Chuck Marbella returns as Engineer in Vienna production of 'Miss Saigon'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2022 11:51 AM

Chuck Marbella with the original Engineer in “Miss Saigon,” Jonathan Pryce. Photo courtesy of Chuck Marbella
Chuck Marbella with the original Engineer in “Miss Saigon,” Jonathan Pryce. Photo courtesy of Chuck Marbella

Filipino musical theater actor Christian “Chuck” Rey Marbella is set to reprise his role as Engineer in the Vienna production of “Miss Saigon” with gala night on January 23.

VBW Artistic Director Christian Struppeck brings the famous musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg in the new version as the opening production at the Raimund Theatre, a 128-year old newly renovated theater.

While he has been playing the role for 10 years already, Marbella said he is very excited and looking forward to take on Engineer once again, this time with a new text in German.

“I just got home in London after closing the tour in Cologne, Germany in March 2019, when I received an email from someone whose name I cannot disclose, asking me about how good my German is. To which I replied, ‘I don’t speak German,’” Marbella said, talking about how this Vienna production landed in his lap.

“Apparently, my name came up in the meeting regarding the possibility of [Miss Saigon] Vienna in the autumn of 2020. After a couple of months of giving it much thought with my agent, I received an invitation from VBW to fly to Vienna to be seen by the casting and creative team. And here we are,” he continued.

With German as the language used for production, Marbella said he took a short German language course at the beginning of 2021. They also have an in-house phonetics coach who helps all of them.

On how he plans to attack the role this time, Marbella said he plans to “always just go back to the source – the text!”

“The Engineer is a complex, colorful character that is so much fun to play. And fun, I mean, it’s one of those roles that utilizes every skill you have as performer - sing, dance and act, all in one role. And in my opinion and from experience, it’s a character that you can grow old with... Meaning, there will always be something fresh and new you’ll discover every time you do it, depending on, for example, where you’re at in life,” he said.

“But especially in this production, wherein we have a completely new text in German and with very young and fresh actors in it who are new to the material, which makes it a totally new challenge for me as an actor, as I will be naturally forced to reinvent, reimagine and rethink my delivery, attack and acting choices. It’s a process that I will soon discover when we start rehearsals.”

Marbella is a musical theater actor, singer and dancer. He has an extensive musical theater experience in Asia, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

His theater credits include Engineer and Thuy in “Miss Saigon”, Luntha in “The King and I,” and the Apostle Peter in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Other theater credits include “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella,” “Showboat,” “The Full Monty” and some original Filipino musicals.

Aside from Marbella, the Vienna production of “Miss Saigon” also stars Vanessa Heinz as Kim, Oedo Kuipers as Chris, Gino Emnes as John, James Park as Thuy, Abla Alaoui as Ellen, and Annemarie Lauretta as Gigi.

Other Pinoy members of the cast include Aynrand Ferrer, Winchester R. Lopez, Vincent Bueno, Judicel Eslao, Nila Axxelson and Erick Somoza Arenas.

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