Thursday, December 29, 2011

NEXT FALL Opens Repertory Philippines' 75th Season, 1/13-2/5

Bart Guingona and David Bianco star in
Repertory Philippines' upcoming
production of the Broadway play
"Next Fall"; main photo by David Fabros
by Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

Co-written by Precious C. Lee Cundangan

Manila, Philippines, December 17, 2011 – Repertory Philippines (Rep.), the country’s premier English-speaking theater company, is celebrating 45 years in business by opening its 75th season with New York University Tisch School of the Arts alumnus and playwright Geoffrey Nauffts’ Broadway dramedy Next Fall, a moving story of a gay couple whose religious differences add tensions and contradictions to their five-year romantic relationship. Rep.’s staging of Next Fall runs from January 13 to February 5, 2012 at Onstage, Greenbelt 1, Makati City; evening performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and matinee performances are on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 p.m.

Audie Gemora, who recently won a Best Direction citation at the Aliw Awards for his work on the original Filipino musical Noli Me Tangere, directs Next Fall, his second straight play directorial job for Rep. after Equus.

Leading Next Fall’s cast is theater stalwart Bart Guingona, who plays Adam, a cynical atheist whose non-committal, no-nonsense take on religion is challenged when his partner meets an accident; co-starring with Guingona is David Bianco, an actor from Theatreworks USA, who plays Luke, Adam’s boyfriend, an aspiring thespian and a devout born again Christian.

Also in the cast are Liesl Batucan, who plays Holly, Adam and Luke’s common friend, and owner of the candle shop where the couple works; Niccolo Manahan, who plays Brandon, Luke’s gay Christian friend; Juno Henares, who plays Arlene, Luke’s eccentric mom; and Miguel Faustmann, who plays Butch, Luke’s religious father and Arlene’s former husband.

Next Fall premiered as an Off Broadway play, produced by Nauffts’ Naked Angels, at Peter Jay Sharp Theatre in the summer of 2009; the sold-out performances and rave reviews that the production earned that summer prompted a Broadway transfer to Helen Hayes Theatre in March 2010.

“[Next Fall's] the little play that could,” according to New York critic David Cote, garnered several awards and nominations, among them were the 2010 Outer Critics Circle Awards’ John Gassner Award for Nauffts; 2010 Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Outstanding Play, Best Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for Sean Dugan; 2010 Tony Award nominations for Best Play, Best Direction of a Play for Sheryl Kaller; and 2010 Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding New Broadway Play.

For tickets to Rep’s production of Next Fall, call (632)571-6926 or 571-4941 or email info@repertory.ph; tickets are also available at TicketWorld, call (632) 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph. The play is presented through special arrangement with Creative Artists Agency.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

As If Escalating Broadway Ticket Prices For Hot-Selling Shows Aren’t Enough

Broadway's Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark is currently one of Ticketmaster's best -selling shows; Spidey ticket prices range from $76 to nearly $200 plus the web site's controversial processing fees; image c/o ticketmaster.com
New York, December 11, 2011 – Strong ticket sales are crucial to the life expectancy of musicals on Broadway. David Thompson, John Kander, and Fred Ebb’s Scottsboro Boys, a musical based on the 1931 Scottsboro Boys trial: nine African-American teenage boys accused of rape in Alabama; Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty, and Lynn Ahren’s Ragtime, a musical that follows the intertwined stories of three groups of Americans – the immigrants, the white Anglo-Saxon protestants, and African Americans – set in the turn of the 20th century America; and Floyd Mutrux and Collin Escott’s Baby It’s You!, a musical based on the life story of Florence Greenberg whose claim to fame was discovering the African-American girl group The Shirelles in the 1960s, were some of Broadway’s recent casualties due to poor ticket sales. And while Scottsboro Boys, Ragtime, Baby It’s You! et al. are getting the boot, hit Broadway musicals such as Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Robert Lopez’s The Book of Mormon; Bono and The Edge’s Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark; and Disney Theatrical Productions’ The Lion King have been packing their houses to the hilt and raising their ticket prices as well.

As if these escalating show ticket prices for hot-selling Broadway shows aren’t enough, Ticketmaster.com, a popular ticket sales and distribution web site,  has recently been found guilty of profiting from its deceptive processing fees for these Broadway shows and numerous live concerts, among others, for the past 12 years.

Rock singer Reeve Carney
(Spider-man) gets a kiss from
Broadway actress Jennifer Damiano
(Mary Jane Watson) during
Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark's
curtain call; photo c/o pop-break.com
“Tickemaster is giving back, but not because it's the holiday season.

As the result of a class-action lawsuit, the ticket-pushing behemoth is going to be handing out $1.50 per ticket (up to 17) to everyone who used the site between October 21, 1999 and October 19, 2011. Those who chose the UPS shipping option will be getting a little bit more back: an additional $5.00 credit per order.

It seems Ticketmaster's processing fees were deemed deceptive because they did not clearly state that Ticketmaster was profiting from them.” (HuffingtonPost.com, December 12, 2011)

Ironically, Ticketmaster can continue profiting from its processing fees as long as the company discloses these fees as profit on its web site. Life’s unfair, indeed.

Broadway shows’ flashy television advertisements, and Broadway news sites BroadwayWorld.com and Theatermania.com endorse Ticketmaster.com as their official ticket brokers; and Ticketmaster’s tickets prices are certainly steeper compared to other ticket vendors such as the same-day-tickets at the TKTS discount booth in Duffy Square in Times Square. Purchasing a single balcony ticket to Broadway’s Spider-man: Turn of the Dark at the TKTS booth can cost $70.00 plus processing fee; while buying the same balcony ticket from Ticketmaster can cost around six or nine dollars more plus processing fee. Ergo, the fact that Ticketmaster has been offering more expensive tickets compared to other ticket options, profiting further under the guise of processing charges, whether it’s disclosed or not, should be avoided – there’s a rather incredible ethical lapse here.

“Theater [show] prices have gone sky-high--$100 for a musical is now the norm. But this is New York, and there's nothing New Yorkers hate more than paying retail. The truth is, Broadway has become a lot like the airline industry: If you know what you're doing, you can spend a fraction of what the person next to you did.” (Budget Travel, April 2005)

Oliver Oliveros is regional site editor, author, and photographer at BroadwayWorld.com. You may follow him on twitter.com/OliverOliveros.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Michael Jackson's IMMORTAL CD Soundtrack Out Now; Philippine Residents Get a Chance to Win a Trip to Los Angeles to See IMMORTAL

Cirque Du Soleil presents Michael Jackson's "Immortal" 2-CD
deluxe edition; soundtrack CD cover artwork
c/o Ivory Music & Video
By Oliver Oliveros, BroadwayWorld.com

Manila, Philippines, December 7, 2011 – Ivory Music & Video, the exclusive licensee of Sony Music in the Philippines, has a neat Christmas treat for Cirque du Soleil and Michael Jackson fans in the Philippines: the music company has just announced that the highly anticipated deluxe double CD soundtrack for Cirque du Soleil’s tribute to the late Michael Jackson, Immortal World Tour, which opened in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort last weekend, is now available in music stores nationwide. Ivory Music & Video has also launched its Facebook-based photo contest whose winner will win a trip for two to Los Angeles to see Immortal – simply take a photo of you and your friend holding the Immortal CD and email to mj@pongr.com or upload to https://www.facebook.com/michaeljackson?sk=app_145998935425929.

“The wonderful thing about the Immortal show is that Cirque [du Soleil] didn't [doesn't] try to find someone to impersonate Michael [Jackson]; they just try to recreate his essence…you never know what's going to happen next. But Cirque is an icon; so is Michael. So you put the two together like this, people expect to see something fantastic. And it is. It's such a great show. It's very entertaining,” said Tito and Jackson for The Rolling Stone.

Immortal includes over 100 minutes of Jackson’s original recordings reimagined for Cirque du Soleil. Incorporating all of Jackson’s iconic works into a single CD proved impossible hence the release of the double CD edition, which offers listeners the opportunity to enjoy the music from the Immortal show from start to finish as it is experienced during a live performance.

Esteemed musical director Kevin Antunes, and writer and director Jamie King had redesigned and reimagined more than 40 of Jackson’s greatest hits to sync with Immortal’s visual elements on screen and live action on stage. After spending a year in the studio, Antunes had created a new soundscape to Jackson’s musical brilliance while preserving the power and familiarity of the music icon’s unparalleled voice and ingenious recordings.

The debut track from Immortal, titled "Immortal Megamix," is comprised of four of Jackson’s greatest hits -- “Can You Feel It,” “Don't Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Billie Jean,” and “Black Or White.” -- reimagined as never before. A showstopping highlight, the “Immortal Megamix” is set to stream on www.michaeljackson.com and on https://www.facebook.com/michaeljackson.

Immortal Deluxe Double CD Tracklist

Deluxe Disc 1:

1. Workin’ Day And Night (Immortal Version)
2. The Immortal Intro (Immortal Version)
3. Childhood (Immortal Version)
4. Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (Immortal Version)
5. Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) (Immortal Version)
6. Dancing Machine/Blame It On The Boogie (Immortal Version)
7. Ben (Immortal Version)
8. This Place Hotel (Immortal Version)
9. Smooth Criminal (Immortal Version)
10. Dangerous (Immortal Version)
11. The Mime Segment: (I Like) The Way You Love Me/Speed Demon/Another Part Of Me (Immortal Version)
12. The Jackson 5 Medley (Immortal Version)
13. Speechless/Human Nature (Immortal Version
14. Is It Scary/Threatened (Immortal Version)
15. Thriller (Immortal Version)

Deluxe Disc 2:

1. You Are Not Alone/I Just Can't Stop Loving You (Immortal Version)
2. Beat It/State Of Shock (Immortal Version)
3. Jam (Immortal Version)
4. Planet Earth/Earth Song (Immortal Version)
5. Scream/Little Susie (Immortal Version)
6. Gone Too Soon (Immortal Version)
7. They Don't Care About Us (Immortal Version)
8. Will You Be There (Immortal Version)
9. I’ll Be There (Immortal Version)
10. Immortal Megamix: Can You Feel It/Don't Stop ‘Til You Get Enough/Billie Jean/Black Or White (Immortal Version)
11. Man In The Mirror (Immortal Version)
12. Remember The Time/Bad (Immortal Version)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

My Photo Keepsakes from the Philippines

The author and photographer in
Padre Burgos, Quezon,
the Philippines
New York, December 1, 2011 – As I’m about to wrap up my blogging chronicles for my social media class, I think it’d be also interesting to share with my classmates and the world some photo keepsakes from my beloved home, the Philippines; these photos remind me of what I miss most about the Philippines since I moved to the big city last Spring for my Graduate Studies at New York University.

Coincidentally, when PhilippineParadisePages.com, an online concierge directory, announced its Best Philippine Sceneries photo contest some two weeks ago, I got very enthusiastic about joining. I immediately browsed through my entire collection of Philippine travel photos that I posted on Facebook. That very instance had made me realize how much I terribly miss my "mother ship" – its picturesque beauty; its 7,107 islands spread out across the archipelago; its floury white sand beaches; and its exotic marine life.

I’ve been a shoestring traveller and published travel photographer for as long as I can remember. I’ve recently been to Santa Monica beach in California; Lake Michigan in Illinois; Coney Island in New York; and Maya Bay (Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Beach”) in Krabi, Thailand – sadly, none of them could beat the pristine paradise in the Philippines.

Let’s take a look at some of these places.

Boracay Island
Boat Station One, Boracay Island, Aklan, the Philippines;
photo by Oliver Oliveros
Boracay, which was recently awarded Second Best Beach in the World at Travelers’ Choice 2011 by TripAdvisor.com, is approximately 196 miles from Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, cliff diving are the best day time leisure activities on the island. Visitors spend the night dining in seafood restaurants along the beach and buy a round of drinks in countless bars, pubs, and nightclubs.

Boracay’s powdery white sand has the finest texture I’ve ever held in my hands.

Apo Island
This beautiful natural rock formation greets visitors upon arrival
on Apo Island; photo by Oliver Oliveros
Apo Island, a volcanic island and a marine sanctuary, is around 590 miles from Manila, which has become a popular dive site and snorkelling destination among European divers and tourists.

I last visited the island with some members of the Philippine press and Greenpeace Southeast Asia's staff in 2006. We installed solar panels for electricity production at Apo Island Elementary School, which was part of Greenpeace’s campaign for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Borawan Island
Borawan Island showcases limestone rock formations that delight
local rock climbers and rapellers; photo by Oliver Oliveros
Borawan Island, known for its humongous limestone rock formations and dazzling white, sandy shore lines, is located in Padre Burgos, Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon, around 125 miles from Manila. Its intimidating rock formations are best for rock climbing and rappelling – definitely not for the faint of heart.

Tali Beach
A lovely summer sunset awaits visitors at Tali Beach;
photo by Oliver Oliveros
Tali Beach in Nasugbu, Batangas, best known for its quiet, private beach resorts, is nearest to Manila – it’s just around 65 miles. It’s been my quick getaway fix from a demanding professional life back in the city.

The author and photographer engages in helmet
diving in Boracay.
I'm obviously more of a beach person than a mountain person. However, I do love mountains and big cities too. It's just that I find unsoiled waters can refresh my tired travelling soul.

By the way, I've missed the first submission deadline of  PhilippineParadisePages.com’s photo tilt. I may or may not submit these photos; if ever I do submit, but then lose, I won’t cry buckets. For me, these photos are the winningest of them all because they bring back memories of some of the great times I had back home.

Oh, I’m so longing for your charming and wonderful natural beauty, my Philippines. Till we meet again…