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Showing posts from 2016

The Menchu Quick Change Chronicles

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The Menchu Quick Change Chronicles
Dec. 13, 2016

The cast of Resorts World Manila's Full House Theater staging of "Annie" created a series of backstage videos featuring Menchu Yulo-Lauchengco's stage exit for her quick change called "The Menchu Quick Change Chronicles."


Here is a compilation of all the videos from Caisa Borromeo's Facebook account. Enjoy!

Episode 1: The Virus



Episode 2: The Finish Line



Episode 3: The Walking Dead



Episode 4: What is everyone running away from?



Episode 5: The Matador



Episode 6: This is SPARTAAAA



Episode 7: At the stroke of midnight



Episode 8: The Hostage



Special episode: The Annie-quin Challenge



Episode 10 (Mid-Season Finale): The Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo Winter Collection



Mid-Season Break



Episode 12: Ang ProbinsyAnnie



Episode 13: Menchu's Revenge



Finale: HanniGans and Ships


"Annie" runs until Dec. 25 at Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, Paranaque City. Tickets: Ticketworld.com.ph. Details:…

How TJ Ramos crafted the soundscape for 'Mabining Mandirigma'

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How TJ Ramos crafted the soundscape for 'Mabining Mandirigma'
and won a Philstage Gawad Buhay for it
By WALTER ANG
Dec. 10, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Tanghalang Pilipino's "Mabining Mandirigma," a musical about Apolinario Mabini, a leader during the Philippine revolution against Spain, is currently on its third rerun.

First staged last year, the production won 12 awards from Philstage Gawad Buhay, including Outstanding Musical (directed by Cris Millado), Script (Nicanor Tiongson), Musical Direction (Joed Balsamo) and Choreography (Denisa Reyes).

Mabini is played by Liesl Batucan (the role was originated by Delphine Buencamino). TP's Actors Company, its resident pool of actors, fills out the rest of the cast (Outstanding Ensemble).

Its set (Toym Imao) and costume design (James Reyes), using steampunk as the visual reference, also won top honors. Steampunk blends 1800s aesthetics (e.g. British Victorian era or American Wild West era) and steam-powered machine…

Ela Lisondra: Swinging from London's 'Miss Saigon' to Manila's 'Christmas Carol'

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In BGC, an open-air 'A Christmas Carol' starting tonight
Ela Lisondra: Swinging from London's 'Miss Saigon' to Manila's 'Christmas Carol'
By WALTER ANG
Dec. 3, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

9 Works Theatrical's "A Christmas Carol"--the classic story of stingy Ebenezer Scrooge and how he changes for the better after being visited by three Christmas ghosts--opens tonight and runs until Dec. 25 at Globe Iconic Store, Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater, Bonifacio Global PCity (BGC), Taguig.

That's the same open-air space where 9 Works presented the punk-rock musical "American Idiot" as a live concert experience several months ago, in collaboration with Globe.

This version of "A Christmas Carol" features the music of Alan Menken ("Beauty and the Beast," "The Little Mermaid," "Little Shop of Horrors," "Pocahontas," "Hercules," "Tangled") and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens …

'Mula sa Buwan' is a heartbreaking indie-alternative Pinoy 'Cyrano de Bergerac' musical

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'Mula sa Buwan' is a heartbreaking indie-alternative Pinoy 'Cyrano de Bergerac' musical 
'Mula sa Buwan': 'Cyrano de Bergerac' transposed to 'sarsuwela'-era PH
By WALTER ANG
Nov. 25, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Does a boy with a big nose have a chance at love? Black Box Productions' staging of the musical "Mula sa Buwan" will show audiences the possibilities.

The idea to stage a Filipino adaptation of the play "Cyrano de Bergerac" came to book writer and director Pat Valera while he was exploring ways to break rules--the rules of traditional Filipino theater genres, that is.

After doing dramaturgy and assistant direction for Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas' komedya "Orosman at Zafira" and sarsuwela "Ang Kiri," he wanted to challenge himself.

"How can I further the sarsuwela and make it relevant and refreshing for today's youth?" he asked himself.

He chose a theme close to the hearts…

After Belarus and Taiwan, 'Sintang Dalisay'--a Filipino 'Romeo and Juliet'-- to play in Vietnam

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After Belarus and Taiwan, 'Sintang Dalisay' to play in Vietnam
Kalil Almonte reprises Romeo in this Filipino 'Romeo and Juliet' that moves to the Sama-Badjao dance 'igal'
By WALTER ANG
Nov. 12, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Even when Kalil Almonte is rehearsing or acting in productions, he still works out for at least an hour and a half every day.

"My body feels lazy when I don't have rehearsals," he says.

However, a role he's reprising provided a challenge.

"For the first few rehearsals, my body had to get used to the choreography again," he notes. "My muscles felt heavy and there was no grace at all! There are also fight scenes, so it's really physical. My body hurt after each rehearsal."

He's playing Rashiddin (Romeo) in Tanghalang Ateneo's "Sintang Dalisay," an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," which will be the Philippine entry to the Third International Experimental Th…

It's playwright Liza Magtoto's season in the sun at Peta

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It's playwright Liza Magtoto's season in the sun at Peta
She has three plays back-to-back-to-back; "The Tempest Reimagined" is up next
By WALTER ANG
Nov. 4, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) just wrapped its two-year run of "Rak of Aegis," a jukebox musical with songs by rock band Aegis sewn together with a story by playwright Liza Magtoto.

Consolidating different aspects of Filipinos' lives, she captured the zeitgeist of Pinoy life in the early 2010s: celebrating love (romantic and familial) amidst the rise of social media and natural disasters.

Audiences will see more of Magtoto's work since she dominates Peta's 49th season (aside from "Rak," she's adapting Shakespeare's "The Tempest" into a contemporary Filipino setting) and she's opening the 50th season (as librettist for next year's restaging of "Care Divas," a musical about male Filipino workers in I…

Is this a ghost I see before me? Theater artists share their ghost stories

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Yegads! Is this a ghost I see before me?
Theater artists share their ghost stories
By WALTER ANG
Oct. 29, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

When a theater goes dark for the night, a stagehand leaves a lighted lamp on stage. No one knows why anymore, but some oldtimers say it is to keep ghosts away. Others say it lights the stage for the ghosts to play. Whichever theory one adheres to, most people agree: "A great theater is haunted."

So said multi-awarded American director and playwright Emily Mann. For some Halloween fun, here are encounters with stage ghosts and haunted theaters by theater artists.

Adriana Agcaoili, actress, Gantimpala Theater and Dulaang UP. 
When I was a freshman at the University of the Philippines, I was told that one of the theaters had a resident spirit named Marita and that she usually made her presence felt backstage left, especially when a female character was maltreated on stage.

I was doing stage management for a show and I was assigned at backstage l…

Homegrown son Joaquin Valdes takes over Trumpets Playshop

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Homegrown son Joaquin Valdes takes over Trumpets Playshop
By WALTER ANG
Oct. 22, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Joaquin Valdes was only 13 years old when he first performed in Triumphant People's Evangelistic Theater Society's (Trumpets) "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe."

He then started taking several years' worth of summer workshops with Playshop, Trumpets' theater training arm.

He didn't just study, though. With other stage credits already under his belt (debuting professionally as a chorus member in Repertory Philippines' "Evita" and then playing the lead in "Pinocchio"), he was tasked to teach classes at Playshop starting at age 14.

"I just really wanted to extend the high I'd get from a show and keep filling my system with as much theater education as I could," he said.

And now at 32, it's his turn to steward a new generation of future professional performers.

Valdes is the new executive director for Pl…

Carlon Matobato is lone Filipino in multinational 'Mahabharata'

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Carlon Matobato is lone Filipino in multinational 'Mahabharata'
By WALTER ANG
Oct. 15, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"Nganga ako," Carlon Matobato says, when he saw a movement-led staging of "Mahabharata" last year at the Peta Theater Center.

"The performers were so strong and their lines were so clean. I was excited and scared."

Scared because he'd soon be part of the show's next installment. He had auditioned for Japanese director Hiroshi Koike and won the slot as this year's only Filipino in the multinational cast.

Hiroshi Koike Bridge Project's "Mahabharata" began in 2013. Chapters are created annually in a different Asian country; it's intended to conclude with a full-length staging in 2020.

Last year's "Part 2.5" included Manila in its performance tour. This year, Matobato worked with performers from different countries for "Part 3," which was recently staged in Indonesia.

The ancient Ind…

Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Fall of the House of Usher' gets Filipino staging

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Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Fall of the House of Usher' gets Filipino staging
Theater House of Black's adaptation incorporates Baguio's haunted Laperal White House
By WALTER ANG
Oct. 1, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

As a prelude to Halloween, Theater House of Black will stage the suspense-horror supernatural play, "14 Leandro Road," based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Fall of the House of Usher."

The story of two eccentric siblings and their macabre home has been adapted by Jay Crisostomo and CK Bautista. Their adaptation incorporates elements of Baguio's allegedly haunted Laperal White House, which was built in the 1920s and used as a Japanese garrison during World War II.

The house has spawned tales of the lingering presence of those who've been killed in it. (In 2013, it was repurposed as the Ifugao Bamboo Carving Gallery.)

The production will alternate male and female actors for the main roles. TV mainstays Mosang and Migui Mo…

Going barefoot, developing rituals, catching Pokémon–what it takes to get Jef Flores on stage

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Going barefoot, eating ramen, catching Pokémon–what it takes to get Jef Flores on that stage
By WALTER ANG
Sept. 24, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"I like rehearsing barefoot,” says Jef Flores. “I like feeling the floor with my toes. It helps me think and keeps me balanced.”

He’s developing the character of Jon in 9 Works Theatrical’s production of “Tick, Tick…Boom!”

Jon is a composer doubting his career choice and facing problems with his best friend (who wants Jon to switch to corporate work) and his girlfriend (who doesn’t want to be with a starving artist).

“Tick, Tick…Boom!” was written and composed by Jonathan Larson before he created the now legendary musical “Rent.” The 9 Works Theatrical production is directed by Robbie Guevara with Daniel Bartolome as musical director.

The cast includes Ariel Reonal and Tanya Manalang—fresh from her stint as the lead in Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (Peta) “Rak of Aegis” and, before that, as the alternate Kim in the Londo…

Filipino-American Ali Ewoldt is first Asian to play Christine in 'Phantom of the Opera' on Broadway

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Filipino-American Ali Ewoldt is first Asian to play Christine in 'Phantom of the Opera' on Broadway
By WALTER ANG
Aug. 27, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Filipino-American Ali Ewoldt is currently playing the role of Christine Daaé in the Broadway production of "The Phantom of the Opera," and it marks a milestone: She is the first actress of Filipino descent and first woman of color to portray the role on Broadway since it opened in 1988.

"It is incredibly exciting!" she says. "I have loved 'Phantom' and dreamt of playing Christine since I was a child, so to get to play Christine is literally a dream come true."

Ewoldt, whose mother hails from Pangasinan, was born near Chicago and raised in Pleasantville, a short distance from New York City. She's been performing the role since June.

"Being the first Asian-American Christine on Broadway is an honor and, also, I believe, comes with a bit of responsibility. I want to demonstrate that …

Meet Bonifacio anew--in a Pinoy noh play

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Meet Bonifacio anew--in a Pinoy noh play
By WALTER ANG
Aug. 20, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Noh Theatre Ensemble (NTE), a resident theater group of University of the Philippines' Center for International Studies (UPCIS), will stage "Cedula sa BGC: Isang Kontemporanyong Noh," on Aug. 26-27 at University Theater, Villamor Hall, University of the Philippines.

"This noh is set in a mall in BGC [Bonifacio Global City]," says NTE's founding artistic director Jina Umali. "It's about Andres Bonifacio, so meet the 'B' of BGC, the Father of the Philippine Revolution."

NTE members have received continuous training since 2005 from Naohiko Umewaka, a noh grand master whose family's involvement in noh dates back 600 years.

Umali explains that centuries-old noh is the oldest form among the Japanese performance traditions, characterized by the use of masks, controlled physical movements and abstracted choreography such as sliding steps, and …

Farewell, Jonas Sebastian, theater pillar and Temptation Island's Joshua

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Farewell, Jonas Sebastian, theater pillar and 'Temptation Island' 's Joshua
By WALTER ANG
Aug. 13, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Director and actor Jonas Sebastian passed away on July 31 at age 73. He died of cardiac arrest after contracting pneumonia.

Born in Quiapo to a family who owned the movie studio Oriental Pictures, Sebastian entered the performing arts in 1967 as an actor in productions directed by Inquirer columnist Nestor Torre at Ateneo de Manila University, and Joey Gosiengfiao at De La Salle University.

He later joined Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) as an actor and set designer; and Repertory Philippines as a set designer, eventually directing the company's inaugural production of "Sleeping Beauty" for its Repertory Children's Theater. He also acted and directed for Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, helming "Asyenda Animal" for the group's inaugural season.

Dinner theater
His directorial debut was "Hello …

Rachel Alejandro in an 'unromantic comedy for imperfect lovers and dreamers'

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Rachel Alejandro in an 'unromantic comedy for imperfect lovers and dreamers'
By WALTER ANG
Aug. 6, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Upstart Productions' "Love/Sick," a show with nine short plays written by John Cariani that explore romantic relationships from first meeting and dating to disillusionment and divorce, opens this weekend at the Mind Museum Auditorium in Bonifacio Global City and runs until Aug. 20.

Artistic director Joel Trinidad directs, helming a cast that performs double or triple roles each to thresh out 18 different characters. Among them is Rachel Alejandro, who has been friends with Trinidad since they were cast together in Musical Theater Philippines' "Alikabok" in the mid-'90s.

"But it wasn't until we did 'Avenue Q' (for Atlantis Productions, now Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group) that we became close," says Alejandro.

"We've been talking about doing more shows together and possibly produci…

Stage manager Sheryl Polancos and her quest to learn more

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Stage manager Sheryl Polancos and her quest to learn more
By WALTER ANG
July 9, 2016

"I've always been inclined towards the arts. I was always involved with dance, drama and art classes when I was a little girl," says Sheryl Polancos.

She expressed her affinity for the arts by joining dance clubs in grade school and high school. When she enrolled in University of Santo Tomas, an injury waylaid her plans to audition for the school's famed Salinggawi dance troupe.

"I joined the official theater guild of the College of Arts and Letters, Artistang Artlets. That's where I caught the theater bug."

She fell in love with the profession. So much so that the first job she applied for right after graduating was with the resident theater group of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Shifting gears
"I started out as a production manager at Tanghalang Pilipno," she recalls.

"Then I noticed that I enjoyed the rehearsal process more than paperwork and I…