Rachelle Ann performing on home front
Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - March 7, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Rachelle Ann Go is living a dream as opposed to the dark, destitute life of her character Fantine in the Manila presentation of Les Miserables (Les Miz). What’s going on in her career is a stark contrast to her reel world where dreams “were made and used and wasted” to borrow a line from Fantine’s song of lamentation. Rachelle Ann is now in the thick of rehearsals and is excited to share with her kababayan what she has been doing in the West End.

Les Miz is another manna from heaven after Rachelle Ann’s compelling portrayal of Gigi in another Cameron Mackintosh musical Miss Saigon.

“It was surreal. When I first heard that they wanted me to play the role, I was crying,” shared Rachelle Ann during a group interview with select print media outlets right after the vocal rehearsals of Les Miz Manila cast at the Star Theater. “Seriously, I’m living a dream. Even with Miss Saigon, I never dreamt of going to London and doing musical theater, and to be part of the 25th anniversary of Miss Saigon and the 30th anniversary of Les Miz is a dream come true for me.”

After she wrapped up her stint in Miss Saigon, Rachelle Ann went straight to Les Miz rehearsals and was ready to take on another challenging role of that factory worker-mother of an illegitimate child. “It was hard,” Rachelle Ann said. “I read the book. I had to do my own research. I asked for Ms. Lea Salonga’s advice. She told me to read the book, to read Fantine’s story, kasi mag-iiba yung pananaw ko, mag-iiba yung tingin ko sa kanta ni Fantine (Reading Victor Hugo’s novel will give me a different interpretation of the character and of her song). True enough, I understood her character more.”

According to Rachelle Ann, Fantine’s story and role are heavier as compared to Gigi’s bar-girl existence. “She has more exposure on stage and she has more songs. Mas napaglalaruan ko yung character which I love. I love doing eight shows a week. It’s hard but I do enjoy it.”

As customary to any actress playing Fantine, Rachelle Ann will get to sing the poignant song I Dreamed A Dream, and appear in scenes like Lovely Ladies, At The End of the Day and the Finale.

Asked about her creative process in preparing for the role Fantine, Rachelle Ann replied, “With me, I don’t have any acting background. When I started this, I was too scared and I felt like ‘Can I do this?’. A lot of people sent me (YouTube) links. I don’t want to watch performances of (actors) who previously played Fantine because I want to do my own (interpretation) and I want to create my own Fantine. It’s just (about) understanding the character and I’ve been through a lot of heartaches in my past. So I guess, putting my past experiences in what I’ve been doing (helps).”

Rachelle Ann added that she can relate to Fantine’s pagiging matibay ang loob (inner strength). “She has sacrificed a lot of things. I’m also that type of person when it comes to love. Wala man akong anak, I have my family. I’m like that when I fall in love. I will sacrifice things for my loved ones.”

This adds another layer to Rachelle Ann’s portrayal of Fantine come showtime.

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