NOW that the world is opening up after two years of restrictions and lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, Resorts World Manila (RWM) has brought back live entertainment. This even though there were worries about changing pandemic statuses and whether the audience was willing to come back.
“When the lockdowns first started, live entertainment was one of the first to go. It took almost two years before restrictions were first eased enough to allow shows with live audiences, so we eagerly grabbed the opportunity to stage our first concert late last year,” a Resorts World Manila representative wrote in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.
After a 20-month hiatus, in December last year Resorts World Manila’s (RWM) Full House Theater Company staged Ang Muling El Bimbo: AHEB Homecoming Concert, a concert featuring the songs of the successful original musical Ang Huling El Bimbo performed by the show’s cast.
“Looking back, it may not have made financial sense at the time, given the 50% capacity limit, but we went ahead anyway,” the RWM representative said, citing that “it was not about business then” but about the “support for Filipino performing artists and the people who make live entertainment possible.”
With the shift to the least restrictive COVID Alert Level 1 in March 2021, the Newport Performing Arts Theater (NPAT) has staged a series of live concerts: Gigi De Lana’s Domination on March 5, Shanti Dope and Gloc-9’s RAPsody on April 2, and the Basil Valdez and Jamie Rivera concert Love and Light on April 30.
Up next is Jon Santos’ comedy show LivesScreaming on May 14.
“When we first announced Gigi De Lana’s concert, the venue capacity was capped at 50%. But by the time of her actual concert, restrictions were further eased, and we were able to entertain audiences at full capacity,” the RWM representative said.
Despite the recent ease in pandemic restrictions, there was hesitation about going full swing with live events.
“We had no way of gauging an audience’s willingness to return to the theater and watch performances when they have been doing it online for the past two years,” the RWM representative said.
Aside from physical exposure of the public, the financial exposure for the company was also considered. “Breakeven points for each show vary because the basis is always total production cost,” the RWM representative said.
REFURBISHINGThere have been a number of changes in the NPAT now that it has reopened. For one thing, its seating capacity has been increased to 1,710 from 1,500 before the pandemic. NPAT’s air filtration system has also been upgraded.
The entire Newport Mallis also going through a metamorphosis. RWM’s Newport Grand Wing recently officially opened Hotel Okura Manila with its Grand Atrium. The Newport Garden Wing has been renovated to be better aligned with the garden theme.
“Our entertainment calendar is also filled with world-class performances from both local and international acts. Our stages are set from the Newport Grand Wing’s The Grand Bar and Lounge to the Newport Garden Wing’s Bar 360 and El Calle Food & Music Hall, and the Newport Performing Arts Theater,” the RWM representative said. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman