Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Backstage at MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Cocktail Reception At New World Stages

Meet the cast of New World Stages' MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET: Victoria Matlock, James Moye,
Lance Guest, Eddie Clendening, Robert Britton Lyons, and Eric Stang; photo  by Jory Rivera
by Oliver Oliveros,

New York, February 28, 2012 -- and other select members of the press were invited last night to a cocktail reception and a performance of Million Dollar Quartet, which tells the story of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins' historic 1956 recording session. The show is now playing open-ended run at its new Off-Broadway home, the New World Stages.

Although this stage adaptation is actually loosely based on the rock ‘n’ roll gods’ famed one-time recording session at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, Eddie Clendening, who’s been playing Presley since the musical’s premiere in Chicago four years ago; Lance Guest, who plays Cash; Robert Britton Lyons, who’s been playing Perkins alongside Clendening’s Presley since the Chicago production; Eric Stang, who plays Lewis; James Moye, who plays Sam Phillips, the “Million Dollar Quartet’s” discoverer; Victoria Matlock, who plays Presley’s girlfriend Dyanne – her Broadway debut; and writers Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux’s book are musically and emotionally target-driven and are able to deliver both a pulsating and a rollicking ‘50s themed concert drama for the theatergoers.

The audience members at New World Stages’ Stage 4 are treated like an extension of Phillips' modest recording studio on that auspicious day in Rock and Roll history. The musical’s coherent narrative exposes the audience to the rock stars’ humble beginnings, vulnerabilities, insecurities, and career changing decisions that are not always seen before the eyes of an adoring public. Furthermore, the intimate space at New World Stages’ Stage 4 makes the experience even more personal.

Million Dollar Quartet, which first opened on Broadway at Nederlander Theatre two years ago, received Tony Award nominations for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. Levi Kreis, who originated the role of Lewis in the original Broadway production, won a Tony Award for his performance.

This New York production of Million Dollar Quartet is directed by Eric Schaeffer, featuring Derek McLane’s scenic design, Howell Binkley’s lighting design, Jane Greenwood’s costume design, Kai Harada’s sound design, and Chuck Mead’s musical arrangements and supervision. Popular songs such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Riders in the Sky,” “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” are some of the show’s musical number selections.

For tickets and for more information, visit or follow Million Dollar Quartet on Twitter @milliondquartet.

For more photos, click HERE.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

De La Salle University Restages A FIRE IN THE SOUL, 2/27

TV host and theater actor Franco Laurel plays Brother Antonius in A Fire in the Soul;
photo by Martin San Diego
by Oliver Oliveros,

New York, February 26, 2012 – Before moving to New York, I taught public relations courses at De La Salle University (DLSU-Manila) Department of Communication, where I also pursued studies in organizational communication and applied media. My alma mater turns 100 this year; and, I’m encouraging you to take part in its year-long celebration. Catching the restaging of the cantata (a vocal chamber work) A Fire in the Soul, featuring libretto by Vicente Groyon III, music by Von de Guzman, and direction by Peque Gallaga, at DLSU’s Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium, 7F Don Enrique T. Yuchengco Hall on Monday, February 27, 8 p.m. would be greatly appreciated.

A Fire in the Soul tells the story of a crucial event in the history of the Lasalian Brothers’ teaching mission in the Philippines during the Second World War. On February 12, 1945, a group of Japanese soldiers barged in the door of the DLSU campus in Taft Avenue, Manila and killed the people who were living there: 24 men, women, and children; and 16 Lasallian brothers died that day.

The show's cast includes Michael de Mesa (Br. Egbert), Franco Laurel (Br. Antonius), Al Gatmaitan (Br. Mutwald), Jonel Mojica (Br. Friedbert), Miguel Castro (Br. Arkadius), Floyd Tena (Br. Athanasius), Naomi Sison (Alma Mater), Onyl Torres (Japanese Captain), Nazer Salcedo (Japanese Soldier 1), Gary Fabricante (Japanese Soldier 2), John Gilbert Arceo (Japanese Soldier 3), and narrators Jaime Fabregas, Ricky Gallaga, Conchita Castillo, Dado Jose, Tanya Lopez, and Louie Zabaljauregi.

Mio Infante (production designer), Dong Calingacion (technical and lighting designer), GA Fallarme (projection designer), Br. Bernard Oca, FSC (executive producer), and Lore Reyes (line producer) complete the show’s artistic and production team.

A Fire in the Soul premiered in June last year.

For tickets, call the DLSU Centennial Office at (632) 524-4611 local 290 or email Ticket Prices: Orchestra – P500 (regular)/ P250 (students); Balcony – P250 (regular)/ P200 (students).

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Photo Flash: Meet the Cast of Blue Repertory's Revival of BARE

Jaime Barcelon plays Jason in Blue Repertory's
revival production of Off-Broadway's Bare.  
Photo c/o Blue Repertory
by Oliver Oliveros,

Co-written by Precious Lee Cundangan 

Manila, Philippines, February 17, 2012 – Ateneo Blue Repertory of the Loyola Schools Performing Arts Cluster brings back one of its hit musicals from Off-Broadway, Bare: A Pop Opera, at Teatrino, Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center on February 29 (opening night); March 1 to 3; and March 7 to 10. Once again, theater and film actress Ana Abad Santos (39 Steps, A Grand Night for Singing) directs the production, which stars Jaime Barcelon (Little Women, Disney’s The Little Mermaid) and Bibo Reyes (In the Heights, Hair).

Bare, which features the book, music, and lyrics of Jon Hartmere Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo, revolves around a group of high school seniors studying in a Catholic boarding school. The play deals with sexual orientation and gender identity issues among teenagers. In the middle of it all is the secret romance between Peter (Reyes), an altar boy, and Jason (Barcelon), the school’s golden child. Peter believes that their romantic relationship should be made public; Jason thinks otherwise.

“The first time I did the production [in 2009], I just wanted to tell its story. For this restaging, however, I’d like to show some of the conflicts that teenagers face every day,” says Santos. “I want to stress the raw anxieties of life that this generation have been going through and the fact that these young adults aren’t usually heard.”

Besides Barcelon and Reyes, Maronne Cruz (Ivy), Cassie Manalastas (Nadia), Orange Sanchez and Franco Chan (Matt), Mark Bernardo (Lucas), Jenny Jamora (Peter’s mother, Claire) Rem Zamora (Sister Chantelle/Priest), Jussy Pena (Tanya), Mikah Franco (Kyra), Mica Fajardo (Dianne Lee), Raisa Tabusalla (Rory), Jian Kho (Zack), Gabriel Perez (Alan), Lara Antonio (Louise), Luigi Du (Jakob), CJ Francisco (Seth), Bernice Reyes (Mary Jane), and Dar Uy (Daniel) are also in the cast.

Onyl Torres (musical director for vocals), Abi Sulit (assistant musical director for vocals), Joseph Tolentino (musical director for the band), Carlon Matobato (choreographer), Leeroy New (set designer), John Batalla (lighting designer and technical director), Jethro Joaquin (sound designer), and Raven Ong (costume designer) complete the revival production’s creative and artistic team. 

For tickets, call Chiz Jardin at (63)916-578-7618 or email

Bare: A Pop Opera is presented with special arrangement with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, 570 Seventh Avenue, Suite 2100, New York.

For more photos, click HERE.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Photo Flash: PETA's Filipino Adaptation of Shakespeare's KING LEAR

Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) presents Haring Lear, a Filipino adaptation
of William Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear; photo by Jeffrey Aguiman
by Oliver Oliveros,

co-written by Precious Lee Cundangan

Manila, Philippines, February 14, 2012 – Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), together with the British Council and the National Commission for Culture and Arts, presents the first-ever Filipino adaptation of William Shakespeare’s more renowned tragedy Haring Lear (King Lear) at PETA Theatre Center until Sunday, March 4. National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera (Noli Me Tangere, Tales of the Manuvu) does the text adaptation and veteran theater director Nonon Padilla (Noli Me Tangere, Pinoy Agonistes), who’s known for employing visual flair throughout his stage productions, directs Haring Lear.

A cross between Ancient Greek theater and classical Japanese musical theater called Noh (both theatrical forms feature female roles played by male actors), PETA’s Haring Lear, which also uses an all-male cast – with shaved heads except for King Lear (Teroy Guzman) – tells the story of an aging king whose greediness for recognition and love has made him make a rash choice that caused irrevocable, destructive consequences.

Guzman (Screen: Macbeth, Richard III) plays the title role. Abner Delina Jr. (Ang Post Office, Batibot) plays the king’s youngest daughter Cordelia and Lakayo (The Fool) while Nor Domingo (Romulus D’Gryat, Pasaporte) and Gary Lim play the king’s older daughters.

Haring Lear's supporting cast includes Renante Bustamante (Duke ng Albanya/Duke of Albania), Ernie Cloma (Matandang Lalaki/Old Man), George de Jesus III (Oswaldo/Oswald), Jay Gonzaga (Edmundo /Edmund), Fredyl Hernandez (Duke ng Bergonia/Duke of Burgundy), Jeff Hernandez (Duke of Cornualles/Duke of Cornwall), Angelo Moratilla (Hari ng Francia/King of France), Josel Reyes (the loyal Kent), Myke Salomon (Edgardo/Edgar), and Jack Yabut (Gloster/Gloucester).

Shakespeare wrote the Tragedy of King Lear in 1605. King Lear’s most notable productions include Henry Irving’s 1892 London production, which featured antiquarian sets and costume pieces; George Devine’s 1955 production, which starred John Gielgud, and had sets and costumes made of blocks of contrasting shapes and colors designed by Isamu Nogachu; Peter Brook’s 1962 production at Stratford-upon-Avon, which had barely any set pieces; and Mabou Mines’ controversial gender-switched 1990 production in Manhattan.

“The story is simple enough but the dramatic organization of the characters and events is rich in layers of meaning and insight. Shakespeare had the supreme ability to show the paradoxes of the human condition and the difficulties in personal dilemmas – from plain physical problems to metaphysical introspections and convolutions that prompt and lead his characters to acts of heroisms and human folly,” Padilla says.

PETA’s Haring Lear runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until March 4 at PETA Theatre Center. For tickets, contact (632) 7256244, 4100821-22, (63) 917-5765400 or email

For more photos, Click Here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Photo Flash: Ken Ludwig's LEADING LADIES Opens In Manila

Cris Villonco, James Stacey, Topper Fabregas, and Gianina Ocampo in Repertory Philippines' production of Ken Ludwig's comedy LEADING LADIES; photo by Jory Rivera
by Oliver Oliveros,

Co-written by Precious Lee Cundangan 

Manila, Philippines, February 11, 2012 – Premier theater company Repertory Philippines (Rep) opened Ken Ludwig’s (Crazy For You, Lend Me A Tenor) rib-tickling play Leading Ladies last night at Onstage Theatre, Greenbelt 1, Makati City. Circle in the Square School (N.Y.)-trained actor Topper Fabregas and Rep regular James Stacey topbill the production.

According to the play’s press notes, Leading Ladies is about “two English Shakespearean actors, Jack (Fabregas) and Leo (Stacey), who find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing ‘Scenes from Shakespeare’ on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady in York is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. The trouble is, when they get to York, they find out that the relatives aren't nephews, but nieces! Romantic entanglements abound, especially when Leo falls head-over-petticoat in love with the old lady’s vivacious niece, Meg, who’s engaged to the local minister. Meg knows that there’s a wide world out there, but it’s not until she meets ‘Maxine and Stephanie’ that she finally gets a taste of it.”

Fabregas and Stacey are joined by Cris Villonco as Meg, Gianina Ocampo, Jamie Wilson, Juno Henares, Hans Eckstein, and Oliver Usison.

Theater stalwart Michael Williams, who was last seen as Captain Hook in Rep’s hit musical Peter Pan, takes directing reigns on Ludwig’s comedy. Baby Barredo (artistic director), Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (associate artistic director), John Batalla (lighting designer), Denis Lagdameo (set designer), Gidget Tolentino (production manager), Ayam Barredo (company manager), Dingdong Rosales (stage manager), Pol Roxas (sound technician), Pablito Salvador (lighting technician), and Adul Lasin (set execution and scenic artist) make up Leading Ladies’ artistic and production teams.

For tickets to the play, visit BroadwayWorld Philippines’ show listings section [Click Here]. Leading Ladies runs from February 10 to March 4 with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and matinee shows on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. All performances are at Onstage Theatre.

For more photos, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Broadway Barkada Holds Pre-Valentine Concert, 2/10

Broadway Barkada poses for; photo c/o Brian Jose
by Oliver Oliveros, 

New York, February 7, 2012 – Broadway Barkada, a group of New York-based Filipino actors, singers, and dancers who’ve been performing on various Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, will hold a fundraiser via a pre-valentine concert titled “So This Is Love: An Evening of Love Songs” at Trump Place (220 Riverside Boulevard) on Friday, February 10, 8 p.m. Proceeds will be used for the three-year-old organization’s upcoming projects.

Directed by Billy Bustamante (Anyone Can Whistle, Pacific Overtures), featuring musical direction by Jerry Jean, “So This Is Love…” will present love songs from various genres – musical theater, jazz standards, and pop – depicting all phases of love, as well as popular Filipino love ditties.

Performers will include Mary Aldousary, Angelica Lee Aspiras-Liristis, Ester Barroso-Guerzon, Paul Beaubrun, Billy Bustamante, Leanne Cabrera, Cynthia Casasola, Liz Casasola, Jonny Cruz, Marc De La Cruz, Ali Ewoldt, Albert Guerzon, Sacha Iskra, Joanne Javien, Brian Jose, Glen Llanes, JP Moraga, Erica Nadera, Jaygee Macapugay, Jonelle Margallo, Lora Nicolas, Diane Phelan, Enrico Rodriguez, and Allen Weaver.

For tickets, visit ($20 pre-sale / $30 VIP with open wine bar; $30 at the door / $40 VIP with open wine bar).

Donations are also accepted at

Monday, February 06, 2012

SPRING AWAKENING Opens in Singapore, 2/4-26

Nathan Hartono and Julia Abueva star in the Singapore premiere of
Tony Award-winning rock musical Spring Awakening;
photo by Pangdemonium! Productions (Singapore)
by Oliver Oliveros,

Singapore, February 6, 2012 – Adrian and Tracie Pang’s Pangdemonium! Productions (Full Monty, Closer) recently opened its production of Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s Tony Award-winning period, indie rock musical Spring Awakening at Drama Center Theatre (100 Victoria Street, #05-01, National Library Building). The show stars Nathan Hartono as Melchior Gabor (originally played by Jonathan Groff on Broadway), and Filipina actress, singer Julia Abueva as Wendla Bergmann (a role created by Glee star Lea Michele on Broadway).

Other members of the cast are Eden Ang, Rebecca Spykerman, Dwayne Tan, Seong Hui Xuan, Raeza Ibrahim, Rachel Marley, Kluane Saunders, Erwin Shah, Rayve Tay, Candice De Rozario, and Adrian Pang.

Spring Awakening, based on the controversial 1892 German play of the same title by Frank Wedekind, tells the story of rebellious teenagers – Melchior and Wendla are among them – embarking on a turbulent journey of self-discovery: each one experiencing a dramatic, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and sexual awakening.

The Singapore production is directed by Tracie Pang, featuring musical direction by Bang Wenfu, choreography by Bill Calhoun, vocal coaching by Amanda Colliver, set design by Eucien Chia, lighting design by Lim Yu-Beng, and sound design by Mike Walker.

The show runs through February 26 (8 p.m.: Tuesdays – Fridays; 3 p.m. & 8 p.m.: Saturdays & Sundays). For tickets ($40-85), visit or call (65) 6348 5555.