Entertainment and tourism destination Resorts World Manila has just announced that veteran movie-turned-stage actor Michael De Mesa will play the pivotal role of billionaire Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks to theater’s most famous orphan Annie. The coveted title role, meanwhile, had previously been given to two young talents Krystal Brimner and Isabeli Araneta Elizalde playing the eponymous role.
In joining the cast of Annie, De Mesa is coming out of a six-year respite from show business. He returns to the stage after his Gawad Buhay-nominated role of Georges in La Cage aux Folles.
De Mesa shared his excitement for the project expressing his willingness to once again perform onstage. “The theater industry is very much alive. I really believe it’s a good thing because you have the proper training ground for actors to really delve in the craft,” he shared.
The actor, who recently celebrated his 56th birthday, also expressed how comfortable he is with his role as Annie’s foster father stating that his gauge as a strict yet lovable character is determined by how his own grandchildren see him.
“I had them in mind when I said yes to the project as this will be the first time they will watch me onstage,” he smiled. “I have to find that balance where you are stern but still loved by the kids.”
The seasoned actor also recalled how the first staging of Annie in the country was a hit among audiences. “Annie is a classic. I mean Annie is known worldwide! I guess everyone knew Annie especially when Lea Salonga popularized the musical here in the Philippines,” he stated.
Annie was first staged locally in 1980 and after 36 years, RWM brings back the family classic in the country featuring an all-Filipino cast and crew.
Directing Annie is veteran thespian Michael Stuart Williams who was also at the helm in RWM”s production of Annie in 2013. “It’s exciting. Everything has finally come together, the costume, the cast, the production people with all the administrative stuff, the entire company—the direction were taking this production from the lights to the sound— it’s surreal and we’re getting everybody in line with that idea,” Williams said.
Annie is the seventh musical production from RWM opening this September. The musical is presented through Full House Theater Company and Ultimate Shows, Inc. in cooperation with MTI New York.
For more information, log on to www.rwmanila.com.