|Cindy Liper as Cory Aquino|
Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the ongoing Cinemalaya, I still managed to drop by the St. Cecilia’s Hall at St. Scholastica’s College to catch the press preview of the Philippine Stagers Foundation’s production of Cory ng EDSA, a Filipino Musicale. I admit that I was very much surprised when I saw the theater company’s profile. The company, headed by Atty. Vincent Tañada has been around for a decade already with an impressive number of productions already staged. But they’ve remained low key compared to other theater companies out there despite some of their members and productions garnering several Aliw Awards. But now, they are ready to take the limelight as they enter their second decade with their season opening musical about the life of one of the most important figures in recent Philippine history.
Cory ng EDSA, a Filipino Musicale, a sequel to the company’s most successful production Ako si Ninoy, stars PSF homegrown talent Cindy Liper who is reprising the role of Cory Aquino. The musical written and directed by Vincent Tañada, with music by Pipo Cifra and choreography by John San Antonio recounts several key moments in the life of the former president starting from the assassination of her husband Ninoy Aquino up to the time of her death. Also starring in this musical is Vince Tañada who plays the role of Peter, a reporter who covers the said events in Cory’s life. Rounding up the main cast are PSF company members Gabby Bautista, Jordan Ladra, Adelle Ibarrientos-Lim, Alex Dorola, Monique Azerreda and Chris Lim who play the various people whose lives were affected, touched and inspired by Cory Aquino. Glory Ann Nacional and Patrick Libao alternate as Cory Aquino and Peter respectively.
Cory was very much known for her simple life which may not be an interesting enough material for a musical spectacle such as this. But Tañada remedied this by running her story alongside that of Peter and the rest of the characters whose stories provided the melodrama. Peter getting afflicted with a disease that made him move involuntarily was a nice touch since it further highlighted the stability, calmness and composure of Cory. This juxtaposition was very effective in showing the character of Cory in the play. Even the music remained true and consistent as Liper’s vocal parts were limited to a reassuring alto range while the vocal fireworks were delegated to the strong tenor of Tañada and the impeccable chorus.
|The main cast|
The musical production numbers were very interesting as almost all of them were extended medleys depicting montage scenes. These numbers showcased various music genres, costume changes and stylized choreography performed with such aplomb by the chorus. And in rare occasions, even Cory joined in the dancing. One notable song in the musical is Naaalala Kita, which is structured like a pop song primed for some radio airplay. The song is indeed catchy and I wouldn’t be surprised if audience members leave the theater humming the melody of this song. Consequently, an original cast recording of the musical will be released by Viva Records and that it will also include a pop version of Naaalala Kita by Nikki Bacolod.
|The whole company|
Cory ng EDSA, a Filipino Musicale is very much different from the plays that I’ve seen during the recently concluded Virgin Labfest. But productions such as this and the others that have been staged by the Philippine Stagers Foundation provide variety and can further make the theater scene here more vibrant. And the company is poised to do just that as Cory ng EDSA will be staged until March 2012 having runs at SM Centerpoint, SM North EDSA, Tanghalang Pasigueño and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.