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Is Rachelle ready for the world stage?

Rachelle Ann Go (with her Best Actress in a Musical Award for Little Mermaid in the 2012 Broadway World Awards Philippines): A new challenge in Tarzan: The Broadway Musical, her second foray into theater

For somebody who never imagined ending up in theater, Rachelle Ann Go surprised herself (and many people besides) by winning Best Actress in a Musical at the 2012 Broadway World Philippines Awards for Disney’s The Little Mermaid, her first foray into theater as the title role. Beginner’s luck, you might say.

“I never dreamed that I’d be doing musicals,” confessed Rachelle. “Basta noon, gusto ko lang magka-album.”

Is Rachelle ready for the world stage?

That might not be too-far-fetched, especially since she’s short-listed as a possible Kim in the re-staging of Miss Saigon, winnowed from the dozens of aspirants who auditioned in Manila last year.

In an interview with The STAR in Tokyo during the Les Miserables junket in December last year, megahit producer (of both musicals, among others) Cameron Mackintosh confirmed the Miss Saigon “comeback” except that he didn’t name the date and the venue. No, he said, he hadn’t watched yet the videos of the Manila auditions but he should have by now.

“I’m not sure yet,” said Rachelle, at the same time keeping her fingers crossed.

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At the moment, Rachelle is focused on Disney’s Tarzan: The Broadway Musical, her second theater outing, which is also the second joint venture of Viva Atlantis Theatricals (after The Full Monty, opening on Friday, April 9, at the Carlos P. Romulo Theater at the RCBC Building in Makati City). It is said that Viva boss Vic del Rosario Jr. was encouraged to partner with Atlantis Productions because of Rachelle’s award-winning performance in Mermaid. Viva Atlantis’ third production is Addams Family, slated for a Halloween playdate in November, with Eula Valdez as Morticia (played by Anjelica Houston in the movie version).

Tarzan: The Broadway Musical is based on the smash-hit 1999 Disney animated film Tarzan which was inspired by Edgar Rice Burrough’s classic novel Tarzan of the Apes. It features music and lyrics by pop icon Phil Collins, including the Grammy/Oscar-winning theme song You’ll Be In My Heart, and book by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, etc.)

Recalling her Mermaid experience, Rachelle said that the hard part was wearing a tail.

“It was so heavy, sobrang bigat. D’un yata ako pumayat ng todo. It was also so painful to move around in it since I had to act like I was swimming. Thanks to the daily rehearsals, I was soon able to adjust to it.”

Chari Arespacochaga, who directed Mermaid, is all praise for Rachelle.

“She was wonderful to work with,” said Arespacochaga who also directed last year’s Rock Of Ages with Fil-Aussie Broadway actor MiG Ayesa as lead actor. “She is a great instinctive actress and is the perfect leading lady for stories like Mermaid because she totally believes in the situations the stories take her to. And, of course, she has a gorgeous voice!”

Flattered, Rachelle said that she is excited to play another well-loved popular character in Tarzan.

“It comes with a special challenge…a British accent,” explained Rachelle. “Jane is British, she’s very highly-educated and she loves nature. She thinks that plants are her friends. There’s a lot in Jane I can relate to but I think I can also learn a lot from playing her. Right now, I’m driving my family crazy because I’m practicing my British accent on them.”

As Jane to Broadway actor Dan Domenech’s Tarzan, Rachelle is required to do some “swinging” (after “swimming” in Mermaid) which can be challenging especially since she will be acting/singing while doing it.

Rehearsals for Tarzan will start early next month, with the regular run at the Mertalco Theater set for June 14 to July 7. Rachelle is excited about meeting Domenech.

“I have communicated with him only through Twitter and e-mail,” said Rachelle. “I’m looking forward to meeting him. At the same time, parang natatakot ako because he might expect too much from me. Gusto ko nga i-explain sa kanya that Tarzan is only my second musical.”

Teased that she might fall for Domenech, after all she admitted being single for almost two years now, Rachelle blushed, as if to say, “Who knows?” So far, she confessed, she has had only three boyfriends --- John Prats (currently going steady with Isabel Oli), Gab Valenciano (lately with Coleen Garcia) and Christian Bautista (with Singaporean actress Carla Dunareau) who has recently reunited with Rachelle (but only) on the GMA Sunday show Party Pilipinas now that they’re both Kapuso.

“I’m happily single,” volunteered Rachelle, 28. “Happy ako sa buhay ko ngayon. I’m not looking. Kapag dumating siya, I will feel it. Basta, sobrang happy ako although I can’t explain it. The happiness that God is giving me is something special, ibang-iba ‘yung joy. Thank you, Lord!”

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com.)

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