MANILA, Philippines – 11 years ago, I was lucky enough to have been part of a powerhouse cast made up of some of the best actors in Philippine theater that wowed Singaporean audiences in the Tony Award-winning musical, Rent. Atlantis Productions and Singapore Repertory Theater collaborated in presenting a month-long run of the show at the Victoria Theater.
Today, I am back in Singapore for the musical Avenue Q, filled with a mix of nostalgia, excitement and anticipation as I embark on yet another unforgettable experience.
As I arrived in Changi Airport on Sept. 22, I smiled to myself as I recalled my Rent days here. Boy, did we have fun!
I hit it off so well with my cast mates that, even now, I still consider some of them as my lifelong friends. To top it all, Singapore embraced us like we were rock stars. There were parties for us everywhere. We were the toast of the town.
From September 27 to October 7, Atlantis Productions’ Avenue Q (produced by MediaCorp) will be playing at the Grand Theater of Marina Bay Sands, a modern architectural marvel that many consider to be one of the most prominent symbols of the new Singapore.
It will be my 4th time to do this show; there have been several repeats since it debuted in Manila in 2007. Pinoys of all ages — regulars and non-theater goers alike — flocked to RCBC’s Carlos P. Romulo Theater week after week. They couldn’t get enough of the show.
Neither could we.
No question about it: Avenue Q has a cult following not only in the Philippines but world-wide.
Why is a musical that uses puppets to tackle grown-up issues like falling in love, sex, being gay and racism one of the longest running Broadway musicals of all time?
One reason is that, at the end of the day, we all just want to have a good laugh. To say that Avenue Q has funny moments is a major understatement. It’s really more of the falling-off-your-seat-your-sides-hurting type of funny.
Another reason, I think, is that people see themselves in the characters albeit in the most hilarious situations.
And if we can laugh at ourselves, we can make light of our troubles.
Within the first few minutes of watching this for the first time on Broadway many years ago, my manager Girlie Rodis was nudging me and whispering that I was Kate Monster, the smart, kindhearted girl-next-door who has not had much luck finding a boyfriend. Oh, I’m quite sure I wasn’t the only single gal in the audience who could relate.
Last Saturday, we went on a promotional tour of night spots around Singapore as 3 of the characters: Nicky, Rod and Lucy The Slut. We were delighted to see that the crowd recognized the puppets as being from the show.
We ended up owning the dance floor at Zouk, still the hottest club in the country (it has been since the 1980s).
As we plunged into a whirlwind of activity this week — from TV and radio interviews to stage adjustment and dress rehearsals — I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
Just as the stars were aligned for me here in Singapore 11 years ago, I am once again exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I was meant to do.
This morning as I prepare for opening night (Sept. 27), I visualize the moment before coming on stage at the Grand Theater.
With Kate Monster on my arm, I peer out from the wings and see that the house is packed.
I stroke Kate’s hair and softly whisper, “Here we go, old friend. It’s showtime!” – Rappler.com
Rachel Alejandro is a singer and actress who performs in concerts and musicals all over the world. She is also the co-owner of a health food delivery and event catering business, The Sexy Chef, OBC 5Star, Inc. Follow her on Twitter @SexyChefRachelA