Monday, 11 May 2009

Pinoys star in Miss Saigon NZ premiere

Lisa VillamariaPinoy talents have conquered the world again this time in New Zealand. Three true-blooded Filipino artists are part of the “Miss Saigon,” New Zealand Premiere cast. The three artists were chosen from among the thousands who auditioned to be part of this musical phenomenon.

Mariano “Jheong” Pineda Jr., January Jane Rabot and Lisa Villamaria exemplified their natural artistic talent and true-Pinoy inherent charm that made Ms. Saigon director Stephen Robertson (NZ premier director) choose them from the many local talents who auditioned.

Lisa Villamaria (soprano) was born in Manhattan, NY although her parents are true-blooded Filipinos who hail from Cavite City. She has been involved in music and theatre since her childhood. Lisa is part of the original cast of “Miss Saigon” in New York. She came to New Zealand alongside Jihyen Park (playing Kim) to be part of the New Zealand Premiere as understudy to Kim.

She is a proud member of Actors Equity and AFTRA. Lisa graduated from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts with a BM in Voice and has traveled the US while performing. She continues this amazing journey in New Zealand.

Jheong Pineda is a native of Cagayan Valley. He was born in Abulog, Cagayan Valley but grew up in Claveria. He graduated cum laude at the International School of Asia and the Pacific in Tuguegarao City where he took up BS Business Administration major in International Business.

Helicopter scene

He was also awarded Best Supporting Actor at the PETA Acting Workshop under Director Teddy Gagalac. Singing and dancing are his passion. He has spent most of his singing career in choral groups in the Philippines. “Miss Saigon” is his first show outside his native land.

January Rabot, on the other hand, moved to Christchurch New Zealand from her native Philippines in 2008. She hails from General Santos City where she was an Early Childhood Teacher by profession. She taught for 10 years before moving to New Zealand to live with her Kiwi partner.

January was a Marist Songfest Grand Winner in 2005 – she was awarded “Best in Song Composition” and “Best in Interpretation.” Since moving to New Zealand, she has performed in “Director’s Choice” and “The Sing” at the Christchurch Theatre Workshop Inc. as well as “Peter Pan” at the Repertory Theatre in New Zealand.

The show started last April 17 and finished on May 9, at the Isaac Royale Theatre in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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