Review Roundup: LORENZO, A New Rock Musical
"Lorenzo" revolves around the themes of faith as a powerful virtue and how it strengthens one to be undaunted in the midst of obstacles. It is a play within a play: It tells the story of Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint, who escapes to Japan and dies for his Christian faith--in the early 1600s; the saint's life story is placed side by side with the modern-day story of Laurence, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) imprisoned in the Middle East, who faces imminent execution.
The play stars Lorenz Martinez (Lorenzo Ruiz) and Poppert Bernadas (Lorenzo Ruiz understudy), OJ Mariano (Laurence), Juliene Mendoza (Fray Antonio), Shiela Valderrama and Mayen Estanero (Rosario Ruiz), Terence Guillermo (Lazaro), Rhenwyn Gabalonzo (Fr. Vicente), Miguel Mendoza (Fr. Miguel), Brylle Mondejar (Fr. Guillaume), Camille Lopez-Molina (Reporter) and Celine Fabie (Reporter understudy), Noel Rayos (Rodrigues) and Brezhnev Larlar (Carvalho). The ensemble includes King Rupert Alvarez, Aaron Ching, Philip Deles, Raul Montesa, Noe Morgado, Enrhil Serguino, Melanie Dujunco, Jenny Garcia, Andrea Fe Padilla, Cristy Peredo, Allen Orolfo, Aeriel Janelle Yu, Dan Raphael Albis and the Saint Benilde Romancion Dance Company.
Nonon Padilla is director; Gino Gonzales is production designer; Dingdong Fiel is musical director; Jon Jon Villareal is lighting designer; and Christine Crame is choreographer.
Let us see what the critics had to say:
Jude Cartalaba, BroadwayWorld.com: Composer and arranger Ryan Cayabyab and musical director Dingdong Fiel create a superb brand of music for this rock opera production. In addition, having Paul Dumol, Juan Ekis and Joem Antonio on board as writers makes this production a must-see.
Gino Gonzales, the show's production designer, depicts a mood that represents all the dreams of OFWs through the pile of balikbayan boxes used as a wall, which imprisons most of the characters in the play and intertwines Lorenzo Ruiz and Laurence's life stories.
Directed by Nonon Padilla, the play--some parts may be dragging--makes the life of Lorenzo Ruiz relevant to today's Filipino audiences.
Jen Chuaunsu, Pep.Ph: The "musical-within-a-play" structure is novel and interesting. The parallels between Laurence's and Lorenzo's lives are clearly seen. However, the juxtaposition between Lorenzo Ruiz' life and the lives of OFWs seems a bit forced. The musical's take on the current OFW situation is not clear.
There are a lot of Japanese elements from the Noh-inspired costumes, movement and music, to the manga comics projected on screen, the zentai suit (skin-tight garment that covers the entire body) worn by one of the dancers, and even the huge awesome robot that appears on stage.
Production designer Gino Gonzales' Noh-inspired costumes are works of art. Outrageous and artistic, the costumes are a mix of modern and traditional elements. The villains wear grand flowing robes and exaggerated Lady Gaga-like shoulder pads. The masks, heavy make-up and covered faces of the Japanese characters make them seem imposing...