Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stephanie Reese is Back for a Concert, 7/13

Stephanie Reese is back in Manila for a concert.
by Oliver Oliveros,

Manila, Philippines, June 26, 2012 – Filipino-American performing artist Stephanie Reese wears many hats: for the theater enthusiast, she is Esmeralda in the world premiere production of Disney’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame” or the “German” Kim in the German production of “Miss Saigon;” for the concertgoer, she is the “Standing Ovation Queen,” who never fails to bring her audiences to their feet, and who once shared the stage with Grammy winners Patti LaBelle and Natalie Cole; and for the social worker – for nonprofit organizations such as Gawad Kalinga, Make A Wish Foundation, or World Vision – she is a young lady who has a compassionate heart for children who are in dire need of help.

Stephanie is all that and more! She writes her own one-woman shows; she also composed songs on her previous solo studio albums, “Stephanie Reese at Her Best” and “This is My Life.” And for a bit of theater trivia, she was a childhood friend of Tony nominee Chad Kimball, who originated the role of DJ Huey Calhoun in the Tony Award-winning musical “Memphis.” Both grew up in Seattle, and have remained good friends until today.

Even though Chad is not among Stephanie’s guest performers in her upcoming concert, dubbed “A Little Big Bang!” at Music Museum (July 13) – her second solo concert in Manila – she is still in good company with her newfound friends in local showbusiness: among them are world singing champion
Jed Madela, who is one of her special guests, alongside the Madrigal Singers, Luke Mijares, and pianist John Florencio; stage director Raymond Lauchengco, another multi-talented artist who dabbles in photography, recording, and directing concerts and special events, who is her concert director; and renowned musician Mel Villena, who is her musical director for the show.

Stephanie’s new concert, whose proceeds will go to World Vision, “promises an evening of big band standards, soulful ballads, Broadway showtunes, and contemporary pop tunes with a twist,” Stephanie said. “I think people can expect a large variety of music, which is sort of what I’m known for, and a night that is nostalgic, entertaining, and exciting.”

Raymond first met Stephanie at a corporate event six months ago. The diminutive diva’s (she is five foot one) vast vocal range, and her ability to effortlessly cross over into different musical styles have left a marked impression on the director. 
Raymond shared, “When she approached me to direct her concert, I said yes immediately. We came up with the concept, and together with our producer, Teresa Kong of Artefice Events, and musical director, Mel Villena, we threshed it out in terms of the choice of songs and the flow of the program. Stephanie’s multi-faceted: she’s a singer, an actress, a writer, a composer, a philanthropist…from that alone you can tell she isn’t content with being just one thing.

He added, “So when we were discussing the concept, I wanted her to more or less stick to one genre, but I realized it just wasn’t who she was. She’s just so versatile and she switches from one genre to another so effortlessly and elegantly; we had to figure out a way for her to do that in a cohesive manner. I also love that she’s so confident in her artistry that she respects the artistic input of others without compromising her own.”

For tickets to Stephanie’s concert, call TicketWorld at (632) 891-9999 or visit Ticket Prices: P 1000, 1800, 2100.

Friday, June 22, 2012

First Look at Ayesa, Morales, Volante et al. in ROCK OF AGES Manila

Filipino-Australian actor MiG Ayesa stars as
Stacee Jaxx in Atlantis Productions' "Rock of
Ages." Photo by Jaime Unson
by Oliver Oliveros,

Broadway actor MiG Ayesa (Stace Jaxx) and recording artists Vina Morales (Sherrie) and Nyoy Volante (Drew) are hyped up for their second week of performances in Atlantis Productions’ (“In The Heights,” Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”) Asian premiere of Chris D’ Arienzo’s smash Broadway musical “Rock of Ages,” playing to sold-out audiences at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City until Sunday, July 8.

Directed by Chari Arespacochaga (Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” “Spring Awakening"), “Rock of Ages,” which inspired the film adaptation of the same name, starring Tom Cruise (Stacee Jaxx) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (the Mayor’s Wife), currently playing across the United States and the Philippines, follows the love story between Sherrie, a small town girl from Oklahoma who is trying her luck in Hollywood, and Drew, a waiter-turned-singer at the infamous nightclub, Bourbon Room, on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Both are starstrucked by the mere presence of Stacee Jaxx, a rock ‘n’ roll demigod.

Its ‘80s jukebox hits-laden score, which includes "We Built This City, "More Than Words/Heaven/To Be with You (medley),” "Waiting for a Girl Like You," "I Want to Know What Love Is,” "Cum On Feel the Noize,” "The Final Countdown,” "Hit Me with Your Best Shot," “Can't Fight This Feelin’,” "Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” "Oh Sherrie,” and "Don't Stop Believin',” never fails to make every ‘80s baby in the audience stomp his feet, and bob his head during the performance.

Jett Pangan (Lonny), Aiza Seguerra (Regina), Jinky Llamanzares (Justice Charlier), Jamie Wilson (Dennis Dupree), Calvin Millado (Hertz Klinemann), Bibo Reyes (Franz Klinemann), Apple Chiu, Japs Treopaldo, Mikkie Bradshaw, Berl William Angeles, and Altaire Alonso complete the cast.

For more photos, click HERE.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

BWW Interviews: Pangan, Aguilos Shed Light on Working with Repertory Philippines

Kalila Aguilos and Jett Pangan in Repertory Philippines'
production of Broadway musical "Jekyll and Hyde"; photo by
Jory Rivera
by Oliver Oliveros, 

Co-written by Jude Cartalaba

Manila, Philippines, June 17, 2012 – The summer theater workshop season has officially ended; graduates from these summer camps would either go back to school or try their luck at auditions for upcoming theater productions, which include Repertory Philippines’ (Rep) children’s musical “The Wizard of Oz,” and its year-end presentation, Disney's “Camp Rock.”

But how does a neophyte at Rep, one of the country’s pioneering theater companies, which is known to have molded world-class talents such as Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Michael Williams, and Audie Gemora, among others, under the infamously stringent rehearsal and performance policies of the late stage director Zenaida Amador, fit in?

BroadwayWorld sits down with veteran stage actors, but recent Rep first timers, Jett Pangan (Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde) and Kalila Aguilos (Lucy Harris), who have starred in Rep’s critically-acclaimed production of Frank Wildhorn’s “Jekyll and Hyde,” a musical based on the classic novella "A Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson, directed by Yulo, to talk about their first-hand experiences working with Rep.

“Well, for one, we were given about two months of rehearsals, which is more than I'm used to,” says Pangan.

On the one hand, “Rep fosters collaborative efforts with its actors in terms of, say, trying different things to improve a scene,” he adds.

Repertory Philippines' production of "Jekyll and Hyde"; photo by
Dale Bacar
Aguilos, on the other hand, despite the horror stories she heard from other people, she had a positive attitude towards the theater company, “I usually don't believe things I hear until I see for myself. All I know is that when people are asked which theater companies they know exist in the country, the first thing that pops out of their mouths is ‘Rep,’ and that’s where many of our respected veteran actors come from, so it couldn't be all that bad.”

“It was probably because of Rep’s strict working environment.”

Aguilos adds, “I had said this publicly, and I meant it when I said it: Rep is very professional. Little things like starting on time and ending on time is big in my book. Also, one can already see the well-formed attributes of the scenes in the early stages of rehearsals. The people are nice, and are very supportive. Their creation process and requirement is different from what I'm used to. I'm an old dog with old tricks and bad habits. So I took this production as a healthy challenge to fit into a new environment.”

How did Yulo treat their roles in “Jekyll and Hyde”? 

Pangan talks about how he found his character while doing the musical; according to him, he made it a point to provide a clear distinction between the two (Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde), and it was a journey in itself.

“As per Menchu's direction, my Jekyll starts out as a confident man but spirals down into desperation; while Hyde is basically Henry Jekyll without morals and conscience.”

Jett Pangan plays Dr. Henry Jekyll. Photo by Dale Bacar
Aguilos admits that it was difficult for her as an actress to be pitted against or be compared to the vocal calisthenics of Linda Eder, the female lead in the original Broadway production. She was under so much pressure at first since Lucy’s songs were written specifically to showcase the Broadway star’s monster vocal range, and she accepted that she will never be her.

“I don't have the same physique, her lungs, nose, and throat. I refused to watch her videos, and did not listen to how she sang the songs. I had to make it my own because that was the only way to make my take on Lucy real. But I’ve accepted the fact that people will compare my singing to her. It cannot be helped, and what can I do about it anyway if I’m different?” she adds.

“Menchu and I had the same concept of Lucy; but I had to attack it just a tad differently because many elements I put in her character came from my own realm of experience.”

Character Similarities to Themselves 

Assuming their respective roles, both found traits that mirror themselves.

Aguilos is quick to share, “Lucy's life is so close to home. I may not have the same profession [she's a prostitute], but she survives life's trials and tribulations through an undying faith that life has something good to offer her, no matter how elusive. She lives moment to moment.”

Kalila Aguilos plays Lucy Harris. Photo by
Dale Bacar
Pangan sees himself as Hyde, especially with his being short-tempered, when he was younger, “I found it difficult to suppress; but nowadays, all it takes is a deep breath whenever I feel like punching some jerk in the face. It works... most of the time.”

Memories to Carry Along 

In doing “Jekyll & Hyde,” Pangan’s greatest realization is that “the songs are indeed beautiful. I will never get tired of listening to or performing them.”

However, Aguilos stresses, “To be frank, I’m not a fan of this musical, in the first place, because the songs are just ‘too’ popular, and analyzing the script more closely made me realize what a task Menchu had in her hands."

“It has a very ‘problematic’ script, excuse my blatant honesty. There’s not enough meat in the text, hence its failure on Broadway. When you read it, you tend to think: ‘Oh, it could be better this way, or that way, if they put this, and that.’ Unfortunately, we couldn't add to the script. Menchu had to make it work through stage elements and devices, and building the relationships between the characters through plain acting. It’s so totally different now, and so much more meaningful. Menchu's sleepless nights have paid off.”

Pangan is currently playing the role of the narrator in the crowd-pleasing “Rock of Ages,” followed by playing Guido Contini, a famous Italian filmmaker, in Maury Yeston's “Nine,” both by Atlantis Productions. Both roles will definitely give him a good stretch, according to him.

Aguilos will perhaps pursue her sabbatical from theater, which had to be pushed back in order for her to make her theater debut with Rep. After “Jekyll and Hyde,” she can now say – as she makes her exit – that she had worked with Rep, one of the most established theater companies in the Philippines.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Photo Flash: Fil-Am Teener Jon Viktor Corpuz Makes His Broadway Debut

Jon Viktor Corpuz, Telly Leung, Montana Byrne (young Anna), and Anna Maria
Perez de Tagle; photo by Virginia Corpuz

by Oliver Oliveros, 

“Being on GODSPELL’s stage and singing with the amazing cast, the fantastic band –with all the flawless lights and sound – and the amazing audience, nothing can describe that electrifying feeling of being up there. It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”Jon Viktor Corpuz 

New York, June 13, 2012 – It was no mere stroke of luck for Jon Viktor Corpuz, a 15-year-old Filipino-American stage actor who hails from South Tampa, Florida, to be landing one of the 10 coveted slots for “Godspell” on Broadway Cast of 2032 – a crowd-pleasing group of kids and teens who performed a special encore medley for one night only at “Godspell’s” Circle in the Square Theatre last month. Like any other grown-up stage artist in the big city, Corpuz has worked his heart out – unceasingly trained, and performed in numerous school and regional productions – prior to facing producer Ken Davenport and director Daniel Goldstein; and competing with more than 500 aspirants for his first Broadway audition.

For Corpuz’s introductory stint on Broadway, Davenport and Goldstein have given him the role of the young Telly Leung, one of the most sought-after Asian actors on Broadway today, who sings “All Good Gifts,” a power ballad from the Stephen Schwartz and Michael Tebelak rock musical. “It’s funny because Telly and I both love riffing; and we both have played Angel Dumott Schunard in the musical “Rent.” And I also got to sing 'All Good Gifts' in a 'Godspell' production back home. By the way, my costume in 'Godspell' [Broadway] was an exact replica of Telly’s,” said Corpuz.

Kristin Corpuz (Jon Viktor's sister), George Salazar, and Jon Viktor
Corpuz; photo by Virginia Corpuz
“Telly's such a nice guy. He had the best advice for me, and reminded me to always work and study hard to get to where I want to go. I’ll definitely be taking his advice to heart. We’re staying in touch,” Corpuz, a consistent straight-A student at Howard W. Blake School of the Arts, added.

It is known among Filipino communities in the United States that the current revival production of “Godspell,” its first ever after 40 years, also marks the Broadway debuts of Filipino-American actors George Salazar (who is also from Florida) and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle – having Corpuz sharing the stage with Salazar and de Tagle for one night was a triple triumph for Filipinos who choose to work in the highly competitive theater industry in New York.

“George thinks that Filipino-Americans are taking over [Broadway]! Haha! Which I definitely agree with, and have no complaints about! George and Anna Maria are both so awesome, and are both such kind souls. Not to mention that they’re both amazing performers. It was awesome getting a chance to meet and work with them,” he said.

“’Godspell’ is probably my favorite musical of all time because (1) it’s so much fun; (2) the music is absolutely incredible; and (3) the message is so near and dear to my heart. The musical is not only about keeping God close in your life, but also about loving and accepting anyone and everyone. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not just for Christians - anyone can enjoy it - which is something so unique about it, which I love. Even people who aren’t religious are able to get something out of what Jesus is saying because ultimately every parable in the show is a really valuable life lesson. ‘Godspell’ teaches audiences to deal with people from all walks of life with a kind, open heart. ‘Godspell’ is absolutely life-changing! Go check it out at the Circle in the Square Theatre if you haven’t already. You won’t be disappointed,” he added.

After nine months since its premiere last year, and an appearance at the Tony Awards last Sunday, the Broadway revival of “Godspell” is closing on Sunday, June 24. However, “Godspell” on Broadway Cast of 2032 will still perform at the Broadway Comedy Club in Times Square on Saturday, July 14. The group also recently filmed a Youtube video with American comedian, actress, and singer Colleen Ballinger as Miranda Sings:

For more videos featuring Corpuz, visit

For more photos, click HERE.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Photo Flash: Tuacahn Presents Disney's ALADDIN Releases Artworks; Runs Now Thru 10/19

Dan Domenech and Haley Carlucci star in Tuacahn's production of Disney's
"Aladdin" in Ivins, Utah. Artwork by Tuacahn Amphitheatre
By Oliver Oliveros,

Ivins, Utah, June 8, 2012 – Tuacahn’s production of Disney’s “Aladdin,” which premiered Monday, June 4, starring Dan Domenech as Aladdin, Haley Carlucci as Princess Jasmine, Edward Juvier as Genie, and Michael G. Hawkins as Jafar, has recently released the show’s official artworks, featuring its lead actors. The production runs alternately with Marc Shaiman’s “Hairspray” at Tuacahn Amphitheatre, an outdoor performance space nestled in a verdant valley, and surrounded by towering red rock cliffs, until October 19.

“This musical stage adaptation of ‘Aladdin’ incorporates the Academy Award-winning songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman from the 1992 animated film; and also restores several songs and characters that were cut prior to the original film release. The new script, based on the ‘Road Pictures’ starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour, introduces the audience to the new characters of Babkak (Paul Vogt), Omar (Randy Aaron), and Kassim (Todd Dubail), friends of Aladdin that guide the theatergoers through a fun-filled, fast-paced, comical adventure that entertains with illusions, real live camels, magic flying carpets, giant water effects, and a live interactive 3DS movie created specifically for the production,” says Scott S. Anderson, Tuacahn’s artistic director and the show’s director.

Edward Juvier as Genie, artwork by
Tuacahn Amphitheatre
Besides Anderson, the production team also includes Deanna Dys (choreographer), Camille Rolla (music director), Doug Ellis (set designer), Wilma Mickler (costume designer), Bruce Duerden (lighting designer), Matt Reeves (hair and makeup designer), David Swenson (sound designer), AJ Sullivan (stage manager), Bernadette Schoenborn (assistant stage manager), Holley Housewright (assistant stage manager), Kevin Smith (producer), Kevin Warnick (producer), Ryan Norton (associate producer, assistant director), John B. Williford (flight choreographer), Flying By Foy (flight automation technology), Cees DeKok (aerial choreographer), Effect Design Inc. (3D stereoscopic visual effects and display), Geoff Puckett (3D stereoscopic producer), Effect Design Leads (3DS media producer), Peter Jivkov (computer imaging supervisor), Hans Uhlig (stereoscopic supervisor), and Thom Rubino (magic designer).

Tuacahn’s presentation follows on the heels of last year’s world premiere production of Disney’s “Aladdin” by 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. At least three more major productions of Disney’s “Aladdin” have been recently announced: Missouri’s The Muny (July 5 to 13), Denmark’s Fredericia Theatre (October 4 to November 11), and the Philippines’ Atlantis Productions (November 16 to December 9).

Tuacahn is a non-profit organization that produces top quality, professional entertainment in Southern Utah. It was home to the post-Broadway premieres of two other Disney stage musicals, “Tarzan” (2010) and “The Little Mermaid” (2011).

For the full schedule and tickets for Tuacahn’s production of Disney’s “Aladdin,” visit Ticket Prices: $29.50 to $79.50.

For more artworks, click HERE.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

BroadwayWorld Philippines' TOP 5 THEATER PICKS from June to August 2012

by Oliver Oliveros,

Top 1: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Cultural Center of the Philippines, starts August 25)

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, David Atkins Enterprise, Radio High Definition, and Concertus tie up to bring the international touring production of Broadway's longest-running musical to Manila.


Top 2: Atlantis Productions’ ROCK OF AGES (Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, June 15 to July 8) 

MiG Ayesa (“We Will Rock You,” “Thriller”) reprises his Broadway role as the decadent rock star Stacee Jaxx in the Philippine premiere of the hit musical, featuring iconic rock ‘n’ roll songs from the ‘80s, and book by Chris D’Arienzo.

Nyoy Volante (Drew), Vina Morales (Sherrie), Jett Pangan (Lonny), Aiza Seguerra (Regina), Jinky Llamanzares (Justice Charlier), Jamie Wilson (Dennis Dupree), Calvin Millado (Hertz Klinemann), Bibo Reyes (Franz Klinemann), Apple Chiu, Japs Treopaldo, Mikkie Bradshaw, Berl William Angeles, and Altaire Alonso complete the cast.


Top 3: ROCK OF AGES, the movie (cineplexes across the country, starts June 14)

Hollywood heartthrob Tom Cruise top-bills the stage-to-screen adaptation of the rock musical, produced by New Line Cinema, and directed by Adam Shankman (“Hairspray”).

Besides Cruise, the film also stars Julianne Hough (“Burlesque”), actor and singer Diego Boneta in his feature film debut, Russell Brand (“Arthur,” “Get Him to the Greek”), Paul Giamatti (“Cinderella Man”), Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Chicago”), Malin Akerman (“The Proposal”), Mary J. Blige, and Alec Baldwin (“The Cooler”).


Top 4: Atlantis Productions’ GOD OF CARNAGE (Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, July 13 to July 22) 

Tony winner Lea Salonga returns to acting in a straight play via this Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning black comedy. Salonga shares the stage with theater veterans Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (“Next to Normal,” “Sweeney Todd”), Arthur Acuña (“Kitchen Musical,” “The Romance of Magno Rubio”), and Adrian Pang (“The Full Monty,” “They’re Playing Our Song”). 


Top 5: Philippine Opera Company’s ANG BAGONG HARANA (Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, June 6 to June 9)

Philippine Opera Company celebrates the 114th Philippine Independence anniversary with the restaging of its traveling show “Ang Bagong Harana,” a musical revue featuring traditional and contemporary Filipino love songs.

Seasoned opera performers Karla Gutierrez, Aizel Prietos, Charley Magalit, Janine Santos, Marian Santiago, Lawrence Jatayna, Jack Salud, Nazer Salcedo, Marvin Gayramon, and Al Gatmaitan make up the cast.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

66th Tony Awards Airs On Velvet Channel, 6/11

Neil Patrick Harris will host the 66th Tony Awards.
by Oliver Oliveros,

Live performances include GODSPELL, GHOST, and Tony-nominated musicals.

Manila, Philippines, June 5, 2012 – 66th Tony Awards, the most prestigious theatrical awards in the United States, which airs on Velvet Channel on Monday, June 11, 8 a.m., has announced its lineup of performances that includes “Godspell” (Filipino actors Anna Maria Perez de Tagle and George Salazar are part of the cast), “Ghost” (Filipino-American singer and dancer Albert Guerzon is part of the ensemble), and Tony-nominated musicals “Evita,” “Follies,” The Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” (Filipino Canadian actors Julius Sermonia, Jason Sermonia, and Laurin Padolina are cast members), “Leap of Faith,” Disney’s “Newsies,” (Filipino-American actor Aaron Albano is part of the ensemble), “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” and “Once.” 

The awards show also features performances from Tony-nominated straight plays such as “End of the Rainbow” with Tony-nominated actress Tracie Bennett; “One Man, Two Guvnors” with Tony-nominated actor James Corden; and “Peter and the Starcatcher” with Tony nominees Christian Borle and Celia Keenan-Bolger.

As previously announced, presenters for this year’s Tony Awards include Ellen Barkin, Candice Bergen, Jessica Chastain, Sheryl Crow, Nick Jonas, Angela Lansbury, James Marsden, Jim Parsons, Mandy Patinkin, Tyler Perry, Bernadette Peters, Christopher Plummer, Paul Rudd, Amanda Seyfried, Trey Parker, and Matt Stone.

Television actor and Broadway star Neil Patrick Harris is the awards night’s emcee.

To see the list of nominees, visit

Monday, June 04, 2012

Photo Coverage: De Tagle, Go, Broadway Barkada et al. at 114th Philippine Independence Celebration

Anna Maria Perez de Tagle and Robby Manubay
at the Independence Day Parade in New York
City; photo by Oliver Oliveros
by Oliver Oliveros,

New York, June 4, 2012 -- Filipino musical theater artists Anna Maria Perez de Tagle (“Godspell” - Broadway), Rachelle Ann Go (Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” - Manila), Ryan Cayabyab (“Katy!,” “Larawan,”), Kirby Asunto (“Child Access Broadway"), Liz Casasola (“Imelda,” “Girl Crazy”), Ryan Cayabyab Singers, Broadway Barkada, a group of New York-based Filipino actors, singers, and dancers that have been performing in various Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, and GMA Pinoy TV talents Dingdong Dantes and Aljur Abrenica headlined the Philippine Independence Day Council’s (PIDCI) well attended 114th Philippine Independence Parade and cultural show held on Madison Avenue Sunday afternoon. has described the event as the “biggest celebration of Philippine independence outside of the Philippines,” which PIDCI, the umbrella organization of Filipino-American business, nonprofit, and religious groups, among others that is primarily dedicated to promoting Filipino cultural heritage and traditions, has been organizing since the 1990s to help raise funds for its member organizations’ charity projects in the United States and in the Philippines.

Yesterday’s festival attracted an estimated 100,000 participants and spectators that came from the New York Tri-State area, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

For more photos, click HERE.