Meet the Cast of Grease in Manila

The great thing about love stories set before 2004 is that we see how relationships existed before online social networking.

“My dad grew up in this era,” Gian Magdangal said, referring to Grease’s 1959 setting. At last week’s press conference of Grease in Manila, the cast and crew talked about their characters who lived in the Twitter-less ’60s and ’50s. Gian plays lead greaser Danny Zuko.

The cast of Grease in Manila: Gian Magdangal as Danny Zucko; Frencheska Farr as Sandy Dumbrowski; Iya Villania plays the sarcastic and outspoken leader of the Pink Ladies, Betty Rizzo; Jennifer Blair-Bianco as Betty Rizzo; Rafa Siguion-Reyna as Kenickie, second-in-command of the T-Birds; Carla Dunareanu as Marty; Reb Atrero as the mischievous Roger;  Mark Tayag as Sonny Latierri, the Italian-American lady-killer; Vince Lim as the guitar-playing Doody; Peachy Atilano as beauty school dropout, Frenchie; Sarah Facuri as the awkward and compulsive-eating Jan; Carlos Canlas as the all-American rockstar greaser, Johnny Casino; James Stacey as the fast-talking DJ Vince Fontaine; Harold Cruz as the class valedictorian Eugene Florcyzk; Sab Jose as cheerleader Patty Simcox; Angela Padilla as the no-nonsense English teacher, Miss Lynch; and Camille Ros as the loud-mouthed dancer, Cha-cha Digregorio.

The cast of Grease in Manila: Gian Magdangal as Danny Zucko; Frencheska Farr as Sandy Dumbrowski; Iya Villania as the sarcastic and outspoken leader of the Pink Ladies, Betty Rizzo; Jennifer Blair-Bianco as Betty Rizzo; Rafa Siguion-Reyna as Kenickie, second-in-command of the T-Birds; Carla Dunareanu as Marty; Reb Atrero as the mischievous Roger; Mark Tayag as Sonny Latierri, the Italian-American lady-killer; Vince Lim as the guitar-playing Doody; Peachy Atilano as beauty school dropout, Frenchie; Sarah Facuri as the awkward and compulsive-eating Jan; Carlos Canlas as the all-American rockstar greaser, Johnny Casino; James Stacey as the fast-talking DJ Vince Fontaine; Harold Cruz as the class valedictorian, Eugene Florcyzk; Sab Jose as cheerleader, Patty Simcox; Angela Padilla as the no-nonsense English teacher, Miss Lynch; and Camille Ros as the loud-mouthed dancer, Cha-cha Digregorio.

“[My dad] told me, ‘Before, you know, we used to have a conversation with someone upfront,” Gian said. “You didn’t have Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You had to find out for yourself if this person was really sincere or not.’”

If you’ve seen the 1978 movie musical starring a young sashaying John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, then you’ll love the stage musical version. Although slightly different from the movie version, you’ll surely hear hits such as “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “Summer Nights,” and “You’re The One That I Want.”

As for the Facebook-less love story, you’ll see how courtship was like for the older generation—just the radio or jukebox at the local diner, love letters, telephone calls, and lots of slow dancing.

While the rest of the cast talked about filling the blue suede shoes of the T-Birds and Pink Ladies of Rydell High, this writer went on a nostalgic trip to an analog era she wishes she were part of.

Gian Magdangal as Danny Zucko. This musical veteran seems to have the heartthrob role down pat with musicals such as The Wedding Singer, RENT, and West Side Story. “[The cast] is really infectious and fun to be with,” he said about his powerhouse support cast.

Gian Magdangal as Danny Zucko. This musical veteran seems to have the heartthrob role down pat with musicals such as The Wedding Singer, RENT, and West Side Story. “[The cast] is really infectious and fun to be with,” he said about his powerhouse support cast.

Theater newbie Frencheska Farr was cast as the lead, Sandy Dumbrowski. “I’m just praying that I surpass people’s expectations and that I do the role well,” the GMA singer said.

Theater newbie Frencheska Farr was cast as the lead, Sandy Dumbrowski. “I’m just praying that I surpass people’s expectations and that I do the role well,” the GMA singer said.

MYX veejay and TV personality Iya Villania plays the sarcastic and outspoken leader of the Pink Ladies, Betty Rizzo. “I like playing anything but the damsel in distress,” she told me. “It must be like a woman power kind of thing. I just don’t like weak girls.”

MYX veejay and TV personality Iya Villania plays the sarcastic and outspoken leader of the Pink Ladies, Betty Rizzo. “I like playing anything but the damsel in distress,” she told me. “It must be like a woman power kind of thing. I just don’t like weak girls.”

Credits:
Director: Robbie Guevara
Assistant director: Lorenz Martinez
Musical director for instrumentation: Joseph Tolentino
Musical director for vocals: Sweet Plantado-Tiongson
Choreographers: Arnold Trinidad and Francis Matheu
Set and costume designer: Mio Infante

Grease will run from November 9 to December 1, 2013 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati. Tickets are available via Ticket World and 9 Works Theatrical. For more info, visit 9 Works Theatrical’s official website and Facebook page. Official hashtag: #GreaseManila

Photo courtesy of 9 Works Theatrical



One Comment

  1. Kate wrote:

    UPDATE:
    9 Works Theatrical is staging a rerun of “Grease” on on all weekends of November 15 to December 7, 2014 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Ave. Makati City. Tickets are available via Ticketworld and 9 Works Theatrical. Stay tuned for my article about the new cast.

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