Sunday, September 12, 2010

Xanadu, the Musical: A Review (What is a Stage Seat?)

"Human experience made comprehensible through Art" -Clio, Greek Muse

Last September 12,2010 I was privileged to watch Xanadu at RCBC Theater, Makati. My friend Theody of helped reserve tickets for me and my play buddy, Ada.

We got two stage tickets for the show. I admit that this is the first time I have heard of stage seats so I pestered Theody with questions like "where are stage seats exactly located Theody" which he patiently answered with "stage seats are located on the stage". For some reason, I cannot imagine it. "Where exactly on the stage? Are we beside the stage? Above the stage? (I just thought of this as really silly) Where exactly are we located on the stage?". However, I refrained already from asking him these questions (which he'd probably know now since I blogged about it).

I also admit that I like sitting in front. I like seeing the actors up close and personal. So I figured, stage seats must be REALLY close to the stage which is great.

Cast of Xanadu the Musical: From left Alys Andrea Serdenia (Erato, Siren, Andrew's Sister, Eros and Hera); Anthony Tarrosa Ong (Thalia, Siren, Young Danny, Tubes Singer and Cyclops); Felix Rivera (Sonny Malone); Bea Garcia (Euterpe, Siren, Andrew's sister, Thetis)

We arrived at the theater at 2pm since reserved seats have to be picked up early if you don't want to lose your reservation for the 3pm show. When we arrived at RCBC theater for the Xanadu play, Theody and his colleagues were already there to accommodate us. One of the members from the production joked Ada and I to stay close to the entrance for the orientation of stage seats audience. We wondered, "What does he mean by orientation? Why would we need an orientation to watch a play?" Another person joked that we have to sign an agreement so that we will not attempt to steal the show. Hahahahaha. No worries about that we just want to be wallflowers today. Oh boy! are we up to a surprise of our lives!

Ada and I did not think more of the stage seats because we were preoccupied by the free ice cream Nestle Heaven was giving out that day. There were four flavors to choose namely: Belgian Chocolate Bliss, Butter Pecan Obsession, Strawberry Dream and Vanilla Almond Secret. Upon the suggestion of the Nestle Heaven ice cream staff, I chose Vanilla Almond Secret while Ada went to her personal choice of Belgian Chocolate Bliss.

Nestle Heaven's angel

Ada and I enjoying our free Nestle Heaven Ice Cream

After finishing our ice creams, we went to join the other stage seat audience. True enough, we had an orientation but a very short one. First, we had to deposit our cellphones since we will be seated on the stage and the signals from our phones might interrupt the Xanadu play's sound system. This is very understandable. Second, we had to wear a light that looks like a ring. We were then told that towards the end of the show we will turn on the light of our rings and just play with the light. On the other hand, there will be no other occasion where we should open the light during the show. My friend and I looked at each other and we said "Wow, we will be part of the props. We must be really pretty near the stage." We were also told to hold on to the props that will be given to us but to avoid bringing them home. hehehehehe. The last instruction for staying at the stage seats was that there will be no drinking, eating or leaving their seat to take a bathroom break. Everybody was cool with the rules and so I decided to make a last-minute run to the ladies'room to make sure I won't be spoiling the fun.

About this time, I was wondering if I should get a souvenir or not. The Xanadu programme was sold together with the Xanadu soundtrack CD containing songs sang by Ms. Rachel Alejandro for Xanadu. The Xanadu programme and soundtrack CD will set you back by P350. For me it was a little bit over-priced considering that I bought my CATS programme at P500 and the soundtrack CD at P600. I know what your thinking? But that makes it P1100. However, I can say that the CATS programme and soundtrack CD was P1100 well spent. The pages of the CATS programme was glossy and filled with big pictures of the play while the CATS soundtrack CD has two-discs containing ALL the songs. This is compared to the Xanadu programme where 3/4 of it (I maybe exaggerating here) contains sponsors' ads and the Xanadu soundtrack CD contains 5 songs only. I really hoped they included all the 14 songs from the Xanadu play because there were tracks I liked so much such as "Dont Walk Away" sang by Sonny and the Muses and "Evil Woman" sang by Melpomene, Calliope and the Sirens that are not available in the Xanadu soundtrack CD. There are other souvenirs available as well such as T-shirts at P200 with labels of "Have You Never Been Mellow" in color black and "Evil Woman" which comes in violet color. There are also buttons and keychains. I forgot to ask for the prices for these items though. :P

P.S. I still got the Xanadu programme with the Xanadu soundtrack CD because I support buying original items, the Xanadu play and Ms. Rachel Alejandro as well.

Xanadu, the Musical (Souvenirs table)

List of Musical Numbers in Xanadu, the Musical
I'm Alive - Clio/Kira and the Muses
Magic - Kira
Evil Woman - Melpomene, Calliope and the Sirens
Suddenly - Kira and Sonny
Whenever You're Away From Me - Danny and Kira
Dancin'- Danny, Sonny and the Muses
Strange Magic - Melpomene, Calliope and Kira
All Over the World - Sonny, Danny and the Muses
Don't Walk Away - Sonny and the Muses
Fool - Kira and the Muses
The Fall - Sonny and the Muses
Suspended In Time - Kira and Sonny
Have You Never Been Mellow - Kira and the Greek gods
Xanadu - Kira, Sonny, Danny and the Muses

We were ushered to our seats, and finally, I now understand the meaning of "stage seats". It is literally seats on the stage in front of the general audience. Some of you might be thinking, "are you silly how else do you interpret the meaning of stage seats". But I don't want to be a hypocrite here. Part of me was hoping that we will only be close to the stage but not that close. When you are seating on stage seats, you are practically part of the stage. A mixture of emotions is running through my head, should I go back to the reception area and ask Theody for a different seat? Should we stay and take advantage of this new experience?

Noel Trinidad as Danny Maguire in Xanadu the Musical Philippines

I guess the curiosity program in my head is much stronger than the fear of being on the stage. Thus, my friend and I stayed.

Ada and I are play-buddies because of the sole reason that we really enjoy watching plays. For me, I enjoy it more than watching a movie. It is better than watching any 3-D movie because I can experience all the dimensions of watching a story. On the other hand, we had a dilemma. We were envisioning that stage seats were on the side of the stage the same way we saw it on the seat plan of However, when we saw our seats, it is positioned directly behind the actors. Thus, we were wondering how can we fully enjoy the play if the actors are behind us? Ada joked that "Nasa harap tayo na nasa likod" (We are in front and at the back at the same time). Still, we decided that we will see first if we can enjoy the play as much as we can and then decide after the play if we like stage seats next time.

Chari Arespachochaga as Melpomene in Xanadu the Musical Philippines2

Just like any other girlfriend dates, my friend and I were happily chatting while the lights are out. About that time we noticed that one of the actors, Felix Rivera who plays the lead character Sonny Malone came out already behind us. We weren't sure if the play was already starting because the lights were still out. People were still busily chatting and settling themselves in the theater. There was also no advice that the show is about the start. Although we did hear a funny reminder about turning off our cellphones. I guess that's another thing that makes this play different from the other plays I watched. It just takes you by surprise. hahahahaha.

Felix Rivera (Sonny Malone); Bea Garcia (Euterpe, Siren, Andrew's sister, Thetis) Rachel Alejandro (Clio and Kira) in Xanadu the Musical Philippines

As a play, I find the musical hilarious, heartwarming and enjoyable. The plot is easy to understand. This is the same reason why I recommend bringing your kids to watch the play. However, there are jokes and words our little ones are not supposed to hear. So to be on the conservative side, I can say bring your Grade 4 kids and up. I am basing my recommendation on whether my Grade 4 son would have enjoyed the show or not. And I really think he would. Well, kids are familiar with love stories already because of shows like Inoyasha and Agua Bendita so that's why I think 10-year-olds will understand this show. However, again I am warning you there are very few words you might want to watch out for. Right Hermes?

As for sitting on the stage seats with kids, that I am not sure. If you have a hyperactive child like mine, you have to do a lot of prepping and explaining why staying on his seat for 1.5 hours is a MUST. There is no intermissions in this play so if you have any doubts that your child cannot sustain the attention then by all means please choose another seat. This is for your own sanity and for the general audience and the actors' sake. Remember the purpose of watching this play is to have great fun. There will be more opportunities for your child to experience sitting on a stage seat but do that when he is ready.

However, if you have no problems with sustaining attention then by all means try to get the stage seats. It will give your child a different perspective in watching a play. As we know for kids, experience can be a very effective and amazing teacher. As an advocate of classrooms without borders, this is one of those experiences you should not miss with your child. I don't want to spoil anymore surprises so just go there with an open-mind. :)

The only downside I can see in watching the play Xanadu from the stage seats is that sometimes I cannot hear and see what the actors are saying and doing. I don't think I need to explain that in detail and yet I know also that the overall experience counteracts the negative side and for me I still had a one-of-a-kind adventure.

Will I try to book stage seats again? My answer is "Why not? And this time I will definitely bring my son."

For details for the September 19 show of Xanadu the Musical, check out You can also check my older post for more information.

Till the next play. :)

P.S. No picture of the stage seats can be taken due to the strict prohibition of the use of documentation devices inside the theater. Therefore, seat at your own risk. :)

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