Co-written by Precious Lee Cundangan
Manila, Philippines, November 19, 2012 - 60 out of 420 auditionees got callbacks on the first day of the much-talked-about "Miss Saigon" auditions, spearheaded by British stage director Laurence Connor ("Miss Saigon," "Les Miserables") and Cameron Mackintosh's representative in the Philippines, Dong Alegre ("Miss Saigon"), held at the Philippine Opera Company's headquarters in Makati City early today. Experienced thespians Karylle Tatlonghari, Tippy Dos Santos, Jake Macapagal, Julia Abueva, Lorenz Martinez, OJ Mariano, Noel Rayos, Cathy Azanza, Kyla Rivera, Cara Barredo, Topper Fabregas, and Jay Pangilinan were among the 60 who made the short list.
Contrary to previous media reports that these auditions were meant to cast for a supposedly "Miss Saigon" revival production in London next year, notices posted on walls at the audition venue have indicated that "These auditions seek to find suitable candidates to play the role of Kim and the male and female Asian ensemble performers for future productions of 'Miss Saigon'…There shall be no cast announcements made during the course of the audition exercise. As in past auditions, this audition exercise is 'exploratory' in nature."
"We are going to spend a little more time with them [shortlisted applicants]; if we continue to like them, we would spend a study session with them," Connor told GMA News.
Auditionees, another 420 are expected tomorrow, will have to go through two stages: a singing audition and a dance audition. According to Alegre, extra attention, prompting, and coaching will be given by Connor to aspirants whom he deems potentially suited to join the future productions of the megamusical.
"An actor is only as good as his last audition," Alegre told BroadwayWorld.com in an exclusive interview. "Anybody can audition. Nobody can stop anyone from dreaming, and from trying to reach as high as he or she can reach."
"'Miss Saigon' had taught us that as long as we have a dream and the courage to pursue that dream, we can win. Take for instance Lea Salonga: from obscurity, this young lady reaped awards and became the toast of the West End and Broadway. For the Philippine stage, 'Miss Saigon' raised the bar higher in terms of production standards and work ethics," he added.
With the powerful reach of social media, including notices on BroadwayWorld.com, the auditions in Manila have enticed applicants coming from different parts of the Philippines and other countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
"Many thanks for BroadwayWorld's support these past weeks. Indeed, the website has served as every auditionee's 'lifeline' to the auditions," said Alegre.
Auditions will run until Thursday, November 22.
Images c/o GMA News, Philippine Opera Company