Repertory Philippines Defies the Typical Fairy Tale

by Oliver Oliveros,

Manila, Philippines, May 16, 2011 -- Repertory Philippines (Rep), the country's premier English-language theater company, lays off Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and other fairy tale conventions for its children's theater season running from August 13 to December 11 at the Onstage Theatre, Greenbelt 1.

For that season, Rep has picked Tony Award winners Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens' Broadway musical Seussical, which assembles an amalgamation of American writer Theodor Seuss Geisel's whimsical, far-out and unconventional characters from children's books The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who!, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Lorax, Green Eggs and Ham, Yertle the Turtle and other Dr. Seuss books.

Seussical centers around Horton the Elephant, who finds himself faced with a double challenge -- not only must he protect his tiny friend Jojo (and all the invisible Whos) from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must also guard an abandoned egg that the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird left in his care. Although Horton faces ridicule, a kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him, the only one who recognizes "his kind and powerful heart." Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and rewarded. - Music Theatre International

A Two-Act Seussical opened on Broadway in 2000 to mixed critical reviews that were largely negative due to its "huge cast of characters and unrelatable storylines." The Broadway production ran 198 performances and 34 preview performances. However, a much more streamlined version of the show was reworked during its two U.S. national tours and its U.K. tour. Seussical has since become hugely popular among school, community and regional theater organizations.

"Rep's new goal is to bring the most current, the most interesting shows back here, like Seussical, so we can renew interest in our audiences. We also want to cast the show properly. We've been opening our doors to actors who haven't done shows with us yet -- so our experience will be richer, so we can learn from one another. We certainly want to give new energy to the company," Associate Artistic Director Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo said.

Rep's production of Seussical includes stage actors Red Concepcion as Cat in the Hat, Bituin Escalante as Sour Kangaroo, Liesl Batucan as Mayzie La Bird, Cara Barredo, Rem Zamora, Oliver Usison and Dingdong Rosales.

For more information and tickets, call (632) 571-6926 or visit ,

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