Forget Regrets, or Life is Yours to Miss

There is this habit, more of a perennial question, really, that I ask most men I date: What's your favorite musical? 

And to think, I am not even musicals' biggest fan, nor am I good at analyzing musicals.

I don't know what pushes me to ask this to guys. I guess in a way, I'm trying to gauge if they are man enough to appreciate musicality, theatricality and flair for bigger than life drama, without being scared of being called queer. If there was anything I took notice amongst the male species I have encountered, the ones who grew up in this country seemed to have less to zero appreciation for musicals. It was a 1 out of XX statistic for Philippines, versus 4 out of 4 for International. I was astounded that it did not seem to be a common concept here. As one of the 4/4 guys asked me when I stated my observation: How could you not like musicals? It's a total performance: singing, dancing, acting.

Then again, what do I or they know, right?

Out of them five guys who have actually seen musicals, two answered Rent to be their favorite musical. Two obviously measures their life through seasons of love, methinks. Not a bad reason to catch Rent over and over again.

I think I first caught glimpses the movie version back when it was shown in the latter 2000s. Last year, I became a proud owner of a DVD copy and have been singing to it over and over, ever since, well, whenever I have time.

I Should Tell You | Mimi and Roger

 This is my favorite Rent song, next to the quintessential Seasons of Love.

{A Part of} Another Day, Life Support | Shawn Earl and Paul Wilson
{from where I borrowed this post's title; This was really memorable as Mimi's
part but this rendition was what shot through my heart through and through}

Will I? | Steve, Angel, Mark and Collins and the rest of the life support group
{This song gives me the goosebumps, throwing me into a fit of sadness as I think how
it must feel like for HIV/AIDS infected people.}

I had a serious case of regret when I missed the 2010 run and wished super hard that the local company staging it would give it a go once again. I did not want to wait until my NYC trip to watch it. Thankfully, 9 Works Theatrical DID.

I was more than elated {*waves* hello, Jean, thank you!} as I walked up to Carlos Romulo Auditorium at RCBC Plaza last Friday night. I have dreamed of having places like this that catered to small groups and showcase Broadway hits such as Rent. And it was so close from where I work, too! 

Coming into the theater, I had no idea who was going to be who. I came with an empty list for expectations, except a memory of the song lyrics. As I write this, my heart is still flailing from the rollercoaster of emotions I have gone through watching it.

I know that the plot of Rent has been told and retold many times in circles, conversations and social gatherings, but I have always loved how this musical could always mirror real life {as compared to some musicals I love like err, Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera}and how every word, every song, every act is bursting with wisdom and that No Day Like Today vibe.

In so many ways, watching Rent shakes me to the core. I admit to having thoughts on the issues tackled: HIV, drugs, the bohemian lifestyle {which is not entirely a society problem but if that makes you not have any money pay for rent, uh, hmm?}, sex and prostitution. I was thinking: Why was a part of this musical de-antagonizing things we should stay away from? Then I realized: Wow. I am the biggest bigot I know.

People make mistakes. We all do. And sometimes,  when we take risks, we fail. And yet, regardless of that, unless we are lying six feet under the ground, there is always another day {that's today} to make up for what we deem as lost and failed decisions. It could be in the form of optimizing life too much that one ends up in the mercy of HIV, or it could be that little needle from heroin, or a snort of cocaine, or sticking up for your art no matter what, that changes your life. But as the character Angel has proven, it doesn't matter whether you have three or thirty three years to live --- One could live a lifetime in a day {or in a second, according to Col. Slade}. It all boils down to doing the most important things in a day, seizing the moment, while you're alive. Too, measuring life by seasons of love is not a bad metric. I am glad to be in the same page with them, or with Jonathan Larson {creator of Rent}.

Some notes on the Manila run {however, I am no expert, just personal opinion}:
  • I am amazed by Mian Dimacali, who played Maureen Johnson. Prior to seeing last Friday's show, I was fearful that any actress would be so bad compared to Idina Menzel who IS Maureen. But I was wrong. Mian's performance of Over the Moon sent me literally open mouthed as her character just jumped out to life, with all the grit. It was exceptionally commendable, too, how she could transition from Over the Moon to the Maureen who was silently weeping during Angel's demise.
Over the Moon | Idina Menzel

  • Job Bautista as Angel Dummott Schunard was amazing in terms of acting, though he seemed to falter at some points in terms of singing. Nevertheless, he made me believe he had HIV during the entire musical. He attributes this to the time that he spent with real HIV victims at PGH. I loved his dance skills, too!
  • Sheree Bautista as Mimi Marquez was okay, I was pleasantly surprised she had a good singing voice, however, some of her lines fall flat sometimes. IMO, she could improve more acting-wise as she sometimes tend to concentrate on getting the notes right that her face doesn't register emotion anymore. She is playing an S and M dancer afflicted with AIDS after all. I am curious how Ciara Sotto takes on this role, though {some runs have her as Mimi}. Some who have seen her perform said she is 'a surprisingly good dancer.'
  • Gian Magdangal {Sheree's real life husband} as Roger Davis embodied the gruff, scruffy physique of the character. I just don't understand why he was wearing eyeliner all through out. Kudos to his onstage chemistry with Sheree, though.
  • Jenny Villegas as Maureen's lover, Joanne seemed like a musical pro. She was consistent with her notes and her acting. 
  • The band did an awesome job of lending the musical with their musical prowess and artist-y feel.
  • Robbie Guevara is amazing as the show's director. During the press con, which was the only time I saw him, of course, he broke down the details he injected through out the musical such as Angel going up a long flight of stairs in white. It was a treat to peek into an artistic director's frame of mind.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is how you do a musical. Long runs, intimate venues and with intervals. Not concert types, okidoks? {Harhar, bitchy much?}

Overall, I am {and to borrow the term} over the moon for having had seen this musical. Some musicals are enough for me to watch once. As for Rent, just thinking about it makes me want to watch it all over again.

If you haven't seen it live, I have only one thing to say, to quote the musical: There's only us, There's only this, Forget regret, Or life is your to miss, No other road, No other way, No day but today. Watch it. Feel it, hang on to every word of it, every note, every act. Truly, take it from me: It will change you.  

And if anything else, the quintessential Seasons of Love is always a treat to listen to LIVE. Goosebumps much!

Seasons of Love | Rent

Rent: The Musical is showing from February 12 to March 6, 2011.
Contact Jean for tickets {March 4 showing} at 09175393536 or you may email her at