Viewers see her every Sunday at GMA-7's SOP belting out the latest pop songs but as soon as she steps on stage at Meralco Theater, Karylle tranforms into a sweet, innocent girl with the angelic voice of a soprano singer. With her soft curls and quaint Puerto Rican accent, Karylle exudes an Old World charm that harks back to the 1950s. She and Christian Bautista made a lovely pair as Maria and Tony, two lovers caught in a bitter war set in New York during the ‘50s.
THE PLOT. Two feuding street gangs—the Jets and the Sharks—are on a collision course in the gritty slums of New York City. Out of the chaos, a passionate romance blooms between Tony and Maria, teenagers caught on opposite ends of the turf war. But can they find a place for their love amid the prejudice and turmoil that surrounds them?
In the September 3 staging of West Side Story, the love story of Tony (Christian) and Maria (Karylle) is hindered by the fight between Bernardo (the brother of Maria portrayed by Jeff Singson) and Riff (played by Gian Magdangal).
As the leader of the Puerto Rican Sharks, Bernardo engages in a fist fight with a representative of the Jets. However, things get out of hand and gang members on both sides get killed. Anita (the girlfrienf of Bernardo played by Pam G) delivers a message from Maria but the Jets harrass her. Out of her anger, Anita gives a false message that seals the fate of the two lovers.
THE VERDICT. Expect explosive dancing and excellent vocals from the performers of West Side Story. Christian Bautista is truly a gifted singer—when he does his solo acts, you can close your eyes and almost swear that the song is coming from a recording. He truly belongs to the Champion Singers of ABS-CBN's ASAP '08.
Karylle hits her high notes with ease and she looks radiant as she does it. Her hard work and training paid off, especially when she and Christian sing "Somewhere." She sings it again towards the end of the play and with her voice breaking, you can't help but emphatize with her character grieving the loss of her beloved.
Initially, Gian Magdangal put too much twang on his accent that he was hardly understood by the audience. His role as Riff certainly showcased his expertise on dancing and singing: two skills that come in handy as a co-host of SOP. Just like Karylle, he will have to rush from the studio to make it in time for the matinee performance of the show during Sundays.
Organizers should make it a point to monitor their sound system since the crackles ruin the perfectly good performances of the stars. As a viewer, I found it confusing to differentiate who among the cast members belonged to the Jets and the Sharks.
Ms. Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo should be commended for giving a mesmerizing interpretation of this Broadway musical that is being presented by STAGES until October 12, 2008.
Video courtesy of STAGES