“Rama Hari,” the hit pop ballet musical based on the Indian epic Ramayana, is returning to the CCP stage this November, with a powerhouse cast of the country's best singers and dancers.
This year's staging of “Rama Hari” will star Christian Bautista and Karylle in the lead roles Rama and Sita, backed by an equally powerhouse cast of the country's leading theater actors and singers: Robert SeÃ±a as the demon Ravana, OJ Mariano (alternating as Rama), Kalila Aguilos (alternating as Sita), Christian Rey Marbella, Noel Rayos, Lani Ligot, Amparo Sietereales, and Brezhnev Larlar.
Ballet Philippines' principal dancers Jean Marc Cordero and Richardson Yadao will essay the role of Rama and Carissa Adea and Katherine Trofeo as Sita.
"Rama Hari" is Ballet Philippines' third production this year, following the staging of "Songs" and "Neo-Filipino: Anting.”
Ballet Philippines' Artistic Director Paul Alexander Morales says what makes the revival production very meaningful is that it will be staged on a dragon year.
“Dragon years are always significant with their great energy and sense of renewal, the beginning of a new cycle,” he says.
Morales shares that what makes "Rama Hari" special, then and now, is the great collaboration work done by the best Filipino artists on the production, including two national artists.
Choreographed by Ballet Philippines' founder Alice Reyes, the ballet musical was set to music of maestro Ryan Cayabyab, while National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera wrote the libretto and National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal did the set and costume design.
The lyrics of “Rama Hari” are in Filipino, but there will be English subtitles during the performance, translated by National Artist Rolando Tinio.
“Let’s all rally behind and embrace the company that has brought much pride to the country - after all, it is truly our own.” he says.
Margie Moran-Floriendo, Ballet Philippines' President, affirms that the show is a testament to the continuity of the great tradition that Ballet Philippines started 43 years ago.
For more than four decades, she says Ballet Philippines has continued to produce original shows that are truly and proudly Filipino, despite the limitations and of funding for the arts in this country.
"It is our commitment to the arts. By bridging the past and the present, BP has come full circle and we hope that this season's shows will continue to inspire the Filipino audience and develop in them pride in the Filipino artist."
Ballet Philippines first staged “Rama Hari” in 1980 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines with Basil Valdez and Kuh Ledesma as the voices behind Rama and Sita, respectively. Leo Valdez portrayed the role of the evil demon Ravana.
Others in the original cast include Gigi Escalante, Louie Pascua, Nonoy Froilan, Effie NaÃ±as, and Edna Vida. Other singers who have performed in Rama Hari restagings are Jacqui Magno, Ric Segretto, Eugene Villaluz, Ayen Munji, and Bimbo Cerrudo.
Rama Hari will have 10 performances from November 30 to December 9 at the CCP Main Theater, with the Manila Symphony Orchestra playing live.