Showing posts from March, 2017

Filipino-American playwright Boni Alvarez brings aswang to Los Angeles

March 30, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- Boni Alvarez's recent play, "Bloodletting," the plot of which includes the Filipino supernatural entity aswang, proved popular enough with audiences to warrant an extension.

Premiered in October last year and scheduled to originally close in November, the play was extended until January of this year.

"The production was well-received. It surprised me a little," Alvarez admits, believing that it resonated with theatergoers because "there are many points of entry for the audience."

Directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera for Playwright's Arena, the play is about two siblings who travel to the Philippines to spread their father's ashes when the sister discovers her latent powers.

"There were people who loved the mythology, people who are fans of witches of all cultures.  Most of the audience accessed the play thr…

PARC Manila is San Juan's new performance venue

March 25, 2017
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"Pinagtawanan ako," says Wilmer Guido of his father's reaction when he announced his plan of building a theater. "He thought I was joking."

Guido founded and runs Performing Arts and Recreation Center (PARC) Manila, a repurposed office compound along a side street in San Juan that's now a space for intimate performances.

"The venue's aim is to provide opportunities for artists, to increase performing arts' impact on the youth and to cultivate a culturally competent society," he says.

His father's LED-billboards business was expanding and the 1,600-square-meter compound was about to be sold off. Guido requested that the building and lot be leased to him instead so he could transform it into an arts venue.

"It took a long time for me to convince my father, he's a businessman after all," he says.

This 24-year-old advertising management graduate from De La Salle Universit…

Giannina Ocampo is in Rep's comedy 'In the Next room (or The Vibrator Play)'

March 18, 2017
Philippine Daily Inquirer

During the 1880s, Jose Rizal was studying to be doctor in Europe. Meanwhile, in the USA, doctors were using vibrators to treat women for hysteria (trivia: the word is derived from the Greek word for uterus, hystera).

Repertory Philippines' next play, Sarah Ruhl's comedy "In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)," touches on this (touchy) subject matter.

Giannina Ocampo plays Catherine Givings, who is intrigued by the medical technology her doctor husband uses to treat anxious women and men.

Other women characters in the play are portrayed by Tami Monsod, Caisa Borromeo and Cara Barredo. Joshua Spafford, Hans Eckstein and Jef Flores round out the cast directed by Chris Millado, who will also direct Rep's year-ender musical "Hair."


Ocampo's excited to breathe life into her character. "Catherine's a woman on the verge of finding herself and discovering what's truly important t…

Devin Ilaw: A Pinoy Thuy in the new 'Miss Saigon' on Broadway

March 18, 2017
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sharing the stage with Rachelle Ann Go and Jon Jon Briones on Broadway for this year's revival of "Miss Saigon" are Filipino-Americans Eva Noblezada, Lianah Sta. Ana and Devin Ilaw.

In the story, where Vietnamese orphan Kim falls in love with and is abandoned by an American soldier during the final days of the American occupation in the 1970s, Go will play Gigi and Briones will play the Engineer.

Both are from the Philippines though Briones is now based in Los Angeles. Go will move to London later this year to act in "Hamilton" on the West End.

Playing the titular character Kim are Noblezada (born in San Diego to a Filipino father and Mexican mother) and Sta. Ana (born in New Jersey to Filipino parents).

(Go, Briones and Noblezada previously played the same roles in the 2014-2016 West End revival.)

While all four are making their Broadway debuts, their co-actor Devin Ilaw has already performed on the Great …

Filipino-Americans lead in Seattle staging of 'Here Lies Love'

March 15, 2017

SEATTLE - Filipino-American actors take lead roles in "Here Lies Love," a musical about the life of Imelda Marcos, at Seattle Repertory Theatre starting April 7.

Set in a disco where audiences stand and move around with the actors, the show opened off-Broadway in 2013 and won the Village Voice Obie award for music (David Byrne and Norman "Fatboy Slim" Cook) and lyrics (Byrne).

Jaygee Macapugay reprises her role as Imelda. New York Times praised her performance in the 2014-2015 run as "devastating . adds an extra dash of molten steel that makes this Imelda a red-hot chiller."

She says, "The music is so much fun. The songs are a truncated anthology of Imelda's life up until the People Power Revolution. It seemed as if her life had its own soundtrack. David was fascinated by Imelda installing a disco ball in one of her New York City residence…

Nonon Padilla directs ‘Makbet’

March 11, 2017
Philippine Daily Inquirer

There's plenty of love amidst the murder and mayhem in William Shakespeare's "Macbeth," a play about an army general prophesied to ascend the throne and, upon the prodding of his wife, kills the people in his way to speed up the process.

The love of theater artists who are collaborating with each other once again, that is.

Nonon Padilla, Irma Adlawan and George de Jesus III all used to be part of Tanghalang Pilipino (TP). Padilla was founding artistic director and the latter two were resident actors. Gino Gonzales designed sets and costumes for TP, while Shoko Matsumoto designed lighting for the group.

The quintet is reuniting for a staging of Rolando Tinio's translation of the play, presented by De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde's Arts and Culture Cluster.

De Jesus is playing the titular character, with Adlawan tackling Lady Macbeth; students and faculty fill the rest of the cast.



How Teresa Barrozo is designing the soundscape for Red Turnip’s ‘The Nether’

March 4, 2017
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Red Turnip Theater's latest production, opening on March 10, is "The Nether," a sci-fi crime drama written by Jennifer Haley that tackles the complicated results of blurring the virtual and the real.

The play is set in the near future where a detective interrogates the creator of a virtual reality area in the "Nether"--the evolved version of the internet--that caters to pedophiles.

Directed by Ana Abad Santos, the cast includes Jenny Jamora, Alba Berenguer-Testa, Junyka Santarin, TJ Trinidad, Bernardo Bernardo and Bodjie Pascua.

Acclaimed work

Teresa Barrozo, an award-winning composer and sound designer whose work has been hailed in films such as Brillante Mendoza's "Kinatay" and in theater productions such as Peta's "Bona," Tanghalang Ateneo's "Middle Finger" and Repertory Philippines' "Next Fall," is handling the sound design.

For a play that deals wit…

LA theater director Jon Lawrence Rivera soldiers on to boost new voices

His theater company Playwrights' Arena is celebrating its 25th anniversary

March 2, 2017

LOS ANGELES - What would you do if your new theater company has just mounted its inaugural production and a riot occurs?

Keep going, just like Jon Lawrence Rivera did. When he founded Playwrights' Arena in 1992, the Rodney King riots erupted after its first show opened in Hollywood.

That's when he decided to devote the company to staging new plays by LA playwrights. "People had no place to put their energies. I knew I could promote local playwrights who'd been complaining that no one produced them unless they've been successful somewhere else," Rivera said in a previous interview.

He's done so for 25 years now. "I'm a bit overwhelmed that we've lasted this long," he says. "It's a proud moment for me and for the company to have launched …