Filipina thespians Rachelle Ann Go and Christine Allado are both embarking on a major career move as both will star this fall in the West End production of “Hamilton: An American Musical.”
The two ladies will take on the roles of the Schuyler sisters: Rachelle Ann will be Eliza Schuyler Hamilton while Christine will take on dual role of Peggy Schuyler and the temptress Maria Reynolds.
This Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and Grammy Award winning musical will be staged at the Victoria Palace Theater in London at the end of this year.
We caught up with Rachelle Ann at the Broadway Theater a couple of weeks before she leaves her “Miss Saigon” family. Fans have until August 5 to catch her as Gigi Van Tranh, the same role she had at the West End revival of “Miss Saigon” a few years ago.
Performing on Broadway has been very fulfilling for Rachelle Ann and she said she would miss the entire cast, particularly Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada, who were also her co-stars in London.
“Nakakalungkot because I will leave my cast here in New York, sobra na akong napalapit sa kanilang lahat (It saddens me that I will leave my cast here in New York, I have gotten attached to them so much). Eva has become like a sister to me, I am going to miss her a lot,” she shared as segued to the chorus of Schuyler Sisters, one of the songs from Hamilton. “Si Kuya Jon Jon din, and mga Pinoy sa cast (Also Jon Jon, and the Filipino cast), actually, the entire cast because we’re all one big family here.”
Rachelle Ann’s last show will be on August 5 and after that, she will fly to Manila for a month before embarking on yet another journey to London to start the rehearsals for “Hamilton.”
She is excited for this new chapter in her life where she takes on the demanding role of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, the wife of Alexander Hamilton. It is a big role and Rachelle Ann is making sure that she fits the shoe real well. She has been listening to the music over and over again for it to become a part of her system.
Rachelle Ann heard that there were auditions in London for Hamilton so she signed up and auditioned for the show last year without having seen the show, which she finally watched on Broadway weeks before they opened “Miss Saigon.” She has seen it twice already and she is planning to catch it one more time before she flies to Manila.
“It’s another dream musical for me. I listened to the album and na-in love ako sa music (I fell in love with the music). Sabi ko, ‘Naku, Lord, parang gusto ko ito!’ Then narinig ko yung songs ni Eliza so sabi ko, ‘This is what I want’. At that point, cli-naim ko na, I’m going to do this. (I said, ‘Lord, I think I like this!’ Then, I heard Eliza’s songs so I said, ‘I’m claiming it, I’m going to to this),’” she shared.
Rachelle Ann auditioned for two roles – Eliza and Peggy and sang a number of songs – “Burn,” “Schuyler Sisters,” “Helpless,” “That Would be Enough.”
During the same auditions, she saw fellow Filipina Christine Allado. The two stars have met a few times in London.
Christine Allado is an acclaimed classical Filipino cross-over singer making her name in theater. She is a proficient artist and actress with a voice that fuses her classical soprano roots with a contemporary spin of pop, musical theatre and jazz.
“I still can’t believe it,” Christine told us at the Ma-Yi Anniversary Gala held in Tribeca earlier this year. “I am so excited to be a part of the ‘Hamilton’ family in London, I can’t wait.”
Recently, she had the great honor of singing the Philippine national anthem at the Battle of Brisbane, the title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn. As a performer, Christine joined the world-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli as his featured artist in CINEMA World Tour around Europe and Asia.
This fall, she will be a part of the multi award winning musical “Hamilton.” Christine will play a dual role of Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds.
Christine was a sophomore at the University of the Philippines Diliman, taking up Business Administration, when she decided to pursue her dream. She moved to Hong Kong for that and ended up doing “High School Musical” in 2009 and “The Golden Mickeys” in 2010.
Chasing her dream eventually brought her to London where she further honed her singing and acting chops. Her journey led her to West End, where she became a part of “Here Lies Love” as an understudy for Imelda and starred as Vanessa in the triple Olivier Award-winning musical and another Lin-Manuel Miranda creation “In The Heights” at the King’s Cross Theatre in London’s West End and performed in the Olivier Awards at the Royal Opera House on ITV, broadcast worldwide.
She also filmed for the BBC’s production of the 60th Anniversary of “West Side Story” playing the lead role of Maria. At the Burnham Stage she played Christine Daae in “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Getting the role
“They told me last December, pagdating na pagdating ko sa Pilipinas, sabi nila I got the role, Eliza Hamilton. Yun ang pinakamasaya ko sigurong Pasko sa ngayon. (As soon as I arrived in the Philippines, they said I got the role, Eliza Hamilton. That’s my happiest Christmas so far),” she said laughing.
And that is why she made sure that even in the thick of rehearsals for “Miss Saigon” earlier this year, she made it a point to watch the musical.
She cried during and after watching it not only because she is going to be a part of that family but because of how amazing the show is.
She is now looking forward to a month-long break in the Philippines where she hopes to rest and recharge while doing more research on Eliza. For now, an uncle of hers is doing the research for her and he has been sending her lots of links and books.
For now, Rachelle Ann is taking it all in and enjoying her remaining days in “Miss Saigon.”
“I want to enjoy every single night. When I learned that I was leaving on the 5th, yung araw na yun naiyak ako sa stage. Parang kailan lang, we opened on Broadway and now I have a couple of weeks left na lang. So I am just enjoying the moment kasi hindi ko alam kung makakabalik pa tayo sa Broadway, di ba? So I just give 101 percent every night. (I cried on stage the day I learned that I was leaving on the 5th. It was like yesterday, we opened on Broadway and I just have a couple of weeks left. So I am just enjoying the moment because I don’t know if I would still be back on Broadway, right? So I just give [my] 101 percent every night),” she remarked.
From her West End debut as Gigi in “Miss Saigon” in 2014 to Fantine in “Les Miz” (both in London) and then making her Broadway debut reprising her role as Gigi to going back to London for the role of her life, Rachelle Ann is enjoying every minute of her life as a theater performer.
She is eternally thankful to friends who pushed her to audition for “Miss Saigon” a few years ago, along with some well-meaning people around her warned that she will be forgotten in the Philippines when she leaves her pop star career there. She also thanked a fellow Filipina for leading the way.
“Laking pasalamat talaga kay (I am extremely grateful to) Lea Salonga for opening these doors for Filipinos. It is a good thing for us to be essaying these roles, like me doing Fantine in ‘Les Miz’ and now this,” she expressed. “Wala na sa kulay, nasa talento na. (It’s not about skin color anymore, it’s about talent.) ”