Cabesang Tales (A Mini Musical)

At long last! The second (and first official public) staging of “Cabesang Tales” is happening this November. I have composed some music for this show (and lyrics are in poetic Tagalog, dude am I proud of myself) that I’m excited for everyone to hear the arrangements of. We also wrote a couple of new songs for this revamp.

Happy and grateful to have also given my artwork for the show’s main poster. Let’s make the Rizal saga relevant again. Make sure you see it! Tickets are actually limited so make sure you grab yours ASAP.

Mary’s song: “Let It Be Done”

Composer’s notes on Mary’s song, “Let It Be Done”

I am not ashamed or hesitant to say that I am a Bible-believing Christ follower who treats God’s Word as the sole authority when it comes to my faith. And so, for the musical, I wanted to present a “Biblical” Mary: the highly favoured and uniquely blessed woman; the young woman the Lord chose to birth the Messiah into this fallen, chaotic world. Mary embodied a mother who loved and cared for her child(ren); a servant who exemplified humility, obedience, even sacrifice and suffering (See Luke 2:34-35).

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In the traditional, Catholic Stations of the Cross, it presents Jesus meeting His mother on the way to Golgotha where He would be crucified. This is NOT recorded or present in any of the Gospels at all. The only time they met according to the Scriptures was when Jesus was already crucified, and Mary stood by the cross (See John 19:25-29). But because this mother-son encounter was part of the traditional “script” or “ceremony”, I had no choice but to write a song for her because, I mean, she still is a significant character, and this scenario has been present in several movies and other story depictions.

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I had to make it work—without forsaking what the Bible says about Mary, or add something fictional to the story. So I decided to reintroduce the known Biblical personality of Mary which can be found in Luke 1:26-38, where Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, announcing that, “Hey, you’re going to be a Mum to the Son of the Most High!” (paraphrased, obviously). And all Mary had to say to close the deal was, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be done to me according to your word.” Hence, the title.

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Mary obeyed. Mary surrendered to the Lord’s will. Mary trusted that God knew what He was doing, and He had a plan and purpose for her and for the Son she would bear. So whatever her song was had to come from a place of humility and surrender, which was proven in the Scriptures; secondly, from a place of pain and suffering being a mother to a son whom she valued all her life, but now was beaten and shamed, and was marching towards his death. I was in tears writing this piece as I seemed to have felt her pain, and generally, the pain of giving up and letting go of the things you have no control over, even sacrificing the things or people that you love in order to obey or carry out the Lord’s plan. It is painful, but there’s definitely an answer to it in the end where it will all makes sense.

If there’s one thing we can learn from Mary, it is to trust and surrender to the Lord however ugly and painful that process may be. This is exactly what Jesus did, to live in accordance to His Father’s will. What’s the result? Salvation for mankind, reconciliation with our Creator.

God knows what He’s doing. You just have to learn to trust and to yield to Him more.

 

Role of Mary played by: Maxine Lopez

Photos by: Jade Cadelina

“It is finished.”

In the words of Jesus, “It is finished.” We must’ve been so blessed and favoured to stage this presentation we all worked hard for—this project I have personally fully surrendered and committed to the Lord.

He’s remained faithful, and walked this road with us, all so we can proclaim His relentless love. He’s become our strength and cornerstone in telling the greatest story of all time—His story of grace, His story of salvation, His story of redemption. Jesus is alive, and He lives and reigns forevermore.

Here are some photos from my personal camera:

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Here are some professional photos, from our very own Tito Jade Cadelina:

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Road to Calvary: Music excerpts

Here are some excerpts from the songs I have written and composed for our Good Friday mini-musical, “Road to Calvary.” THIS IS A FREE EVENT! Come as you are! Please join us in remembering Christ’s death and resurrection next Friday, 30th March, at The Stations of the Cross in Pinegrove Memorial Park. Soli Deo Gloria!

(Watch it in HD)

© 2018 All Rights Reserved

Will you walk the road?

So stoked to announce that I have written some music for this year’s Senakulo + Stations of the Cross.

Join me and the “street kids of Jerusalem” to remember and reflect on Jesus’ death, suffering, and most importantly, His resurrection (because, hello, He is alive!) in this mini-musical.

See poster for details.

Road to Calvary square photo

Les Mis at the Capitol

What a weekend! The Australian production of Les Misérables was simply phenomenal. I mean, how do you even start to describe the remarkable experience, the amazing production, the brilliant music, and just the magnificent performance of the Aussie cast. It is really “Les Mis like you’ve never seen it before.

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I’ve always believed that amongst the enormous conglomeration of musicals on and off Broadway, and in different parts of the world, Les Mis has the one of the most beautifully written music that is perfectly tied up with its poignant, strident libretto. I don’t know the complete history of how it’s formed and all that. But gosh, the music has outlived its time, and has remained just as dynamic and powerful as it’s always been.

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It was last Saturday when I went to see a matinee of Les Mis. It was hard to describe how I felt hearing the iconic songs live for the very first time! “Look Down”, “Do You Hear the People Sing?” and “One Day More” surely sent chills down my spine. “Lovely Ladies” was just so raw and honest. “Castle on a Cloud” was so much more moving as I expected. “Master of the House” was an absolute shivoo. The big diva solos, “I Dreamed a Dream” and “On My Own” took me to an astonishing journey. It was all tasteful. It was all stirring.

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Because this is just mandatory.

This is not a review of the play because honestly, I don’t know how to properly write one for stage plays as breathtaking as that! But I just really need to note a few things:

  • Brilliant production. And this entails everything visual pretty much—stage, overall design, digital technologies, lighting, props, costumes. It just all worked so beautifully together. What an efficient and impressive use of the theatre space. One of the many highlights was Javert’s suicide scene, where the LED screen basically worked the magic there, and made him look like he’s falling into a huge body of water until it ate him up. What they did took me by surprise. You gotta see it for yourself!
  • Amazing music and sound properties. Acoustics were great in that theatre. Cues were “on point”. The overall sound was satisfying. I wish I was able to sit near the orchestra pit (or any spot where the muso’s were more visible), so I could just watch them in awe. Also, the war sound effects were pretty good and actually realistic—it would give me a sudden jolt a few times.
  • The cast members were exceptional. They did not disappoint!
  • Simon Gleeson (playing Jean Valjean) was just redoubtable. Geez, this guy. His character was so alive and true from the very start. He was the cornerstone of this show. 24601 was solid.
  • Hayden Tee (playing Javert) was just so dang scary—he embodies the word “sinister.” His presence was imperative, and he was able to masterfully display authority and eminence the character requires.
  • Zoe Gertz (playing Fantine) is to be admired by the authenticity of her character and her amazing vocal prowess. She was just 100%. The tragedy in Fantine’s grief-stricken life, the desperation, as well as the change she had to experience were well conveyed all throughout the first act.
  • I felt so privileged to watch Trevor Ashley and Lara Mulcahy (playing Monsieur Thénardier and Madame Thénardier). They were perhaps the “life of the party.” They gave a sturdy and effective comic relief from the tragic nature of the story. They embodied dynamism and spontaneity from the start until the end.
  • And of course Chloe Zuel (playing Eponine), Emily Langridge (playing Cosette), Euan Doidge (playing Marius), Zoy Frangos (playing Enjolras) who played such iconic roles were just fantastic! I particularly liked Euan’s vocal timbre that cautiously depicts the subdued innocence in Marius’ character; and Chloe’s soulful take on Eponine. Importantly, the Barricade people were plain awesome!

I wish I could comment on every single cast member. More importantly, I seriously wish that I was better at describing or evaluating things. I’ll make a real theatre review once I’ve learned how to write one up. Nevertheless, this is truly a blockbuster theatrical production! Go see it if you haven’t! It closes this October. Get your tickets here.

Here are some more photos I took home that day. No photography and/or video recording were allowed during the show as expected.

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Rie Manaloto

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It is essential for avid theatre goers to actually purchase the souvenir program especially if it’s the big-aff productions.

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One with the Barricade folks!

One with the Barricade folks!

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This is Jordan from Capitol. He thought we'd fancy a selfie. He's a really cool guy.

This is Jordan from Capitol. He thought we’d fancy a selfie. He’s a really cool guy.

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Again, this is mandatory.

Again, this is mandatory.

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Rie Manaloto

Rie Manaloto

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Twelve faces. Twelve stories.

Happy New Year! This got to be my first post this 2015. I have been incredibly busy since the year has started to roll.

As you might know, I’m doing a concert with FilOz-Art Youth called “WAIT FOR IT” this Saturday (which is tomorrow, gosh). The team has been preparing laboriously and working so hard for this show. So many hours, days, weeks have been spent on this building and cultivating this unique and remarkable project. It has been just an amazing ride, and a fantastic roller coaster of an experience! I wouldn’t even attempt to explain it cohesively right now.
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I thought I’d make a post about the twelve personas who are the main highlights of this show. It’s all about our stories, our issues, viewpoints, experiences, opinions, dilemmas, passions and aspirations. These factors have been interwoven with the art of performing, mainly imbued with and/or shaped by music and theatre.
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ANDREO: Unstoppable passion and a remarkable talent.

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BRYAN: Heartfelt ballads, warm and soothing voice.

BRYAN: Heartfelt ballads, warm and soothing voice.

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NIKKI: Riveting dance moves, limitless strength and passion.

NIKKI: Riveting dance moves, limitless strength and passion.

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ARON: Musical creativity and flexibility, tasteful piano tunes.

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SEREENA: A dynamic character embodying strong and flaming determination.

SEREENA: A dynamic character embodying strong and flaming determination.

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YZZY: Perkiness and charm like no other, a voice that needs to be heard, understood and valued.

YZZY: Perkiness and charm like no other, a voice that needs to be heard, understood and valued.

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Remarkable determination, strength of character and the will power to make a difference.

CJ: Remarkable determination, strength of character and the will power to make a difference.

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MILAN: A wire on fire blazing with fluttering fun and unstoppable enthusiasm. The life of the party, the essential icing on the cake.

MILAN: A wire on fire blazing with fluttering fun and unstoppable enthusiasm. The life of the party, the essential icing on the cake.

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ISABELLE: Incredible charisma, mellifluous voice, singing prowess, delightful personality--all rolled in one.

ISABELLE: Incredible charisma, mellifluous voice, singing prowess, delightful personality–all rolled in one.

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ANGEL: A beautiful spark of charm, sweetness and innocence.

ANGEL: A beautiful spark of charm, sweetness and innocence.

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A potent mix of undeniable talent, strong performing prowess, charm and unique persona.

TIARA: A potent mix of undeniable talent, strong performing prowess, charm and unique persona.

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And finally, me:

RIE: Artistic versatility, experimentalism, creative improvisation, and an earnestly open mind that hungers for new knowledge, creative exploration, recreation and cultivation of self.

RIE: Artistic versatility, experimentalism, creative improvisation, and an earnestly open mind that hungers for new knowledge, creative exploration, recreation and cultivation of self.

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Twelve young people all wanting and needing to be heard, understood, valued and appreciated. Yes, we are young, but we are still growing, we are still learning and developing. We are not finished shaping what we want to be, what we are meant to be. There are still many things that we are yet to discover and explore and love. We are simply not done yet. And that’s what we all gotta wait for–us.

Anyway, that was just a glimpse of what the title and the show actually mean. So if you’re interested and intrigued, come and watch “WAIT FOR IT” this Saturday, 10th of January, at the Waratah Room, Rooty Hill RSL. Tickets are sold at $35. Hope to see you there!

The poster. I told you there's twelve.

The poster. I told you there’s twelve.

Rie Manaloto WAIT FOR IT.

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Twelve faces. Twelve stories. 10th of January. Get your tickets now.

WAIT FOR IT: A Musical Theatre Concert by FilOz-Art Youth.

10th January 2015 at the Rooty Hill RSL

Rie ManalotoAndreo Cruz-DimaanoTiara Nyuzo

Isabelle MontillanoBryan inesMilan Velasco

Aron Cruz-DimaanoNikki SandagaSereena Caro

Ysabelle PranadaAngela PranadaCyril Catipon

Rie Manaloto for Wait For It: A Musical Theatre Concert by FilOz-Art Youth. January 2015.

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Exactly one month from now, all their stories will unfold. Be ready for a change, a clash, and a clamour. Save the date.

WAIT FOR IT: A Musical Theatre Concert by FilOz-Art Youth.

10th January 2015 at the Rooty Hill RSL

Rie ManalotoAndreo Cruz-DimaanoTiara Nyuzo

Isabelle MontillanoBryan inesMilan Velasco

Aron Cruz-DimaanoNikki SandagaSereena Caro

Ysabelle PranadaAngela PranadaCyril Catipon

Rie Manaloto for Wait For It: A Musical Theatre Concert by FilOz-Art Youth. January 2015.

How rehearsals look like

This is basically how rehearsals look like. Some of them.

#WAITFORIT. Coming Soon.

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Wait For it by FilOz-Art Youth|Coming Soon|January 2015|#WAITFORIT

Rie Manaloto for Wait For It, Sydney Australia, January 2015. Post by Rie Manaloto