American Idiot Auditions: Thoughts from a Theater Fan


American Idiot

9 Works Theatrical and the social media team from Globe Telecom invited us to cover the American Idiot callback auditions at The Globe Tower. I was very intrigued because I never had a chance to witness an audition process from a professional theater company before.

American Idiot
1st batch of auditionees!
L-R: JP Basco, Victoria Mina, Sarah Facuri, Nelsito Gomez

(READ: American Idiot Open Auditions)

There were around 35 people who were called back yesterday, and another 15 who will be called back today. I stayed at the venue from 10am-5pm to soak up the entire process. What did I learn?

1. Theater actors never get used to auditions

Everyone was nervous and everyone had a different way of dealing with it. But this is the cream of the crop that we’re talking about; the best of Philippine theater all in one room. What did they have to be nervous about?

American Idiot
L-R: Kendrick Ibasco, Janine Tolentino, Gian Gloria

I wasn’t allowed to enter the audition room for the sake of privacy, so I hung out with the actors in the holding room. One by one, I saw each of them vocalize, internalize, listen to music, chat, jump around, and/or sing their heart out to calm their nerves. I was sitting beside 9 Works Theatrical’s PR manager Jonjon Martin as we chatted with the auditionees and eavesdropped through the wall that divided the two rooms. Each of them sounded incredible.

American Idiot
the panel: the board of 9 Works Theatrical and Joe Caliro from Globe
L-R (top): Jonjon Martin, Anna Santamaria, Mio Infante
L-R (bottom): Santi Santamaria, Robbie Guevara, Joe Caliro (Head, Retail Transformation Management for Globe)

It was a joy to see how unassuming they were in one room, and then hear them absolutely kill it in the next.

One of the best parts of the experience was getting to interview one of my personal theater idols, Nicco Manalo, to get a further look into what they were actually going through.

American Idiot
Nicco Manalo

Manalo: “It’s different every time you go in. ‘Di mo alam sino kaharap mo. ‘Di mo alam kung anong makikita. Iba-iba iyung auditions kaya hindi ka makakapaghanda. ‘Di ka makakapag ‘Aahh! Pagdating ko doon ito iyung gagawin ko.’”

2. Theater artists are used to hiding behind their characters

Manalo: “Pagawan mo ako ng role, paartehin mo ako for a play, pero huwag mo ako papakantahin sa pub. Kasi ako iyun. I think magaagree naman maraming actors doon kasi nakatago kami sa character.”

TEAM TFM: So being interviewed in a talk show is more nerve-wracking than performing in a musical?

Manalo: “Yes, definitely! Definitely! I don’t like interviews because they make me uncomfortable. And just like auditions, you’re put on the spot. You go in, you look for the X mark and then you stand. And everyone’s looking at you. And it’s YOU. The crazy part about auditions is however you prepare for it, you don’t know what’s going to happen when you go inside.”

*Every auditionee was nervous when s/he found out that there was a microphone inside. I never knew that things like that even mattered.

American Idiot
Mako Alonso and Jill Pena

3. They’re all human

Whenever artists perform on stage, they always look like they’re larger than life; powerful, indestructible. But seeing this process made me see that they’re all human– passionate, anxious, and armed with a burning desire to succeed.

It was adorable to see how a number of them would hang out at the holding room for about an hour after their respective auditions to recover from what just happened. They would talk to their fellow auditionees, eat, punish themselves mentally for not doing something they should have done, and/or just let everything sink in, because after all is said and done, those 10 minutes could potentially redefine their career.

American Idiot
Van Quiaong, the pianist for the auditions

All of them completely blew the roof off. This process proves that this city is simply overflowing with talent. I wouldn’t want to be in the panelist’s shoes at this point.

The final cast will be announced in a few days (could be tomorrow actually)! I can’t wait to see who makes it! Stay tuned!

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