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Entertainment

A first for RWM: Bituing Walang Ningning the musical

Amadís Ma. Guerrero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - “We are coming out with a new musical but we cannot reveal it yet,” said good friends Joy Andrade and Bryan Angelo of Resorts World Manila (RWM) in the Villamor Complex, Pasay City a few months ago. “It’s a secret.”

It turned out that there was reason for the secrecy. For the first time — after several years of presenting spectacular Broadway and West End musicals, RWM (www.rwmanila.com) — is presenting a musical version of (gasp!) the classic movie melodrama Bituing Walang Ningning starring Sharon Cuneta, Cherie Gil and Christopher de Leon. The 1985 Viva movie, with music by Willie Cruz, was reinvented as a teleserye in 2006 starring Sarah Geronimo.

This was announced at a recent press launch in Taps-Genting Club, RWM, to usher in the Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day through the Imperial Festival, a month-long feast of food and entertainment dubbed A World of Luck.

Present during the press conference were Colin Kerr, the RWM chief entertainment officer; Kingson Sian, RWM president; Vic  and Vincent del Rosario of Viva Films; plus Mark Bautista (fresh from London) and Cris Villonco, who are taking over the roles originally played by Christopher and Cherie.

The key role of Dorina Pineda — a singer on the rise and encountering problems along the way, originally played by Sharon — will be done by the winner of a nationwide search. The one chosen, Kerr said, “must be 16 to 20, have a pleasing personality, be fluent in Filipino and have a voice to die for.” Oh yes, she must also have a “good moral character.”

The auditions will be held from Feb. 28 to March 1 at The Plaza in Newport Mall, RWM, and are open to amateur and professional performers.

Director Freddie Santos said, “The auditions will be held at the huge atrium to feel the impact of her (the applicant’s) voice. She must have star quality.”

He added: “The music is all-OPM by Willy Cruz. Some parts have to be enhanced but we are following the general plot line of the movie.” A song in English by Sharon in the movie will not be included.

To the movie-going public, including those who do not generally see Filipino films, Bituing Walang Ningning is best known for the iconic line written by Nerissa Cabral: “You’re nothing but a second-rate,  trying hard copycat!” This is famously uttered by Cherie, who then hurls water at Sharon, who stands beside a shocked, helpless Christopher.

This very same film clip was shown at the press launch. And to get into the spirit of the thing, Colin re-enacted this scene, only he did not throw water at the “victim” Joy but some kind of confetti. To top it all, he selected three women from the audience, including columnist Bibsy Carballo, and made them repeat this catfight with another hapless staffer.

It was supposed to be competition but all three ladies, of course, were declared the winners.

Cris, who will play the water-throwing villainess, asked how she felt about the role. “You know, I have been appearing on TV and in movies,” she pointed out. “So other people have been teaching me to be a contravida.” She added meaningfully, “My middle name is Siguion-Reyna… The most angelic people can be crazy (laughs).”

Mark, in turn, was asked to share his experiences in the West End musical Here Lies Love, playing the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. “It was really more of a group challenge,” he said. “I felt I really had to keep up, had to self-study. It was hard but I learned a lot.”

The two A-listed singing actors, fittingly, concluded the press launch with OPM songs from the movie.

 

A WORLD OF LUCK

BIBSY CARBALLO

BITUING WALANG NINGNING

BROADWAY AND WEST END

CHERIE GIL AND CHRISTOPHER

CHINESE NEW YEAR AND VALENTINE

CHRISTOPHER AND CHERIE

COLIN KERR

CRIS VILLONCO

DIRECTOR FREDDIE SANTOS

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