EXCLUSIVE: CHICAGO Producer Gushes Over CHICAGO, Singin' In The Rain, The Theatre & MiG Ayesa
Manila, Philippines-- Lunchbox Theatrical Productions CEO James Cundall, who is behind CHICAGO's limited run in Manila until this Sunday, December 21, definitely knows how to professionally gush--in the prim and proper "English" way--over anything musical theater-related.
He has four things to "fanboy" on: Broadway and West End actor MiG Ayesa; next year's Manila premiere of the West End revival production of "Singin' in the Rain," based on the 1952 movie of the same name; CHICAGO's current Philippine run; and The Theatre at Solaire Resort and Casino.
"Oh yes! Definitely I'm a fanboy of CHICAGO, and of this new theater!" acknowledging the title after being oriented on the concept of "fan-boying."
"I've seen CHICAGO over 40 times already and in around over 18 countries, and it's the same anywhere it goes--sophisticated and sensational. It's just so grand. It may not have a live helicopter or a floating bubble in it, but that's just the magic of it, isn't it?" says Cundall.
Before settling in front of the camera for an exclusive footage for BroadwayWorld.com, he asks "When do you think we should bring 'Wicked' back? We're thinking in three years time, but what do you think?" making himself comfortable in one of the 1,760 plush-red seats of the newly opened luxury theater.
"But first I have to tell you about 'Singin' in the Rain.' It's coming next year and I can't wait for Filipino audiences to experience it: that'll be a lot of water pouring down onstage and getting people wet!" he says, gesturing towards the wide span of the stage of The Theatre, chuckling with a naughty glint in his eyes, as he makes his way to the top of the theater balcony.
"I've been to the top-most seats at the back of other theaters before and it didn't feel quite as close to the stage as how it feels like from the back of this new theater. Even from the cheap seats, you're getting the most wonderful view," he adds.
"Not that there's any exclusivity, of course we're happy to be breaking ground with CHICAGO in a new theater! CCP [Cultural Center of the Philippines] is still a great lady and has always been awesome and so kind to us ever since!" Cundall explains when asked about any exclusivity between upcoming shows of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and The Theatre at Solaire Resort and Casino--stressing there's no such exclusivity when choosing venues for shows, especially for international touring productions with limited runs. The biggest influential factors are the compatibility of the show with the proposed venue and the availability of the theater itself.
"Truthfully, this is as good a facility as I worked in as anywhere in the world," he continues.
"When I visited the theatre in July, it was still an empty shell! So credit goes out to local workers and contractors who made it," he says, revealing how CHICAGO's management team in New York expressed a little trepidation when he presented them with photos of the then unfinished theatre earlier this year.
"The Theatre is specially designed to accommodate musicals and we couldn't be happier!" he says, expressing preference over theatres designed to be musical theater-friendly over those that have more of a Las Vegas showroom-type design.
"So when we heard that they [Solaire Resort and Casino] were setting up a new theatre, we knew we had to volunteer as much input as possible!" he continues, and as the opening night performance of CHICAGO closed to a standing ovation, perhaps the input proved more than just well-meaning enthusiasm expressed over a new Philippine theatrical venue.
So check out CHICAGO at The Theatre at Solaire Resort and Casino!
Final week tickets are still available at ticketworld.com.ph.
How to get to Solaire Resort and Casino
From Mall of Asia:
Take Jose W. Diokno Blvd. South and turn right on Aseana Ave.
From Pasay City:
Take Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. South and turn right on Aseana Ave.
Take EDSA to Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. South, then turn right on Aseana Ave.