What I find truly amazing about Rachelle Ann Go’s being in the cast of Miss Saigon is how she was led into something that she never imagined doing. She did want to be a star in the movies and television but not the theater. There was one time when relatives in Canada treated her to Miss Saigon and she did think, maybe I can do this one day. That was all.
But within only a little over three years her life had been upended and she is now set to open in the London revival of Miss Saigon. The only explanation that I can think of to explain what happened is that Divine Intervention showed her the way to do what she was born to do. And that is perform in musicals.
Rachelle Ann’s journey began in 2011 when she was asked to audition for the Atlantis Production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Viva, her management company, thought that doing theater would be a good idea for her to energize her career. She passed the audition with flying colors but it still took convincing on Viva’s part for her to accept the role of Ariel.
Rachelle Ann had fears. She had not done theater before, let alone a full musical. While there was no question about her singing, she was not sure she could act. Aside from her leading man Eric Santos, who was also a first timer, she had no friends in theater and would be directed by the formidable team of Bobby Garcia and Chari Arrespacochaga. Besides, the stint would mean giving up her Sunday show at GMA 7 and will be a huge financial sacrifice.
It was a good thing that Rachelle Ann allowed herself to be convinced by Viva because her Miss Saigon would never have happened without The Little Mermaid. She was electric from the moment she stepped on stage. It was clear that it was what she was born to do. However, the success of the show and the rave reviews, plus her new friends, still did not complete sell Rachelle Ann on theater. She turned down Rock of Ages and required double convincing to accept Tarzan.
While all these were going on, there came the news that producer Cameron MacKintosh was reviving Miss Saigon in London 25 years after its first staging. Even better was the announcement that auditions would be held in Manila. Hundreds came to try out. Rachelle Ann, armed with years of experience as a singer and her theater training from Atlantis, was one of them. She wanted to be Kim. If she makes it, Viva assured her it would request GMA 7 to suspend her contract for 14 months to allow her to stay in London.
She excelled in the auditions but the reply she got after months of waiting was not good. They wanted a 17 year old to play Kim and Rachelle Ann was not 17 anymore. But then, MacKintosh himself was said to have advised that she try out for the part of Gigi. She never thought of becoming Gigi. But this was MacKintosh and it was doubtful he would send word to her about Gigi if he had not seen something that would make her great in the role.
So after a selfie of herself singing Movie On My Mind met approval, she spent a few days in London for the final try-out. Then Rachelle Ann was offered and she accepted the role of Gigi. A few weeks later came the video announcement where MacKintosh himself described the new Gigi as a lovely girl with a beautiful, beautiful voice. Who would have thought that something like that could happen after only three years. She was led by Heaven to this wonderful destination.
It will not be without sacrifice. Without her concerts and TV shows, Rachelle Ann will be earning less. She will be living alone in a flat, going to and from work by herself, taking care of the laundry, the cooking, scrubbing the bathroom, etc. She will be without friends and family. It will be very hard work, rehearsals and then daily performances of the same role again and again for at least a year.
But then, she would be playing a major role in the revival of an acclaimed musical that is already almost sold out. A very select audience is already awaiting the opening on May 3 and Rachelle Ann will be among those performing for them. If they decide to record a soundtrack album, she will be there as Gigi.
Then, who knows, there is now for her the opportunity to try out for other roles, check out prospects on TV, films and recording, etc. We could lose her for a long time but that is all right because she would be in a bigger world where she can really shine.
More theater news. This time on Wicked, which I believe should now be part of Rachelle Ann’s prospects. The extension run of the Manila Season of the musical is nearing its end and tickets have become difficult to come by. A few are still available, so don’t wait, try to score yours as soon as possible. Wicked is not an experience to be missed.
You have until March 9 to get to join in the nightly standing ovations for superb performances by Jemma Rix as Elphaba and Suzie Mathers as Glinda and the other members of the cast. Also be thrilled at the dazzling display of glitz, glamour and spell-binding special effects and songs like Defying Gravity, Popular, For Good and others.
For details, call Ticketworld at 891-9999 or go to ticketworld.com.ph.