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Pinay plays lead in Fame The Musical
FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo (The Philippine Star) Updated October 26, 2009 12:00 AM


Rowena Vilar as Carmen in the classic musical:
Another world-class Filipino talent.

A Filipino actress has clinched the role of Carmen, the female lead in Fame The Musical which will be mounted in Australia starting on April 18 next year. She's none other than Rowena Vilar.

This piece of good news was relayed to Funfare by Girlie Rodis who was in Australia when the confirmation was made. Girlie was there to accompany Rachel Alejandro at a Globe gig during the Sydney Fiesta. Girlie then flew to Melbourne to check on Rowena whom she represents in the Philippines.

It's actually a double victory for the Philippines because another Filipina, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle (granddaughter of Sylvia La Torre), got the same role in the musical's Hollywood remake. It was Funfare that broke the story about Anna Maria whose father is Archie Perez de Tagle.

Some of you may find the name Rowena Vilar familiar. Yes, she's the same girl who wowed audiences night after night at the Meralco Theater last year as Anita in West Side Story, particularly with her triple-treat performance of the song America. She has worked with Hugh Jackman in Boy From Oz and was part of the ensemble of the Miss Saigon Australia touring company.

Girlie was in Melbourne, staying with the Vilars when Rowena was called back to Sydney for final auditions for the role of Carmen. “Rowena received word a few days ago that she was ‘it',” said Girlie. “Once again a Filipina is the lead female performer in an international production.”

According to Girlie, also joining Fame is Rebecca Mendoza, another prominent Australian-Filipina in Australian entertainment cast as the ballet teacher. A good friend of Rowena, Rebecca was part of the Miss Saigon cast with Joanna Ampil (another Filipina, as Kim) in the Sydney run as well as The Lord of the Rings Musical.

Fame The Musical is actually returning to Australia. It will kick off a national tour at Melbourne's Regent Theater on April 18, open in Brisbane at the Lyric Theatre QPAC on June 20 and in Sydney in early September 2010.

Produced by John Frost and directed/choreographed by Kelley Abbey, Fame The Musical is the story of the kids from New York's School for the Performing Arts who inspired a generation and sparked sales of untold millions of leg-warmers. It is, almost uniquely, a classic of cinema, television and music theater. The movie, released in 1980, won an Academy Award and swept the world. The TV show ran for six seasons, won numerous Emmy Awards and was broadcast in over 70 countries.

Fame The Musical ran for a decade in London's West End and has been seen by 10 million worldwide.

Added Girlie, “John Frost believes it's the right time for the musical to be staged again.”

 

 

 

 

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