Partners in crime since they were kids, and now partners on stage

(The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Rachel Alejandro and her cousin Nino Alejandro recently performed in their first joint concert Back2Back at 12 Monkeys. The duo showcased their versatility and proved they can sing practically anything — from Rachel’s upbeat hits and ballads to Nino’s classic rock, as well as R&B, Top 40 songs, and of course, themes from musicals Rachel has performed in.

The cousins were delighted to finally be together as headliners in a show. “Rachel and I have always been partners in crime,” Nino said. “To be able to have the chance to share our passion for music and performing now is such a blessing, and I look forward to every chance we have to collaborate.”

2015 has indeed been a busy and productive year for Nino. Since his successful run in The Voice under Coach Lea Salonga, he has been busy writing songs and working on his new album, soon to be released by Star Records and which features Ako’y Iyong Iyo, his first single co-written by Ogie Alcasid and which he sang for the first time in public during the concert.

“It’s been a very good year. I’ve had wonderful opportunities to work with so many different amazingly talented people. And I’m really excited because I know the best is yet to come,” explained Nino, fresh from an exciting collaboration with Philippine Ballet Theatre at CCP and having recently won first runner-up at the A Song Of Praise (ASOP) music festival for interpreting a tune composed by Dennis Avenida.

As for Rachel, definitely one of the most memorable moments of the concert was when she sang Somebody by Depeche Mode, requested by her manager Girlie Rodis because Rachel hadn’t sung it in a long time.

“This time, I set it up and made it to be about my husband, who, of course, was there and was very surprised because he didn’t know it was coming,” said Rachel.

Actor, host and 12 Monkeys co-owner JM Rodriguez, one of Rachel’s oldest friends, noted he loved it because “she put a musical theater spin on it, and made it her own.”

During her musicals medley, Rachel brought the house down with her energetic rendition of My Strongest Suit from Aida, the play where she starred as the funny yet heart-breaking lead character Princess Amneris. The singer has just finished shooting the film Ang Larawan based on Nick Joaquin’s play, with libretto by Rolando Tinio and music by Ryan Cayabyab, and set to be shown next year.

Many of Rachel’s fans, who have been following her career for over two decades and came to support, were not disappointed when she performed most of her hits from the late ’80s and ’90s. They sang along to everything.

A heartwarming number on the show was a duet between Rachel and drummer brother Ali to sing Ed Sheeran’s Photograph. Ali is a member of the popular alternative rock band Mojofly along with soon-to-be wife, lead singer Lougee Basabas. “I can’t believe my little brother is all grown up and getting married!” Rachel said on stage.
Yet, another treat was a guest appearance by Broadway and West End superstar MiG Ayesa, who co-starred with Rachel in Atlantis Productions’ Rock of Ages and surprised her by jumping up on stage to join Nino to belt out New Sensation by INXS. MiG’s rise to stardom began when he became a finalist on the US reality show Rockstar INXS some years ago.

MiG and Nino, along with Joanna Ampil, will soon feature in Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group’s highly-anticipated Bridges of Madison County, under the direction of Bobby Garcia.

“I’m thrilled to be going back to theater,” said Nino. “I’d really love to explore that aspect of my career further. It’s really gratifying for me, and to have the chance to work with such amazing veterans in the theater industry makes it even better.”

And if you can’t wait until opening night on Nov. 20 to watch Nino, you can still catch him on Saturday nights at Bar 360 at Resorts World Manila, a venue he considers a second “home” since The Voice. Rachel joins Ryan Cayabyab, Celeste Legaspi, Basil Valdez and Joanna Ampil in Once Upon a Christmas Evening at The Theatre in Solaire  on Dec. 3.

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