On its third restaging of the stage musical “Rock of Ages,” Filipino-Australian singer-songwriter/actor and reality show finalist MiG Ayesa feels the character he plays belongs in Manila.
“To be allowed to be this outrageous guy for the third time in the Philippines is quite an extraordinary predicament! Firstly, that we were so well received for two seasons that prompted this third run is in itself unusual!” said the 44-year-old.
Ayesa played the power-tripping rock star Stacee Jaxx in the musical which ended its Meralco Theater run on November 9. It was produced by the Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group.
“But I feel now that it's like Stacee belongs here, so it's like he's coming home ... This time to rest for good!”
Sing-along hits of the 80s
Rock of Ages is a face-melting, laugh-a-minute rock musical show about two young Sunset Strip dreamers in the 80s, Drew and Sherrie, a couple about to fall in love when rock god Stacee Jaxx crashes into their lives (and helps save the Sunset Strip from evil city developers ).
This story is told with the help of the anthemic, sing-along hits of the 80s including Starship’s “We Built This City,” Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock,” Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.”
The musical was made into a movie in 2012 and starred Tom Cruise.
Opportunities after ‘Rock Star: INXS’
Ayesa has played Stacee Jaxx since 2010, starting with the first national US tour, a restaging on the famed Broadway strip in 2011 and then here in the Philippines in 2012.
It was one of the opportunities that opened up to him after he placed third in the 2005 reality TV show “Rock Star: INXS,” which aimed to find a lead singer for the Aussie rock band INXS following the death of its charismatic frontman Michael Hutchence in 1997.
“My experience at RS was a dream coming true,” said the 44-year-old, born to the Filipino Legarda-Ayesa clan. (Wolfgang guitarist Manuel Legarda, socialite columnist Tessa Prieto-Valdes and international pop star Enrique Iglesias are cousins.)
‘The greatest thing I will never do again’
“It was a greatest thing that I will never do again,” he said.
“It's been a long and amazing journey. Like a rollercoaster that I can't get off! I've been so grateful for the doors that RS opened for me, but it's been up to me to keep those doors open,” Ayesa mused.
“Every day is a new challenge and as we fast approach the 10-year anniversary of that show, I am continually trying to keep those doors open and finding new hallways to explore.”
Life after reality TV
He certainly made hay following the afterglow of “Rock Star: INXS.”
He released a solo album then returned to his roots in musical theater.
He was in the London run of “Rent” and played the lead role of Galileo in the Queen-inspired musical “We Will Rock You” in London from 2003-05.
Today, his next stop after the Manila run of “Rock of Ages” is the Michael Jackson-inspired musical “Thriller Live” at the West End in London starting November 18 before taking it on 2014- 2015 tour in Australia and New Zealand.
Despite his hectic theater work, Ayesa finds time to write and record his own music.
His sophomore album of all-original songs “More Than Ever,” was released in August 2011 is still selling briskly on his website.
When asked why he opted to produce his second album independently, Ayesa replied, ”I was tired of listening to so called 'experts' who thought they knew what was the best direction for me, and also did not want to get tied up with bureaucratic red tape like what happened with Decca and INXS. I also did not want to owe any record company anything for doing my material. With the development of online stores and DIY studios, I wanted to just have the freedom to do things my way.”
Shoutout to Pinoy fans
At present, he is writing songs again.
”I must admit I am finding it challenging to fit in the time to record with all this touring and musical theater work. I guess I just need to let the dust settle before really getting stuck into it. But I like the new stuff I've been doing ... They're like my new babies,” he shared.
And to his Filipino fans, old and news, this shoutout: “Salamat! Maraming salamat for all your continued support and love. Stay tuned as there is so much more to come. I hope to be back again soon with another project....”