Jett Pangan still weighing 'Miss Saigon' audition

Posted at 11/07/12 4:03 PM

Jett Pangan in Repertory Philippines' "Jekyll and Hyde."

MANILA, Philippines – Veteran rock singer and theater actor Jett Pangan is still not sure if he will audition for the role of the Engineer for the upcoming revival of the hit international musical "Miss Saigon" at London's West End next year.

Pangan admitted that many of his friends are encouraging him to try out for the lead role, saying he looks perfect for the part of the Vietnamese pimp, who runs the Miss Saigon contest in a brothel during the Vietnam War.

“It’s still 50-50,” Pangan told ABS-CBNnews.com on Tuesday night after the Sing @ Ning competition at The Peninsula Manila, where he was a guest judge.

Pangan explained that even before the auditions for “Miss Saigon” were announced, he had already decided to take a break from theater next year to focus his time and energy on his band, The Dawn, which is now under new management.

This year was a busy one for Pangan, the theater actor, having appeared in three major musicals, including lead roles in "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Nine," and a featured role in "Rock of Ages" as the narrator. He even did a cameo in "Forbidden Broadway."

Next year, the only theater work he agreed to do is the re-run of “Rock of Ages” for Atlantis Productions, he said.

That’s why, he said, he is hesitant to even audition for “Miss Saigon” because if he gets accepted – for any part -- this would mean relocating to London for at least six months, not counting the months devoted to rehearsals.

“It’s the logistics, really,” Pangan explained, adding that if it were being staged in Manila or even in Asia, he’d probably try out.

Although the part of the Engineer was originally played by British actor Jonathan Pryce, several Filipinos have essayed the musical’s lead male role, notably Leo Valdez in the U.K. and Cocoy Laurel in Australia.

Pangan also confessed that he isn’t familiar with the songs of the Engineer like the show-stopping “The American Dream” and has not even seen the hit musical, which launched the international career of Lea Salonga.

Not even when it was staged in Manila, we asked?

“I wasn’t into musical theater yet at the time,” he explained. “It was only years later when I did ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ that I realized that I can do this.”