Wednesday, June 29, 2011

BroadwayWorld.com: SWEET CHARITY (Manila) Releases New Promo Photos

by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

Manila, Philippines, June 28, 2011 -- Nikki Gil (Legally Blonde, Seussical), Ciara Sotto (Rent, Magsimula Ka), OJ Mariano (Rent, The Wedding Singer) and Sheree Bautista (Rent, Little Mermaid) were among 9 Works Theatrical's cast members of its upcoming production of Neil Simon and Cy Coleman's Broadway musical, Sweet Charity, who met the press at the Dusit Thani Hotel today.

Ms. Gil plays a dancer for hire, Charity Hope Valentine; Ms. Sotto plays one of Charity's best friends, Helene; Mr. Mariano dabbles in double roles as an Italian film star, Vittorio Vidal, and as a charismatic religious leader of the Rhythm of Life Church, Daddy Johann Sebastian Brubeck; and Ms. Bautista plays one of Charity's co-dancers, Carmen; when Sweet Charity opens on Friday, August 5 at the Carlos P. Romulo Theater, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.

Sweet Charity, which originally starred Gwen Verdon as Charity, premiered on Broadway in 1966. The show was also adapted into a full-length film in 1969, which starred Shirley MacLaine as Charity, and had several remakes on Broadway. Sweet Charity's most recent revival on the Great White Way was in 2005, which had Christina Applegate and Charlotte d'Amboise in the title role.

Coleman's music for the musical boasts of catchy-but-naughty tunes (and sometimes with dark tones in the same vein as John Kander's musical Chicago). A couple of popular show tunes, "Big Spender" and "If My Friends Could See Me Now," are from the show.

9 Works Theatrical's resident director Robbie Guevara (Rent, The Wedding Singer) and assistant director Lorenz Martinez are at the helm of Sweet Charity in Manila.

Musical director Joseph Tolentino (orchestra), musical director Sweet Plantado (vocals), scenographer and costume designer Mio Infante, costume designer Hanna delos Reyes, lighting designer Martin Esteva, choreographer Deana Aquino, graphic designer Dale Amon and photographer Roy Macam round out its creative team.

Sweet Charity runs from August 5 to 27 -- Friday 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. , Saturday 3:30 p.m. & 8 p.m. and Sunday 4 p.m. For tickets and more information, call (632) 557-5860, 586-7105 or (63) 917-5545560 or email info@9workstheatrical.com.

For more photos, click HERE.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Photo Flash: Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA Premieres in Manila, 6/24 – 7/10 - BroadwayWorld.com


by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

Manila, Philippines, June 24, 2011 -- Elton John and Tim Rice's contemporary take on Aida, a tale of star-crossed lovers based on the Giuseppe Verdi's opera of the same title, made it to Manila through Atlantis Productions Inc.'s local production that opened at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City Friday night. (The musical runs until Sunday, July 10)

Aida's local premiere has prompted the return of musical theater actress Ima Castro (Miss Saigon, Paglayang Minamahal), who's been based in London for the past 10 years, to the Philippine theater scene. Ms. Castro plays the title role opposite to Myke Salomon's (Care Divas, Magsimula Ka) Radames and Rachel Alejandro's (Xanadu, Avenue Q) Amneris.

Ms. Alejandro's real-life dad, Hajji Alejandro (Batibot, Kapinangan), plays Radames' father, Zoser. Recording artist and theater newcomer, Josh Santana, plays Mereb while one of local theater's most promising talents, Alys Serdenia (A Little Night Music, Rent), plays Nehebka.

In Aida, Egypt has enslaved Nubia. And when Nubia's princess, Aida, comes to the palace as a slave, Egypt's prince, Radames -- who's betrothed to the exceedingly materialistic Amneris -- falls in love with his Nubian slave.

Aida in Manila is directed by Chari Arespacochaga (Legally Blonde, Spring Awakening). It also features choreography by Cecile Martinez (Hairspray), lighting design by Dong Calingacion (Footloose, Rent), set design by Faust Peneyra (Shock Value), costume design by Twinkle Zamora (Next to Normal), musical direction by Jojo Malferrari (Rent, Altar Boyz) and vocal direction by ManMan Angsico (Next to Normal, The 2th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee).

For tickets, call Atlantis Productions Inc. at (632) 892-7078 or TicketWorld at (632) 891-9999. You may also visit www.atlantisproductionsinc.com.

The original Broadway production of Aida opened in March 2000 and ran for 1,852 performances. The musical was nominated for five Tony Awards in 2000 and won four awards: Best Original Musical Score for John and Rice, Best Actress in a Musical for Heather Headley, Best Scenic Design for Bob Crowley and Best Lighting Design for Natasha Katz.

For more photos, click HERE.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Roy Cruz: My Fixation on Meryl Streep Began 30 Years Ago - BroadwayWorld.com


by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com


STREEP TEASE, an evening of Meryl Streep monologues that parodies her movies as performed by an all-male cast, will transfer from Bang Improv Theatre in Los Angeles to a one-night-only performance at Joe's Pub at The Public Theatre in New York City on June 27.

"My fixation on Meryl Streep began when I first saw her in the movie Still of the Night at a film screening in Manila 30 years ago. She was classy and mysterious that as a gay teenager, I wanted to channel her -- the way she smoked, her attitude and her mannerisms," said Roy Cruz, a Filipino television writer-turned-stand-up comedian and creator and co-producer of the hit Los Angeles (LA) stage show Streep Tease.

The LA Weekly described Cruz's brainchild, which has been enjoying a cult following of loyal fans since its world premiere 18 months ago, as a "well-structured, tight show that's over almost before you want it to be." Streep's prodigious feat as a film actress obviously inspired the creation of the show. Included are monologues from films The Devil Wears Prada, Out of Africa, Silkwood, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Doubt and The Still of the Night, among others.

"Part of the charm of the show is asking the actors about their favourite Streep monologues and allowing these actors give their own interpretations. For example, we had The Bridges of Madison County and Angels In America in our first run. The actors who did these monologues could not commit to an encore performance due to previous commitments. However, I've always been open to new acts," Cruz said. New monologue additions that will make the cut at the Joe's Pub performance are from films Doubt and The French Lieutenant's Woman and a choreographed dance number from the musical Mamma Mia!

"I think Streep Tease is also a very Pinoy (Filipino) production. I remember growing up watching movies of local actresses Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos. And my friends and I would exchange lines from their movies. Memorizing lines from a favourite movie star is a very Pinoy quirk," he added.

Cruz, who's now based in LA, was born and raised in the Philippines. He started his entertainment career by writing continuity scripts for a Philippine television network program, ABS-CBN's musical variety show ASAP, and stand-up comedy scripts for Filipino comedy actress, Tessie Tomas, years ago. "I was trained to write very economically, which I still apply every time I do stand-up comedy. Ms. Tomas had influenced me in so many ways. She was fearless in thinking of characters that she wanted to parody or to criticize. She was an excellent actress and she was a great storyteller. And she was always reminding me to 'do my research,'" he said.

The NY cast of Streep Tease will include Cruz, as well as David Dean Bottrell (Days of Our Lives, Boston Legal), Ron Morehouse (Boston Public, Starter Wife, LA Noire), Trent Walker (Gods and Generals), Bryan T. Donovan (Thintervention), Matthew Nouriel (Downtown Comedy Club) and Joel Scher (Act Now web series).

Fred Tallaksen is choreographer, Ezra Weis is director and Kenneth Hartung is co-producer.

Joe's Pub at The Public Theatre is located at 425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003. For Streep Tease tickets and for more information, call tel. no. 212-967-7555, 212-967-7555 or visit www.joespub.com. Tickets: $25 each. Show starts 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Photo Coverage Exclusive: Nutley Little Theatre's THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE - BroadwayWorld.com


by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

Who would have thought that Nutley Little Theatre (NLT), a community theater group, could hold workshops and productions inside an old red barn since the mid-1930s?

NLT's red barn, which is nestled in the heart of Nutley in North NJ, saw the theater company's humble beginnings as a parish-based arts ministry in 1934 and its first regular season plays directed by Robert Winternitz in 1934 to1935. That same iconic red barn also serves as the performance venue in NLT's current season --76 seasons and counting -- that closes with William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin's Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee from June 10 to June 25.

NLT's Spelling Bee director Danielle Jacob and its cast, headed by former Repertory Philippines actor John Villa (Douglas Panch), had recently invited BroadwayWorld.com for an exclusive peek into their community theater production of the Tony Award-winning musical.

Its charming, quirky and delightful main characters -- six geeky kids approaching puberty played by adult actors pretending to be precocious youngsters -- were bubbly and spontaneous especially with the participation of at least three guest spellers from the audience during Act 1.

Apart from Villa, NLT's Spelling Bee also features Maria Aromondo (Marcy Park), Gira Derise (Logainne Schwartzandgrubeniere), Mollie Gash (Olive Ostrovsky), Jorge Gonzalez, Jr. (Leaf Coneybear, Carl Dad), Zach Mazouat (Chip Tolentino), John Poff (William Barfee), Jessica Sporn (Rona Lisa Peretti) and Alan Van Antwerp (Mich Mahoney, Dan Dad).

Marsha Schreier is musical director. Jill Babicz is stage manager.

NLT stages its productions at the NLT Barn, 47 Erie Place, Nutley, located off Brookfield Avenue (one block east of Franklin Avenue). For tickets and more information, visit www.nutleylittletheatre.com or like NLT on Facebook.

For more photos, click HERE.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Returns to Café Carlyle, 6/7-6/25 - BroadwayWorld.com


by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

New York, June 8, 2011 - BroadwayWorld.com surprisingly bumped into Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables) at The Carlyle's lobby a few minutes before she stepped onto the stage at the Café Carlyle last night. Looking elegant and dazzling in her Robin Tomas gown, she talked to us a bit and then said a little prayer prior to facing her opening night audience.

"It's great to be back in New York," Ms. Salonga beamed when she said that in her opening spiel.

Tony Award winner Ms. Salonga is currently in town for an exclusive three-week return engagement, featuring an all-new program entitled Lea Salonga: New York in June, at the Café Carlyle at The Carlyle beginning last night and running until June 25.

Grammy Award winner and stage actress Helen Reddy (Blood Brothers, Anything Goes); cabaret singer and stage actress Marilyn Maye (Mame, Hello, Dolly!); international theater director Bobby Garcia (Next to Normal, Sacrifice); Broadway Beat reporter Richard Ridge; Ms. Salonga's five-year-old daughter Nicole Beverly and mom Ligaya; were among those who showed a warm welcome to The Carlyle's featured artist of the month.

"For our second outing at Café Carlyle, we've assembled the original members of the creative team who were part of Lea's debut at the famous nightspot last year. Diana Basmajian is writer, Larry Yurman is musical director, John Miller is bassist and Jack Cabari is guitarist," show director Daniel Kutner said.

Keeping in mind Café Carlyle's intimate performance space, Ms. Salonga had refrained from belting out big Broadway songs for this particular gig. She still tackled an eclectic song selection. However, she carefully chose her musical numbers -- from show tunes and jazz standards to American love songs and Filipino ditties -- that were more subdued.

Broadway icons who had already performed at the Café Carlyle were Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley, Sutton Foster, Kelly O'Hara, Barbara Cook and Elaine Stritch.

For tickets, call 212-744-1600 or visit www.thecarlyle.com. Ticket prices: Tues.-Thurs.: General seating, $75 per person; VIP seating, $125 per person; Bar seating, $45 per person /Fri. & Sat.: General seating, $85 per person; VIP seating, $125 per person, Bar seating, $45 per person.

Café Carlyle at The Carlyle is located at 35 East 76th St. New York, N.Y.

Ms. Salonga's new live album, "The Journey So Far" (Recorded live at the Café Carlyle last year) is available for pre-order on www.leasalonga.com.

For more photos, click HERE

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Photo Coverage Exclusive: Lea Salonga's Rehearsal for Café Carlyle Return - BroadwayWorld.com


by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

New York, June 7, 2011 -- Tony Award winner Lea Salonga's (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables) pristine voice once again fills the ultra-chic Café Carlyle at The Carlyle as she returns for her second exclusive three-week cabaret-style show entitled "New York In June," which is opening tonight and is running until June 25.

In preparation for the show's curtain raising, Salonga, along with her stage director Daniel Kutner, musical director Larry Yurman and writer Diana Basmajian , welcomed BroadwayWorld.com and some friends to her final run-through held yesterday at the Ripley-Grier rehearsal studios in Midtown Manhattan.

Neither wearing makeup nor her Robin Tomas' dress, Salonga walked her audience through her spiels and song numbers -- running around 70 minutes -- at yesterday's rehearsal.

"For our second outing at Café Carlyle, we've assembled the original members of the creative team who were part of Lea's debut at the famous nightspot last year. Larry still plays the piano, John Miller plays the bass and Jack Cabari plays the guitar," said Kutner.

Keeping in mind Café Carlyle's intimate performance space, Salonga refrains from belting out big Broadway songs for this particular gig. She still tackles an eclectic song selection. However, she carefully chooses her musical numbers -- from show tunes and jazz standards to American love songs and Filipino ditties -- that are more subdued.

Salonga also talks about her overprotective Filipino mom; her most obscure concert venues; her very few Twitter squabbles; among others, in the show.

Broadway icons who had already performed at Café Carlyle were Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley, Sutton Foster, Kelli O'Hara, Barbara Cook and Elaine Stritch.

For tickets, call 212-744-1600 or visit www.thecarlyle.com. Ticket prices: Tues.-Thurs.: General seating, $75 per person; VIP seating, $125 per person; Bar seating, $45 per person /Fri. & Sat.: General seating, $85 per person; VIP seating, $125 per person, Bar seating, $45 per person.

Cafe Carlyle at The Carlyle is located at 35 East 76th St. New York, N.Y.

Salonga's new live album, "The Journey So Far" (Recorded live at the Café Carlyle last year) is available for pre-order on www.leasalonga.com.

More photos, click HERE