Showing posts from October, 2011

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

by Oliver Oliveros,

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…

Theater Fans are Citizen Journalists too

New York, October 27, 2011 – Everyone at Shubert Theater is abuzz these days: Memphis, the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, whose main story revolves around an interracial love affair between a white radio DJ and a black songstress in the ‘50s, has been celebrating its second year on Broadway and has welcomed its newest leading actor, former Rent star Adam Pascal.

Prior to Pascal’s opening night at Memphis just last Tuesday, the show’s creators, Bon Jovi songwriter and band member David Bryan and American playwright Joe DiPietro, hosted a sneak peek that had allowed both the mainstream entertainment press and a select group of theater fans to simultaneously click away with their recording devices: HD camcorders, flip cams, DSLRs, iPhone cameras, and what have you, while Pascal and the rest of the Company performed two musical numbers from the show, “The Music of My Soul” and “Memphis Lives in Me."

Also at the sneak peek, Memphis’ staff was encouraging its invited fans to… Lea Salonga to Receive 'Heritage Award' at Carnegie Hall, 10/29

by Oliver Oliveros,

New York, October 26, 2011 -- Right on the heels of her Disney Legend citation that had recognized her iconic vocal recordings for two Disney Princesses Mulan from Mulan and Jasmine fromAladdin, Lea Salonga, born and raised in the Philippines, is set to receive another accolade: the Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York (TOFA-NY) Awards' Heritage Award on Saturday, October 29 at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall.

Salonga's fellow actors of Filipino descent MiG Ayesa, who will host the awards ceremony, T.V. Carpio, and J. Elaine Marcos were also nominated for TOFA-NY's community-determined awards for their exemplary performances in Broadway musicals Rock of Ages, Spider-man, Turn Off the Dark, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, respectively.

"New York has always been proud to be a city of promise and opportunity for people of every background, including generations of Filipino Americans," says Mayor Mike Bloomberg

Photo of the Day: New MEMPHIS Star, Adam Pascal, Gives a Sneak Peek at Shubert Theatre

New York, October 20, 2011 – Adam Pascal (Rent, Aida), who’s set to replace Tony Award-nominated actor Chad Kimball in the role of radio DJ Huey Calhoun in the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis starting Tuesday, October 25, performed “The Music of My Soul” (with Montego Glover and Company) and “Memphis Lives in Me” (with Company), two soulful musical numbers from the show, before fans and press at Shubert Theatre earlier.

Memphis, which explores an interracial love affair between a white radio DJ (Pascal) and a black songstress (Glover) during the ‘50s, has music and lyrics by Bon Jovi songwriter and band member David Bryan and American playwright Joe DiPietro. The musical won the 2010 Tony Awards for Best Book, Best Score, and Best Musical.

Check out Pascal's performance captured on video via

We Hear You!

Nominate your favourites for the first Philippines Awards
11 days till nomination deadline!

Image: Apple\'s Eyes Studio /
By Oliver Oliveros for

In the theater, the audience completes the performance equation: with the expert guidance of the stage director and the interplay of thematic lights and sets, the actors are expected to deliver no less than rock solid performances; on the other hand, you, the audience, are poised to reward everyone by acknowledging the theater practitioner with a warm applause, sometimes a long standing ovation, at curtain call.

Here on (BWW), you, our readers, also play an important role in the information food chain: we report about theater-related events and personalities and you consume our written words. Sometimes, you correct our errors in factual information. But, most of the time, you actually help us become better journalists by listening to you.

Needless to say, we value y…

Photo Flash: STOMP Cast Meet Filipino Fans -

by Oliver Oliveros,

October 18, 2011, Manila, Philippines -- Longtime cast members of the dance, percussion, and visual comedy showStompAngus H. Little, Melanie Joseph, Johannes Bohun, Nigel Clarke, Mikey Lantis, and Andy Pang enthusiastically promoted their show and wowed the crowd at Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, and Glorietta malls last weekend. Stomp's currently playing for a limited run at the Cultural Center of the Philippines until Sunday, October 23.

Stomp, created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, showcases actors who use ordinary objects as musical instruments: brooms, dust bins, and boxes of matches, among others, while they show off their dance moves, and flair for comedy.

"What drives Stomp is its complex combination of polyrhythms building one on top of the other in waves of tension and release, creating a kind of mesmerizing, hypnotic effect on the audience. That they're doing this with common household objects and industrial junk, is what…

Photo Flash: Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID Promo Art Revealed for the Philippines -

by Oliver Oliveros,

Atlantis Productions Inc. (Next to Normal, In The Heights) has just released one of its first promo artworks, which shows one of its lead stars, Rachelle Ann Go, posing as the little mermaid Ariel, her mid-torso resting on a bed of corals, and her synthetic fishtail flashing in the background, for its upcoming production of Disney's The Little Mermaid running from November 18 to December 11 at Meralco Theatre.

Atlantis' take on Disney's The Little Mermaid will mark the first international production of the Broadway musical, which opened at Lunt Fontanne Theatre in New York City three years ago, and played around 700 performances.

Go and fellow recording artist Erik Santos, who will play the role of Prince Eric, Ariel's one true love, will make their professional theater debuts via this production, which according to its directors, Bobby Garcia and Chari Arespacochaga, will also attempt to incorporate Asian puppetry into its virtua…

Breaking News: MiG Ayesa To Reprise 'Stacee Jaxx' in ROCK OF AGES Manila

by Oliver Oliveros,

New York, October 13, 2011 -- Filipino-Australian Broadway actor MiG Ayesa has spoken too soon: "It's with a heavy heart that...I'm hanging up my 'Stacee' boots for good this Sunday, September 25... From the touring to the Broadway show, it's been a job with many blessings, and I've been so grateful for all the incredible experiences that have come with it..." (, 2011)

Apparently, Ayesa isn't saying goodbye just yet neither to "Stacee Jaxx" nor to Rock of Ages because Atlantis Productions Inc., a prolific theater company based in Manila, Philippines, whose recent productions have included the Asian premieres of Next to Normal, and In the Heights, has just announced that Ayesa will be reprising his recent Broadway role as "Stacee Jaxx," a decadent rock star, when the smash musical Rock of Ages opens in Manila in June/July next year (venue to be announced).

Atlantis Producti…

Happy PHANTOM 25th One and All!

New York, October 12, 2011 – I just broke one of my self-imposed rules:  Never watch a movie alone again in the United States, more so in New York City. But, who could possibly let go of the opportunity to join the audience (although virtually) at Royal Albert Hall during Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 25th anniversary presentation of their longest-running musical together, The Phantom of Opera?
So, I astutely took time off between graduate school and an internship today to catch not a live Broadway show in a theater in Times Square, but to purchase a ticket at the eleventh hour for the last day screening of Phantom 25th (Broadway geeks’ nickname for The Phantom of the Opera’s 25th anniversary celebration) at Regal Union Square Stadium 14, a cinema complex in East Village.
Filmed live in London last October 2, Phantom 25th’s show information, whose contents I recently used for my column on, has characterized very well the grand scale production:  “…a ful…

Photo Flash: Theater Works Presents THE KING & I -

(Center) Jay Españo plays the King of Siam in Theater Works' production of The King & I. Photo by Ashley Stivers
by Oliver Oliveros,

A community, non-profit theater company based in Peoria, Arizona, Theater Works, and its latest production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1951 Broadway musical The King & I, which was based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, will run until Sunday, October 16 at Peoria Center for Performing Arts.

Jay Españo, a stage and television actor who originally came from Manila, Philippines, plays the iconic role of the King of Siam, a character inspired by the fourth monarch of Siam, King Mongkut, who ruled the country from 1851 to 1868.

Kristi MacEwan plays Anna Leonowens, an English governess who's hired to teach the King's children.

"...The King & I is the team's [Theater Works'] finest show...the lovely songs combine Siamese musical flavorings with traditional tunes, while th… THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 25th Anniversary Philippine Screenings Begin 10/12

by Oliver Oliveros,

Manila, Philippines, October 7, 2011 -- United International Pictures, through Solar Entertainment Corporation, will release the film format of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh's 25th anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall in selected digital cinemas starting Wednesday, October 12.

The film stars Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom, Sierra Boggess as Christine Daaé (both also performed the same roles in The Phantom of the Opera's sequel titled, Love Never Dies, which prematurely closed two months ago in London ), Hadley Fraser as Raoul, Kiera Duffy as Carlotta, Daisy Maywood as Meg Giry, Barry James as Monsieur Firmin, Gareth Snook as Monsieur André, Liz Robertson as Madame Giry, and Wynne Evans as Piangi, together with a cast and orchestra players of over 200. It also features the direction by Laurence Connor based on the original London production directed by Hal Prince and choreographed by Gillian L…

First-Ever BWW Philippines Awards Launched; Send In Nominations Now!

by Oliver Oliveros,

Manila, Philippines, October 6, 2011 -- (BWW) Philippines celebrates its third anniversary by launching the first-ever BWW Philippines Awards.

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.

Fill in the nomination form, and make sure your favorite musicals and straight plays that opened in the Philippines from September 2010 to October 2011 are counted.

You can nominate original Filipino musical/straight play productions, local Broadway musical/straight play productions, or international touring productions; submit nominations until October 31.

BWW Philippines Awards Categories:

Best MusicalBest PlayBest Direction of a MusicalBest Direction of a PlayBest Leading Actor (Musical)Best Leading Actor (Play)Best Leading Actress (Musical)Best Leading Actress (Play)Best …

Broadway Baby Gone Online

Image's "All that Chat!" interface
New York, October 5, 2011 – The vinyl records ofJesus Christ Superstar, Andrew Lloyd Webber's seminal early '70s rock musical and The Sound of Music, Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved late ‘50s Broadway classic, were my first exposures to the magical world of musical theater. Even though I grew up 8,509 miles away from New York City (I was originally from Manila, Philippines), I distinctly remember that I was subscribing to printedPlaybill magazines delivered via snail mail for one year. That thirst for the latest news about shows that were premiering on Broadway during the ‘90s clearly became one of my teenage years to adulthood fixations. So, when the wired networks and the early stages of social media, in the guise of online forums and chat rooms, had started invading our household, I was one Broadway baby in seventh heaven! Hello, world and hello,!’s “All that Chat!,"… NEXT TO NORMAL Returns for a Two-Weekend Run, 10/7-10/16

by Oliver Oliveros,

New York, October 2, 2011 -- When esteemed actress-director Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo visited the Big Apple a few months ago, she handed a copy of her latest CD album titled "Light," which contains recordings of some of the best Broadway musicals that she's been a part of; among the tracks, "Light" from Next to Normal, whose positive message of family survival overrides the general downward spiral themes of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, was reassuring, and which Yulo (Diana Goodman) has recorded with co-actors, Jett Pangan (Dan Goodman), Jake Macapagal (Dr. Madden), Felix Rivera (Gabe Goodman), Bea Garcia (Natalie Goodman), and Markki Stroem (Henry), became our instant favorite.

Unfortunately, we're missing out Next to Normal's return to Manila this month, but we're confident that Manila's theatergoers won't pass up the opportunity to experience the critically-acclaimed performances o…