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Showing posts from 2011

NEXT FALL Opens Repertory Philippines' 75th Season, 1/13-2/5

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by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

Co-written by Precious C. Lee Cundangan

Manila, Philippines, December 17, 2011 – Repertory Philippines (Rep.), the country’s premier English-speaking theater company, is celebrating 45 years in business by opening its 75th season with New York University Tisch School of the Arts alumnus and playwright Geoffrey Nauffts’ Broadway dramedy Next Fall, a moving story of a gay couple whose religious differences add tensions and contradictions to their five-year romantic relationship. Rep.’s staging of Next Fall runs from January 13 to February 5, 2012 at Onstage, Greenbelt 1, Makati City; evening performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and matinee performances are on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 p.m.

Audie Gemora, who recently won a Best Direction citation at the Aliw Awards for his work on the original Filipino musical Noli Me Tangere, directs Next Fall, his second straight play directorial job for Rep. after Equus.

Leading Next Fall’s

As If Escalating Broadway Ticket Prices For Hot-Selling Shows Aren’t Enough

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New York, December 11, 2011 – Strong ticket sales are crucial to the life expectancy of musicals on Broadway. David Thompson, John Kander, and Fred Ebb’sScottsboro Boys, a musical based on the 1931 Scottsboro Boys trial: nine African-American teenage boys accused of rape in Alabama; Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty, and Lynn Ahren’sRagtime, a musical that follows the intertwined stories of three groups of Americans – the immigrants, the white Anglo-Saxon protestants, and African Americans – set in the turn of the 20th century America; and Floyd Mutrux and Collin Escott’sBaby It’s You!, a musical based on the life story of Florence Greenberg whose claim to fame was discovering the African-American girl group The Shirelles in the 1960s, were some of Broadway’s recent casualties due to poor ticket sales. And while Scottsboro Boys, Ragtime, Baby It’s You! et al. are getting the boot, hit Broadway musicals such as Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Robert Lopez’sThe Book of Mormon; Bono and The…

Michael Jackson's IMMORTAL CD Soundtrack Out Now; Philippine Residents Get a Chance to Win a Trip to Los Angeles to See IMMORTAL

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By Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

Manila, Philippines, December 7, 2011 – Ivory Music & Video, the exclusive licensee of Sony Music in the Philippines, has a neat Christmas treat for Cirque du Soleil and Michael Jackson fans in the Philippines: the music company has just announced that the highly anticipated deluxe double CD soundtrack for Cirque du Soleil’s tribute to the late Michael Jackson, Immortal World Tour, which opened in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort last weekend, is now available in music stores nationwide. Ivory Music & Video has also launched its Facebook-based photo contest whose winner will win a trip for two to Los Angeles to see Immortal – simply take a photo of you and your friend holding the Immortal CD and email to mj@pongr.com or upload to https://www.facebook.com/michaeljackson?sk=app_145998935425929.

“The wonderful thing about the Immortal show is that Cirque [du Soleil] didn't [doesn't] try to find someone to impersonate Michael [Jackson…

My Photo Keepsakes from the Philippines

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New York, December 1, 2011 – As I’m about to wrap up my blogging chronicles for my social media class, I think it’d be also interesting to share with my classmates and the world some photo keepsakes from my beloved home, the Philippines; these photos remind me of what I miss most about the Philippines since I moved to the big city last Spring for my Graduate Studies at New York University.

Coincidentally, when PhilippineParadisePages.com, an online concierge directory, announced its Best Philippine Sceneries photo contest some two weeks ago, I got very enthusiastic about joining. I immediately browsed through my entire collection of Philippine travel photos that I posted on Facebook. That very instance had made me realize how much I terribly miss my "mother ship" – its picturesque beauty; its 7,107 islands spread out across the archipelago; its floury white sand beaches; and its exotic marine life.

I’ve been a shoestring traveller and published travel photographer for as l…

Photo Flash: Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID Opens in Manila

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by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com
New York, November 24, 2011 -- Manila-based theater company Atlantis Productions Inc.'s Asian premiere of Disney’sThe Little Mermaid could have been a spectacular float addition in today’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Times Square.

One shouldn't wonder at Atlantis’ Disneyesque feat because The Little Mermaid’s co-director, Bobby Garcia (the other director is Chari Arespacochaga), happened to work at Disneyland Hong Kong as its entertainment director when the theme park opened in 2005. Needless to say, working on Disney theatrical materials is second nature to Garcia by now.

The original Broadway production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, based on the 1989 2D animated film, which boasts the popular songs “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea,” and “Kiss the Girl,” created by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, opened at Lunt-Fontane Theatre in 2008 and ran nearly 700 regular performances. Additional 10 songs, co-written by Menken …

Lara Fabregas Makes a Theater Comeback Via HEDDA GABLER, 11/25-26

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by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

New York, November 23, 2011 – I just have to write about Lara Fabregas; she’s my kind of a leading lady of the theater: enigmatic, elusive, complex, sultry, and divine. If she were to star as Hedda Gabler, the original, quintessential “desperate housewife” in Henrik Ibsen’s 1890 play, in the big city, which versatile and accomplished actresses Cate Blanchett and Mary-Louise Parker did in 2006 and 2009, respectively, I’d be the first to fall in line for show tickets. Alas, Ms. Fabregas’ much-awaited stage comeback after almost seven years is happening back home in Manila. At times like these, I wish I were a bridge that could stretch across the Pacific.

Actor’s Actors Inc. (AAI), the Philippine theater company that gave me my first crack at handling theater publicity back in 2003, De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde, and the Vito Cruz Project, bring to the stage Norwegian playwright Ibsen’s four-act play Hedda Gabler, a psychological, dramatic…

Make Your Vote Count for the 2011 BroadwayWorld Philippines Awards

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By Oliver Oliveros for BroadwayWorld.com

New York, November 16, 2011 -- The first-ever BroadwayWorld (BWW) Philippines Awards, an audience initiative project that encourages BWW readers from the Philippines to nominate and vote for their favorite plays, musicals, and theater personalities of the past year, revealed its list of nominees two weeks ago to an overwhelming response. Related web pages on my blog and BWW have around 2,000 hits, 100 comments, 2,000 likes, and 100 shares to date.

Although, user comments have been mixed, for example:

“Sound of Music (SOM) for Best Sound? They must be kidding” (SOM’s current performance venue, the Newport Performing Arts Theater, had some acoustic problems lately);

“It’s about time we had something like this;" and

“This is a better venue for recognizing and levelling off the field for other theater companies especially those that aren't really mainstream… BWW Phils. Awards are a refreshing take from the usual award-giving bodi…

Dulaang Kalay’s New Play Tackles Filipinos’ Penchant for Soap Operas

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by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

Manila, Philippines, November 14, 2011 -- Dulaang UP's Rizal X's head writer Katte Sabate, and composer and lyricist William Elvin Manzano have just formed a new theater group called Dulaang Kalay whose inaugural offering is an original play titled Series Finale: Saan Hahantong ang Tagpong Ito?, a satirical look at Filipinos' incurable obsession toward soap operas.

According to Fr. Roland Dela Rosa, a columnist in the Manila Bulletin, "...less than 5% of the adult Filipino population in urban areas read books. Around 23% prefer...radio and newspapers. But, a whopping 72% depend on television [including soap operas] and the Internet for their daily dose of information." (J. Walter Thompson's survey, 2011) Dulaang Kalay's new play, Series Finale, would probe deeper into this phenomenon by dissecting the anatomy of a soap opera's final episode -- most of the time, formulaic and derivative -- and its implications an…

BWW Phils. Interview: JM De Guzman Talks About Dulaang UP, ‘Angelito,’ and More

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by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

"I'll always find the time to go back to my theater roots; everything I know now, I learned it from my professors and directors." - JM De Guzman

New York, November 11, 2011 -- Whether here in the United States or in the Philippines, it's always been a cause for celebration among theater circles when a Filipino stage actor makes it to mainstream entertainment -- think of Glee's Darren Criss, Hannah Montana'sAna Maria Perez de Tagle, and Kitchen Musical'sKarylle Tatlonghari and Christian Bautista; add to that growing roster JM De Guzman, ABS-CBN's newest afternoon soap leading man; an Ivory Records' songwriter and recording artist; and Dulaang UP's proud homegrown talent.

Although De Guzman started acting on television via ABS CBN's kiddie show Ang TV, his screen name "Butik," at age four, he considers himself as one of the biz's prodigal sons. With his consistent, personal conviction on im…

Breaking News: Lea Salonga to Star in GOD OF CARNAGE Manila; Auditions Announced for ROCK OF AGES, NINE, SHREK

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By Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

Manila, Philippines, November 10, 2011 -- It's rather unusual to see Lea Salonga, a Tony Award-winning actress whose name has been synonymous with all things musical, flexing her acting muscles in a straight play; she did that once in the Manila run of David Auburn'sProof back in 2001, and she's set to do that again via the impending Manila premiere of Yasmina Reza'sGod of Carnage in July next year.

Atlantis Productions (Dogeaters, Next to Normal) has just announced that Salonga will star in the black comedy God of Carnage, the company's first straight play offering after four years, and its only straight play production for its 2012 season, which boasts of three big Broadway musicals -- Rock of Ages, Nine, and Shrek.

According to Bobby Garcia, Atlantis Productions' resident director, Salonga has been tapped to portray the role of Veronica, a writer and wife to a wholesaler Michael, whose son, Henry, was hit with a stick in …

BWW Phils. Awards’ Nominees Lauchengco, Glorioso, Tañada et. al. Win Big at Aliw Awards

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By Oliver Oliveros for BroadwayWorld.com

Manila, Philippines, November 9, 2011 -- BroadwayWorld (BWW) Philippines Awards' nominees Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (Best Leading Actress [Musical] for Next to Normal); Jay Glorioso (Best Leading Actress [Play] for Love, Loss, and What I Wore); Vince Tañada (Best Direction of a Musical and Best Leading Actor [Musical] for Cory ng EDSA); Frances Makil Ignacio (Best Actress in a Featured Role [Play] for The Joy Luck Club); and Cory ng EDSA (Best Musical) were big winners at the 24th Aliw Awards, an award-giving body that recognizes excellence among Filipino practitioners in the fields of theater, opera, dance, live vocal performance, and instrumental performance.

At the Aliw Awards, Lauchengco, Glorioso, Tañada and Ignacio clinched the top acting prizes for their performances in Next to Normal (Atlantis Productions), In the Heights/A Little Night Music (Atlantis Productions), Cory ng EDSA (Philippine Stagers Foundation), and The Joy Luck Club (R…

Photo Flash: Salonga, Jacobs, Llana et al. in SUITES BY SONDHEIM - BroadwayWorld.com

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by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

New York, November 8, 2011 -- Lea Salonga, Adam Jacobs, Ali Ewoldt, Jose Llana, and Angel Desai led a company of mostly Filipino-American Broadway actors in Suites by Sondheim, a tribute concert to American musical theater icon Stephen Sondheim, at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center last night. The Book of Mormon's co-book writer, co-composer, and co-lyricist Robert Lopez, who's part-Filipino, was also honoured with an Award of Excellence at the concert.

"It's certainly historic, if nothing else. Not this many Filipino performers in one place will get [got] to perform this material that's just classic and intelligent," Salonga told BroadwayWorld.com in a previous interview.

Directed by Victor Lirio and music directed by Tom Myron, Suites by Sondheim has included Sondheim-penned solos, suites, and medleys such as "Company," "Another Hundred People," "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," and "M…

BWW Phils. Interview: Lea Salonga Talks About ‘Suites by Sondheim’

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By Oliver Oliveros for BroadwayWorld.com

"You better be smart singing Sondheim." - Lea Salonga

New York, November 6, 2011 -- It's always been a pleasure to interview Filipino Pride and Tony Award-winning actress Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables) in person, especially when the rare opportunity to meet and sit down with her in a rehearsal studio or at a theater in New York comes along. During our past interviews, she had always imbibed a unique blend of a Manileño-meets-New Yorker attitude: one that's warm and friendly, and doesn't mind braving a subway ride just to hop her way from one interview to another.

Although it's been more exciting to personally conduct a tape recorded interview with Salonga, there had been instances that I needed to engage in online interviews with her especially on reporting breaking news. I remember I had to break the news on her special participation in Concertus Inc. and Lunchbox Theatrical Productions' first internat…

Photo Flash: Leviathan Lab's TWELFTH NIGHT, 11/4-11/19 - BroadwayWorld.com

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by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

New York, November 4, 2011 -- Leviathan Lab, a newly-established professional creative studio that's helping Asian American artists in advancing their careers in theater and film, recently met with some members of the press and presented excerpts from its inaugural production of William Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night, which opens tonight and will run until Saturday, November 19 at Arclight Theatre (152 West 71st Street).

Under the direction of Nelson Eusebio III (assistant director, All's Well That Ends Well, The Public Theater/NYSF's Shakespeare in the Park 2011), Leviathan Lab's Twelfth Night transports the seaside city of Illyria to Hong Kong in the 1960s, where the alluring scent of romance pervades the atmosphere. Viola, the play's young protagonist, sets a series of events that create a tangled knot of mistaken identities, bewildering desires, and practical jokes that only time and fortune can untie.

Tina Chilip (

2011 BWW Philippines Awards Reveal Nominees

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By Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

New York, November 3, 2011 -- Our theater scene in the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila, has never been as vibrant as in recent months, and we owe our hardworking, excellent theater practitioners the recognition and appreciation they deserve.

Congratulations to BroadwayWorld.com (BWW) Philippines Awards' nominees, whose names are below, and were shortlisted from around 500 nomination entries sent from October 6 to 31.

You may now vote for your favourite nominees; voting deadline is December 31.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

2011 BWW Philippines Awards Nominees
Best Musical In the Heights (Atlantis Productions Inc.) Sweet Charity (9 Works Theatrical) Sound of Music (Resorts World Manila) Peter Pan (Repertory Philippines/Stages Production Specialists Inc.) Noli Me Tangere (Tanghalang Pilipino) Care Divas (Philippine Educational Theater Association) Cory ng Edsa (Philippine Stagers Foundation)
Best Play American Hwangap (Tanghalang Pilipino) Ang Post Office (Phi…

Photo Flash: Salonga, Ayesa, Marcos et al. at TOFA-NY Awards - BroadwayWorld.com

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by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

New York, October 30, 2011 -- While the city was being pummelled by a historic October snowstorm yesterday, Broadway actor-singers Lea Salonga, MiG Ayesa, J. Elaine Marcos, and members of the Filipino-American community braved the bad weather to get to Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall for The Oustanding Filipino Americans in New York (TOFA-NY) Awards, which recognizes individuals and organizations that have influenced the Filipino-American community in a positive way.

Salonga, dancers Craig and Samantha Abaya, who were junior champions on ABC's hit show Dancing with the StarsSeason 7; philanthropist and community leader Loida Nicolas Lewis; organizations Filipino-American Human Services Inc. and Filipino-American National Historical Society; and weekly newspaper Filipino Reporter were awarded TOFA-NY Awards' highest honors, the Heritage Awards.

Ayesa, Marcos, and T.V. Carpio, were nominated for TOFA-NY's community-determined awa…