Rachelle Ann a true West End star

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2015 - 10:00am

Somebody up there is really raining blessings on this girl, giving her memorable experiences one after another. Our very own Rachelle Ann Go joins the stellar past and present cast of Les Miserablés in the musical’s special 30th-anniversary performance. I am sure she will do a great job.

Remember, only a few months ago, Rachelle Ann was also Gigi in the 20th anniversary performance of Miss Saigon and she even got to duet of Movie On My Mind, with the show’s original Kim, Lea Salonga, during the show in London. They even got a standing ovation for that number. And now here she is again, a true West End star in the celebration of Les Miz’s 30th year.

Based on the immortal novel by Victor Hugo, Boublil and Schonberg’s Les Miserablés was originally performed in French. The show was brought to London by Cameron MacKintosh where it opened on Oct. 8, 1985. It became so successful and has gone on to become the West End’s longest-running show. So, there will be a gala performance on Oct. 8 at the Queen’s Theater.

The gala will benefit the Save The Children Syria Children’s Appeal. Only a few tickets are available and these will be either auctioned out or given as lottery prizes. Among those expected to join the current cast are original cast members Colm Wilkinson who was Jean Valjean; Roger Allam, the first Javert; Frances Ruffelle, Eponine; Alfie Boe, a recent Valjean, John Owen Jones; and Geronimo Rauch.

Given the presence of such talent and the treasured opportunity to sing with them and for them, I am sure that the evening will more than make up for the emotional roller-coaster that Rachelle Ann has to go through every night as Fantine. It is one of the most demanding parts ever created for an actress knowing that she is doing so well in it is a source of pride for Filipinos.

I do not know if you have read the legendary Mackintosh’s statement regarding Rachelle Ann playing Fantine in the touring company of Les Miz. “After its Sydney and Brisbane run, I’m delighted to be bringing this new version to Manila in March with a wonderful cast that includes the current London star playing Fantine, acclaimed Philippine actress Rachelle Ann Go, who received enormous acclaim when I took her to London to appear as Gigi in my hugely-successful new production of Miss Saigon.”

Words like those make me think again that Rachelle Ann must really be great as Fantine and we will now have the chance to see her onstage. Doing Les Miserablés in Manila is another dream come true for this talented girl.

She wrote: “Words can’t describe what I’m feeling. I’m coming home next year to play Fantine in my hometown with the Australian cast. I’m excited to be with my loved ones and to share with everyone what I’ve been doing here in London. I actually prayed for this to happen because I really miss my family.” And so she will be back in March 2016 to be Fantine at The Theatre in Solaire.

One of the greatest musicals ever created, Les Miserablés has been seen by over 70 million people all over the world. It is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit and the musical version has some of the most beautiful songs ever written. I Dreamed A Dream, On My Own, Stars, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear The People Sing? One Day More, Empty Chairs And Empty Tables and many others.

It would be really quite a thrill to hear Rachelle Ann’s voice filling The Theatre with those melodies. She will be joined by Simon Gleeson, the winner of the Australian Helpmann Award for his performance as Jean Valjean and by Earl Carpenter, who was recently in the Les Miz Broadway company as Javert.

Les Miserablés’ anniversaries make for memorable shows. Try to get hold of the 10th and 25th anniversary videos. Lea is in both of them, first as Eponine and then as Fantine. So I am sure that this 30th anniversary presentation will be also unforgettable.

But since we will all not be watching that performance, we should be thankful that we now have the March 2016 run to look forward to. Brought here by Concertus Manila, the Les Miz Manila production is presented by Smart Infinity. The discounted pre-sale of tickets at Visa Entertainment goes on from Sept. 29 to Oct. 29. Get them at all Ticketworld outlets.

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