Trumpets restages "First Name" for today's generation

Trumpets' First Name cast is composed of (standing, from left) Nelsito Gomez Marin, Ring Antonio, Butch Montejo, PJ Valerio; (middle row) Fame Flores, Eric Mercado, Maita Ponce, Kevin Concepcion; and (bottom row) Khalil Kaimo, Andrei Pamintuan, JC Gotinga, and Kakki Teodoro.

In today's computer age marked by the ubiquity of the Internet and cell phones, Trumpets aims to recapture the interest of today's generation with a fun musical that fuses multimedia elements in its repertoire.

Imagine being taken for a musical journey through the Old and New Testaments in a matter of hours inside the Center Stage of SM Mall of Asia. This new version of the 20-year old stage musical First Name, which was originally mounted by the first core group behind Trumpets, has been reconfigured to appeal to a young audience.

The updated version of First Name will run for three months at Center Stage, SM Mall of Asia, from October 11 to December 14.

"This is the first live musical performed at Center Stage [SM Mall of Asia]," reveals director Freddie Santos. "First Name is the show that gave birth to Trumpets. First Name was was first performed in 1988 and was heralded then as the first musical of its kind—a gospel musical written in English, written like a musical comedy."

First Name boasts lyrics penned by veteran theater and live concert director Freddie Santos and original music contributed by OPM's highly respected artists: Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Ray-Ann Fuentes, Butch Alvarez and Bob Serrano.

The show's hit song "Could You Be Messiah?" is one among the musical's many highlights. "Could You Be Messiah?" became the first Filipino-written ditty released in the United States under an American music label. It was also used by the Billy Graham Crusade in several of its European and South American campaigns.


"When we first presented this musical in 1988, no one knew it would be the first English-language Gospel musical in the history of Philippine theater. Critics compliment us on how the show reduced the physical size of its material's body but enlarged the excitement on its soul with music and humor," says writer and director Freddie Santos.

"I never thought that after nearly 20 years, I would find such great difficulty in restaging First Name with a young audience in mind, whose patience for a slow song demands a seat belt and stern ushers...Every day of the entire rehearsal process, we have to look for every handle meant for a young grasp...a visual, a joke, a prop, a dance move, a singing style...something...anything," Santos explains.

Supplementing the director's young approach to this 2007 staging of First Name is a juvenile, highly brisk cast including Disney's High School Musical On Stage alumni PJ Valerio, Kevin Concepcion, Fame Flores, Nelsito Gomez Marin, and Kakki Teodoro. Also in the cast are Ring Antonio, JC Gotinga, Khalil Kaimo, Eric Mercado, Butch Montejo, Andrei Pamintuan and Maita Ponce.

Jeff Arcilla, DJ Myke Solomon of the Akafellas and Butch Montejo with HIWAY 69 have re-arranged some of the songs for a newer sound.

Assistant directors Bernice Aspillaga-Cañete, Johann dela Fuente and Jun Ofrasio, set designer Mio Infante, costume designer Pam Gumabon, lighting designer Joseph Matheu, vocal coach Sweet Plantado-Tiongson, choreographer Alfred Luanzon and multimedia designer GA Fallarme complete the artistic and production team.

For performance schedules and ticket reservations, call Trumpets at tel. no. 631-7252 and 635-4478.


Click MORE PICTURES to view photos of the cast members of First Name.





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