This quarantine life has its pros and cons.
But as an optimist, I would rather dwell on its pros which I could gain from this new normal. Overshadowed by cons these benefits may be, I would still consider myself lucky. Why? In the course of this pandemic, I have already watched three musicals at zero cost!
I know most of the theatre aficionados are aware of the devastating impact of covid-19 pandemic on the performing arts. In spite of the setbacks, producers have decided to bring these musicals to our home for free. Evidently, this is a selfless act of love and kindness to us fans in quarantine.
April 17-18, The Phantom of the Opera‘s 25th anniversary performance at the Royal Albert Hall was streamed live for 48 hours with a fundraising element.
I was one of those who watched this Andrew Lloyd Webber’s longest running musical in the comfort of our home. A different production, it gave me déjà vu. I believe that every musical, live or filmed on stage, should be watched (in my case repeatedly!) and cherished.
May 9, the well-acclaimed local musical Ang Huling El Bimbo saved me from taking a weight-inducing catnap in the afternoon. This production adapted the 48-hour streaming and fundraising idea of The Phantom. Shared by my eldest son’s girlfriend Bianca, AHEB re-exposed me to Philippine musical after Ang Larawan the Musical at CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) in 1997. Watching it showed me the theater innovations which I expected had given our country’s theatrical performances a makeover. Without bias, I will acknowledge the higher level of modernization in this musical play.
July 18, a sung-and-rapped-through musical, Hamilton, made me appreciate a genre of music which my sense of hearing used to repel from.
Thanks to Angelica Tan’s generous friend, I got to keep my personal file and set an intimate evening date with THE genius Lin-Manuel Miranda, whom I’ve fallen in love at first sight (and sound!) in 22 Musicals in 12 Minutes.
Minus the shared file from Disney Plus, I don’t know when I’d be able to watch Hamilton for free and certify for the umpy-umpth time that Miranda is a legend at the age of 40. Being the very first actor who acted on a musical where he wrote the script, lyrics and book, Miranda had me silently gushing from his first entrance on the stage.
Based on a real historical event, Hamilton would be challenging to understand without a background in American history. Prior to my viewing it, I had to read the synopsis so I wouldn’t struggle in grasping its storyline. With the information I got from googling, I could now identify the characters in the musical and the conflict which existed between and among them.
Hamilton tackled sensitive historical, cultural, social, and political issues which prevailed during the 18th century and even up to the current time. The musical gave me a range of feelings while learning about the rise and fall of Alexander Hamilton who was an immigrant in the “land of the free,” yet became the Founding Father of the United States of America.
I’m not doing an in-depth review of this musical, but I shouldn’t miss telling you how I adored the costume design, stage lighting, and choreography.
Another period musical just like Les Misérables, the stage attire breathed life to the “century of reason.” I don’t know how to describe the kind of costume worn by the cast, nevertheless I love the contrasting colors of their outfits. The ensemble looked fabulous together even when they were just wearing their cream-colored underwear. Now, I did like the stage lighting manipulation which resulted to the desired effect on each scene; however, curiosity tells me to ask whether I would be seeing similar incredible lighting had I watched it live. Choreography was one of the most captivating aspects of this musical. The dancers’ vigorous movements hypnotized me. I could feel their energy coursing through me making me feel as if I were dancing with them! The slow motion during Burr and Hamilton’s duel was a certified killer routine.