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MANILA, Philippines - 2013 promises all things new.
For the 2013 run of the musical production The King and I, this could not be truer.
Come January, King Mongkut and British schoolteacher Anna Leonowens will be played by two new faces, award-winning TV and stage actor Nonie Buencamino and the “first lady of Philippine musical theater,” Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo.
In a press conference on December 7 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Pasay City, Resorts World Manila vice-president for entertainment Colin Kerr announced the extended run of The King and I.
Originally supposed to end in December 2012, it will now run until May 2013.
Kerr explained to the press, “We were having such great reviews. It was only justifiable that we extend the show until May of 2013.”
Aliw Awards recently named The King and I Best Musical Production for 2012. It also garnered a Best Director award for Freddie Santos and Best Actor for Leo Valdez, who currently plays King Mongkut.
All hail the new King and Anna
The change of cast was prompted by Monique Wilson’s unavailability for the next few months due to previous engagements.
Despite her and Leo Valdez’s huge following achieved through their well-received performances as Anna and the King respectively, Resorts World Manila assures that its two new lead actors will deliver.
The new Anna, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, is a well-known stage veteran who has acted for several musical production houses. She recently stepped down as associate artistic director for Repertory Philippines.
She played the mentally-ill wife and mother Diana Goodman in Next to Normal for which she won Best Actress in the Aliw Awards. She is also remembered for her role as the witch in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which garnered her a Best Actress nomination from Aliw Awards. She has numerous other musicals under her belt: Miss Saigon, Peter Pan, West Side Story, and Jekyll and Hyde, among others.
Nonie Buencamino, who will play King Mongkut, is best known for his roles in television shows such as Walang Hanggan and Maalala Mo Kaya.
During an interview at the press conference, the two actors, already in their costumes, expressed their excitement performing alongside each other. The two had already been cast in the same musicals but had never performed a number together.
“I have the highest respect for Nonie,” said Lauchengco-Yulo. “I’ve worked with him many times in the past so I am so thrilled. Of course there will be chemistry.”
Buencamino, likewise thrilled, is all set to make the most of their preparation.
“We have a really short time to prepare which means we really have to focus so when we open in January, we’re already polished,” he said in Filipino.
Director Freddie Santos is also confident that his new cast will do just as well as the Monique and Leo pair-up along with their understudies, Shiela Valderrama and Bo Cerrudo.
“I used to think it was impossible to have two front pages. But we had two brilliant, brilliant casts. God is blessing us with a 3rd front page,” he said. - Rappler.com
('The King and I' shows starring Menchu Lauchengo-Yulo and Nonie Buencamino will begin on January 4, 2013. To keep yourself updated on news about the production, you can visit www.rwmanila.com. For ticket inquiries, visit www.ticketworld.com.ph or call 891-9999.)
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