RENT Manila 2011 Review: Why I Love RENT This Time Around…

Honestly, I was not expecting a lot from the second run of Rent in Manila, especially when I learned that Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Maureen was only playing on Sundays.

In last year’s performance of RENT, Carla’s Moo performance in the song “Over the Moon” and Job Job Bautista’s portrayal of Angel Dumott Schunard were the highlights of the entire show.

I thought it would be the same as last year, just with a new cast.

I was wrong.

I was actually surprised at how awesome the entire show was, particularly the new cast members playing Mimi Sheree Bautista (and Ciara Sotto) — and Carla’s Maureen alternate — Mian Dimacali.

The actors have matured and own their roles already. You can feel the angst and the emotions leading up to the second act of the show.

Here is why I love RENT this time around…


Fredison Lo as Mark Cohen is now quite convincing. He’s not trying hard anymore; plus, the song lyrics he sings make sense now that they are in sync with his acting.

Gian Magdangal is now Roger Davis. Very mature performance, complete with angst and the Team Edward look.

Both Fredison and Gian were able to connect with the audience throughout the show. Keep it up!


    Job Bautista‘s Angel Dumott Schunard and OJ Mariano‘s Tom Collins performances have leveled up. Something to watch out for in this 2011 run!

      I must say people should watch Mian’s Maureen performance. Despite her young face, she was able to give the audience a very credible and entertaining Maureen.

      She had big shoes to fill, but she ran away with the role and gave it her own personality. She acted as if she was not pressured at all and, in the process, won the hearts of Filipino theatergoers.

      I love watching fresh, raw talent onstage, and Mian is definitely someone to look out for in the 2011 theater scene. Congratulations to Blue Rep for developing such a gem!

      With last year’s criticism that Roger (played by Gian Magdangal) and Mimi (played by Nicole Asensio) did not have any chemistry at all, 9 Works was very clever in casting Sheree Bautista — Gian’s real-life girlfriend — as Mimi.

      As I watched Gian and Sheree onstage, it was obvious that there was instant chemistry (almost bordering on a very suggestive, sensual connection). Roger and Mimi’s love story carried the entire show until its climax.

      It’s nice to see that Sheree is no longer just a sexy star, but a full-fledged theater actress. 🙂

      Congrats to 9 Works Theatrical for believing in the Filipino talent and not being afraid to cast new talents and even celebrities who do not have prior theater experience. 🙂

      (Some people are watching RENT for Ciara Sotto’s pole-dancing performances. She plays an alternate for Mimi — I have not watched it, though. You’ll only know which Mimi is playing on the actual show date itself. )

      Finally, RENT has a superb ensemble. We love Johann dela Fuente and Mark Tayag’s “love team”, which was the comic relief of the show. We also enjoyed their solo performances. 🙂 Great job!

      Don’t miss out on RENT this year! This year’s staging is how RENT should have been performed the first time around.


      RENT in Manila 2011 remaining shows:

      Fri, February 25, 2011  8:00 PM           
      Contact: +63 915.621.6512                                                                        

      Sat, February 26, 2011  3:30 PM           
      Contact: +63 923.814.1408 • +63 917.988.3814

      Sat, February 26, 2011  8:00 PM           
      Contact: +632 557.5860 • 586.7105 • +63 917.554.5560             

      Sun, February 27, 2011  4:30 PM           
      Contact: +63 917.800.1298 • +63 917.891.1266 • +63 917.537.1068        

      Sun, February 27, 2011  8:00 PM           
      Contact: +63 917.519.7009                                                                 

      Fri, March 4, 2011 8:00 PM           
      Contact: +63 917.539.3536

      Sat, March 5, 2011 3:30 PM           
      Contact: +63 918.536.2116 • +63 922.888.5348 • +63 922.888.5344               

      Sat, March 5, 2011 8:00 PM           
      Contact: +632 557.5860 • 586.7105 • +63 917.554.5560                                

      Sun, March 6, 2011  4:30 PM           
      Contact: +632 557.5860 • 586.7105 • +63 917.554.5560     

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      Full Disclosure: We are show buyers of the Feb. 19 RENT Show — this means we paid for the entire show at a discounted rate and we market the show. I’m NOT connected with, compensated by, or represented by any PR firm.

      Related Posts:
      OAP | Rent in Manila 2010 Review
      OAP | [RENT The Musical in Manila 2011] How Did you Measure Your Life in 2010?

      P.S. The show is very suggestive (particularly with Gian and Sheree 🙂 ). I don’t think it is appropriate for kids. Aidan loved the RENT songs, but I think he will be shocked to see his favorite song was actually the sexually charged song in the second act.

      P.P.S. Have you watched Ciara’s Mimi performance?

      11 thoughts on “RENT Manila 2011 Review: Why I Love RENT This Time Around…

      1. Hi Anton 🙂
        I would like to thank you for the tickets that I have won from your contest. My best friend and I had a blast watching last Feb 19’s run of RENT. I was quite surprised with Sheree’s performance. I thought, compared with Ciara, she will not be able to have the vocal chops for the role of Mimi. To our amazement, she’s a revelation. 😀 Her husky voice suited Mimi and you’re right. Their chemistry is really electric!

      2. I also saw this cast last Feb 19, and I loved Sheree, save for the parts where the huskiness of her voice sounds like she’s already running out of breath. I’m planning to watch again on one of the last few days, and I hope to see Carla as Maureen (so thanks for the Sundays-only tip!) but I wish Sheree would still be Mimi. I think she was why Gian was very convincing during the Finale A part.

      3. I’m sorry if I will be sounding challenging but I have a different opinion about this show. It seems that they haven’t learned from their previous show last year. I watched last Feb 20 and overall the show was really not up to par with the standards of what a theatrical musical should be, especially one for something like Rent. Other than the outstanding performance of Job as Angel, everyone else appeared very dead. Even Sheree was an obvious amateur with her eye contact going all over the place, and her voice wasn’t exactly broadway material. As a Rent-head, I know Roger isn’t supposed to be an emo person but more of a classy rocker (ala Bon Jovi), and his performance was as if I was watching Twilight meets Zombieland. I have to give credit to the ensemble though, they were fantastic in their own little way. Mark was just so-so, although he needed a lil more kick in what he does. La vie boheme was painful to watch, one of the most exciting songs turned out to be a drag as if Bjork was directing the play.
        I think the director needs to be changed already, his other shows before with repertory (I think it was “I love you new york”) was also a flop. No offense to the director but if he really want to live up to the glamour level of what Rent really is, he needs to step it up a bit.

      4. Anton, i’m sorry, but I don’t understand how you can remotely praise this shows cast. Job Bautista as Angel was painful to watch. He portrayed Angel as a cheap parlorista gay, to make matters worse, he couldn’t dance and sing. He would be out of breath, and unable to belt out the high notes. I wanted to cry.
        The cast lacked chemistry and heart. They are homeless, they’re hungry, they’re squatters. i didn’t get that feel of desperation from them. their vocals were all fighting with each other during harmonies, and the Mimi. Oh my lord, she had absolutely no heart.
        what happened?

      5. In my opinion, only Job, OJ, Carla and Jenny did a great job. But Gian was able to make his own Roger, which was remarkable. He was doing a good job at the beginning, so it was strange that his performance after No Day But Today went bad. As for Fredison, I could not believe his improvement. It was good, but not really praiseworthy. Pamela, the female soloist in Seasons of Love, seemed to overpower or take the stage for herself, which should not be the case in that song. Mimi was a disappointment. The character was literally killed as the show was nearing its end. But I could not deny her chemistry with Roger in No Day But Today. There were many parts in the show that looked like a mess. But it also had its good points. I actually watched the show to see if they have improved. Apparently, the improvement was very limited.
        Oh, I must say that this review is based on the Feb. 12 show.

      6. Oh, and may I add that Gian committed a lot of mistakes in playing the guitar in their Feb. 12 show. And I felt that the Mimi in the said show was giving the accompanying band a hard time because of the inconsistency of her tempo.

      7. This certainly isn’t the “second run of Rent in Manila.” In fact this is the nth staging, and I believe the original Manila cast as staged by Atlantis in 1999 was vastly superior, with the likes of Monique Wilson, Bituin Escalante, Lynne Sherman, Michael de Mesa, and Ricci Chan in the cast.

      8. it’s like their vocal training and range wasn’t meant for a rock-musical such as RENT. I am really really wondering how anyone can praise this cast. i’m not nitpicking, but did anyone notice that they were a little too “clean”? as well? their costumes looked new. again, they are homeless. they’re hungry and broken and cold. i expected them to be a little dirty and rugged, not like a clown vomited on them. it’s like they just picked out random items and decided to layer them on, thinking that was “bohemian”. If this is their interpretation of a “theater” production? again, you judge a production as a whole, complete with the lights, costumes, stage, acting…the whole package. they failed in so many counts, and charging me P2500 for a ticket is ridiculous. is there any way i can have my ticket refunded? i honestly don’t think it was worth my hard earned money.

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