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MiG was last seen on the Broadway stage playing Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages, the role he will recreate for the highly-anticipated Manila staging that also stars Nyoy Volante, Vina Morales, Jett Pangan, Aiza Seguerra, Jinky Llamanzares, Calvin Millado, Jamie Wilson and Bibo Reyes. In just a few weeks, Filipino-Australian rock star MiG Ayesa returns to the Philippines, the country of his birth, to begin rehearsals for Atlantis Productions’ staging of the hit Broadway musical Rock of Ages.
Last seen in Manila in 2006, MiG is looking forward to returning to his homeland to perform for his countrymen and to have some delicious Pinoy food with his friends and relatives.
How do you feel about playing Stacee Jaxx once again, this time for Manila audiences?
“Playing Stacee Jaxx has been one of the highlights of my career, and to bring Rock of Ages to my homeland is what dreams are made of. People will see a totally different side of me as this is the first time I will be on the theatrical stage in the Philippines. Playing Stacee on Broadway was very sweet, and even sweeter that it has brought me back home in a big way.”
What can Filipino audiences expect from Rock of Ages?
MiG with Tom Cruise, who was all praises for his Rock of Ages performance. The Hollywood star is playing MiG’s role in the film adaptation.
“Prepare to go back to a time of decadence and excess, where massive guitar riffs were only overshadowed by even more massive hairdos. Come with an open mind, an open heart and you’re sure to leave fulfilled. Be prepared for the loudest theater experience and get ready to rock to some of the greatest songs of the ’80s. You may find yourself giving the ‘rock horns’ more often than you’d imagine, but above all, get ready to have one of the best times ever at a stage show! It’s part-rock concert, part-play: A love story that goes up to 11 p.m.”
How does it feel to be doing your first musical in Manila?
“I must say I’m a little scared but totally excited. People are expecting a lot of me. There’s been a lot of hype created by me doing the show on Broadway, I just don’t want to disappoint. At the same time, the show never fails to impress. It’s a surefire formula for a fantastic night’s entertainment, and I am so excited that it is this show that marks my Filipino theatrical debut. I feel like the prodigal son. The Mayor of Manila presented me with the Key to the City in 2006. I guess it’s time for me to use that key!”
You are performing alongside some of the country’s finest singers such as Nyoy Volante, Vina Morales, Jinky Llamanzares, Aiza Seguerra and Jett Pangan. Are you excited to perform with them?
“Excited beyond excited! I’ve worked with Jett when I sang with The Dawn. He’s awesome! I’ve also been doing some research on my co-stars and as always, the Filipino talent has not failed to impress. I love that Manila is really setting forth to establish a quality musical theater tradition. I remember seeing The Sound of Music at Repertory Philippines starring a very young Lea Salonga and was blown away way back then. My mom saw Atlantis’ Next To Normal last year in Manila and she reported to me how brilliant the production was. ‘World-class!’ was her review. I expect nothing less from my new cast members. They already blow me away!”
Other than performing in Rock of Ages, what do you plan to do in the Philippines?
“I do plan to see a lot of my relatives. It’s been a particularly challenging last few months for me and I really feel the need to surround myself with the love of my family. Living so far away means I rarely get a chance to see them. We are having a big family reunion in June, people flying in from all over the world, and I am going to soak them all up. I also plan to eat awesome Filipino food… but I’m going to have to be strong. The Stacee Jaxx costumes don’t leave much to the imagination.”
Tom Cruise watched you play Stacee Jaxx and visited you backstage. He will soon be seen as Stacee in the film version of Rock of Ages. What was that like? Are you looking forward to the film?
“That was truly one of the most amazing moments of my professional career. I could not believe that he was actually seeing the show that night. But we were in Los Angeles with the show, and Tom Cruise had his first day’s rehearsal for the Rock of Ages film that day. So he came with Katie Holmes and Adam Shankman, the director. We shared a moment in the show where I strategically fell at their feet, but it was backstage that we really connected. The first thing I said when I met him was ‘It’s like looking in the mirror!’ He was so gracious and humble and so sweet, taking photos with everyone and giving everyone his time. We didn’t talk in depth too much about the character (I guess that was Shankman’s job), but he was very forthcoming with his praise and told me he had a lot to live up to after seeing my performance. I think he’s going to be a perfect Stacee Jaxx. He’s also actually doing all his own singing. He has committed himself 200 percent into playing Stacee and can’t wait to see him in all his rock and roll glory in the movie, which coincidentally opens in theaters the same day as our production does in Manila.”
Do you have memories of Manila as a child? When were you last in Manila?
“I have the most vivid and wonderful childhood memories of being in Manila. Although we lived in Australia, we spent most Christmas holidays in the Philippines. We’d usually spend Christmas in Manila but then would head up to Baguio for the New Year’s celebrations. It was always such a magical time with the family, parties, presents and of course, the food! I was last in Manila at the end of 2006 to present for the MTV Music Awards. I’m well overdue for a return visit.”
What are your favorite Filipino dishes?
“Kare-kare with bagoong, suman, pancit luglug, adobo, ensaymada, crispy pata, lumpia, macapuno… Need I go on?”
Are all your relatives coming out to see you perform inRock of Ages?
“Yes actually! I’m very excited as family is flying in from all over the world. It’s going to be a huge reunion. It’s going to be our first reunion since we were all together in Bali last year for my cousin’s wedding. We’re even having a Boracay get-together when it’s all over. I can’t wait! It’s going to be a blast.”
Filipinos are so proud of you and your international success as a rock artist. Will we be seeing more of MiG Ayesa in the Philippines in the future?
“Well, I am so honored for the appreciation and the support I receive from the global Filipino community. I, in turn, am so proud of being Filipino. I truly hope to visit more regularly. I hope doing Rock of Ages will just open more doors of opportunity to keep coming back. This crazy world is spinning way too fast these days and I need to touch base with home more often.”
(Rock of Ages runs from June 15 to July 8 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium. Tickets are on sale now. For details, call Atlantis Productions at 892-7078 or 840-1187.)