Exactly 30 years after it was first screened in movie houses, the classic film Bituing Walang Ningning has been adapted into a musical play, which will be staged in Resorts World Manila.
Based on a comic series by Nerissa Cabral, it was made into a blockbuster movie in 1985 and eventually had a small screen adaptation in 2006.
The story is centered on character Dorina Pineda’s rise up in show business from a talented aspiring young singer to a bonafide superstar.
For the 2015 musical adaptation, Cris Villonco and Mark Bautista were chosen for the roles of Lavinia Arguelles and Nico Escobar.
However, the highly coveted role of Dorina was yet to be filled, as Resorts World Manila and Viva Communications have partnered to bring the much-loved story to the stage.
According to Freddie Santos, the theater director for the musical adaptation, they organized a series of auditions from February 28 to March 1 at the The Plaza in Newport Mall for a reason: to see the over-all impact of the applicant to the audience.
The audition called for females with the following criteria: Between 16 to 20 years of age, has an exceptional talent for singing and acting, can speak Filipino fluently, and has good moral character.
“We organized the audition to find the right Dorina, the one that possess good characteristics. The new Dorina must establish a connection with the audience. Kailangan mapantayan iyong mga nauna,” enthuses Santos.
“The impact of her voice when she sings, the clarity of her speech when she talks, but more than anything, the impact that her whole persona brings.”
Aside from playing the lead role, the successful applicant will also get a movie and recording contract with Viva worth P 1 million.
After the series of auditions and careful screening of applicants, a girl named Monica Cuenco from Cebu City was chosen by the panel of judges to fill the lead role.
According to Cuenco, playing the role of Dorina is exciting but a big character to fill given the big celebrities who also played the role.
“Nakakakaba since ang original si Megastar Sharon Cuneta and then nasundan pa ni Pop Star Princess Sarah Geronimo. All I can promise is that I will do my best to satisfy everyone.”
Honing her singing talent at the age of three, Cuenco joined several talent competitions such as Little Big Star – Cebu and Star Power where she ranked second after Angeline Quinto. She added that aside from singing, she also dreams of establishing a career in theater.
“Ever since I started singing, I’ve always wanted to explore theater. It’s my dream. And now, I am very thankful to God for giving me the role. It’s a blessing.”
Version ‘not a copycat’
According to Santos, their version might be bigger than its previous versions – most especially with the songs that they will use for the musical.
“Because the songs of this stage play will cross generations,” he explained.
“This version of Bituing Walang Ningning will highlight the glamour, glitz, and the backstage life of being a star instead of just a drama. And I think theater is the perfect venue for the new adaptation. I have a feeling that people will watch this again and again, just to hear how beautiful those OPM songs we prepared.”
Although Santos assures a different treatment with the musical play, he affirmed that they would still follow the original plot of the story.
“We would still follow the general plot of the movie, because we want to pay respect to both Nerissa Cabral and Direk Maning Borlaza. But because this is a stage show, some parts need to be enlarged and enhanced, para mas maging malinaw iyong conflict.”
The musical will mark the first time that a contemporary drama has been created and adapted into different media platforms – print, film, television, and now theater.
For more information and schedule updates on Bituing Walang Ningning, log-on to www.rwmanila.com or call 908-8833.