Feel the Noize!

A few seconds after the band hit the last few notes of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, the audience remained seated. Some were probably thinking of shouting “Encore!” in a state of confusion. The performance did feel like a rock concert after all. Some might be feeling too astounded to even stand up and walk out of the theater.

Personally, the thought that ran through my head that moment is, “Why didn’t I see this musical in its first run?”

What got me excited to watch this musical is seeing Mig Ayesa perform as Stacee Jaxx, and of course, Jett Pangan as Lonny.

I first heard of Mig Ayesa in 2005 through the series Rock Star: INXS from which I learned of his musical theater background. When I read online that he will be performing the role of Stacee Jaxx in the local production, I did some research and found out that he already played that part in Broadway. That made me doubly excited.

I have been a fan of Jett Pangan as a theater actor after seeing him in Repertory Philippine’s Jekyll and Hyde and Atlantis Productions’ Next to Normal. (too bad, I missed ‘Nine’) He never fails to impress.

And boy, these two actors really delivered. Pangan’s Lonny really found a way to steal the attention from the ongoing scene. Ayesa as Jaxx really exuded that raw sexuality that does not look contrived.

The big surprises of the musical is Nyoy Volante and Aiza Seguerra. Nyoy is known for his acoustic renditions – a far cry from the raucous vocals of rockstar wannabe Drew. His portrayal of Drew had proven his range as a vocalist and also as actor. Aiza Seguerra, who played activist Regina, demonstrated how she can take on any role and no amount of clothing can hinder it.

I was not too happy to see Vina Morales take on the role of Sherrie. Though it was her first musical, what I watched was the second run. I couldn’t see the consistency in her acting. She really can belt out those big songs, but she can’t meld together acting and singing at the same time. She hadn’t mastered the pronunciation and accent. Well, there is still room for improvement.

When Rachel Alejandro, who played Justice, stepped in the scene and performed the duet with Sherrie, I couldn’t help but to compare a veteran FROM the newcomer. In this production, she fortified her years of experience and her vocal prowess.

Theater veterans Jamie Wilson, Calvin Millado, Bibo Reyes, who played Dennis, Hertz and Franz respectively, completed main cast. They are not called “veterans” for nothing. Wilson’s Dennis is a great partner for Pangan’s Lonny. The father and son tandem can be remembered in different areas- Millado’s powerful vocals and Reyes remarkable portrayal of the character.

And who can forget the ensemble. Japs Treopaldo, Altair Alonso, Krissel Valdez, Hans Eckstein and Mikkie Bradshaw brought the right amount of energy onstage. They are all chameleon-like changing from waitresses to club dancers to protesters.

Atlantis Productions’ Rock of Ages is more than just a jukebox musical featuring classic rock music from 1980’s. It is a rock and roll musical experience that I’m glad I, now, didn’t miss.


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