MANILA, Philippines–The biggest surprise when Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) announces its fifth re-run for its highly successful production—‘Rak of Aegis’ that had a total of 206 shows in its previous runs; is actually the inclusion of Tanya Manalang as the newest Aileen after her stint as Kim in West End’s ‘Miss Saigon’.
Manalang who made a name via Resorts World Manila’s two local productions—‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘The King and I’—was chosen to be the alternate to Eva Noblezada when the Cameron Mackintosh multi award-winning new production of ‘Miss Saigon’ when it opened in Prince Edward Theatre in 2014.
According to Tanya, she heard so much great reviews about the show, sadly she was already doing ‘Miss Saigon’ when it hit the local theater scene, “I was away during the last four runs, but I’ve been hearing nothing but praise for both Aicelle and Kim… So I really hope I do the part justice.
“Shiela (Martinez) called me on a Thursday night asking if I was interested to do a private audition for the role of Aileen. I did the audition on the following Tuesday, got a call just a few hours later, then next day was the photoshoot na.”
Being part of the ‘Miss Saigon’ production, it has helped her clinched the coveted role of ‘Aileen’, but she admits that it’s a challenge for her breathing into the character, “It’s a big adjustment from working with the foreigners kasi lagi silang game-on na medyo may pagka-straightfoward.
“Eh sa ‘Rak’, I can see na family talaga sila. Nandun parin naman yung discipline pero mas chill lang and mas madaming katuwaan. Working in the West End has taught me how to get into my character more. Na hindi puro kanta at birit lang, equally as important yung ‘telling of the story’.”
Manalang is also reunited with the husband and wife tandem—Loy Martinez and Shiela Valderrama-Martinez as her former co-cast members of ‘The King and I’ in Resorts World Manila.
Also new to the Rak stage are powerhouse veterans up-and-coming theatre actors Vince Lim (as Kenny), Carla Laforteza (as Mary Jane), Tricia Jimenez and Joann Co (alternating as Mercy), and Jon Santos (as Fernan).
Reprising the role of ‘Aileen’ are Kapuso breakout star Aicelle Santos and TV, film and theater actress Kim Molina. Several talented Venizia veterans are back as well, including Benj Manalo, Jerald Napoles, Pepe Herrera, Myke Salomon, Poppert Bernadas, OJ Mariano, Renz Verano, Sweet Plantado, Kakai Bautista, Neomi Gonzales, Juliene Mendoza, Gilbert Onida, Jimi Marquez, Phi Palmos, Ron Alfonso, Carlon Matobato, Gio Gahol, John Moran, Paeng Sudayan, Roi Calilong, Gimbey Dela Cruz, Abi Sulit, Via Antonio, Gold Villar, Teetin Villanueva, Raflesia Bravo, Jet Barrun, and Gab Pangilinan.
‘Rak of Aegis’ is set to open on June 17 till August 28 at the PETA Theater with a whopping 82 shows lined up.