That one electric Bill

Excellent, electrifying, and extraordinary. I got to see Billy Elliot the Musical start off its tenth anniversary tour right here in Australia at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. What a brilliant production!

As we all know, this award-winning musical was based on the 2000 film written by Lee Hall, which tells the story of young boy who discovers a love for ballet during the UK coal miners’ strike in the mid 80s, and how he strives towards his dream amidst the adversities. The iconic Elton John wrote the music to Lee Hall’s lyrics.

It was such an incredible experience. I’ve not seen so many kids dance and perform together to a freakishly high standard as what I’ve seen in this production. So many breathtaking and mind blowing moments throughout the show.

And the Billy on the first Saturday night, River Mardesic was just remarkable! I could not believe I was watching a 10 year old just smash it on stage. What was I doing when I was 10? Surely not tap dancing madly or flying on a harness in all the glorious fog!

Rie Manaloto

Quick snapshot post-show

By Rie Manaloto

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

Rie Manaloto

“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

Music and Lyrics by Rie Manaloto

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

Director’s notes

Being with FilOz-Art, I, along with the eleven other kids have obtained some mentoring in the performing arts in the last few months. The whole Wait For It journey all started with a series of acting and improv workshops by the Cruz-Dimaano tandem (AKA the best tandem ever!).

In a way, it kinda works like school just as it feels and looks like an extended home for all of us. And interestingly, every time a term of workshop is finished, the ‘students’ get to do a showcase of everything we learned and discovered and studied. Thus, the Wait For It concert. (Although at first, we did not expect it to be that big. But we’re thankful that it has been).

Along the way, our creative director would release a small piece of writing, or what I’ll probably call a “director’s note.” It works like a “teacher’s remarks” section on the report card for each student that talks about their progress and what not. But for this particular case, it is beyond that. It also entails character analysis, personal reflection, recommendation, appreciation and a whole lot more, all written in a concise and cohesive body of writing.

I was the last person to get my report. I’d like to think that it wasn’t because I was the best nor I didn’t need it. But perhaps, it is because my case was extraspecial, so would be my growth and progress a person, a teacher, a student and a performer.

And so, here’s what came out of my report:

He wanted to challenge himself, he wanted to learn, he wanted to share his musical talent by coaching and nurturing young people. He got that and more.

In this process, he shared his heart and his soul. He not only got the singers to sing better, he also made ALL of the youth discover their voices and instil the belief that they can sing. He is the Kuya who ran, jumped, laughed and squealed with them. He protects them, nurtures them and he fights for them… in a heart beat.

He made himself vulnerable, not only to the group, but to himself. He put these strengths forward, faced his weaknesses, and felt his fears in its true form. It broke him, it shattered his beliefs, destroyed his preconception about life. He went through it all. It was the only way I knew to get him to where he wanted to be.

Out came a person stronger, sure and true to himself and ready to create his own destiny. He starts now.

I could probably say that these lines convey only a glimpse of my learnings and important discoveries and realisations. What my head directors taught me is just priceless–it’s something I’d carry with me everywhere I go. My gratitude is unspeakable, still in awe, still overwhelmed. I’m ready to learn more.

rie manaloto

Rie Manaloto

R.

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.

Pasek and Paul performance featured on UWS Music page

CLICK THE PHOTO TO WATCH THE PERFORMANCE.

Another video of myself is out. But this time, I was not the one who published it. I was startled. The recording of one of the songs in my Men On and Off Broadway project was uploaded by the official UWS Music online account on YouTube. I can’t really say that it was done without proper consent because we had to sign some paper that deals with copyright, permission to use or republish such stuff and in which I actually agreed. But really, what a privilege to be actually chosen to sort of represent the UWS Music course and its tagline that says, “There is more to music at UWS.” Very flattering. And I’m quite grateful.

Just a small trivia you might wanna know, this song from Edges: The Musical called “Along The Way” by Pasek and Paul has always been a dream performance piece. From the very first time I heard the song and watched it being performed in various interpretations, I fell in love with it and knew straight away that I would be performing it one day. And so, came Spring and the ‘Rep and ID’ unit that allowed us to design our own project (i.e., our personally designed musical repertoire). With no qualms, I included the song in my repertoire, and by good fortune, was able to find a pianist who could accompany me and keep up with my fuzziness. As bountiful fortune would have it, she came signed and sealed, in the name of Patricia Wong. The rest is what we could call history.

Despite the flaws of this performance (e.g., (1) mic’s mounted up on mic stands were scattered around the stage as I entered which made the singing SO uncomfortable. I tried to get rid of them fluidly and subtly while actually singing but I tell you it was one of the most awkward moments of my life. I utterly hate ‘adverse’ surprises; (2) the FAIL falsetto in the end. I did prepare for it and in my rehearsal sessions I had always done it perfectly (Like, c’mon I’m a falsetto maven). Nevertheless, perhaps it is true that every once in a while there are things that happen when least expected), I am very grateful to the Lord for making this ‘dream’ come into view. I was blessed with the right resources, the right people and an adequate amount of time to prepare well for it. But I know this ain’t the last time I’m doing this song. And next time, I’ll make sure that it’ll be bigger and better.