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Showing posts from 2015

Fil-Am kids' choir sings carols in Chicago science museum

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Fil-Am kids' choir sings carols in Chicago science museum
By Walter Ang
Dec. 24, 2015
Inquirer.net
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/134147/fil-am-kids-choir-sing-carols-in-chicago-museum

Filipino American children sang popular Christmas carols, both beloved English and Tagalog songs, and danced at the Museum of Science and Industries in Chicago.

More than 30 children performed as part of the museum's annual Christmas Around The World program that features performances by different ethnicities from November to December.

The Philippine contingent was composed of Philippine American Cultural Foundation (PACF) Performing Arts group and folk fusion band Samasama Project.

Led by Lou Maningas Cabalona and her husband Baron Lloyd, Samasama, which means "united, together" in Tagalog, performs a blend of Filipino folk, rock, ska and Latin music.

The couple have been teaching PACF's youth performing arts group for the annual Christmas show since 2008.

"We sang 'Payap…

When Robbie Guevara and Peachy Atilano got engaged in Edinburgh

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When Robbie and Peachy got engaged in Edinburgh
By Walter Ang
Dec. 12, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer


Robbie Guevara and Peachy Atilano first met at a Repertory Philippines summer workshop in 2007.

He taught a class on musical theater and she assisted.

"At the end of the showcase recital, I joked that she was my 'new girlfriend.' Little did I know that I was going to make that real!" says Guevara, laughing.

"It wasn't difficult to get  attracted to her," he adds. "She's talented, very cute and pretty, and had a bubbly personality that I had never encountered with any other girl before."

Atilano has a slightly different recollection. "I was really scared of him because he was so sungit. But when I got to know him more, I can say that he's really a kid at heart."

Next step
They became a couple for the next eight years. Last summer, Guevara decided to pop the question when 9 Works Theatrical (9WT), of which he is founding artistic d…

'Miss Saigon's' Jon Jon Briones is off to Broadway

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'Miss Saigon's' Jon Jon Briones is off to Broadway
By Walter Ang
Dec. 5, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

From Quezon City to Broadway, with the West End in between. That appears to be the journey of Jon Jon Briones, who will be making his Broadway debut in 2017 as the Engineer in the revival of the musical "Miss Saigon."

Producer Cameron Mackintosh has confirmed that the West End production at the Prince Edward Theatre will close on February 2016 and will transfer to Broadway in 2017.

"This is going to be my Broadway debut, and I'll be turning 51 by that time," says Briones. "Goes to show you that it's never too late for dreams to come true."

Briones had known about the transfer for some time now. "We finished negotiations for Broadway last month but even though I was expecting the announcement to happen, it's still exciting and wonderful to read it in all the news outlets."

Raves
"Miss Saigon" returned to the West …

Palanca Award winner Layeta Bucoy is also a 'Star Trek' and 'I Love Lucy' fan

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Layeta Bucoy, 5-time Palanca winner, is also a 'Star Trek' and 'I Love Lucy' fan
By Walter Ang
Nov. 28, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Layeta Bucoy was a first-place winner in this year's Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature's English One-Act Play category.

Her play "The Adopted Healthy Baby" is about a college teacher's fears about the new K-12 curriculum.

This is her fifth win. She previously won for "Ellas Inocentes," 2007; "Doc Resurreccion: Gagamutin ang Bayan," 2009; and "El Galeon de Simeon," 2011; all in the Filipino One-Act Play category.

Her very first win was in the Filipino Teleplay category in 1998 for "Ang Repleksyon ni Ms. Trajano."

Fortified
After having read Euripedes' "Medea" and Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts" in college, Bucoy was inspired to write something similar, but was leaning towards teleplays and screenplays.

Then she had a class under playwright Nic…

Chicago’s Circa Pintig theater group gets set for 25th year

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Chicago’s Circa Pintig theater group gets set for 25th year
By Walter Ang
Nov. 28, 2015
Inquirer.net
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/132897/chicagos-circa-pintig-theater-group-gets-set-for-25th-year

Chicago-based Filipino American theater group Circa Pintig is gearing up for its annual Christmas party and fundraiser for its 25th anniversary next year, while still having fun at the party, of course.

"We will have food, holiday performances and karaoke, then dancing," says Angela Mascarenas, a founding member and the current executive director.

Beyond just preparing for the party, Mascarenas and the group's other officers are also drawing up the activities for next year.

"Planning for the 25th anniversary is exciting. We want to make this a festive and reflective community event, in the spirit that represents what Circa Pintig stands for."

Pulse
Mascarenas was born in Manila and had been active with theater group Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) be…

'Entablado': Anril Tiatco's new book on Philippine theater

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'Entablado': Anril Tiatco's new book on Philippine theater
By Walter Ang
Nov. 14, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sir Anril Pineda Tiatco (no, he's not a knight; his first name really is Sir) has authored a new book on Philippine theater.

"Entablado: Theaters and Performances in the Philippines" collects his previously published essays and scholarly papers that "attempt to continue the conversation on theater studies and performance studies in the context of Philippine scholarship."

Tiatco has a Theater Arts master's degree from the University of the Philippines, where he currently teaches, and a Theater Studies doctorate degree from National University of Singapore. He's also written a few plays, among them the Palanca Award-winning "Miss Dulce Extranjera" and an adaptation of Francisco Baltazar's "Orosman at Zafira" set to ethnic-rock music that was staged by Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas a few years ago.

The book&…

Fil-Am playwrights headed for U.S. stages in 2016

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Fil-Am playwrights headed for U.S. stages in 2016
By Walter Ang
Nov. 13, 2015
Inquirer.net
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/130859/fil-am-playwrights-headed-for-u-s-stages-in-2016

Next year, 2016, will see the works of several Filipino American playwrights staged across the United States.

This increased visibility of Fil-Am works on stage continues to build, after several productions with Fil-Am highlights or involvement on both coasts, such as Lea Salonga in the musical "Allegiance," a number of Fil-Am actors in the cast of "The King and I" on Broadway, and American Conservatory Theater's run of "Monstress," a twinbill of one-acts based on short stories by Fil-Am writer Lysley Tenorio, in San Francisco.

Except for A. Rey Pamatmat, who was born and raised in Michigan, the playwrights listed below (as well as the two directors listed) were all born in the Philippines, with most relocating to the U.S. in the '70s.

West Coast
In San Francisco, Jessica H…

Repertory Philippines stages year-end big musical 'The Secret Garden'

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Caisa Borromeo, back at Rep: 'It always feels like going home'
The 2010 Gawad Buhay! Best Actress in a Musical (for 'Little Women') alternates with Myramae Meneses in Rep's 'The Secret Garden,' opening Nov. 20
By Walter Ang
Oct. 31, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Repertory Philippines' year-end big musical this year is "The Secret Garden," adapted from the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, where orphan Mary Lennox has to solve the mysteries of finding a hidden crying child in her uncle's house and finding the key and door to a secret garden.

With music by Lucy Simon and libretto by Marsha Norman, the musical was previously staged by Rep in 2001.

This year's staging will be directed by Anton Juan, whose last directing credit for Rep was 2011's "The Joy Luck Club."

Musical direction is by Joseph Tolentino, with vocal coaching by Camille Molina, set design by Ohm David, lighting design by John Batalla and costume design by Bon…

Marc delaCruz joins US tour of 'If/Then' with Idina Menzel

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Marc delaCruz joins US tour of 'If/Then' with Idina Menzel
By Walter Ang
Oct. 27, 2015
TheFilAm.net
http://thefilam.net/archives/19873

Marc delaCruz made his Broadway debut last year in the musical "If/Then." Back then, he understudied the role of David, but now he's playing the part for the production's national tour.

He gets to share the stage with Broadway superstar Idina Menzel ("Wicked," "Frozen") and Anthony Rapp ("Rent," "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brow").

"Idina and Anthony are incredible to work with," he said. "They are generous, smart and fiercely talented performers, and offstage such grounded, warm and humble individuals."

"I learn so much from them every night. One could easily be intimidated by their accomplishments but there are no egos involved. They are beautiful artists and it is a privilege to be on stage with them," he added.

To read the remainder of this interview, pl…

Lea Salonga, back on Broadway: 'There has been zero video game time for me'

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Lea Salonga, back on Broadway: 'There has been zero video game time for me'
By Walter Ang
Oct. 24, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

When Lea Salonga got a chance to meet an actor from the original "Star Trek" TV series, she did not pass it up.

"Yes, I'm a nerd, and was very excited," she says.

In 2009, she was invited to the home of George Takei in California to join the cast of a new musical he was going to be part of.

Her "first contact"--to use a Star Trek term--with Takei was even announced on Twitter: "OMG. I'm at Sulu's house!" she tweeted.

Takei and the producers of the musical "Allegiance" wanted only Salonga to fill a role in the show.

That meeting resulted in the first public reading of the show, held at the Japanese-American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Salonga has been working on the show since then. After laboratory work in New York, a world premiere in San Diego in 2012, and more laboratory work back …

Designing and dressing up Dulaang UP's Southeast Asian 'King Lear'

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Designing and dressing up Dulaang UP's Southeast Asian 'King Lear'
By Walter Ang
Oct. 24, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer


Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (DUP) is currently staging Shakespeare's "King Lear" in English and Filipino, using Nicolas Pichay's translation. Joel Lamangan and Leo Rialp play the titular character, in Filipino and English, respectively.

Director Tony Mabesa, DUP's founding artistic director emeritus, has transplanted the action from ancient Britain to "the waning years of a Southeast Asian kingdom."

This production comes on the heels of Nonon Padilla's 2012 all-male staging using Bienvenido Lumbera's translation for Philippine Educational Theater Association. (Anton Juan cast Repertory Philippines founder Zenaida Amador as Lear in his 2001 staging.)

Padilla employed a post-apocalyptic setting with Gino Gonzales' Japanese-inspired costume design. The production toured Taiwan last year for the Kuandu Arts Fes…

Award-winning playwright Glenn Mas is also a hardcore 'Archie' comics fan

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Award-winning playwright Glenn Mas is also a hardcore 'Archie' comics fan
By Walter Ang
Oct. 3, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Not only has Archie Andrews gotten a reboot, he's also going to be in a musical soon. The 75-year-old comic franchise recently came out with a new issue #1 written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Fiona Staples, while writer/director Adam McKay ("Anchorman," FunnyOrDie.com) will be working on the musical (updates will be posted on ArchieMusical.com).

For someone who loves to read and works in theater, Glenn Mas--a theater arts professor at Ateneo de Manila University and current artistic director of Tanghalang Ateneo--is very excited about these developments. He can't wait to get his hands on a copy of the "Archie" reboot. Not to mention the 21 variant covers. That's a total of 22 copies of the same issue, but who's counting?

 "Ever since I was a child," he says, "I've been familiar with Archie and t…

Three theater artists want many ‘one-night stands’ with audiences

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Three theater artists want many ‘one-night stands’ with audiences
By Walter Ang
Sept. 26, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Three theater artists have crossed over from being just performers to now producing one-night-only cabarets featuring musical theater artists.

Chinie Concepcion, Micaela Pineda and Joaquin Valdes are cofounding coproducers of the production company One Night Stand (ONS). "But really, we're just 'co-fans' of musical theater," says Valdes.

Formed earlier this year, ONS has since staged several standing room shows. Its most recent show, "Mundong Entablado," a fund-raiser for the Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group (Philstage), featured Bituin Escalante, Nonie Buencamino, OJ Mariano, Sandino Martin, Kim Molina, Sweet Plantado- Tiongson and Cris Villonco.

Showcasing talent
The three met through different workshops and productions with Triumphant Peoples Evangelistic Theater Society (Trumpets) as far back as the late '90s.

They not …

Free admission to Dulaang Laboratoryo's Filipino version of 'Lord of the Flies'

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Free admission to Dulaang Laboratoryo's Filipino version of 'Lord of the Flies'
By Walter Ang
Sept. 19, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

This Sept. 25-27, Dulaang Laboratoryo is staging "Coro de los Diablos," Layeta Bucoy's translation and adaptation of William Golding's novel "Lord of the Flies," to be directed by Joey Ting.

The book, about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island and their descent into savagery, was adapted into the movie, "Alkitrang Dugo," in 1975, starring Roderick Paulate and Eddie Villamayor. It was written by Nicanor Cleto Jr., directed by Lupita Concio and produced by Nora Aunor.

For this stage adaptation, Ting and Bucoy will be using dark humor.

"The play will have male and female students on their way to the World Youth Convention during World War III," says Ting.

The challenge for Bucoy was figuring out a milieu for the adaptation.

"The first adaptation didn't work as the dramat…

Filmmaker Kanakan Balintagos returns to the stage with his prodigal play

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Filmmaker Kanakan Balintagos returns to the stage with his prodigal play, 'Mga Buhay na Apoy' for Tanghalang Pilipino
By Walter Ang
Sept. 12, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Kanakan Balintagos (formerly known as Auraeus Solito) won first place in this year's Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Dulang Ganap ang Haba category, for his "Mga Buhay na Apoy."

Balintagos sees the win as "magical," a good omen of sorts, as he's currently directing the rehearsals for its debut staging for Tanghalang Pilipino in October. Not to mention that he'd assumed that his copy of the play had been lost.

He'd directed short scenes in class while studying at Philippine Science High School which inspired him to take up theater at University of the Philippines. There, he founded experimental theater group UP Tropa; directed several productions; wrote a play "Esprit de Corps;" and wrote the book and was co-lyricist of the musical "Manhid.…

Trumpets returns to C.S. Lewis with 'The Horse and His Boy' this November

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Trumpets returns to C.S. Lewis with 'The Horse and His Boy' this November
By Walter Ang
Aug. 29 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Triumphant People's Evangelistic Theater Society (Trumpets) is staging a new play, "The Horse and His Boy," based on the novel by C.S. Lewis, this November.

The book, about Shasta and his horse Bree and their journey to Narnia, is part of the seven-novel series "The Chronicles of Narnia," which includes "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Trumpets already has a musical version of "LWW" that debuted in 1997. It went on to have multiple restagings in Manila until 2002. It's also been staged in Guam and Singapore. It then had a 45-minute version for mall stagings.

Some of the actors who have played the Pevensie children are still in the theater profession: Joaquin Valdes (last seen in Actor's Actors Inc.'s "Red") and Topper Fabregas (cofounder of Red Turnip Theater company). Sam Concepci…

Dulaang Filipino represents PH in Québec theater festival in September

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Dulaang Filipino represents PH in Québec theater festival in September
By Walter Ang
Aug. 29, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Dulaang Filipino (DF) will represent the Philippines at this year's Mont-Laurier International Theatre Festival in Québec, Canada.

DF will restage its August production of "Oedipus," a condensed one-hour version of Sophocles' three Theban plays, "Oedipus the King," "Oedipus at Colonus" and "Antigone."

Oedipus becomes king of Thebes after unknowingly killing his own father. He atones in Colonus with his daughter Antigone. When she returns to Thebes, Antigone deals with the repercussions of her brothers' deaths.

Director Riki Benedicto is using translations by Rolando Tinio and Onofre Pagsanghan to "show the disparity of time between the three plays since their respective translations and tones are different."

Benedicto's staging will include stunts and fight scenes, "to help the audiences appre…

Liza Camus–premier PM and ‘pare’ to theater colleagues–exits the stage

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Liza Camus–premier PM and ‘pare’ to theater colleagues–exits the stage
By Walter Ang
Aug. 22, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer

Production manager Liza Camus passed away on Aug. 10 from complications after suffering a stroke on July 4. She was 55. She is survived by her father Louie and siblings John, Tina and José Mari.

Camus had been the production manager at Atlantis Theatricals Entertainment Group (Ateg) since its founding in 2000.

Bobby Garcia,  Ateg founding artistic director, said: "I first met Liza in 1993 through Boy Abunda. He got Liza to production-manage a TV show I was supposed to do. He told Liza, in front of me, 'I want you to always be by Bobby's side. Don't ever leave him.'"

The show didn't push through, Garcia admitted. "But, true to her word, Liza never left me. She would go on to become our production manager  for `Miss Saigon' (Garcia was the local resident director for the 2000 Manila run) and then for Atlantis. Liza is one of a k…

Obie-winning Mia Katigbak pushes for more Asian faces on the American stage

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Obie-winning Mia Katigbak pushes for more Asian faces on the American stage
By Walter Ang
Aug. 15, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Watching plays written by non-Asians about non-Asians but played by Asian actors may be normal in the Philippines. For obvious reasons, it's not too common in the United States.

But the National Asian American Theatre Company (Naatco)  in New York has been doing just that for 25 years now.

Every season, it produces "an American classic with an all-Asian-American cast; an adaptation of a Western classic by an Asian-American playwright; and a new work not by, for, or about Asians realized by an all-Asian-American cast," says co-founder and artistic producing director Mia Katigbak.

To kick off its silver season, the group recently restaged its 2013 production of Clifford Odets' "Awake and Sing!"-a 1935 drama about a lower middle class immigrant Jewish family set in the Bronx during the Depression era. ("Wonderful performances,&q…