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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

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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

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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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NEWS: Philippine Ballet Theatre kicks off its Yuletide tradition with THE NUTCRACKER

PBT’s The Nutcracker (2017)

In the Philippines, we kick off the Yuletide dance holiday season with the Philippine Ballet Theatre’s presentation of the world’s most popular classic Christmas ballet, “The Nutcracker”, at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. PBT’s annual reprise of this Christmas ballet favorite is always a much-anticipated event so audiences are encouraged to reserve tickets early to ensure seats. There will only be two shows – November 18 (Sat) 8pm Gala and a November 19 (Sunday) 3pm Matinee.

This year’s Gala performance has been sponsored by the Inner Wheel Clubs of the Philippines Foundation, Inc., headed by President Victorina I. Magadia, in coopration with the Inner Wheel Clubs of the Philippines, Inc. headed by National President Gloria Golez.

PBT’s 3rd offering for this 31st season, “The Nutcracker” will surely enthrall the audience with its colorful, larger-than-life scenery, toys that come alive, swirling snowflakes and waltzing flowers. Enjoy listening too, to the heartwarming and enchanting music that is a signature Christmas repertoire.

Visit our Christmas village at the Main Lobby of the Main Theater and experience this festive merrymaking through our wide selection of food and products that are unique to our Christmas celebrations.

A portion of the proceeds of the show will benefit our Cultural Outreach Education Program (CORE), an educational outreach in the form of free ballet classes in public schools nationwide, and performances to thousands of school children and provincial communities.

Let us all share the true spirit and joy of the Yuletide Season. See you at the theater!

For ticket inquiries and orders, please contact the PBT Secretariat at 632-8848, TicketWorld at 891-9999 or the CCP Box Office. Special discounts for senior citizens, students, and groups are available. Please inquire upon reservation or purchase.

SOURCE: Philippine Ballet Theatre

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NEWS: Snow returns to BGC with A CHRISTMAS CAROL

A Christmas Carol show photo by Jaypee Maristaza 3

The nation, even the world, have been through dark days in the recent years. And as this year draws to a close, and we look back to the year that was. But one thing rings true—that whichever way the world turns, light always outshines darkness. Love will always trump evil. The yuletide season beckons a time of homecoming, gathering, and discovering life little’s wonders; bringing out, the miracle within.

Globe Live! and 9 Works Theatrical's A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Globe Live! and 9 Works Theatrical’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Now on its second season, Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical aim to create an annual Christmas tradition in the musical A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Inspired by the same idea as New York’s annual fare of staging A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Madison Square Garden, it invites to gather families every season in the same spirit, creating a sense of tradition in storytelling and gathering as a community.

Charles Dickens’ story resonates as the transformation of Scrooge represents every single person’s journey, of discovering the goodness that lies within all of us. As Ebenezer Scrooge goes from a man of indifference to compassion and from hate to love, the message of the show prevails—that love transforms and changes us all for the better. After years of idling by and living in the pits of bitterness and rage, Scrooge begins to see the light after the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future pay him a visit, stirring him back into the gentle, compassionate man he once was.

Globe Live! and 9 Works Theatrical's A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Globe Live! and 9 Works Theatrical’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL

A Christmas Carol stars theater veteran Miguel Faustmann as Ebenezer Scrooge, Noel Rayos as Jacob Marley and Mr. Fezziwig, Franco Laurel as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Nico Dans as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Rissey Reyes as the Ghost of Christmas Future, and Jaime Yupangco and Elai Estrella as Tiny Tim.

A Christmas Carol is directed by Robbie Guevara, together with Onyl Torres as assistant director, Daniel Bartolome as musical director, PJ Rebullida as choreographer; Yek Barlongay for additional tap choreography, Ed Lacson as set designer, Dong Calingacion as technical director, Myrene Santos as hair and makeup designer, and Ian Cartalaba as costume head.

Heading the production team are executive producers Santi Santamaria (9 Works Theatrical) and Joe Caliro (Globe Live), Denise Seva (Globe Live Director for Events and Production), with 9 Works Theatrical’s Anna Santamaria as company manager, Sab Jose and Jonjon Martin as PR managers, GM Hernandez as marketing manager, Arma Bonilla as stage manager, Gian Nicdao as graphic designer and JC Inocian as photographer.

Globe Live! and 9 Works Theatrical's A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Globe Live! and 9 Works Theatrical’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL will be shown at the Globe Iconic Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater, Bonifacio Global City on December 7-9, 14-16, 21-22 & 26-27 at 8:00pm, December 10 & 17 (Sundays) and December 25 Christmas Show at 7:00pm.

For ticket inquiries, please contact Ticketworld at 891.9999.

#GlobeLive9WTACC #TheMiracleWithin #TheJellicleBlog

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NEWS: Full cast of MATILDA (The Musical) Announced

Matilda back-Trunch

Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group is excited to announce the full cast for the internationally acclaimed musical, Matilda. Composed of some of the finest musical theatre talents of the country, the cast is deep into rehearsals gearing up for a November 10th Opening Night.

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Telesa Marie “Esang” De Torres, Uma Naomi Martin, and Felicity Kyle Napuli play the title role of Matilda in ATEG’s production of MATILDA (The Musical)

Playing the title role are three of theater’s miracles: Telesa Marie “Esang” De Torres, whose most notable works include ABS-CBN’s The Voice, and the Les Miserables Asian tour, Uma Naomi Martin, who has made her theater debut in A Little Princess, and Felicity Kyle Napuli, who has been recognized as Outstanding Child Performer at the Gawad Musika Awards. They are accompanied by a team of incredible performers who will appear as Matilda’s wacky and charming classmates, namely Gabrielle Aerin Ong and Maria Ericka Peralejo as Lavander; Denise Fidel Arteta and Chi Chi Tan as Amanda; Nicole Chien and Ella Gonzalez as Alice; Alba Berenguer-Testa and Chantel Marie Guinid as Hortensia; Josh Nubla and Miguel Suarez as Bruce; Rhythm Alexander and Ian Albert Magallona as Eric; Gabo Tiongson and Pablo Miguel Palacpac as Nigel; and John Joseph Miraflores and Teddy Velasco as Tommy.

But it would not be a Matilda story if not for the adults who give these kids many a reason to be naughty. Due to give some show-stopping performances are Jamie Wilson as Miss Trunchbull; Cris Villonco as Miss Honey; Joaquin Valdes as Mr. Wormwood; Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Mrs. Wormwood; Emeline Celis-Guinid as Mrs. Phelps; Nel Gomez as Michael Wormwood; Bibo Reyes as Rudolpho; and to complete an electrifying ensemble are Steven Conde, Tim Pavino, Rhenwyn Gabalonzo, Teetin Villanueva, Gerhard Krystoffer, Alex Reyes, Jim Andrew Ferrer, Gabby Padilla and  Mica Fajardo.

Jamie as the terrifying Miss Trunchbull has 37 years of experience as an actor to back him up. He has made the theater his home since the age of seven, appearing in numerous critically acclaimed productions such as Pippin, Almost Maine, Jersey Boys: The Story Of Frankie Valli; The Four Seasons, and Run For Your Wife. A fellow veteran to accompany him is Cris, who rose to stardom as a solo artist best known for her hit single “Crush ng Bayan”, and has since then has made a name for herself in the world of theater and film. She recently appeared as Alison in Atlantis’s Fun Home.

Wormwoods
Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Mrs. Wormwood and Joaquin Valdes as Mr. Wormwood in ATEG’s MATILDA (The Musical)

Joaquin is not a stranger to the Philippine theater scene, he started as a performer at a very young age and took a break from it working in advertising for 8 years. Now, he returns to the stage as Mr. Wormwood. Playing his wife, Mrs. Wormwood is Carla, who is a Miss Saigon alumni who has performed with Atlantis in many productions including NINE, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and AVENUE Q. Not to be outdone is Emeline Celis-Guinid who will be Mrs. Phelps, Emeline has started performing at 7 years old and has been seen in Atlantis musicals such as ROCK OF AGES, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, JERSEY BOYS and SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER.

Nel, who will be playing Michael Wormwood, has been acting for 10 years, was most recently seen in KINKY BOOTS.  Bibo as Rudolpho, started his acting venture with The Ateneo Blue Repertory, was last seen on the Atlantis musical stage as Bob Crowe in JERSEY BOYS. The energetic ensemble consists of many of the country’s most dynamic performers.

Together, they help tell the story of Matilda and her friends– a group of children who are determined to fight against the injustices of childhood, and are inspired to start a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

MATILDA is directed by Bobby Garcia, Choreography by Cecile Martinez, Lighting Design by Driscoll Otto, Musical Direction by Farley Asuncion, Set Design by Faust Peneyra, Costume Design by Raven Ong,  Sound Design by Kevin Heard, Vocal Coaching by ManMan Angsico, Assistant Direction by Steven Conde, Assistant Choreography by Jim Ferrer, and Assistant Vocal Coaching by Rhenwyn Gabalonzo.

Presented by Promil together with Metrobank Card Corporation, Matilda The Musical will make its Philippine debut at the Meralco Theater, Ortigas Center, Pasig City from the 10th of November to the 10th of December this year. Shows will be scheduled on Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m and 8:00pm. The show is recommended for children aged 7 and above (children under the age of 4 will not be permitted inside the theater). Tickets are now available at Ticketworld (call 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph).

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Ampalaya Monologues celebrates its 2nd year with TWO IS BITTER THAN ONE

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To celebrate two years of artistic bitterness, the team from Ampalaya Monologues have decided to double up the bitterness with a one-night only anniversary show “Ampalaya Dialogues #TwoIsBitterThanOne” on October 14 – Saturday from 7 pm – 10 pm at the PETA Theater Center located at Eymard Road, E. Rodriguez Q.C.

Ampalaya Dialogues #TwoIsBitterThanOne will showcase six short one-act plays that will feature two characters in each story. All of which are written by Mark Ghosn and will be performed by actors of Theatre in Alternative Platforms (TAP).To celebrate two years of artistic bitterness, the team from Ampalaya Monologues have decided to double up the bitterness with a one-night only anniversary show “Ampalaya Dialogues #TwoIsBitterThanOne” on October 14 – Saturday from 7 pm – 10 pm at the PETA Theater Center located at Eymard Road, E. Rodriguez Q.C.

Ampalaya Dialogues #TwoIsBitterThanOne will showcase six short one-act plays that will feature two characters in each story. All of which are written by Mark Ghosn and will be performed by actors of Theatre in Alternative Platforms (TAP).

Known for being the country’s most popular venue for ‘hugot’ artistry, Team Ampalaya promises that this year’s feels-fest will still have those witty and relatable punchlines that are combined with unique, heart wrenching, yet entertaining stories. A formula that we’ve all been a fan of and has served as their trademark throughout the years.

The 6 One-Act Plays

TAYO, SA PAGITAN NG MGA SALITA
Starring: Thalia Nicole and Kenneth Monserrate
Drei and Alex are bandmates who are working on a spoken word and music collaboration for their upcoming gig. But what started as a collaboration session is slowly turning into confessions of hidden feelings that they can only express through poems and songs. Will they finally put a label on their relationship or will words get in the way?

MGA NAIWANG TANONG SA HULI NATING TAG-ARAW
Starring: Mark Ghosn and Alvin Nakassi
College classmates Arman and Drew accidentally meet again 7 years after they last saw each other. They decide to reminisce about their friendship over wine and pasta. As they do so, untold stories from the past emerge, forcing them to face the feelings that they’ve been trying to forget since their last summer together. As the night goes by, will one unasked question finally get its long awaited answer?

HULING KUHA
Starring: Berna Manipon and FJ Gonzales
On the day of their pre-nup shoot, law students Arthur and Dawn find their relationship in the middle of a trial. As evidences emerge and allegations are thrown at each other, will they be able to save their wedding or do they have to decide on a much harsher verdict? When is love more important than the truth?

KUNG PAANO TAYO TINALO NG PAG-IBIG
Starring: Yan-yan Gervero and Hogi Cadlum
Angie contemplates on whether or not to continue her marriage with Darwin/Dara, her cross-dressing husband who is about to give birth to her new identity. As Dara convinces Angie to take the risk, they are both faced with questions about what love really is and how they have the chance to change its meaning. Are you willing to lose yourself to let love win?

BEAUTY AND THE BES
Starring: Janine Lloce and Emman Jimenez
This kilig-comedy features the well-loved ampalaya character, Bes. Fresh from a not-so-successful tinder date, Bes decides to go at it again, this time, on a blind date. But on her way to, she got trapped in an elevator with a perfectly looking, super handsome, drool-worthy gentleman. Is this the chance encounter she’s been waiting for? But wait, why does he look so familiar?

BABIES AND THE BRIDGES THAT BURN
Starring: Gracia Paterno and Ysai Cajilig
How do you burn a bridge? In the case of frenemies Ara and Ally, it takes a lot of manipulation, brainwashing, backstabbing, blackmailing and name calling to do so. But what’s a baby got to do with it? Let’s just say it holds the match to light up the fire. Get ready for a sassy war. Watching bridges burn hasn’t been this enjoyable.

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NEWS: Expressions Stationary Shops continues with “Express Yourself pARTies”

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It’s time to get crafty! Expressions Stationery Shop, your haven for all things arts & crafts, gears up for its 30th anniversary in 2018 with a series of pARTies to unleash your creative streak. Aptly coined the “Express Yourself Party”, this fun-filled fete is part of Expressions’ Express Yourself month, held yearly in September.

Express Yourself Party
Express Yourself Party

The Express Yourself Party encourages you to embrace your uniqueness and celebrate your individuality via painting, doodling and arts & crafts. With an Express Yourself Party held weekly from September 2 to October 8 in 26 stores, there are tons of avenues to share your talents and reveal your originality.

Express Yourself Party

At the party, jazz up your plain purchases of umbrellas, shirts, eco bags, and tumblers or create a new piece of art altogether with the materials available at stations set up at the venue. You can also head over to the giant doodle wall and leave your magnificent mark, or participate in a workshop held at select stores. Besides masterpiece-making, you’ve got plenty more activities to do like shop for products by Sterling Arts, Marvy Uchida, Dong-A, Faber Castell, Sakura Pens, Deli, Croco Tape, Westcott, Maped, Colleen, and Icre8. Cross your fingers that you win one of the raffle prizes up for grabs and don’t forget to come early as freebies will be given away to the first 200 participants at every store.

Get inspired by fellow Art Enthusiasts Meeya Cruz, Craftee Dandee, and Dollicandy as they join you on your self-expression art adventure at Dollicandy: Sept 30, 10am to 5pm at Waltermart North Edsa Activity Center.

Itching to get your hands on an invite? No worries! Simply visit one of the Expressions Stationery Shops in its 85 stores nationwide, buy the special merchandise or get an Xmile VIP card, register, and get your event ticket for free.

Expressions Stationary Shop

Don’t forget to join the conversation and hashtag #EmbraceYourIndividuality #ExpressYourselfParty #Expressions and #ArtsandCrafts.

Visit the Expressions Stationery Shop website at expressions.com.ph. Get social and reach out via www.facebook.com/expressionsfanpage and www.instagram.com/expressions_ph.

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NEWS: THE SOUND OF MUSIC with the Filipino von Trapp Children premieres in Manila on September 27!

The Sound of Music MNL

The international tour of London’s West End production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC is coming to Manila! And as if this six time Tony award-winning including Best Musical and five time Oscar-winning including Best Picture (for the film) legendary classic isn’t already enough, they have casted 18 talented Filipinos for the roles of the von Trapp children for the Manila run! Premiering at the Theater at Solaire on September 27, tickets are now on sale at ticketworld.com.ph.

Carmen Pretorius as Maria in the International Tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Carmen Pretorius as Maria in the International Tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC

The book written by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse based on the true story of Maria Augusta von Trapp (The Trapp Family Singers) was set in Austria just before the World War II. THE SOUND OF MUSIC tells the tale of Maria who took on a job as a governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the seven children and later on with their widowed father, Captain von Trapp, while her fun-loving nature changes their lives by reintroducing them to music. Touching on the timeless elements of unexpected love, family bonds, beauty of nature, and the power of music, the musical is as relevant today as it was when it first premiered in 1959.

The Von Trapp Children in the International Tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC
The Von Trapp Children in the International Tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC

With over 400 children from all over the Philippines auditioning for six of the seven von Trapp kids, Jonny Bowles, the children’s director flew from London to oversee the three-day grueling rounds of singing, acting, and dancing tests. From the strict age range (6 to 13) and height to match the original von Trapp kids, three children were chosen to alternate each character throughout the Manila season. Playing Friedrich are Orenci Soleta, Kyle Rafanan, and Joseph Leggatt; Louisa by Gwyneth Dorado, Quinn O’hara, and Angelica Mabuting; Kurt by Tory Cortez, Dean Angelia, and James Hess; Brigitta by Krystal Brimner, Rayne Cortez, and Sophie Reyes; Marta by Samantha Lagman, Leani Columna, and Princess Rabara; and lastly Gretl by Jia Condino, Alysha Africa, and Faline Dorado.

At the end of the selection process, Jonny Bowles reveal that “It is the opportunity of a lifetime for these talented youngsters to star in a West End production of this caliber and Filipino audiences will be astounded at the quality of their performances.”

Carmen Pretorius as Maria in the International Tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Carmen Pretorius as Maria in the International Tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Just before the media launch on July 18 at the Diamond Hotel in Roxas Boulevard, Carmen Pretorius who plays Maria flew in to surprise the children by joining them in rehearsals as they sang “The Sound of Music.” Despite being in her twenties, Carmen has become one of the household names of African theater for her roles as Gabriella Montez in High School Musical Live Onstage, Ariel Moore in Footloose, Sophie Sheridan in MAMMA MIA!, Lorraine in Jersey Boys, and Liezl von Trapp before taking on the role of Maria in THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

Carmen Pretorius as Maria in the International Tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Carmen Pretorius as Maria in the International Tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC

While the children were star struck, it was Carmen’s reaction to the immense talent and immediate affection of the young Filipino cast that makes this production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC all the more exciting.

The music composed by Richard Rodgers and the lyrics written by Oscar Hammerstein have now become the most memorable songs ever heard on stage and screen such as “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss,” “The Lonely Goatherd,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” and “The Sound of Music.” These are tunes that have become classics after spanning generations. A feat that only true iconic seem to muster. THE SOUND OF MUSIC is considered to be the world’s most popular musical with the current production being followed by sell-out seasons in Singapore, New Zealand, and China.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC is produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Company and David Ian Productions and is presented in Manila by Globe LIVE, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Concertus Manila, and David Atkins Enterprises.

SOURCE: Concertus Manila

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