Saturday, June 24, 2017

One More Dawn, One More Day, One Day More #ComeHomeToREPat50

The first time I got involved into theater I was 12. I attended a workshop facilitated by PETA, but didn't landed on the role I auditioned for, my cousin was casted. The consolation for not being on the lead role was, the play that I was part on won and my cousin and I became a member of PETA. The very first musical that I watched was Miss Saigon with Lea Salonga playing Kim and Leo Valdez playing the Engineer. I became fascinated and amazed after watching it. The very first play I saw with REPertory Philippines was " Miong, " a musical based on the life of Emilio Aguinaldo with book and lyrics by Joy Virata. Long before Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater), the FEU Auditorium was the preferred stage pre and post war era. Being a member of the FEU Theater Guild and the resident stage manager, I had the opportunity to experience and encounter Zenaida Amador during the touring production of Miong. I was scared and thrilled with Bibot seriously. Strict and perfectionist she was. Thankfully all the greatest actors that we have today came from REP. 

For the past 50 years of REP's 80th season, 443 Broadway and West End productions, both straight plays and musicals has been staged. What a beautiful and appropriate way to celebrate its milestone in Philippine Theater, a grand musical gathering of all REPpers at The Theatre in Solaire on June 11, 2017. To fit for the 50 years of telling stories, lyrics were rewritten and music were rearranged. The one night sold out grand musical show were performed in two acts: 
Act 1
Prologue was directed by Jaime del Mundo and choreographed by Dexter Santos. The scene unfolded how REPertory started. A rainy evening in March 1967, they performed " Who's Afraid Of Virginia Wolfe?" to an audience of sixteen. Fifty years of telling stories as the cast and REP 50th core ensemble sung and danced to the tune of " We Tell The Story " from the Caribbean musical Once On This Island. I anticipated that and I felt ecstatic about it for it was the first musical I stage managed, back when I was still in college which was staged at Concert Of The Park in Luneta.

Suite 1 wrote and directed by Miguel Faustmann and choreographed by Rose Borromeo. A scene that honored the dreamers of REPertory, Zenaida Amador, Baby Barredo, Leo Martinez, Toni and Monina Mercado and Buddy Paez. They started the " Impossible Dream" ( from the musical Man Of La Mancha, sung by Audie Gemora and Michael Williams) and since then became a" Tradition " ( Fiddler On The Roof). I was amazed, astounded and awed to see Leo Martinez assisted Baby Barredo in a wheelchair onstage. The show must go on as they say. 

Suite 2 directed by Audie Gemora and choreographed by Anna Marie Aragon, Deanna Aquino, Paulo Infante and PJ Rebullida were dedicated to the tellers - actors and dancers. For me it was the best suite of the night and the highlight of the evening. Songs from " A Chorus Line " (I Hope I Get It, Ballet and One), " Camp Rock" (We Rock) and" West Side Story " (America) were the winning performance especially past choreographers joined onstage in " One " unforgettable moment. 

Act 2
Suite 3 directed by Raymond Launchengco, choreographed by Deanna Aquino and narrated by Menchu Launchengco Yulo, to honor the artisan who contributed their creatives in REP stage. These are the designers from lights, costume, makeup and production design whose expertise made " Magic To Do " (Pippin). 

Suite 4 wrote and directed by Freddie Santos and choreographed by Deanna Aquino paid tribute to the hands of the unsung heroes of stage. Stage manager, Property Master, Dresser, Stagehand, Chief Of The Fly among others and by " Putting It Together " (Putting It Together) a " Comedy Tonight " (A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum) was polished. Audience were delighted as Mitch Valdez returned onstage accompanied by Franco Laurel, JM Rodriguez, Jack Salud and Red Nuestro. 

Suite 5 directed by Michael Williams dignified the works of the interpreters - the director, musical director and technical director. " Finishing The Hat " (Sunday In The Park With George) has been extraordinary and exemplary over the years on how these individuals motivated the finest and rarest thespians what we have today. 

Suite 6 directed by Menchu Lauchengco Yulo and choreographed by Deanna Aquino to realize the storytelling on how REP impacted theater for young audience. With the narration from the Artistic Director Joy Virata, this scene focused on " Oh, The Things That You Think " (Suessical) as being told by the prolific playwright through its regular season for Children's Theater. 

Suite 7 historically , respectfully and theatrically gave so much pride and honor in memory of the REPpers onstage and offstage who had left their craftmanship and showmanship. I can't help myself to be overwhelmed as their names and pictures were projected. 

Miss Saigon and REPertory alumni Monique Wilson came up on the stage during the finale with the song from the musical Baby. As " The Story Goes On, " REPertory Philippines will continue its mission and vision showcasing and discovering the best cast and crew what the Philippines has to offer to the world stage. 

Another song that I anticipated to be sung was the iconic and signature repertoire " One Day More " from the musical Les Miserables. Original cast, new REP blood and the entire REP 50th cast belted this powerful song. For the final bow, all REPpers were invited onstage to sing the anthem, " Come Home To Rep " written by Ejay Yatco, musical director and arranger of the 13 piece orchestra of the night.

Text and photos by Gilbert Kim Sancha.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Caredivas, A Musical Tribute To OFW.


Caredivas an original Pinoy hit musical, is set to hit the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) stage once more, in partnership with Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). The special run that will pay homage to Filipino workers is part of its 35th anniversary, celebrating the unsung heroes of the country. This Filipino musical originally premiered in 2011 was artistically and creatively helmed by two extraordinary females, directed by Maribel Legarda, current PETA's Artistic Director and playwrighted by Liza Magtoto. This gay themed musical was the recipient of 2011 PhilStage Gawad Buhay awards for Outstanding Musical Direction, Outstanding Musical Production and Outstanding Musical Ensemble Performance.

It tells the story of five Filipino gay CAREgivers in the morning and DIVAS in the evening, set during the conflict ruling of Palestinian to Israel. Their stories depicts and narrates the journey from the Philippines and to present Israel. Struggling financially and culturally in a foreign land is a crossroad, symbolizes in the eyes of these modern caredivas. After staging Karaoke Dreams in 2008, a musical comedy about Filipino migration, Caredivas, a musical drama this time is PETA's follow-up.

Leading the cast are Vincent de Jesus and Ron Alfonso as Shai, the sarcastic leader of D' Nightingales, Gio Gahol, Jerald Napoles and Ricci Chan as the bubbly illegal migrant worker, Melvin Lee as the loving and kind employer Chelsea who has everything, Dudz Teraña and Jason Barcial as the ditzy Thalia and Thou Reyes and Phil Noble as the ill-tempered Jonee. Supporting cast includes Myke Salomon as Faraj, David and Daniel, Paul Homme and Leo Rialp as the club owner, Isaac, Moshe and Yaakov, Joan Bugcat and Gold Villar as Nonah, Eric dela Cruz and Don Miclat-Janssen as Avi, Aryeh and policeman, Sherry Lara as Sarah and Adara and Eko Baquial and Joseph Madriaga as part of the ensemble. 
The Cast of "Care Divas 2017".
 A photo contest entitled. " Anong Kwentong OFW Mo? " open to all OFW and their families and friends was launched. The mechanics are as follows:

1. Go to PETA Facebook Official Page. Like facebook.com/petatheater
2. Post personal OFW photo and story. Please tag using #KwentongOFW #CareDivas
3. The post should made public.
4. The top five entries with the most number of likes will win five complimentary tickets to Caredivas and a special gift pack.
5. Announcement of winners will be on June 24 at PETA Facebook Official Page.

Catch the special run of Caredivas from June 24 to July 30 every Friday at 8pm and Saturday and Sunday at 3pm and 8pm. For ticket inquiries and reservations please:

Call:
PETA Marketing and Public Relations at 725-6244
TicketWorld at 891-999

Email:
petatheater@gmail.com
www.ticketworld.com

Text and Photos by Gilbert Kim Sancha. 

Celebrating Independence Day With NAMCYA Winners.

In partnership with Bonifacio Arts Center, previous and current winners of the National Music Competitions for Young Artists made a thrilling performance in the newly opened Globe Auditorium located at Maybank Performing Arts Center. The heavy pouring rain did not stop me from watching young aspiring and inspiring Filipino artists at this modern era. NAMCYA's annual performance across the country is one event that I enjoyed and loved ever since I started working at the Performing Arts Department of the Cultural Center of the Philippines where I first had a glimpse of these young artists. And it has always been my way in discovering and unveiling these talented young Filipino artists before they become a star in the galaxy.

The concert entitled, #GalingNAMCYA: Saludo Ng Kabataan Sa Araw Ng Kasarinlan was an amazing show indeed that featured:

Solo Performance
* Andrew Constantino (clarinet), 2015 Woodwind Category C Grand Prize Winner and Best Interpretation of the Contest Piece
* Carlo Antonio Juan (guitar), 2014 Guitar Category C First Prize Winner
* Gabriel Allan Pguirigan (piano), 2015 Piano Category C First Prize Winner and 2011 Piano Category B First Prize Winner
* Jeanne Rafaella Marquez (violin), Junior Strings Category Second Prize Winner
* Maria Gerberne Lozada (soprano), 2009 Voice Category B Competition Grand Prize Winner

Group Performance
* Boscorale (Alvin Paulin, conductor), 2014 1st Runner Up and Best Interpretation of the Contest Piece and 2016 First Prize winner and Best Interpretation of the Contest Piece

The NAMCYA Foundation Incorporated through its Secretary-General Renato B. Lucas launched the 2017 NAMCYA Competition Categories:

Solo
* Senior Piano
* Senior Voice
* Senior Strings (violin and lower strings)
* Senior Woodwinds (flute, clarinet, oboe and bassoon )
* Senior Brasses (Upper and Lower Brasses)
* Children's Solo Rondalla Instrument

Group
* Children's Choir
* Adult Choir
* Youth Rondalla Ensemble

Non-competitive
* Traditional Music Solo or Ensemble
Applications and the guidelines for the competition are available in the website www.namcya.com
. Application deadline is on August 1, 2017 for both Solo and Group Categories. For Traditional Music Category deadline is on September 15, 2017.

Photos and text by Gilbert Kim Sancha. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Triple Threat Musical For "Fansies " Of Newsies

Following the successful run of the award-winning musicals American Idiot and A Christmas Carol, the 21 motley crew of Newsies is making its stage debut next month in Manila.  Winner of Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Choreography and Best Original Score, the 2012 award winning musical originally produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, the group responsible for the massive stage adaptation of such musicals Beauty And The Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, hailed as the most expensive Disney Theatrical Production ever to be staged, will be produced by Globe LIVE and will be presented by 9 Works Theatrical. Globe the number one telecommunication network in the country earned the rights for the local production, the first company in the Philippines to be trusted by Disney. The premiere theater company,  9 Works Theatrical will once more showcase their talents as they bring this live onstage at the Globe Iconic Store Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater this coming July. 

The cast and creative team of the local production of Newsies, faced members of the press at a conference held at Ibiza Beach Club on the afternoon of the 30th day of May.  The 4,000 sqm classy, cozy and chic entertainment and dining venue opened on Easter Sunday, on the 16th day of April 2017.  Originating from Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island in Cebu, the Ibiza Beach Club was a hip and hop ambiance for the said press meeting. Strategically situated at the 6th level of the newly opened 29-storey office tower, W City Centre in the heart of Bonifacio Global City, the club is definitely bringing entertainment, events and dining in a different and experience level.  Theater fans, guests and members of the press savoured and chilled with a signature 7-course meal served in an authentic Balearic-inspired featuring vegetables, meat and seafood marinated with Balearic sauces.  From salads, grilled salmon, Tiger Prawns and New Zealand lamb, indeed a sumptuous meal was a delightful treat to yours truly. Another fine dining experience.  
Joe Caliro, Creative Marketing and Multimedia Business Senior Adviser and Executive Producer of Globe LIVE said in excitement that Newsies is the follow up after the hit show, I Dare To Dream, their first partnership with Disney. He was amazed and overwhelmed because Disney granted the rights for the local production of the musical.  He believed that there is so much talent in the Philippines, with proper and extensive training, a truly world-class act can be achieved. Caliro revealed that A Christmas Carol will have a repeat performance this coming November. Caliro's team were the people behind for bringing Wicked and the upcoming production of West Side Story, The Sound Of Music and The Lion King to Manila.  With these accomplishments I can't help myself to personally thanked and credited him when I had the chance to speak to him after the program at the press conference. Robbie Guevarra, a veteran thespian is once again trusted to motivate and direct the show, following the smash hit, A Christmas Carol. His creative ideas will be seen soon, as he accepted to interpret this piece differently. He said that Disney strictly and specifically instructed them not to copy the blocking and the set design in the previous productions worldwide. Changes, alterations and arrangements in the book of Harvey Fierstein, music of the Tony and Oscar winner Alan Menken and lyrics of Jack Feldman is not allowed,  which means same lines and sounds are exactly the same from the Broadway production which will be delivered and sung in the Manila production to fansies expectators. PJ Rebullida, award winning Gawad Buhay choreographer of American Idiot will be spearheading the 6 hours a day,  6 weeks Training Ground,  a program dedicated to enhance and maximize the ensembles potential in acting, voice and dance - a triple-threat required by this demanding musical. Physicality, tenacity and flexibility is at stake,  for dance routines in ballet,  hip-hop,  jazz, tap, contemporary,  folk and even gymnastics.  These were predominantly evident in the videos played at the conference from audition, casting and training. Staging this production that ran for two years with 1,005 performances in Broadway is quite a challenge for the creative team. With very impressive staging of musicals from the past, 9 Works Theatrical is the perfect theater company to mount this production locally. 

Traditionally and historically speaking, stage musicals were being adapted to film after a commercial and critical success, before, during and after the run. But Disney Theatrical is doing the other way around. They are adapting the film version to stage version, Newsies was another piece to be included in their hall of fame.  Walt Disney Pictures produced the film version in 1992 which stars Batman himself Christian Bale, Bill Pullman, Robert Duvall, David Moscow and Ann Margret. It was then adapted to stage which premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2011 and had its Broadway debut in 2012.  Unlike the film version that received mixed reviews, the stage version on the other hand, received positive reviews. Set in 1899, Newsies tells the story of the real-life newsboy in New York City. 

Leading the cast as Jack Kelly is Gian Magdangal a television, film and theater actor whom I saw last time in the local production of West Side Story.  This will be a good comeback for him after three year hiatus in Manila theater scene.  He never fails to impress me onstage and his engagements with Hongkong Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan will surely and vividly be obvious in his role. Danielle Chopin will have her first stage debut in the Philippines as Katherine Plumber. Two time Gawad Buhay Best Actor Awardee Jef Flores, tagged as the "it-boy of Philippine Theater," last seen in the recently concluded repeat performance of Godspell playing Jesus will play the role of Davey.  Daniel Drilon who appeared in the local production of Fun Home will appear as Les and alternating is Tory Cortez who was seen in last year's production of A Christmas Carol. Luis Marcelo as Crutchie will also be making his professional theater debut. Greg Dulcie, playing the role of Joseph Pulitzer who appeared in shows in the US, Canada and Japan. Recording artist, singer, host and theater royalty Pinky Marquez will portray Medda Larkin. Raymund Concepcion, film and theater veteran is set to play double characters as Teddy Roosevelt and Nunzio.  Ariel Reonal,  another Gawad Buhay Awardee will be seen in multiple portrayals as Wiesel,  

Mr. Jacobi and the Mayor, who was seen in multiple productions in both local and international shows such as American Idiot,  A Christmas Carol and Miss Saigon. Franz Imperial as Snyder, the Warden of the Juvenile Center, was part of A Christmas Carol and casted at the opening of Hongkong Disneyland, Universal Studios Singapore and DreamWorks Movie Animation Park. Alex Diaz, Star Magic Circle talent and Myx VJ will be making his theater debut being one of the Newsies. Joni Galeste also from A Christmas Carol and Melissa Bell who worked as a dancer in Tokyo Disney Sea, Hongkong Disneyland and The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Universal Studios in Osaka were both casted as Bowery Beauties. 
Supporting cast includes Anton Posadas, Ian Ocampo,  Erick Arenas, Stephen Viñas,  Ronelson Yadao, Jim Ferrer, Jordan Bartolome,  Mark Anthony Grantos, Chesko Rodriguez, Jon Abella, Kendrick Evasco, Vyen Villanueva, Jan Mayo MC dela Cruz and Clark dela Riva. The highlight of the program was the preview excerpt performance of the whole cast of Newsies. Though it was just a glimpse performance of the said musical, I'm excited and overwhelmed to catch this production in full. 

Globe Iconic Store Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater in Bonifacio Global City met the demand and the technical elements for the staging, the choice venue by the executives of Disney Theatrical. All performances for the month long of July is slated at 8pm. Schedule of performances:  July 7 - 9, 14 - 16, 21 - 23 and 28 - 30.  For tickets, go to go.globe.com.ph/newsies or www.ticketworld.com.ph or call them at 891-9999. 

Official Hashtags: #GlobeLive9WTNewsies and #CreateHeadlines

Facebook and YouTube:  GlobePH
Twitter and Instagram:  @enjoyGlobe
Facebook:  9WorksTheatrical 
Twitter and Instagram:  @9WTonline  

Text and Photos by Gilbert Kim Sancha

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Paglayag, a young expression of art by Palaweňos.

It was the end of summer, and the sky is showing a magnificent color combination above, a contrast of magenta to blue green is smiling above Dang Marias Bed and Breakfast Restaurant in Brgy. Bancao-Bancao, in the City of Puerto Princesa, and it’s the opening of “Paglayag Art Exhibit”. A one day event organize by the Puerto Princesa “Peacock Jaycees” with Art On The Move”.
The well attended event showcase different visual arts with different themes mostly people and its surroundings, the environment and some artistic expression. Art works came from the young members of Art OnThe Move, a community of Palawan artists that was form thru travelling bazaar and exhibits. Paglayag also present some art installations.  Kawangis band also perform throughout the program.
Nanay "Dang Jane Urbanek" open the exhibit.
Proceeds of the Exhibit goes to “Bag to School” campaign of Peacock Jaycees.  The said group is a leadership organization of young professional preferably women in the City, it is affiliated with the Philippine Jaycees, Inc. Dang Marias owner Jane Urbanek open the said event. 
The maginificent sky above Dang Maria's.