantis version has utilized traditional Asian design elements in the Undersea, and Western design in the World Above.

The musical opens with Prince Eric on a ship, and Mermaid Rachelle Ann spending time in (The World Above) instead of the undersea celebration of dad Calvin Millado as King Triton who had defeated evil sister Ursula, amazingly played by Jinky Llamanzares.

Act 1 deals with Rachelle’s fascination with the human world (Part of your World), as she falls for Erik whom she saves after his ship crashes, and gives up her voice to Jinky (Poor Unfortunate Souls) for three days as a human. In Act 2, Rachelle is palace guest of Erik (Beyond my Wildest Dreams) but he must kiss her before she regains her voice. Erik is attracted to this mute girl and teaches her to dance (One Step Closer), but haunted by the voice he heard after his shipwreck and swears he must find her. In the end, they rediscover each other, Jinky is destroyed after Calvin offers himself in Rachelle’s place, and Calvin lets his daughter go to her new life as a human (Finale).

The musical is most engaging and while Jinky is the crowd favorite, the kids in the audience love the puppets and undersea creatures (Under the Sea), and one of our favorites is Chef Louis portrayed by Julienne Mendoza (Les Poissons).

We are especially interested in the character of Calvin as the King of the Undersea. He mentions something about remembering her mother to Rachelle when speaking of his distrust of humans. We searched for explanations on the Internet and found it in a prequel released by Disney in 2008 titled The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning when Ariel, the Mermaid spent happy times with her mom Queen Athena who was kidnapped by pirates, after which the King banned all music or mention of humans from his kingdom. We would have wanted a song from Calvin reminiscing happy times. That would explain his bitterness and strictness with his daughter. It would make his sacrifice of taking Rachelle’s place even more admirable, and his love for his daughter priceless when he gives permission for her to marry a human.

We think of Erik and Rachelle Ann, champions in mainstream music competitions, who are into their first theatrical roles. We admire their guts and gumption as well as that of producer director Bobby Garcia for putting his reputation on the line. “No problem at all with schedules,” Bobby clarifies. “We made it clear from the beginning that we don’t allow absences or tardiness. Both Rachelle Ann and Erik have been real pros. They are always early. Never missed a rehearsal. And always prepared. They have worked so hard on the show and I am so proud of their performances.”

Of course, the two newcomers have much to learn from their co-stars. They obviously have the vocal instruments for theater and initial feedback from co-workers indicate that they are fast learners with the interest and humility to work on in-depth understanding of their roles.

In 1989, the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale was adapted into an animated film by the Walt Disney studio called The Little Mermaid. The film is credited for breathing life back into animated feature films, and marked the start of an era known as the Disney Renaissance. Meantime, Beauty and the Beast, another animated Disney film was released in 1991 based on a French fairy tale of a prince transformed into a Beast who must win the love of a Beauty named Belle, or will remain a Beast forever. The music of the film was composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, both of whom had written the music and songs for Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
erik santosLater, Disney experienced the difficulty of having had to open these two commercial and critical Disney properties on Broadway at the same time that would divide audiences and cause competition between the two shows. They solved it by officially opening running Beauty and the Beast from 1994 and 2007 for 5,464 performances to become Broadway’s eighth-longest running production in history. The Little Mermaid subsequently opened on Broadway January 2008 closing August 2009 after 685 performances and 50 previews.

The Little Mermaid is one of the most popular stories transposed into various forms. Among them are an opera with music by Dvorak performed in Prague; a French three-act opera version called La Petite Sirene; an American Classics Illustrated Junior comic book series published in 1950; a TV version starring Shirley Temple as the Mermaid; a 1966 animated movie with Hans Christian Andersen played by Paul O’Keefe, and the voices of Burl Ives as Father Neptune, Hayley Mills as The Little Mermaid and Tallulah Bankhead as the Sea Witch; even a song called Little Mermaid in the repertoire of the Japanese Jazz-Fusion Band The Square. Animé adaptations are also found in Russia, Japan and the NHK 1991 TV series Saban’s Adventures of the Little Mermaid.

As The Little Mermaid continues its conquest of different mediums, we are most certain it will have more lives to live.

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Under the spell of ‘Little Mermaid’

Under the spell of ‘Little Mermaid’
By: Lea Salonga
Philippine Daily Inquirer
November 23, 2011 | 7:08 pm

erik santosI brought Nicole out for a mommy-daughter date to the theater last Friday, the opening night of Atlantis Productions’ mounting of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” at the Meralco Theater.

All of us in the family have seen the Disney film on which the stage version was based. But we haven’t seen the stage production, so I jumped at this opportunity.

From the moment the music played (under the excellent musical direction of Ceejay Javier), we were magically transported to this kingdom under the sea.

The plot is similar to that of the movie, besides moments that would have been impossible to stage (there is no shark chase here, nor is there a gigantic Ursula).

New songs by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater (the same team behind “Tangled and Sister Act: The Musical”) were added, which seemed to blend seamlessly enough with the original tunes from the film.

This stage version stars Rachelle Ann Go as Ariel, Erik Santos as Prince Eric, Jinky Llamanzares as Ursula, OJ Mariano as Sebastian, Calvin Millado as King Triton, Ikey Canoy as Scuttle, Felix Rivera as Flotsam, Jamie Barcelon as Jetsam and Raymond Concepcion as Grimsby.
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Singing champions Rachelle Ann Go and Erik Santos debut in professional theater

GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc
The Philippine Star
November 21, 2011

Last weekend I found myself, like my nieces and nephews, thoroughly enjoying The Little Mermaid at the Meralco Theater, Pasig. Everything about it — choreography, singing, acting, dialogues, plot and sub-plots, orchestra, sets, costumes, props, special effects, lights — made for great musicale. After presenting recently Next to Normal, Aida and In the Heights, Bobby Garcia and Chari Arespacochaga’s Atlantis Productions does it again.

The Manila staging of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic, as an off-Broadway version of Disney’s hit, runs till Dec. 11. Kids, bring your olds. Singing champions Rachelle Ann Go and Erik Santos debut in professional theater as Ariel and Prince Eric. Watch out too for the performances of stage veterans Calvin Millado as King Triton, Jinky Llamanzares as Ursula, and (my, ehem, inaanak) OJ Mariano as Sebastian.

For inquiries call (02) 8927978, 8401187, or visit

Disney’s The Little Mermaid: A Splashing Success

Disney’s The Little Mermaid: A Splashing Success
Manila staging of the hit Broadway musical draws in crowd on its opening night!
By: Zsaris Mendioro

Both young and old converged at the Meralco Theater to see the animated movie brought to life by hit singers Rachelle Ann Go and Erik Santos, who play the lead roles of Ariel and Prince Eric. Together they make their stage theater debut in this musical, which also features a cast from both music and theater including Jinky Llamanzares, OJ Mariano, and Calvin Millado to name a few.

erik santos

The audience got treated to familiar tunes from the Disney animated classic including “Part of Your World” and “Under the Sea” combined with new songs especially created for the Broadway stage adaptation.
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Rachelle Ann Go at Erik Santos, magbibigay-aliw sa The Little Mermaid

Rachelle Ann Go at Erik Santos, magbibigay-aliw sa The Little Mermaid
Pinoy Parazzi
Point of View by Boy Abunda
Friday, November 18, 2011

erik santosKUNG TAYO AY naaliw noon sa mga pelikula at teleserye tungkol sa mga mermaids gaya ng Dyesebel, Marina, at Mutya ay muli na naman tayong mag-e-enjoy dahil sa isang kakaibang experience na hatid ng Atlantis Productions at Metrobank as they present Disney’s The Little Mermaid at the Meralco Theatre from November 18 to December 11.

Ang Disney’s The Little Mermaid ay tungkol kay Ariel, isang magandang mermaid na nakatira sa magical kingdom sa ilalim ng dagat. Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Pero bago niya ito magawa, she has to defy first her father – the king of the sea – to escape the clutches of an evil sea witch at kumbinsihin ang isang prinsipe that she’s the girl with the perfect voice.

Based on one of the most beloved Disney films of all time and the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is the sparkling new Disney musical that made a splash on Broadway. Tiyak nang mapapakanta ang mga manonood dahil sa mga sikat na awitin nito tulad ng Part of Your World, Kiss the Girl, and Under the Sea which is an Academy Award-winning Best Original Song and written by the songwriting team of eight-time Academy winner Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.
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