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News: Glenn Barit’s debut film wins top award at the 2019 QCinema International Film Festival

CLEANERS cast and crew receives the Best Film award at the QCINEMA 2019 (image 01)

A film made of photocopied stills and hand colored with highlighter pens wins big at QCinema International Film Festival.

Cleaners of debuting filmmaker Glenn Barit won best film, besting seven other films in the QCinema’s main competition section – Asian Next Wave.

The nostalgic coming-of-age film Cleaners, set in schoolyear 2007-2008 in a high school in Tuguegarao, also bagged audience choice award and best screenplay.

Glen Barit, Director of CLEANERS, a full length film entry in the Qcinema 2019.

 

CLEANERS cast and crew receives the Best Film award at the QCINEMA 2019.

 

CLEANERS cast and crew, QCINEMA International Film Festival. Photographed by Erickson Dela Cruz © 2019

Two other new directors bagged major awards. Chinese Qui Sheng won the NETPAC Jury Prize for Suburban Birds and Rae Red brought home the best director award for her first solo-directorial work, Babae at Baril. The film, Babae at Baril, also won the Gender Sensitivity Award.

Janine Gutierrez, who plays the titular lead in Red’s film, got her first international acting award as best actress while Por Silatsa of the Laotian film The Long Walk won best actor.

Lee Chatametikool of the Thai and German film Nakorn-Sawan was recognized for his artistic contribution in film editing.

It is the first time QCinema pitted its local grantees against Asian directors in this competition section, Asian Next Wave (ANW) Competition . It put in ANW’s wing the former cluster — Circle Competition, which was for the Filipino filmmakers.

In the QCShorts competition, Judy Free won best short film for Che Tagayamon, a recent UP film graduate,

Judy Free is about a young girl whose reality is intruded when her father, an overseas Filipino worker, brought home an animated doodle figure.

The Special Jury Prize was awarded to Bontoc-based filmmaker, Carla Pulido Ocampo. The comedy short Excuse Me Miss Miss Miss by Sonny Calvento garnered the audience choice award for shorts.

This year’s batch of winners is an affirmation of the festival’s theme, Rising Wave, which recognizes debuting and female filmmakers.

The international set of jury for the Asian Next Wave is headed by renowned screenwriter Ricky Lee. The members are Richard Bolisay, Toshiyuki Hasegawa, Phan Dang Di, and Claire Marty.

The QCShorts competition jury members are Sari Dalena, Jun Sabayton, and Benjamin Tolentino.

Also, for the first time in 7 years, QCInema recognized the contribution of one of the living pillars of the film industry. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Mr. Vic del Rosario or “Boss Vic” of Viva Films.

This 7th edition of QCinema is its biggest yet, with 73 titles contained in 10 sections. Twelve of these have received generous grants, which are 3 full-feature films, 6 shorts, and 3 documentaries.

The festival will run until October 22 at Gateway Cineplex 10, Robinsons Movieworld Galleria Ortigas, Ayala Malls Cinema Trinoma, Cinema Centenario, Cinema 76 Anonas, and Cine Adarna.

Festival partners are Quezon City Film Development Commission, The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, The Film Development Council of The Philippines, Sine Sandaan, Australian Embassy, Embassy of France, Japan Foundation, Embassy of the Republic Of Singapore, Viva Communications, ABS-CBN Sagip Pelikula, CMB Film Services, Outpost, Novotel Manila Araneta City, Cinema Bravo, ClickTheCity, GMA 7, Phar Philippines, Film Geek Guy, Film Police, Pelikula Mania, PEP.ph, MagandaBa, MagandaBa Movie, When in Manila, Unreel, Geoffreview, Explore Philippines, Business Mirror, and Jura Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

For more information, log on to qcinema.ph

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News: Repertory Philippines’ 2020 season holds a mirror up to human life

(5) 2020 Season Directors

Throughout its 53-year illustrious history, Repertory Philippines has allowed audiences to see the world with new eyes. By transporting them back in time or putting them in the shoes of another, REP has always reflected humanity in all its great diversity. For its 83rd season, REP is holding up a mirror to different experiences, highlighting stories that are both unique and familiar.

With Liesl Batucan on her first season as REP’s Artistic Director, audiences can expect a new creative spirit that remains faithful to REP’s legacy while bringing it forward, as she assembles a brilliant and diverse core of creatives who will be making their debut in the REP director’s chair; celebrated thespians who will be treading the REP boards for the first time; and REP veterans who will be making their much-awaited theater comeback.

Tarek el Tayech (as HE), and Missy Maramara (as SHE) are caught in a delightful mess in the romantic comedy Stage Kiss.

The 2020 season opens with The New York Times’ Critic’s Pick of 2014, Stage Kiss by American playwright Sarah Ruhl, which runs from February 7 to March 1, 2020. This romantic comedy takes audiences backstage and introduces them to She and He, two stage actors who find themselves cast as lovers in a 1930s melodrama. But She and He have a romantic history together, and after sharing several stage kisses as their characters, they unintentionally rekindle their love. A deliciously witty and insightful play about life imitating art and art imitating life, Stage Kiss stars Missy Maramara, Tarek El Tayech, Andres Borromeo, Justine Narciso and Mica Pineda, among others, and is directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna, renowned and multi-awarded filmmaker of critically-acclaimed movies Hihintayin Kita sa Langit, Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin, and Azucena.

Gab Pangilinan (as Marela) contemplates how Tolstoy’s ANNA KARENINA ominously intertwines with their lives in Anna in the Tropics.

From March 13 to April 5, 2020, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics by Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz comes to the REP stage. When Juan Julian arrives in Tampa, Florida in 1929, he unwittingly heralds change in the Cuban cigar factory where he has been employed as a lector. As he reads aloud from Leo Tolstoy’s passionate Anna Karenina, the workers soon find the story creeping into their lives and informing their decisions. Marriages collapse, affairs are pursued, and tensions run high as the workers are confronted with the threat of automation. To be directed by New York-based noted production designer Joey Mendoza and starring Ana Abad Santos, Jake Macapagal, Paolo O’ Hara, Brian Sy, Gab Pangilinan, Gie Onida and Madeleine Nicolas, Anna in the Tropics paints a sympathetic portrait of oppressed laborers and lovers who flout tradition, as it shows the transformative power of literature.

Gian Magdangal (as Billy Bigelow) and Nikki Gil (as Julie Jordan) grapple with issues of love, forgiveness and redemption in the award-winning musical Carousel.

The universally-loved and enduring favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical Carousel caps off the season and runs from May 1 to 24, 2020. Helmed by much lauded young director Toff de Venecia, the production showcases a star-studded cast led by the luminous pairing of Nikki Gil and Gian Magdangal, who will both be making their REP debut. The musical follows a poor young couple, millhouse worker Julie Jordan and carousel barker Billy Bigelow. When they both lose their jobs because of their whirlwind love affair, Billy is pressured into committing theft to provide for their unborn child. After everything goes tragically wrong, he is given a chance to make things right. Hailed as TIME Magazine’s Best Musical of the 20th Century, Carousel explores the heartbreak and complexities that make its characters so tragically and wonderfully human.

Snow White and the Prince brings a beloved fairy tale to life for families everywhere.

REP 2020 ends with REP Theater for Young Audiences’ (RTYA’s) children’s musical Snow White and the Prince by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman. From the same writers of REP’s mega hit 2018 production Rapunzel, Rapunzel, A Very Hairy Fairytale comes this witty new take on a beloved classic. Running from September 12, 2020 to January 31, 2021, this play is directed by none other than the legendary Joy Virata. When Snow White meets her prince at the ball, they fall in love. But when the magic mirror tells the Evil Queen that Snow White is the fairest in all the land, she burns with jealousy. She vows to vanquish Snow White, but the young girl flees into the forest and befriends seven unusual miners. Children of all ages will delight in this fun re-telling of this beloved fairytale that reminds us that people united in goodness are more powerful than the forces of evil.

Ed Lacson Jr. directs for REP Unplugged, REP’s edgy take on alternative theater, which will be launched in June 2020.

For the first time in REP history, audiences will get to experience REP Unplugged, an edgy and exciting new staging concept that is independent—or “unplugged”—from the rest of the season. Directed by theater wunderkind Ed Lacson Jr., REP Unplugged is alternative theater and will be performed in unconventional performance spaces. It will be launched in June 2020 during the interim between REP’s first three plays and its children’s production. Featuring an out-of-the-box approach and a fresh take on theater, REP Unplugged is ready to shake things up.

For the full experience of REP’s 2020 seas0n, purchase season passes now. Season subscribers can get access to REP’s 2020 plays at up to 30% off. The Gold Year Pass (includes 3 season shows + RTYA) costs Php 4,900, the Silver Year Pass (includes 3 season shows + RTYA) is only Php3,700, the Gold Season Pass (includes 3 season shows) is Php 4,200, and the Silver Season Pass (includes 3 season shows) is Php 3,150.

For show-buying and ticket inquiries, contact REP at 8451-1474 or 0966-905-4013. You may also purchase your season passes by calling Ticketworld at 891-9999, or through www.ticketworld.com.ph.

For updates and show schedules, log on to www.repertoryphilippines.ph, or like and follow repertoryphilippines on Facebook and Instagram.

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NEWS: CCP MARKS GOLDEN YEAR WITH SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE STAMPS

CCP Official Stamp Design (small)

The celebration for the 50th founding anniversary of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) continues with the launch of the special commemorative stamps, featuring the facade of the CCP main building and the CCP 50th Anniversary logo.

CCP chairperson Ms. Margarita “Margie” Moran opens the launch with her welcome remarks on October 15, 2019, at the Main Theater Lobby, followed by a short message from PHLPost postmaster general Joel Otarra.
PHLPost chairman Norman Fulgencio presents the special commemorative stamps, along with the CCP 50th Anniversary Souvenir Folder and the Official First Day Cover.

Acapellago (Photographed by Erickson dela Cruz)

Acapellago performs well-loved Filipino songs including “Handog” and “Limang Dipang Tao,” while PPO Brass Band provides musical entertainment.
In partnership with the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost), the special stamps commemorate the CCP’s innumerable contributions in the preservation, promotion and development of the Philippine arts and culture for the last 50 years.

“The CCP stamps encapsulizes what the CCP is, what it has been doing in the past decades, and what the future brings. The stamps are our tangible promise that CCP will continuously be at the forefront in making arts matter to every Filipino,” enthused CCP chairperson Margie Moran-Floirendo.

This is the second time that the CCP launches a commemorative stamp. The first one was in 1969, two months after CCP’s inauguration. The CCP’s 1969 postage stamp, showing the CCP building and ground, came in a set of two stamps with 10s and 30s denominations.

Signature signing for the CCP commemorative stamp.

“The stamps serve as visual reminder about the architectural significance of the main building designed by National Artist Leandro Locsin. Serving as a beacon of Philippine arts and culture, the CCP has always been in the forefront of cultural development, art appreciation and art education. And it will continue to do so in the next 50 years,” said CCP VP and artistic director Chris Millado.

Inaugurated on September 8, 1969, the CCP has been the premiere venue to showcase the best of Philippine arts and culture, and remains peerless in its achievements in nurturing excellent artists, producing high quality works and developing audiences for the performing arts. One of the first major venues for the performing arts in Asia, it is considered one of the world’s finest examples of Brutalism architecture.

Through the years, the CCP has been keeping its promise to make arts matter to every Filipino. It has become the leading institution for arts and culture in the Philippines by promoting artistic excellence and nurturing the broadest audiences to participate in art making and appreciation.

PHLPost has printed 10,000 copies of the CCP 50th Anniversary commemorative stamp sold for P12.00 each. The stamps and official first day covers are now available at the Philatelic Counter, Central Post Office, Liwasang Bonifacio 1000, Manila and area post offices nationwide.

CCP staff
PHLPost and CCP officers.
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News: Digitally Restored “ANG TV Movie The Adarna Adventure,” “Saan Ka Man Naroroon” screen at Power Plant Cinema

_Cast of ANG TV movie The Adarna Adventure (v2)

ABS-CBN Film Restoration’s “Reelive the Classics” brings to the big screen new digitally restored and remastered films, including “Ang TV Movie The Adarna Adventure” and “Saan Ka Man Naroroon” in its week-long run at the Power Plant Cinema from September 20 to
26.

Star Cinema’s “Ang TV Movie The Adarna Adventure” had its premiere on the event’s first day, which was attended by the movie’s lead stars Patrick Garcia, Camille Prats, Gio Alvarez, Guila Alvarez, and Paolo Contis. Camille, who revealed that she kept the shoes she used in the movie as a memento, said that she hopes that new generation of viewers would learn the value of friendship as
demonstrated by their characters in the film.

“It’s not often that we see movies like this today. The film has an important lesson about friendship. We (characters) worked together as friends so we can give the Ibong Adarna to Angelica’s (Panganiban) grandmother and cure her illness,” the former child star said.

Paolo, on the other hand, shared that he gets to hangout with some of the cast members but would love to be reunited with the whole gang in the future.

“If I’m not mistaken, I was 11 or 12 (years old) when we did the movie. Actually until now, some of us (cast) remained friends. Hopefully we can have a reunion, even not in a movie, just to hangout and catch up, that would be fun,” he shared.

Now a family man, Patrick considers the event a special moment, especially his kids haven’t had the chance to watch him on the big screen.

“It’s a special moment for me and my family because my kids would be able to watch me in a movie for the first time. It’s a clean, wholesome, and fun comedy that can be appreciated by any generation,” he stated.

Moviegoers relieved the fantasy of the 1996 film that revolved around a group of friends who were magically transported to the kingdom of Berbanya where they helped a prince find the elusive bird Adarna, who is actually a cursed princess, to save his dying father.

The cast and crew of ANG TV Movie The Adarna Adventure.

Aside from the comedy-adventure flick, the digitally restored version of the 1993 romance film “Saan Ka Man Naroroon” is set to make its debut on September 22 (Sunday). Led by the iconic tandem of Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta, fans will once again feel the “kilig” with the tale of two lovers Miguel (Richard) and Amanda (Dawn) who were separated by fate but found their way back together.

Meanwhile, movie aficionados will be able to catch hits and other critically-acclaimed movies at “Reelive the Classics,” including “Hihintayin Kita sa Langit,” “Minsa’y Isang Gamu-Gamo,”
“Bad Bananas sa Puting Tabing,” “Sarah… Ang Munting Prinsesa,” “Eskapo,” “Tanging Yaman,” and “Gimik: The Reunion.”

To date, ABS-CBN Film Restoration Project has already restored nearly 180 films, some of which were already screened internationally via film fests, screened locally via red carpet
premieres, aired on free-to-air and cable television, viewed via pay-per-view and video-on-demand, distributed on DVD, and downloadable even on iTunes.

Visit www.facebook.com/filmrestorationabscbn for more information on the screening schedules of digitally restored films.

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News: TBA Studios presents “Habambuhay”, a docu series celebrating the 100th year of Philippine Cinema

Habambuhay Docu Series – TBA studios [banner]

In celebration of the 100 Years of Philippine Cinema, “Habambuhay” is a new, insighfully entertaining documentary series that commemorates the lives and efforts of the people behind and in front of the camera who helped shape the Philippine Movie industry for a very long time.

In features exclusive interviews, rare archival footage, clips and photos that will help illuminate the fascinating stories behind the industry’s most significant contributors and biggest names in Philippine Cinema.

TBA Studios big bosses. Photo by Erickson dela Cruz.

“Habambuhay” boasts a star-studded list that includes screen legends like Anita Linda, Luis Nepomuceno, Eddie Mesa, Rosemarie Gil, Gloria Romero, and Eddie Garcia, in the actor’s last in-depth interview before his untimely passing, as well as industry pillars such as Mother Lily Monterverde (Regal Entertainment), Charo Santos-Concio (Star Cinema), and Marichu Vera-Perez (Sampaguita Pictures).

Renowned filmmakers Peque Gallaga, Laurice Guillen, Lav Diaz, Brillante Mendoza, Jerrold Tarog, screenwriters Ricky Lee, Racquel Villavicencio, Rody Vera, and Philippine Cinema’s Golden Age screen idols Christopher de Leon, Bembol Roco Jr., Michael de Mesa, Cherie Gil, and Ms. Nora Aunor are some of the illustrious names featured in this one-of-a-kind legacy project.

Filmmaker Doy del Mundo Jr. Photographed by Erickson dela Cruz

Directed by award-winning writer, director, and author Clodualdo “Doy” Del Mundo Jr. and produced by TBA Studios (Heneral Luna, Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, Women of the Weeping River to name a few), “Habambuhay” made its premiere at this year’s Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

An omnibus episode, featuring an all-star-cast, was screened last Friday, September 13th at Gateway Cineplex and an episode dedicated to one of the country’s most prominent shwobiz families, The Eigenmanns, was screened on last night, September 14 in the same venue.

Ms. Cherie Gil and Ms. Rosemarie Gil Photographed by Erickson dela Cruz

“Habambuhay” is made by TBA Studios in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

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News: PhilPop, PETA and NCCA boost Taga-Alog 2019 campaign with songwriting bootcamp

Taga-Alog Mini Bootcamp

PhilPop, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) have teamed up for Taga-Alog Mini Bootcamp—a two-day songwriting workshop that aims to promote Ilog Pasig as a center of cultural narrative and heritage, as well as raise awareness for the rehabilitation efforts of the river through creative advocacy in music.

Songwriting for Advocacy 

Headed by acclaimed and award-winning music industry professionals Noel Cabangon, Trina Belamide, and Jungee Marcelo, the music camp gathered upcoming composers and songwriters who have shown immense promise in writing the next big anthem for the environment. 

With the success of last year’s TampisAwit and its initiative to foster a culture of sustainability and utmost care for Ilog Pasig, PETA and NCCA have expanded the mentorship program for budding songwriters and composers by tapping PhilPop to come up with a more comprehensive syllabus that put emphasis on Songwriting for Advocacy.

 

Camp Activities

Fellows were in for a treat as mentors provided their expertise on songwriting basics with emphasis on both form and content. The sessions included consultation with the coaches, as well as presentation and evaluation of their work. 

“This time, we’re not only imparting techniques to improve their craft,” Taga-Alog Mini Bootcamp 2019 Chairman Noel Cabangon said. “It is also our responsibility to prepare them in the real world, and help them pitch advocacy concepts that are geared toward creative ways to build awareness on various environmental causes. As musicians, we are more than just entertainers; we can change the world with our art.”

The two-day songwriting workshop and competition culminated with the performance of the top 5 finalists and the announcement of the top 3 songs. The first place winner will be given a grant for official recording and promotions during the entire Taga-Alog campaign for 2019.

 

Day 1 Photos:

 

Day 2 Photos:

 For more information, visit the Taga-alog official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TagaAlog/) or email nccatagaalog@gmail.com

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News: HIMALA -PASSING ON THE BATON OF FAITH

Himala Isang Musikal 2019 (landscape) promotional banner

Kunan mo ako at gawin mo akong sining. Gawin mo akong imortal.” — Elsa

Truer words were never spoken. From Nora Aunor to May Bayot-De Castro, the former to Aicelle Santos, the iconic role of Elsa has been immortalized every which way—transcending various mediums from page to stage. Whatever the form, the legendary heroine, who beckons to a higher being then aches with disappointment in the lines, “Walang Himala!” launched a crusade of sorts, bringing in flocks of followers, who struggle with their own faith and morality.

Based on allegations of Marian apparitions on Cabra Island, Occidental Mindoro, writer Ricky Lee sought to document one of the country’s greatest mysteries—faith healers and religious crusaders. Amidst the film’s multiple revisions and developments, one thing remained constant: the casting of Nora Aunor, whom the creators had in mind from the very beginning. Considered one of Philippine Cinema’s greatest films of all time, Himala is also considered Aunor’s best work, earning her multiple nominations and awards, including her Best Actress Award in the 1982 Metro Manila Film Festival.

May Bayot-de Castro (c) Photographed by Erickson dela Cruz

Aunor passed on the baton of faith to May Bayot-De Castro in 2003, when the original stage adaptation was mounted at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Bayot-De Castro’s turn as Elsa earned her an Aliw Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She is equally honored and humbled to be returning to Barrio Cupang in the role of Nanay Saling, and admits to having the jitters prior to rehearsals. “Ninenerbyos ako days before the rehearsal. Maybe the anxiety came from not knowing what to expect. Also, most of the cast members did the musical before, and coming in with a new track is kind of nerve-wracking.

Still, she thanks her lucky stars for giving her the opportunity to work on the musical that may well be considered her big break. Over all, the rehearsal process has been a refreshing and reassuring experience for the veteran actress. She shares “It was refreshing to find out that Ed is very open to new attacks on the characters. It was also reassuring to know that there are no set profiles for the characters. The process and technique appealed to me— that we are freely allowed to explore and discover our characters and relationships within the community.”

Aicelle Santos and Celine Fabie will alternate for the role of Elsa.

Returning to the show, albeit in a different role and track, May Bayot-De Castro shares that she has nothing but pride and admiration for the Elsas of this generation. “Having played Elsa in the past and now watching Aicelle and Celine take on the iconic role, makes me proud of them. It is not an easy role to play. I’m also learning from them. May mga nakita akong acting choices na ginagawa nila na I wished I could have done myself.”

She elaborates further on her return to Barrio Cupang in the role of Nanay Saling, a role that came naturally to her because of her maternal instincts. “Being a mom myself has helped tremendously. And as I’ve said, it’s helpful that Ed is very open to acting choices. He does not censor right away.” Challenges and all, she is thrilled and inspired to be retelling the story of Himala, and passing on the torch to Aicelle and Celine for this year’s re-run.

Down from the hill of Barrio Cupang, Elsa will continue to call on her followers and unveil the hard truth—that miracles merely exist in the eyes and hearts of its firm believers. Decades after the film and the original stage adaptation, the baton of faith will be passed on generation after generation to keep the legacy of Himala alive, and forever in the annals of Philippine film and theater.

HIMALA isang Musikal 2019 will star Aicelle Santos in the role of Elsa, with Celine Fabie covering for the role at certain performances. Joining her are May Bayot-De Castro and Sheila Francisco alternating for the role of Nanay Saling, Kakki Teodoro as Nimia, Neomi Gonzales as Chayong, Sandino Martin and Vic Robinson alternating for the role of Pilo, David Ezra as Orly and Floyd Tena as Padre.

Rounding out the cast are Jon Abella, Roxy Aldiosa, Sigrid Balbas, Gene Barsaga, Jay Barrameda, Patricia Bermudez, Raflesia Bravo, Joshua Cabiladas, Dannielle Cruz, Christian Cusi, Katreen Dela Cruz, Angelo Esperanzate, Marielle Estalani, Mano Domingo, Kits Falcis, Jef Flores, Nel Gumalog, Pam Imperial, Sean Inocencio, Jasper Jimenez, Gary Junsay, Glenda Liao, Alvin Maghanoy, Roby Malubay, Hazel Maranan, Eizel Marcelo, Nathan Molina, Red Nuestro, Ivan Panganiban, Matel Patayon, Cristy Peredo, Neil Tolentino, Onyl Torres and Jenny Villegas.

Award-winning director, Ed Lacson, Jr., returns to the director’s chair in this year’s re-run of Himala: Isang Musikal. He also doubles as the show’s set designer. Multi-awarded composer and lyricist, Vincent A. deJesus, is at the helm once again as composer, lyricist and musical director. Completing the artistic team are Ricky Lee as writer and lyricist, Barbie Tan-Tiongco as lighting designer, Carlo Pagunaling as costume designer, Jed Balsamo as music consultant, JM Cabling as assistant to the director and Ejay Yatco as assistant musical director.

Toff De Venecia leads the production team as co-executive producer alongside Santi Santamaria, for The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical, respectively. Rounding out the team are Anna Santamaria as operations and finance director, Sab Jose as marketing and PR director, Maine Manalansan as design director, Erwin Romulo as creative consultant, Charyl De Guzman as production manager, Jonjon Martin as public relations manager and Mara Agleham as head stage manager.

Ricky Lee and Vincent A. deJesusHIMALA: ISANG MUSIKAL will open on September 20, 2019 and will have a limited engagement until October 20, 2019 at the Powermac Center Spotlight in Circuit Makati. Tickets are now available through Ticketworld online or 891.9999, The Sandbox Collective at 0956 200 4909, 0917 554 5560 and 586 7105.

This Musical is co-presented by The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical, in commemoration of their 10/5 anniversaries.

Official (character) posters of Himala: Isang Musikal 2019
More Photos from the Press Conference:

Photographs by Erickson Dela Cruz

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News: Commemorative markers unveiled at CCP’s 50th Anniversary

CCP CommemorativeMarkers Unveiling -10Sept2019-Kiko

THE Cultural Center of the Philippines unveiled yesterday (September 10) two markers to commemorate the important role played by the premiere institution in promoting, preserving and developing the Philippine arts and culture in the past 50 years. The markers were installed at the CCP Main Theater Lobby.

“The Cultural Center of the Philippines is a fulfillment of the decades-long quest of countless Filipino artists and government officials for a National Theater,” the marker partially reads.

The event was graced by CCP president Arsenio Lizaso who welcomed the guests, while CCP chairperson Margie Moran Floirendo and Board of Trustees member Baltazar Endriga read the full text of the markers in English and Filipino, respectively.

Likewise the event was attended by CCP Board of Trustees, executives and employees, former chairmen and presidents. The family of the late National Artist Leandro V. Locsin (who designed the 50-year-old structure) was represented by son Andy. (Photo by Kiko Cabuena)

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News: German Club Manila’s 81st Oktoberfest is Happening at Solaire

81st Oktoberfest in Solaire v2

Solaire and German Club Manila once again bring you the much-awaited and most authentic Oktoberfest celebration in Manila happening on October 17 to 19 at The Tent at Solaire.

In its press conference held recently, members of the media were given a preview of this year’s Oktoberfest and what the public should look out for. Decked in true Oktoberfest fashion, Solaire’s The Forum was transformed to vividly resemble the look and feel of Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich, Germany.

Guests were greeted with sumptuous appetizers. Openers came in a basket of oven-fresh German breads and pretzels, two types of salads: Munich style sausage salad and German potato salad, and a German cold cuts and cheese platter were shared and served as conversation starters.

Like in previous years, the master of ceremonies continues to be German Club’s Michael Scheile with Eiffelene Salvador as co-emcee, who introduced the hosts for the 81st Oktoberfest. Solaire’s Vice President of Food & Beverage Knut Becker expressed his delight in this renewed partnership, “This year’s 81st Oktoberfest will continue to be authentic and put the spotlight on the best of German culture. Following a very successful Oktoberfest celebration last year, we are thrilled to be hosting once again German Club Manila’s Oktoberfest celebrations and look forward to continuing this partnership.”

Tobias Rast, German Club Manila’s President stated, “The German Club Manila is excited to celebrate this year’s Oktoberfest celebration once again with Solaire. The previous year broke our own records. We look forward to a more dynamic and vibrant celebration of the German culture through the Oktoberfest celebration.”

Officially opening the event, Solaire VP of Food & Beverage Knut Becker, German Club Manila President Tobias Rast, and Solaire VP for Culinary Michael Dinges were invited up the stage for the ceremonial toast followed by the lively music that signals the beginning of the increasingly speedy tempo of the Fliegerlied, an Oktoberfest classic that brings the crowd on their feet and to the dance floor.

Solaire’s Vice President of Culinary Michael Dinges shared what’s special about this Oktoberfest, “The German Club Manila’s Oktoberfest here at Solaire underscores authenticity. From the Weihenstephan beer, entertainment by the Bavarian Sound Express, to the homemade German sausages and delicacies from family recipes, all have their roots from Germany. Guests will receive an overflowing selection of Germany’s best tastes and flavors, surrounded by the finest Filipino hospitality.”

Lederhosen clad gents and dirndl wearing ladies emerged with Bavarian delicacies. A variety of sausages like the Weisswurst, and an assortment of meats such as pork schnitzel, Swabian red bratwurst, Kaesekrainer and veal sausages, were presented in mouthwatering platters and samplers. Classic desserts like the apple and walnut strudel with vanilla sauce and ice cream, and Kaiserschmarn, a dish made of shredded rum raisin pancakes with berry compote and vanilla sauce were the perfect balancer after a hearty dose of German goodness.

To show the kind of fun to be expected on the 81st Oktoberfest, guests were invited to a beer drinking game and a food relay to test the competitiveness of each player. The gentlemen were given two 500mL steins filled with beer that they must race to finish in record breaking time. The same mechanics apply to ladies, but with only one 500mL stein of beer. Groups got a kick out of the food relay game as each team raced to finish more pretzels and sausages following a heavy serving of German fare. For those who weren’t able to participate, an exciting raffle draw await offering the chance to win coveted prizes.

The 81st Oktoberfest will be a surefire hit with its knockout roster of the most authentic German dishes, and astonishing program filled with exciting entertainment. Buy your tickets for this year’s much awaited and most authentic Oktoberfest celebration in Manila. For more information and ticket reservations, you may call the German Club at 894 2899 or 818 4236 or book online at www.oktoberfest.ph

 

More photos from the press conference:

Photographs by Erickson dela Cruz

 

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NEWS: ETO NA! MUSIKAL nAPO Returns to the Stage in February!

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‘Panalangin’ mo bang panoorin ang Eto na! Musikal nAPO! ulit? 9 Works Theatrical and Globe Live are bringing the critically-acclaimed jukebox musical, back by popular demand!

When Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! made its debut in August 2018, it became a resounding success that rocked the stage. The charming cast and poignant story featuring the best songs of the legendary group APO Hiking Society captured the hearts of theatergoers and OPM fans alike. Hailed for its heartwarming portrayal of coming-of-age, it brought the tunes’ life-long fans back to their youth.

Set in a university in the 1970s, Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! follows a ragtag group of collegiates hard at work to win a songwriting and singing competition. The story sees them through the ups-and-downs of youth, from artistic doubts to romantic bliss and heartbreak. All of this happens under the iron claw of Martial Law, and yet for three of them—aptly named Jaime, Donnie, and Bobbie—their spirit and passion for music stay strong.

Even Jim Paredes himself was a fan: “Quite honestly, I was not prepared to see what I saw. I was more than surprised and delighted. I was ecstatic!”

APO’s timeless songs were given a fresh twist by the talented cast, which made the musical truly resound with all ages. Parents brought their children to the show, while millennial 9 Works Theatrical followers even brought their parents. For the young ones, it was a nostalgic glimpse into how it was in the 70s. Many audience members came back to watch again, so it’s no wonder that entire shows were sold out.

“It’s proof that great jukebox musicals come from a perfect marriage of hit songs and a well laid-out story, and one shouldn’t be more important than the other,” wrote Spot.ph. “Add this to the universality of the themes that the Robbie Guevara script touches on, and you have a nostalgic show that even younger generations can relate to.” ABS-CBN.com mentioned that the musical is “undoubtedly a solid original work that could prove to be a game-changer for the local theater scene.” Philippine Star wrote, “So open your hearts, this one’s guaranteed to sweep you off your feet.”

Watch out for the five new members joining the cast:

Floyd Tena, the singer, theater actor and commercial model, is playing Rick. He played the Priest in 9 Works Theatrical and The Sandbox Collective’s staging of Himala Isang Musikal last year, and is part of the crossover group PRIMO.

Showtime mainstay, Aliw Awards & Urban Music Awards winner, singer, actress, songwriter and model Mica Javier follows in Danny and Jobim Javier’s footsteps as the alternate for Anna. It’s another step in her musical career, where she has a recording deal with Timbaland Productions in New York to her name. She is also currently part of ABS-CBN show Los Bastardos, and has appeared in international shows such as Gossip Girl and How To Make it In America.

Alternating for Jane is actress-singer Roxanne Barcelo, who is famously known for TV show Wildflower and her stint in Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition. It’s her long-overdue return to theater since her 2008 appearance as the Cat in the Hat in Seussical the Musical.

Vien King, who was part of Dekada 70, Mula Sa Buwan, Kanser and Lola Basyang, jumps onboard as the alternate for Benjie. Luis Marcelo, best remembered as Crutchie in Disney’s Newsies, joins the gang as Jojo’s alternate.

The rest of the cast will be back: Mark Bautista, together with Jobim Javier, Alfritz Blanche, Jon Philippe Go, Jef Flores, Jon Abella, and Vyen Villanueva. Joining them are Rita Daniela, Marika Sasaki, Sab Jose, Raul Montesa, and Neomi Gonzales. Rounding out the cast are Gian Gloria, Shalee Vicencio, Peachy Atilano-Guevara, Anton Posadas, Jourdan Bartolome, and Derrick Gozos.

Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is an original Filipino musical with lyrics and music by Danny Javier, Jim Paredes and Boboy Garrovillo, musical arrangements and orchestrations by Daniel Bartolome and Orly dela Cruz. For the song “Ewan,” music and lyrics are by Louie Ocampo and Winnie Arrieta, respectively.

The Company in 9 Works Theatrical and Globe Live!’s HETO NA! MUSIKAL nAPO! Photo by Mr. Leo Castillo

Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!  is written and directed by Robbie Guevara, along with Jonjon Martin as dramaturg, Dingdong Rosales as assistant director, Daniel Bartolome as musical director, PJ Rebullida as choreographer, Shakira Villa Symes as lightning designer, Joey Mendoza as set designer, Eric Pineda as costume designer, GA Fallarme as video & projection designer, Dong Calingacion as technical director, Ian Monsod as sound designer, Myrene Santos as hair and makeup designer, Ronan Ferrer as vocal supervisor and Cathy Azanza-Dy as stage coach.

Heading the production team are executive producers Santi Santamaria (9 Works Theatrical) and Denise Seva (Globe Live), Globe Live Senior Adviser Joe Caliro, along with the 9 Works Theatrical Team: Anna Santamaria as operations director, Jonjon Martin as PR manager, GM Hernandez as marketing manager, Arma Bonilla as stage manager, Gian Nicdao as graphic design manager and JC Inocian as photographer.

Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! will be back at Maybank Performing Arts Theater, Bonifacio Global City, on February 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 22-24, March 1-3, 8, 10 & 15-17, 2019, at 8:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, and 2:30pm on Saturdays & Sundays.

For tickets, contact 586.7105, 0917.554.5560, or Ticketworld at 891.9999.

A limited number of performances are available for fundraising and block buying. Please contact 586.7105 • 0917.554.5560 • info@9workstheatrical.com.

Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is a production of 9 Works Theatrical and Globe Live, co-presented by FOXlife, with MP [Maquillage Professionnel] School of Make Up Artistry as the official make up partner, and media partner CNN Philippines. Special thanks to BGC Arts Center.

SOURCE: 9 Works Theatrical

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NEWS: Katheryn Winnick of HISTORY’s Vikings makes her first special appearance in Asia at History Con 2018

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Get ready for an exciting lineup of stars at the upcoming HISTORY CON, the country’s entertainment convention happening August 10-12 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

HCON18_Main Keyart_OOHGet up close and personal with your favorite celebrities from HISTORY’s acclaimed TV programs, including Katheryn Winnick of HISTORY’s Emmy-winning series, Vikings. The actress has racked up several nominations, including one for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series from the Critics’ Choice Awards and another for Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role from the Canadian Screen Awards.

You can also catch international celebrities from your favorite shows like Giorgio A. Tsoukalos of Ancient Aliens, Jamie Dempsey of Ride N’Seek, Mongchin Yeoh of Who Runs the World, and Simon Yin of HISTORY Hustle and Hidden Cities Extreme. The stellar line-up will also include Xian Lim and Diego Loyzaga starring in HISTORY Asia’s award-winning original automotive reality series, Celebrity Car Wars.

HISTORY CON is a world-class affair which garnered a record-breaking attendance of 68,800 people in 2017 and 50,000 people in 2016. With over 300 hundred astonishing exhibits from historic displays to exclusive talks, workshops, and more, this year’s HCON is definitely one not to miss.

HISTORY CON 2018 early-bird ticket purchasers of the HISTORY Maker Pass (PHP 2,500) or HISTORY Maker VIP Pass (PHP 10,000) before July 31,2018 at SM Tickets may enjoy special access to the exclusive special talk, Ancient Aliens ‘LIVE’ Session by headlining international celebrity, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos. HISTORY fans are invited to explore the unexplained with Giorgio A. Tsoukalos and examine some of the world’s greatest mysteries about extra-terrestrial existence throughout history. This special talk will bring together truth-seekers and HISTORY fans on the discussion, debate and exploration up-close with the leading expert himself.

Visit www.historyasia.com/historycon for more information.

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REVIEW: A CHRISTMAS CAROL returns more beautifully this year

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Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical’s restaging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL creates an experience that embodies everything that Christmas today is about. This one returns to the stage with a more surprising overall emotional impact. On its London streets and houses, we see an ensemble that represents more than a handful archetypal characters from start to finish, brandishing this tale with familiarity and relevance. And it is a sight to see. Ah! and its music, set, and the performance resulting from a combination of humor, horror, and life is quality more than it’s worth.

This Charles Dickens novel  has had several editions, translated in several languages, and adapted in various forms since its publication for a reason. Despite the fact that Dickens intended A CHRISTMAS CAROL to be a “ghost story,” its core remains to be relevant. It tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter old miser who soon became a changed man overnight through the visit of four ghosts: his long-deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Be.

Miguel Faustman as Ebenezer Scrooge in Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical's 2017 re-staging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Miguel Faustman as Ebenezer Scrooge in Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical’s 2017 re-staging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens’ musical adaptation breathed new life to Dickens’ novel and opened the possibility for people of all backgrounds to experience what one may call #TheMiracleWithin.

This rerun of A CHRISTMAS CAROL takes us to a chilly but cheerful London town enlivened for Christmas joyously brought to life through the direction of Robbie Guevara. Guevara, together with choreographers PJ Rebullida and Yek Barlongay, seem to breeze through the challenge of directing a cast with a complex demographic to sing, act, and dance. Daniel Bartolome’s musical direction has always brought more than just cheer to each staging. This year, his orchestration rhymes well with the re-staging’s more focused and aligned direction, reaching out with clarity and relevance.

Theater veteran Miguel Faustmann returns as Ebenezer Scrooge, mastering the essence of a man whose circumstances made him bitter gaunt. Faustmann seems to have found the balance in his portrayal that one can easily hate him for his actions, and at the same time, pray for his redemption. It is easy I suppose to sympathize with Scrooge as we all are in a way similar to him.

Noel Rayos as Marley in Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical's 2017 re-staging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Noel Rayos as Jacob Marley in Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical’s 2017 re-staging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL

The four ghosts that visited Scrooge earned a standing ovation, Sunday night, for good reason. The magic of the three ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Be is that whether they are on Scrooge’s side or not, they have a mission to redirect his ways. The technical effects headed by Don Calingacion takes the set from Scrooge’s room to a supernatural world in his dream with surprises that should be preserved for when people go to see it live. Franco Laurel who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past delivers his lines with impeccable spirit you’ll somewhat hear an echo of his song even after Act 1! And while Nico Dans who plays the Ghost of Christmas Present appears like a phantasmal Santa Clause, that young audiences will love see, Rissey Reyes plays the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be, delivers a hypnotically menacing performance.

Noel Rayos plays the ghost of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s long-deceased business partner who warns him of the dark future in store for him if he continues on his dark path. His mere stage presence is enough to make one’s hair raise. He emanates so much hate, rage, and suffering that one may ask oneself how deep a chord such darkness could strikes a soul.  Despite Rayos’ raggedness, there is a certain grace at the way he wields his chains that’s hypnotizing.

This re-staging offers a different experience from last year’s production. Though considerably bare and spartan as compared to the extravagant sets from 2016, this one shines with more magic and myth, reliving Dickens’ tale with clarity and focus. If last year brought considerable cheers, this one makes the audiences sigh with the miracle of heartfelt nostalgia and silent gratitude. Something that  Dickens’ wanted to tell us all along.

Miguel Faustman as Ebenezer Scrooge in Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical's 2017 re-staging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Miguel Faustman as Ebenezer Scrooge in Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical’s 2017 re-staging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Happy Holidays, dear Jellicle Readers.

#GlobeLive9WTACC #TheMiracleWithin #TheJellicleBlog

Photos by: 9 Works Theatrical and Ms. Trixie Dauz

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NEWS: ANG LARAWAN The Musical makes it to the MMFF

ANG LARAWAN (2017)

The producers, filmmakers and supporters of ANG LARAWAN, the musical based on Nick Joaquin’s play A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS FILIPINO, are getting their Christmas wish: for the film to be included in the Metro Manila Film Festival 2017.

In the announcement made by the MMFF organizing committee on the afternoon of November 17 at Club Filipino in Greenhills, “Ang Larawan” was given one of the four remaining slots given to finished films.

In this story about art versus pragmatism set in 1941, two unmarried sisters, Candida and Paula, are in dire straits following the hibernation of their painter-father Don Lorenzo Marasigan. Their father gives them his last masterpiece, which could fetch a huge amount of money and yet the sisters refuse to part with it. That is until their boarder, Tony Javier, presents an irresistible proposition.

ANG LARAWAN (2017)
Paulo Avelino as Tony Javier, Rachel Alejandro and Joanna Ampil as Paula and Candida Marasigan in ANG LARAWAN (2017)

ANG LARAWAN features an all-star ensemble cast led by Joanna Ampil as Candida, Rachel Alejandro as Paula and Paulo Avelino as Tony Javier. It also stars Nonie Buencamino, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Robert Arevalo, Celeste Legaspi, Sandino Martin, Cris Villonco, Aicelle Santos, Cara Manglapus, Jojit Lorenzo, with the special participation of Ogie Alcasid, Rayver Cruz, and Zsa Zsa Padilla and Bernardo Bernardo, Jaime Fabregas, Noel Trinidad, Nanette Inventor and Dulce.

“Ang saya ng Pasko ko!” said Paulo. “Mabuhay ang musika at pelikulang Pilipino!” he added with enthusiasm.

“We’ve been hoping and praying for a positive outcome and finally we have it. We thank the MMFF for the chance to show our passion project to a wide audience,” said Girlie Rodis, one of the executive producers whose Culturtain Musicat Productions Inc. is the outfit behind the musical film. “The timing is also good because this year is the centennial of the birth of Nick Joaquin,” she added.

The inclusion in the MMFF comes at the heels of the world premiere of the film at the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) where ANG LARAWAN (international title: THE PORTRAIT) got SRO screenings and rave reviews. Richard Kuipers of Variety described it as “a stirring musical drama… THE PORTRAIT proves a handsomely produced-big screen adaptation… featuring classy melodrama and terrific tunes performed by a dream cast.” Weeks after the premiere at TIFF, “Ang Larawan” opened the Cinematografo International Film Festival in San Francisco where it also got a sold-out screening and reaped acclaim.

ANG LARAWAN (2017) International Poster
ANG LARAWAN (2017) International Poster

In a message sent from Cologne Germany where she is on tour for the European production of the musical “Cats,” lead actress Joanna Ampil applauded the decision of the MMFF saying, “We live in an era where the audience is geared towards supporting commercial movies. Ours may not be as commercial but it has an important message and we made it with a lot of heart. Getting into MMFF, it’s good to know that quality movies have a chance.”

For information and updates, log on to anglarawan.com and facebook.com/AngLarawanTheMovie.

 

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REVIEW: HAIR Steers the Mind

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Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt Macdermot’s HAIR came to New York during the time of the experimental theatre movement, so don’t be surprised with its structure, language, and feel. It was a time when theater producers were finding new methods on how to communicate with an audience. HAIR – like its contemporaries – have delved heavily on improvisations, audience participation and even unorthodoxed rites to break barriers in contemporary theater. And boy, how it thrived!

Amidst its chaos and psychedelic randomness, there’s something really beautiful in HAIR. Initially produced in an era when the US government was sending troops halfway around the world to kill and die for strangers, this revolutionary musical satirized, in its own way, the ridiculousness of it all. In their own little way, Ragni, Rado and Macdermot brought to the Broadway stage an unlikely musical that forced its audience to ask bigger questions about life, freedom, and choices.

Repertory Philippines chooses this tribal love-rock musical as its season ender for its 50th season, and it is just brilliant. Having had seen a number of recent Rep shows in the past years, one can say that this one crosses the common boarder of conventionality and bravely put on the eccentric hat that matches this generation’s atypical stance.

It is the late 60s and just recently, the earth’s moon has aligned with four other planets in the constellation Aquarius. These heavenly bodies haven’t been in the same position in the last 2,500 years. According to some, this is beginning of a new age of creativity, idealism and freedom.

Repertory Philippines' HAIR
Repertory Philippines’ HAIR

The AquariYas Tribe, a group of politically aware long-haired hippies gather in New York city to fight and sing against Nixon’s war in Vietnam. Claude, the tribe’s leader, his friend Berger, and their roommate Sheila all find reason for their existence and try to keep balance amidst the growing resistance to social standards and conformity. Over the long haul, Claude will have to face his choices to either submit to his parents’ wishes that he fight in Vietnam, or continue his work as an underground activist.

With Director Chris Millado at the helm, Repertory Philippines’ production of HAIR didn’t miss the point. Millado carefully directs his ensemble with unmistakable vision, sprinkling the endless chaos on stage with Macdermot’s underlying imageries and blatant satires.

John Batalla’s lighting design synchronizes the magic in the hippie world of the AquariYas Tribe. Batalla illuminates the Greenbelt Onstage platform with an array of limitless colors, expanding the characters’ euphoric universe with the magic of brilliance and sunshine. Like in its original 1967 production, Joey Mendoza’s set rejected the conventional theater design with its center, relatively bare, but not neglected of color and breathable space.

Ejay Yatco’s orchestration soon becomes one of the show’s additional character. Yatco’s arrangement and sound add to the brilliance of the musical’s peculiar lyricism.

The AquariYas Tribe in Repertory Philippines' HAIR
The AquariYas Tribe in Repertory Philippines’ HAIR

PJ Rebullida, who amazed audiences with choreography for works like NEWSIES, constructs a pretty skeletal series of movements that doesn’t feel choreographed. With lyrics that do not rhyme and music that jumps beyond conventionalities, he challenged himself with creating movements for the sound and feel of an authentic rock & roll musical. Like its unconfined narrative, Rebullida allows the ensemble to create their own movements, expanding the experience through an explosion of a social epoch.

George Shulze’s Berger surprises the audiences with his electric portrayal as Claude’s eccentric buddy. Caisa Borromeo, as Sheila, is a sight to see – swinging from Berger to Claude, and back again, depicting a peculiar exhibition of both love and companionship.

And we have Markki Stroem as Claude, who commands his crowd of psychedelic liberalists with a presence only a strong-willed hippie could muster. Stroem is at his strongest his more sentimental scenes, bringing justice to Madermot’s characterizations of a young man torn between his early choices. However, Stroem lags in the more upbeat sequences, somewhat missing the point of hippie groove and authenticity of this era. Understand that the epoch’s concept of ethereal consciousness springs from the idea of feeling good, rather than just looking good.

Markki Stroem as Claude, Caisa Borromeo as Sheila and George Schulze as Berger in Repertory Philippines' HAIR
Markki Stroem as Claude, Caisa Borromeo as Sheila and George Schulze as Berger in Repertory Philippines’ HAIR

Yet, the ensemble compensates this want, granting a quick access to an era of minorities who preferred to be called “freaks” rather than “hippies.” Millado presents and array of composites for “Krishna followers” and “Jesus freaks” communing to present a weird, yet colorful spectrum of individualists and naturalists. Worthy to mention are Naths Everett as Dion, Cara Barredo as Crissy, Alfritz Blanch as Hud, and Maronne Cruz as Jeanie, who manage to project this unique groove of the 60s; making them stand out in this sub-culture crowd.

Markki Stroem as Claude in Repertory Philippines' HAIR
Markki Stroem as Claude in Repertory Philippines’ HAIR

In the heart of HAIR’s expletives, orgies, and drug-crazed fanfares is a fairly relevant satire on societal standards, more so, on organized religion. We see Claude as the Christ who enters Act 1 saying, “I am the Son of God. I shall vanish and will soon be forgotten!” This somewhat makes Sheila and Berger as Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist, respectively. We see him blessing (anointing?) the members of the tribe, dressed in white and with hair that can likewise be comparable to that of the stereotypical Christ.

Here, we see how the piece examines its great disconnect from why we have religions in the first place. Doctrines had soon become the major focus of our religions, consequently diminishing the true meaning of God and Jesus’ scriptures.

Also, Claude’s decision to oblige to his parents’ wish for him to fight in Vietnam brings to the table yet another opportunity for discourse. As Claude sees this choice as a milestone to move from the freedom-loving life to the real world, he soon becomes a victim of his own fate. Like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, he, too, sees the need for change but do not have enough courage to execute. Though smart, witty and critical, like most of us – he hesitates with important decisions.

The Company of Repertory Philippines' HAIR
The Company of Repertory Philippines’ HAIR

A regular viewer may see HAIR as a peculiar junkie musical in need of a narrative makeover. But if you look closely, and if you’ll open your minds, you’ll see how beautiful its core is. This piece dares to question everything else that we find normal. It is in-your-face, and demands that we too raise and develop our own questions. It calls to us to acknowledge love, acceptance and freedom as our ultimate goals; to “let the sunshine in.”

If this is not what Art is supposed to do, I don’t know what is.

***

HAIR (The Tribal Love-Rock Musical) runs at Onstage Greenbelt 1 until December 17, 2017.
For tickets, please call (02) 843-3570, (02) 584-8458 or visit Ticketworld.com.ph

Photos by Ms. Trixie Dauz

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