Saturday, July 30, 2011

Photo Exclusive: Salonga, Takei, Leung Lead ALLEGIANCE Workshop Presentation -

by Oliver Oliveros,

New York, July 30, 2011 -- has been following the progress of Broadway-bound musical, Allegiance, since its first reading in Los Angeles two years ago up to its final workshop presentation held at the Baryshnikov Arts Center yesterday. What we just saw certainly bore little likeness to its initial working draft while some aspects of the production have remained the same, like its central story on the Japanese American experience during and after the World War II internment; and its composer and lyricist Jay Kuo's uplifting and emotionally charged music and lyrics.

Sing Out, Louise! Productions and the Tony Award-winning regional theater company, The Old Globe, have just wrapped up a two-day developmental workshop presentation of Allegiance. The presentation has featured Lea Salonga (Gloria Suzuki), George Takei (old Sam Omura), Telly Leung (Young Sam Omura), Jose Llana (James Omura), Paolo Montalban (Mike Masaoka), Allie Trimm (Hannah Campbell), Paul Nakauchi (Tatsuo Omura), Sala Iwamatsu (Kimiko Omura), Donna Bullock (Lily Campbell), William Parry (Bill Campbell), Jason Tam (Frankie Suzuki), Ma-Anne Dionisio (Emily Suzuki), Gaelen Gilliland (Ms. Patrick), Jon Jon Briones (Mr. Tanaka and Mr. Yamada), Orville Mendoza (Mr. Okubo), Ann Sanders (Ms. Tanaka), Will Ray, Stuart Ambrose, Caitlyn Caughell, Karl Josef Co, MaryAnn Hu, Marcus Choi and Kay Trinidad.

Jay Kuo (Insignificant Others, Worlds Apart) was co-book writer, composer and lyricist; Lorenzo Thione was co-book writer; Lynne Shankel (Cry-Baby, Company) was conductor, music supervisor and arranger; Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) was choreographer; Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz, the West End premiere of Ragtime) was director; and Lou Spisto was executive producer.

Allegiance will hold its world premiere at The Old Globe in San Diego sometime next year. The musical plans to bow on Broadway, at a theater to be determined, during the 2012-13 season. Salonga, Takei and Leung are poised to open the show on Broadway.

For more information about the show, visit

For more photos, click HERE

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Photo Exclusive: SummerStage at Leonia Presents BYE BYE BIRDIE -

by Oliver Oliveros,

New Jersey, July 26, 2011 -- Seeing a Broadway musical at "SummerStage at Leonia" has become a family affair for Leonia's residents since medical practitioners/husband and wife tandem, Frank and Joanne Livelli, put on a summer stock production of The Wizard of Oz in 2000.

11 years later and after a string of successful productions of The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Carousel, among others, the Livelli couple returns to the Little Theatre in Leonia at Leonia High School with a big cast of 60 (and a live orchestra) for a production of Charles Strouse and Lee Adam's old-fashioned bubble gum musical, Bye Bye Birdie, which is running only until July 31.

"SummerStage primarily aims to produce a high quality musical suitable for family theatergoing in midsummer. We also raise funds to support the arts in schools and other performing arts organizations like The Players Guild of Leonia, St. John's Theater Guild and the Fresh Air Fund," Dr. Livelli told

For the summer, The Livellis are working closely with stage director Ray Yucis (Oklahoma!, Carousel), music director Carolyn Russo and choreographer Inga Thrasher (Carousel) to effectively transport their audiences young and old right back to the golden era of rock 'n' roll and audacious fangirling during the '60s.

Tony Award-winning musical Bye Bye Birdie is loosely based on rock 'n' roll icon Elvis Presley's entry into the U.S. army and on one of his rivals, Conway Twitty. Its original Broadway production, which starred Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera, opened to mostly rave reviews in 1960. It later spun off a London production, a Hollywood film, a made for TV movie, numerous regional and community Theater Productions and a Broadway revival in 2009, which starred John Stamos, Bill Irwin and Allie Trimm.

Bye Bye Birdie at "SummerStage at Leonia" features Dan Giordano (Albert Peterson ), Gina Cirillo (Rosie Alvarez), Gianna-Leigh Bastar (Ursula Merkle), Krysten Sears (Kim MacAfee), Theresa Taylor (Mrs. Doris MacAfee), Steve Moldt (Mr. Harry MacAfee ), Helen Boyadjian (Mrs Mae Peterson ), Greg Taylor (Hugo Peabody) Zach Tait (Conrad Birdie ), Orion Yedidia (Randolph MacAfee ) and Megan Taylor (Gloria Rasputin ).

For tickets, call 201-944-4300 or visit

For more photos, click HERE.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Photo Flash: A New Musical on Cory Aquino Tours Northern Philippines -

By Oliver Oliveros,

July 24, 2011, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan -- The launch of the Northern Philippines tour of Cory ng EDSA, a new musical based on the life and times of the nation's icon of democracy, former President Corazon Aquino, couldn't have been more timely considering the country is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution this year.

Philippine Stagers Foundation (Ako si Ninoy, Enzo...Santo), in partnership with the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation, produces Cory ng EDSA,  a new musical in Filipino penned and directed by Atty. Vince M. Tañada, music directed by Pipo O. Cifra and choreographed by John San Antonio, officially opened at St. Scholastica's College in Manila on July 16, where select members of the press and (Philippines) were invited to cover the event.

Theater critic Amadis Ma. Guerrero wrote: "By and large, however, Cory ng EDSA is a stirring production if your political heart is in the right place. It's polished, professional, and effective as presented.

We need sociopolitical musical plays like these, to complement the works of the national theater companies like Tanghalang Pilipino, PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association) and Gantimpala Theater Foundation." (Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 2011)

The play features Cindy Liper and Glory Ann Nacional as Corazon Aquino, Tañada and Patrick Adrian Libao as Peter, Jordan Ladra and Regie Caranyagan as Rey, Alex Dorola and Kevin Posadas as Jason and some 40 artists from the Philippine Stagers Foundation.

Cory ng EDSA is currently playing on tour in Urdaneta City, Olongapo City and Dagupan City. It will have additional performances in Manila on July 31 at the Tanghalang Pasigueño and on August 6-7 at SM North EDSA. It will also tour the province of Bohol on August 1-4.

For more photos, click HERE

Friday, July 22, 2011

ROCK OF AGES' Dan Domenech Talks Being a ‘90s Grunge Kid and Bud Frump -

by Oliver Oliveros,

New York, July 22, 2011 -- Similarity is attractive: Bryne's law of attraction points out that the attraction towards an individual (or a stage role) is positively related to the proportion of similar attitudes shared by two or more persons. It's no wonder smash Broadway musical Rock of Ages' new leading man, Dan Domenech (who shares similar attitudes toward his new stage role), has been having the time of his life since he made his Broadway debut five months ago -- playing the part of Drew, a rocker wannabe from Detroit.

"I really love singing the show's kind of music. It's loud and high. And I love singing loud and high. The thing that I also like about Drew is that he's a big nerd. In high school, I was a big nerd. When I grew up -- Oh yeah, I'm still a big nerd. I kind of relate to him at lot. Drew wanted to be a rock star. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Broadway star. And it worked out," Domenech told in a recent interview held at the Helen Hayes Theatre.

Chris D'Arienzo writes the book and borrows classic rock hits from the '80s in the Tony Award-nominated musical Rock of Ages. The story follows the flimsy premise of boy meets girl (Domenech meets Rebecca Faulkenberry - who plays Sherrie) who are abruptly separated because of their Hollywood dreams. However, to see the cast breaking out into songs from the crazy '80s, for example, "We Built this City," "Cum On Feel the Noize," "Can't Fight this Feeling," and "Don't Stop Believing," which bring the house down at every performance, is absurdly fun.

Rock of Ages celebrates its first 1,000 performances on Broadway in the summer. It's on its way to the big screen -- in a big way too (Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta Jones and Russell Brand lead the cast)

Pre-Broadway Debut

Although Puerto Rican stage actor, Domenech, is a self-confessed geek, he's not the type who would burn the midnight oil studying for the final exam for Calculus II. He'd rather free up his academic coursework and digress to back-to-back musical productions at the Cultural Arts Playhouse in Long Island, where he practically grew up.

"I got into theater when I was 11 or 12 years old. My course teacher at that time got me involved in it and I instantly fell in love with it -- became obsessed with it -- to the point where that was the only thing that I look forward to doing every year at school," he said. "as soon as I got out of high school, I started doing back-to-back shows. Well, I also tried to go back to school, but the thing is theater was the only thing that kept me focused."

Like some of the big names on Broadway today -- Adam Pascal, Idina Menzel et al. -- Domenech's first professional theater experience was in a national tour and an international tour of Rent. He was able to play the minor role of Paul, the character in charge of the life support group, and the major role of Angel Dumott Schunard, a young drag queen infected with AIDS, at some of the performances.

"My first professional theater audition was for Rent in 1999. It all started from there when I got cast in that show in 2001. I didn't have an agent then. I got audition notices through Backstage magazine," he recalled.

For the past five years, Domenech has been shuttling back and forth between assignments in New York and Los Angeles.

He pointed out, "My television and film credits come from choreography. And that was a whole another chapter I discovered in Los Angeles. I was working with choreographer Marguerite Derricks from Sister Act and Wonderland. And it was great to see a whole different kind of creative process and to see the different kinds of energy that were flowing around."

"I started as swing for Rock of Ages' first national tour. I played the role of Drew once." He recalled, "On my first month with the tour, we're all hanging out at this great little place across from the stage door in Boston. My stage manager walked up to me; and I looked up to him; and he looked down at me; and I said, 'Should I go home and go for my stuff?' And he said, 'Yeah.' The next day I went on. My director was there. The producers were there. The show went really great because the rehearsal process that we had before couldn't have been any more perfect."

"I only stayed with the tour for three months because I had to leave for Wonderland in Tampa."

Broadway Beckons and Constantine Maroulis

The high probability of Domenech to eventually play more performances as Drew in Rock of Ages became more certain when he got a call of from Carl Levin, the show's producer, while he and a pal were driving out from "Harry Potter Adventure" in Florida some months ago.

Levin to Domenech: As you know, we're moving in to the Helen Hayes Theatre and we'd like you to play Drew in Rock of Ages.

Domenech to Levin: Yes. (I've been waiting for this for over a decade. It's been a long time.)

"Rock of Ages' writing is extremely clever. It's really funny. Chris does an amazing job on the book. It doesn't take itself so seriously. So, when you come in, right from the get go, you know what you're getting into. The show is like: this is what we are; so get ready for a fun ride," he said. The character of Drew also gets to sing some of the famous songs from the '80s, for example, "Waiting for a Girl Like You," and "The Search is Over." He explained, "That was really the generation behind me. I was more really a '90s grunge kid. I was really into Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Green Day and Aerosmith. Those were my bands. But I knew '80s music because it's famous. Everybody knows it."

American Idol finalist and Tony Award nominee Constantine Maroulis originated the role of Drew on Broadway and has recently starred in over sixty national tour venues of Rock of Ages.

"Constantine and I did Rent together in 2003 or 2004 -- way before he did American Idol. There's no pressure to replace Constantine. When you come in as a performer, you really want to go into a role and make it your own," he said, "Constantine does his thing and I do mine."

Looking Back and Looking Forward

At tender age of 12, Domenech knew that he wanted to be a Broadway star. That glam job means a lot of fun; and entails a lot of frustrations and hard work too. The passion for the craft; dedication to training; and the right attitude all paved the way for him to realize his childhood dream.

"When I was younger, seeing web sites such as and all these media outlets for theater, you'd think: 'Oh my God, I'd love to do an interview for them.' The coolest thing is getting to do that and telling people my experience because I had such a different way of how I got here than your conventional way. I think it's important for people to realize that if some things are not working for you, you can still have the dream and make it. You don't have to go any certain way that people say you should. You should do it your way. It's all about persistence and take it very seriously," he said.

"Training is also important. I see my voice teacher, Matt Farnsworth, every week. He was the first person I went to when I auditioned for Rent in 1999. He's known me for over 10 years now. He makes singing in Rock of Ages every week easy. And be open to constructive criticism especially when you're starting out. It's hard to better yourself if you're not," he added.

At present, Domenech is keen on playing his alter ego: the nerdy rock star, Drew, on Broadway for as long as possible.

Apart from Drew, his other dream roles on Broadway also include the embittered young genius, Tommy, in The Who's Tommy and the villainous geek, Bud Frump, in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Do we sense a pattern here? Blame it on Bryne's attraction theory.

Follow Dan Domenech at

Tickets for Rock of Ages at the Helen Hayes Theatre can be purchased via, by calling (212) 239-6200 (outside the NY metro area (800) 432-7250) or in person at the Helen Hayes Theatre Box Office. The performance schedule is Monday at 8 p.m., Tuesday at 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. From July 11th- September 4th, the performance schedule is Monday at 8 p.m., Tuesday at 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 3 p.m. & 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Monday, July 18, 2011 LML Music Launches 'Questions for Lea Salonga' Contest, 7/18-7/29

by Oliver Oliveros,

New York, July 18, 2011 -- LML Music, an independent label that distributes Tony winner Lea Salonga's newest live album, "The Journey So Far," launches "Questions for Lea Salonga" contest for her fans to get a chance to win a signed copy of her CD.

"All you have to do is tweet your question with the hashtag #q4lea and make sure you're following @LMLMusic and @MsLeaSalonga on Twitter. We'll keep track of all the questions and pick some (randomly) that Lea herself will answer in a live streaming broadcast. Everyone who has a question picked will get a signed copy of her CD too," said LML Music.

Contest Rules:

1. Enter as many questions as you want; but multiple entries from one user will only count as one entry.

2. You must be following both @MsLeaSalonga and @LMLMusic to enter. Entries will be disqualified if you're not following both accounts.

3. Questions that are lewd or inappropriate in nature will be immediately rejected; and the user who submitted them will be disqualified.

4. We won't be able to see questions from Twitter accounts set to "private," so be sure yours is set to "public" during the contest.

The contest begins today, July 18, and the live broadcast, where Lea answers the questions and announces the winners, will be on July 29 at 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Pacific and 9 a.m. on July 30 in the Philippines.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Photo Flash: Fil-Am Playwright Marisa Marquez's GATED Premieres at Midtown International Theatre Festival -

by Oliver Oliveros,

New York, July 16, 2011 -- Gated, Filipino-American playwright Marisa Marquez's new dark comedy that exposes dysfunctional relationships between residents of a gated community of Las Penas Hills in California, premieres at the Midtown International Theatre Festival.

Ms. Marquez, who's originally from Sacramento, California, has written four plays in the past four years that included Gated, Sampaguita (a play that finds humor in lupus therapy) and Plunge (a collection of scenes and monologues about trials and tribulations and true commitment). Drawing from Ms. Marquez's own Filipino-American experience, her plays are a reflection on the complexity of family dynamics and the duality of cross-cultural adaptation.

"I've been working on this play (Gated) for four years now and finally things are really coming together with this production at the Midtown International Theatre Festival. The designers and the talented actors and the producers we have are amazing. I think you're lucky enough if you wake up really truly believing in something. I believe in this show and I have these many people believing in it as well. It's been a blessing," Ms. Marquez said.

Gated stars Erin Adams, Andrew Eisenman, Christopher Kloko, Ms. Marquez, Austin Mitchell, Megha Nabe and Susan Quinn.

The show's directed by Danny Williams, with managing producer Satomi Blair. Lighting and set design by David Goldstein, sound design by Ann Warren, costumes by Hanadi Khurma and props and graphic design by Christine Calabro.

Isa Company, 4Hawk Productions and Leviathan Lab are co-producing Gated.

The remaining performances of Gated will be held at the Main Stage Theatre at the Workshop Theatre (312 W 36th St., New York, NY) on July 20 at 6:30 p.m., July 23 at 1 p.m. and July 30 at 4 p.m. For tickets, visit

For more photos, click HERE.

Thursday, July 14, 2011 THE LITTLE MERMAID (Manila) Audio Preview

by Oliver Oliveros,

Manila, Philippines, July 14, 2011 -- Atlantis Productions Inc. has just released an audio preview of singer-actress Rachelle Ann Go singing "Part of Your World" on its Facebook fan page that builds up to the theater company's upcoming production of Disney's The Little Mermaid -- with Ms. Go playing the title role -- from November 18 to December 11 at the Meralco Theatre.

"Rachelle Ann possesses all the qualities of Ariel. She's spunky and adventurous. And she sounds amazing singing 'Part of Your World.' I'm sure she'll thrill audiences the way she thrilled us during the auditions," co-director Bobby Garcia said.

Atlantis Productions' past shows have included Jesus Christ Superstar, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Proof, The Rocky Horror Show, Dreamgirls, Urinetown, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Dogeaters, Seussical, Hairspray, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Spring Awakening, Xanadu, Legally Blonde, A Little Night Music, Next to Normal and Aida. The Manila-based theater company was also one of the investors in the Off Broadway musical Tick! Tick! ...Boom.

To listen to the audio preview, click HERE.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Photo Exclusive: STREEP TEASE at Joe's Pub -

by Oliver Oliveros,

The audience came to a stand still when stage actor Bryan Donovan -- who's channeling the cold and intimidating Sister Aloysius (Doubt) in a nun's black habit and hood -- made a grand entrance through the audience at the recent New York debut of Streep Tease, an evening of monologues culled from Meryl Streep's current database of 49 movies performed with an all-male cast.

A critically-acclaimed new cult comedy that originated from one of Los Angeles' comedy venues, Bang Improv, Streep Tease's monologue line-up heavily relied on the present cast members' personal favorite movies that had starred Ms. Streep.

"We had actors who personally chose to perform excerpts from The Bridges of Madison County and Angels in America during our first run in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the actors who did these monologues could not commit to an encore performance due to previous commitments. But we've been very much open to new acts from actors who are joining the cast. The show continues to evolve that way," said Roy Cruz, the show's creator and co-producer.

Apart from the excerpts from The Devil Wears Prada (performed by Cruz), A Cry in the Dark (performed by Drew Droege), Silkwood (peformed by Trent Walker), Out of Africa (performed by David Dean Bottrell), Still of the Night (performed by Joel Scher), a monologue extracted from 22 Meryl Streep movies ( performed by Ron Morehouse), monologues from Doubt (performed by Donovan) and The French Lieutenant's Woman (performed by Matthew Nouriel) were new additions to the show that premiered at Joe's Pub.

Streep Tease at Joe's Pub had attempted to strike a balance between comedic and dramatic monologues. However, whenever a monologue was leaning toward heavier emotions, the show also started to fall flat especially that of Scher's monologue from Still of the Night. The comedic parts worked best -- Bottrell's take on Out of Africa was outright hilarious.

Streep Tease | Director: Ezra Weiss | Producers: Roy Cruz and Kenneth Hartung | Choreographer: Fred Tallaksen | Additional Music Arranger: Ronobir Lahiri | Additional Costume Design: Occidental College Theater Development

For more photos, click HERE.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Photo of the Day: ALL NEW PEOPLE at the Second Stage Theatre

New York, July 2, 2011 -- Playwright Zach Braff’s film orientation (he wrote and directed the Independent Spirit Award-winning film Garden State and currently co-starring alongside James Franco and Michelle Williams in Oz) is apparent throughout his new play All New People at the Second Stage Theatre, where he has cast fellow Hollywood actors Justin Bartha (The Hangover II, The Rebound), Krysten Ritter (Confessions of a Shopaholic), David Wilson Barnes (30 Rock, Law & Order) and Anna Camp (True Blood in ensemble roles, and has seamlessly interspersed flash back scenes shot on film that were projected on a white solid backdrop across the proscenium arch.

All New People, which is often poking fun at contemporary references, is a tightly written piece. Its sampling of media convergence charmingly pushes the story forward.

About All New People:

It’s the dead of winter and the summer vacation getaway of Long Beach Island, New Jersey is desolate and blanketed in snow. Charlie (Bartha) is 35, heartbroken and just wants some time away from the rest of the world. The island ghost town seems to be the perfect escape until his solitude is interrupted by a motley parade of misfits who show up and change his plans. A hired beauty (Camp), the townie fireman (Barnes), and an eccentric British real estate agent (Ritter) desperately trying to stay in the country suddenly find themselves tangled together in a beach house where the mood is anything but sunny.

All New People is now playing at the Second Stage Theatre, 305 West 43rd St., N.Y. The play is directed by Peter DuBois. For tickets and more information, visit