MANILA—A stage musical based on 17 songs by Air Supply will make its debut here, a place considered special by the Australian rock duo, before embarking on its international tour, its producer announced Friday.
Titled "All Out of Love," the musical will have its world premiere at Newport Performing Arts Theater in Pasay on October 18, kicking off its domestic 12-performance run with an all-Filipino cast—MiG Ayesa, Rachel Alejandro, Tanya Manalang, Jamie Wilson, and Raymund Concepcion.
Air Supply, composed of Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell, said having Filipinos be the first audience of the production was a "natural decision."
"We've got a great relationship with the Philippines since 1982, that was the first time we came here," Hitchcock told ABS-CBN News during a press conference announcing the show.
He explained: "There are so many brilliant singers in the Philippines. It's scary how good you all are. It was just a natural thing for us. It was a great opportunity for us to showcase Graham's songs that have been around for so many years."
The duo has held numerous sold-out shows in the country over the last 3 decades. Their songs have been staples in singing competitions and KTV venues, as well as cover favorites of local artists.
Recalling the time, in 2012, when they agreed to start work on the musical, Hitchcock said: "Everything we do for Air Supply since we began is what makes sense for us."
"The music is there, because Graham writes the songs and he's so great. When it makes sense for us and we think we have an audience, it's a no-brainer, as we say. This was the perfect thing for us at this point in time. No big thinking, just go with the flow," Hitchcock said.
Noting that the musical has been six years in the making, Russell added: "Things take a long time, especially with musicals, I'm learning. It just took this long to come to fruition. We're very glad that it's happening now, and it's long overdue."
Written by Jim Millan, "All Out of Love" follows music mogul Tommy King as he convinces Jamie Crimson, a struggling rock star, to go on a world tour to salvage his record company.
Taking place over the course of one evening, the exchange reveals both men's personal struggles -- Jamie of having separated from girlfriend and songwriting partner Rayne, and Tommy, of losing his wife and his fractured relationship with his daughter.
The story unfolds with the weaving of some of Air Supply's most memorable tunes.
Hitchcock and Russell said there were no conditions or restrictions as to which of their songs could be included in the musical.
Naomi Toohey, one of the producers, recalled meeting with Millan: "We said to him, 'We need a story, a brand-new story about the music industry, using beautiful Air Supply songs.' So he developed the story using the songs, and we're very lucky to have the entire catalogue of Air Supply to work with. It's been liberating for him to be able to write that story."
After its Philippine debut, "All Out of Love" is planned to be staged next in Air Supply's home country of Australia. As to whether the production will be brought to Broadway, both Hitchock and Russell had a quick answer – "fingers crossed."