International caliber
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - August 4, 2018 - 12:00am

It is a great honor and privilege for me to be part of molding the future of our local theater artists as I was one of the guest session teachers in the field of acting in the world-renowned musical Miss Saigon School Edition with Allan Nazareno and Rudy Aviles as directors, held last July 20, 21, and 22, 2018 at the Rudolf Rahmann Cultural Center, University of San Carlos South Campus.


Allan is extremely grateful to have many of his theater friends who helped him as guest session leaders and workshop teachers for the Broadway Youth Cebu Summer Musical Theatre workshop which led to the production of Miss Saigon School Edition Cebu.

Aside from the creative staff, highly esteemed set of guest session leaders conducted either an online session or a face-to-face session in Cebu. There were Miss Saigon alumni helping out in the pre-production part. Other assistance coming from Jojo Urquico, also from the European and Asian tours of Miss Saigon; Robert Dil from Auckland, New Zealand; Norman Babia from Guam, USA; and face-to-face sessions with voice coach Chacha Blanco.

The Music Theatre International worked closely with Miss Saigon's creators to ensure that the lightly edited adaptation –Miss Saigon School Edition– stayed true to intent of the original piece while becoming appropriate for high school performers.

Miss Saigon School Edition is adapted from the 1991 Broadway production. It has been rewritten to make it more appropriate for high school performers. Only high school aged students 18 and younger are allowed to perform in this production. Significant differences between this version and the full version include, among others, the modification of the language to make the performance more appropriate for younger performers but still maintaining the integrity of the script, the adjustment of the keys to make it easier for younger performers to sing, and the shortening of the show's running time to two hours instead of the 2 hours and 30 minutes running time of the full version.

Though it is an adult material but it was treated suited for young performers. Scenes were treated with utmost professionalism and decency. The kissing scene was treated with performance maneuvering yet keeping the artistic distinction. The concept of minimalism was executed brilliantly to keep the ease of movement and transition. Another commendable was the helicopter scene with lights and sound effects projected ingeniously. Kudos to the lights and sounds director. Another staggering feature as far as the local theatrical production is concerned was the live orchestra, coming from three musical groups, rolled into one, under the baton of Maestro Niño Bañares. True to its form and spirit, the costume design was carefully researched. And so making all the scenes well-planned and carefully executed.

The audience was awed by the powerful, dulcet voices, and consummate acting of the performers, the stage design, sets and props and other technical aspects. Such spectacular performance can only be experienced in such rare occasions which I have viewed for the past few years, previously by director Allan: Little Mermaid Junior Edition, Mulan the Musical, and others like Buhay na Apoy at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and Siddhartha, which was shown both here and abroad.

The Miss Saigon School Edition has proven that truly Cebuanos are of international caliber!

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