Sunday, October 30, 2011

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

Filipino Broadway stars MiG Ayesa, Lea Salonga, and J. Elaine Marcos pose
for Troi Santos' camera at The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York (TOFA-NY)
Awards' reception at Carnegie Hall.

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 Stars Season 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 awards for entertainment for their performances in Broadway musicals Rock of Ages, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, and Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark, respectively.

Other awardees have included Roland Ubaldo for public service; Jose Antonio Vargas for courage of conviction; Bessie Badilla for arts and culture; Grace Hufano-Labaguis for business and entrepreneurship; Philippine Forum for community service and advocacy; Sounds of Manila for entertainment; Jerry Sibal for fashion and style; Rena Avendula for food and restaurant; Dr. Lorna Bayes for health care; Michelle Manangan for LGBT and advocacy; Don Tagala for media and publishing; and the Filipino School of New York and New Jersey for youth and sports.

TOFA-NY Awards' winners were picked by Facebook users.

For more photos, click HERE.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Theater Fans are Citizen Journalists too

Memphis on Broadway's new leading actor,
Adam Pascal,  gives a sneak peek of his take on
 "Memphis Lives In Me," the show's anthem,
before the press and theater fans; photo by
Oliver Oliveros
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 take as many non-flash photos and videos as possible, and to get the word out (like what citizen journalists would do normally) via Twitter, Tumblr, Wordpress, and Blogger, among others. On the other hand, the press representative from Hartman Group, one of the leading theater-oriented public relations agencies based in New York, was managing the mainstream entertainment press' photo and video coverage logistics and one-on-one interview requests. Attending that event wearing two hats, a Memphis fan, and, at the same time, a representative from, I saw how its unconventional news coverage setup had worked perfectly for both the traditional press corps and the enthusiastic theater fans-turned-citizen journalists for that day.

Although digital citizen journalism, in general, has been more prevalent among American sports fans compared with theater fans, for example, the fans providing content at, the 4th largest sports media web site in the United States formed by "four lifelong fans who had consumed more than their fill of bland Internet sports content [c/o the mainstream media]," a budding theater citizen journalist can learn a thing or two from these overzealous sports fans-turned-sports scribes who:

• Write with a distinctive voice;
• Network with other citizen journalists; and
• Engage in intelligent conversations on topics surrounding their interests.
(I've to add, write, write, and write: writing is a skill set; ergo, it can be learned.)

Like these sports fanatics, theater fans as citizen journalists are certainly seen as a welcome addition to the continuously evolving media landscape. In the social mediasphere, mind you, the citizen journalist’s empowered, distinctive voice could match up with anybody, even the likes of veteran theater journalists Ben Brantley of The New York Times, Michael Riedel of The New York Post, or Peter Filichia of Veritably, social media gives everyone a platform. Whether you're a newbie or an already seasoned citizen journalist, you can use social media's various platforms creatively and responsibly.

So, in support of our friends at Memphis, I'd also like to encourage you to start conversing and engaging others: be a theater fan (a Memphis fan too) and a citizen journalist; and spread some Broadway love!


Oliver Oliveros is regional site editor, author, and photographer at — an online news portal covering theater, live entertainment, Broadway shows, and Broadway tickets.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 Lea Salonga to Receive 'Heritage Award' at Carnegie Hall, 10/29

Tony Award-winning actress Lea Salonga is
one of the Outstanding Filipino Americans
in New York Awards' Heritage Award recipients.
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 from Aladdin, 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 in a message to the awardees.

"We take this opportunity to honor the men and women who contribute to our city's amazing energy and spirit," he adds.

TOFA-NY Awards, whose organizers include journalist Elton Lugay, technical director Marisse Panlilio, journalist Cristina DC Pastor, and photographer Percival Roque and whose winners were unconventionally picked by Facebook users, has been created to celebrate the second year of the Filipino American Heritage Month, which falls on October.

Besides Salonga, dancers Craig and Samantha Abaya, who were junior champions on ABC's hit show Dancing with the Stars Season 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 will also receive TOFA-NY's Heritage Awards.

For more information, visit

Friday, October 21, 2011

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

Former Rent star Adam Pascal performs "Memphis
Lives In Me," an eleven o'clock number
from the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis; 
photo by  Oliver Oliveros
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

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We Hear You!

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

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 your opinion.

Thus, on our third year as a regional site of BWW, we’ve previously announced that we’re accepting nominations for the first BWW Philippines Awards, an award-giving program that allows you to nominate and vote for your favourite musicals, straight plays, and stage personalities that made the 13-month eligibility period from September 2010 to October 2011.

Check out the complete list of nomination categories here and the nomination form here.

Currently, the Philippines has two award-giving bodies that recognize excellence in theatrical production and performance: the pioneering Aliw Awards, a local entertainment industry awards established in 1976 by the Aliw Awards Foundation and Filipino journalist Alice H. Reyes, and the young Gawad Buhay! Philstage Awards, a peer-juried industry awards launched in 2009. The former has always been controversial while the latter has been more focused on the performing arts, but, sadly, nomination is limited only to members of Philstage, an organization of around nine professional performing arts companies.

In contrast to the previous award-giving bodies, the BWW Philippines Awards is an audience-driven effort.

Our theater scene in the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila, has never been as vibrant as in recent months: The past year has brought well-produced shows to the center stage such as Little Women, Ang Post Office, The Wedding Singer, American Hwangap, Rent, The Joy Luck Club, Orosman at Zafira, Screen: Macbeth, The 39 Steps, Shakespeare in Hollywood, Care Divas, Sweet Charity, Next to Normal, Aida, In the Heights, Peter Pan, Seussical, Rizal X, William, Cory ng EDSA, Stomp, and The Sound of Music, among others.

We owe our hardworking, excellent theater practitioners the recognition and appreciation they deserve; the BWW Philippines Awards is one way to do it.

So, send in your nominations now.

We will only accept nominations until October 31.

Oliver Oliveros is regional site editor, author and photographer at — an online news portal covering theater, live entertainment, Broadway shows and Broadway tickets.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Photo Flash: STOMP Cast Meet Filipino Fans -

STOMP cast pose for photos with Filipino fans; photo by Dale Bacar

by Oliver Oliveros,

October 18, 2011, Manila, Philippines -- Longtime cast members of the dance, percussion, and visual comedy show Stomp Angus 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 makes it so appealing... Co-directors and co-creators Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas have crafted a well-paced show that's amusing and toe-tapping at the same time," says Chris Gibson of

Stomp has been seen by more than 15 million theatergoers in 48 countries across 5 continents since its world premiere in the United Kingdom in 1991.

Show tickets are sold at P750, P1000, P1500, P2000, P2500, P3000, P3500, P4000, P4500, P5000, P5500, and P7000. Senior citizens enjoy a 20% discount. Visit Ticketworld outlets at selected National Bookstore branches, Robinsons Department Store (Galleria, Malate, Metro East, Festival Mall & Starmill Pampanga), and Ayala Center (Greenbelt 1, Glorietta 4, and Trinoma Mall cinema booths), or call (632)891-9999.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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

Rachelle Ann Go will play Ariel in Atlantis Productions'
take on Disney's The Little Mermaid
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 virtual under-the-sea scenes.

Cecile Martinez is choreographer; Lex Marcos is set designer; Eric Pineda is costume designer; Jay Aranda is lighting designer; Liz and Benny Batoctoy, and Sam Fuentes are puppet designers; and Manman Angsico is vocal coach. The production is made possible through a special licensing agreement with Music Theatre International.

For more information, visit

Thursday, October 13, 2011

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

Real-life rock star MiG Ayesa will reprise his
recent Broadway role, Stacee Jaxx, in Atlantis
Productions' upcoming run of smash musical
ROCK OF AGES in Manila; photo by Peter
James Zielinski
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 Productions' honcho Bobby Garcia says in a statement: "We're over the moon that MiG Ayesa will be coming to Manila to recreate the role of Stacee Jaxx...the country [Philippines] is so proud of his success as a global rock artist, and it will be a thrill for local audiences to watch him in his first musical in Manila."

Chris D'Arienzo writes the book, and borrows classic rock hits from the '80s in the Tony Award-nominated musical Rock of Ages; its story follows the flimsy premise of "boy meets girl" who are abruptly separated because of their Hollywood dreams. However, to see the cast breaking out into songs from the crazy '80s, such as "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... Ayesa as Stacee Jaxx showed everybody on that stage, and the audience how to truly rock it out. His singing was just incredible." (, 2011)

Chari Arespacochaga (Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde) will direct Ayesa et al. in the upcoming Manila run of Rock of Ages, whose licensing agreement is made possible through Broadway Asia Entertainment.

In the meantime, Ayesa's currently promoting his sophomore album titled, "More Than Ever," an eclectic mix of original rock/pop tracks recorded in Sydney, London, and New York, and is available on iTunes, and He's also reuniting with Rock of Ages on Broadway co-stars Dan Domenech, Rebecca Faulkenberry et al. in Rock of Changes, a benefit concert for LOVE146, a campaign which is fighting against child sex slavery and exploitation, at Joe's Pub on Wednesay, October 19. And, he's hosting the "Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York," an awards ceremonies celebrating the "Filipino American History Month," at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, October 29.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy PHANTOM 25th One and All!

Ramin Karimloo revisits the Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera's
25th anniversary celebration at Royal Albert Hall in London;
photo c/o United International Pictures
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 fully-staged, lavish production, [directed by Laurence Connor based on the original direction by Hal Prince, and musical staging and choreography by Gillian Lynne] set in the sumptuous Victorian splendour of the Royal Albert Hall with a cast and orchestra [players] of over 200.”

Scenic designer Matt Kinley has intriguingly recreated the late Maria Björnson’s original Victorian-inspired design by integrating conventional moving sceneries, and proscenium arches with digital LED projections.  It has worked astoundingly well; it has been evidently hard to distinguish which was a floating candle holder prop, and which was its digitally-projected copy during the scenes beneath the opera house at the Phantom’s eerie lair.  The show’s full, elaborate costumes, especially those worn by the entire cast in the musical number “Masquerade,” which opened Act II, were a spectacle to behold.

Arguably Webber’s most successful score written for the British musical theater, Phantom 25th’s music, which was masterfully performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and conducted by Anthony Inglis, was a rich fusion of opera, pop, and rock leitmotifs.  One of its several duets, “All I Ask of You,” which was passionately sung by Broadway actress Sierra Boggess (Christine Daaé), and British actor Hadley Fraser (Raoul) by the end of Act I, has proved once again that it’s one of the most beautiful love songs ever written.  Lyricist Charles Hart’s words to the song have captured emotionally Christine and Raoul’s longing for unconditional love that bravely defied the Phantom’s single obsession.

Besides Boggess and Fraser, leading actor Ramin Karimloo (the Phantom) gave a very strong performance.  Karimloo’s (who also played the same role in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, and in Love Never Dies at Adelphi Theatre) soaring tenor voice could “hunt you down and devour you alive.” His sensitive portrayal of the Phantom has made every audience completely empathized with the misunderstood character’s painful yearning for love:

…This face, the infection
which poisons our love
This face,
which earned a mother's fear and loathing
A mask,
my first unfeeling scrap of clothing…

(These words uttered by Karimloo’s Phantom, his voice breaking, were truly heartrending, and made me sigh.)

The Phantom of the Opera, based on the 1909 novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, tells the story of the Phantom's shadowy existence, and his love for the beautiful, talented ingénue Christine Daaé.  Till this day, the musical continues to captivate audiences in London after more than 10,000 performances. It also holds the record as Broadway's longest-running musical with over 9,000 performances.

My column on Philippines was one of the online sources that broke the news that Phantom 25th begins screenings in Manila today.  It’s been such a great joy to spread the word about this major musical event to fellow Broadway geeks in the Philippines; I’ve been reading all your questions, and exciting comments on the web site, Facebook, and Twitter.  I’ve actually posted my replies to some of them.

Don’t you miss out on this one; and don’t you dare buy a cinema ticket at the last minute!

Again, happy Phantom 25th one and all!

Oliver Oliveros is regional site editor, author and photographer at — an online news portal covering theater, live entertainment, Broadway shows and Broadway tickets.

Monday, October 10, 2011

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 the ballet, "The Small House of Uncle Thomas," is a fascinating eastern twist on the popular "Uncle Tom's Cabin"... Espano's King is heavily influenced by Yul Brynner's [he played the King in the 1956 film adaptation of the play] definitive original interpretation but it works perfectly...," says critic Chris Curcio. "Director Athena Hunting keeps the long show moving well and her judicious cuts eliminate unnecessary songs and dialogue without destroying the dramatic tension," he adds.

For tickets, call 623-815-7930 or visit

For more photos, click HERE

Friday, October 07, 2011 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 Lynne, production design by Matt Kinley based on the original design by Maria Björnson, lighting by Patrick Woodroffe and Andrew Bridge, and sound by Mick Potter.

The Phantom of the Opera premiered at Her Majesty's Theatre in London on October 9, 1986 with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman in the leading roles. Till this day, the musical, which tells the story of the Phantom's shadowy existence, and his love for the beautiful, talented ingénue Christine Daaé, continues to captivate audiences in London after more than 10,000 performances. It also holds the record as Broadway's longest-running musical with over 9,000 performances.

The musical has won over 60 major theater awards, including seven Tony Awards and three Olivier Awards. Worldwide, The Phantom of the Opera has grossed over $5.6 billion, and has been seen in 145 cities in 27 countries, and played to over 130 million people.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

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 Musical
  • Best Play
  • Best Direction of a Musical
  • Best Direction of a Play
  • Best Leading Actor (Musical)
  • Best Leading Actor (Play)
  • Best Leading Actress (Musical)
  • Best Leading Actress (Play)
  • Best Musical Direction
  • Best Choreography
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Lighting Design
  • Best Set Design
  • Best Sound Design
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role/Ensemble Role (Musical)
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role/Ensemble Role (Play)
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role/Ensemble Role (Musical)
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role/Ensemble Role (Play)
  • Best Theater Company
  • Best Theatrical Venue

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Broadway Baby Gone Online

New York, October 5, 2011 – The vinyl records of Jesus 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 printed Playbill 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!," the web site’s popular message board application, had allowed me to converse with other theater enthusiasts from all corners of the earth; my chat handle was Renthead, which generally pertained to any devoted fan of the Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical Rent created by the late Jonathan Larson. Rent, which opened on Broadway in 1996, was like the “Jesus Christ Superstar” to Generation Xers. Many chat members discussed about Rent extensively from Larson’s unexpected demise, and his friendly liaison with Stephen Sondheim, a musical theater legend who wrote A Little Night Music and Sunday in the Park with George, among others to the show’s rising stars Adam Pascal, Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp et. al. After 14 years, “All that Chat!” is still online; current chat members recently were discussing about episodes of Glee, a FOX TV hit musical series about a gang of misfit glee club members at William Mckinley High School, and the new, spanking Broadway Bound revival of (guess what?) Jesus Christ Superstar!

Sadly, the allure of handling corporate communication for a conglomerate after graduating from college was inevitable, and made my love affair with the theater fizzled out for around eight years. However, a complete turnaround happened when I decided to join Stages, one of the leading event management and theater companies in Manila, in 2002-2010. From writing annual reports and business media releases, I shifted to writing about my first love: the theater. I was back to seventh heaven; this time, I was handling traditional and online publicity for Broadway musicals that were opening in Manila from Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahren’s Once On this Island to Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story to Disney’s High School Musical. I also started blogging about theater at, which has had nearly 300,000 page hits since its launch, and has been highly visible in Google searches.

Currently engaged in multitasking between projects for New York University, a private university in New York City where I attend Graduate School in public relations focusing on arts advocacy, and, a popular online source for theater news where I edit, write, and take photographs of Broadway theater-related events in Manila and New York City, I could say that my passion for the theater has been surging to endless possibilities. The convergence between my inclination toward the arts and the continuously evolving interactive digital media landscape certainly has a lot to do with it.

My theater fixation continues online and off.

Oliver Oliveros is regional site editor, author and photographer at — an online news portal covering theater, live entertainment, Broadway shows and Broadway tickets.

Monday, October 03, 2011 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 of its cast and the poignant direction of its director, Bobby Garcia, who also helmed the recent Asian premiere of In The Heights, and will soon find himself "neck-deep in work" for the Asian premiere of Disney's The Little Mermaid.

Garcia says in a statement that he's been "thrilled that we're restaging Next to Normal even though it's for a very limited repeat run (October 7-16 only at RCBC Theatre in Makati City). Its success was completely unexpected to us, and we thank the people who came to see the show during its first run, filling up our houses each night. This is a one-of-a-kind musical about the power of a family's love. It's a musical that has changed the lives of all of us involved in the production."

Next to Normal, which features music by Tom Kitt, and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, was the winner of three Tony Awards in 2009, including Best Original Score, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010. The Manila production has set design by Lex Marcos, lighting design by Shoko Matsumoto, musical direction by Ceejay Javier, musical staging by Chari Arespacochaga, costume design by Twinkle Zamora, and vocal direction by ManMan Angsico.

For tickets, call Atlantis Productions at telephone numbers (632) 892-7078 or 840-1187 or visit