Ateneo Blue Repertory's "Company Call" Feb. 11, 2012

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Announcement from Ateneo Blue Repertory

Ateneo Blue Repertory
in celebration of its 20th year

Company Call: Blue Rep at 20

A one-night-only concert featuring excerpts of past productions

Feb. 11, 2012 (Saturday) 8pm
Henry Lee Irwin Theater, Ateneo De Manila University, Quezon City.

Be entertained by songs from classic Broadway musicals such as "Once On This Island" and "Footloose," and to be electrified by high-energy numbers from more contemporary musicals like "High School Musical" and "All Shook Up."

Blue Rep original "Stages of Love" will also take a special place on the stage, ready as always to serenade lovers and would-be lovers on this pre-Valentine’s Day event.

Featuring noted Blue Rep alumni, also considered to be some of our best talents in Philippine theater today: Rem Zamora (Repertory Philippines), Gabe Mercado (TV personality and founder of improv-comedy group SPIT), and many more!

Directed by Toff De Venecia (Freakshow and Little Shop of Horrors)
Musical direction by Ejay Yatco (Edges)
Choreography and additional direction by Jim Ferrer

Contact 0926-716-4395.

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Philippine Arts Festival holds nationwide theater fest 2012

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Yay! My article on the upcoming National Collegiate Theater Fest was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its Jan. 30, 2012 issue.

The festival is part of National Arts Month and part of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts' Philippine Arts Festival 2012.
Philippine Arts Festival holds nationwide theater fest
By Walter Ang

Theater workshop from last year's Tanghal festival.
This year’s Tanghal! National University and College Theater Festival will have events across the country, kicking off in the National Capital Region at University of Makati, Feb. 1-4.

Open to the public, the three main performances for NCR are Collective Arts of Students and Thespians’ (University of Makati) adaptation of Aurelio Tolentino’s “Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas;” Tanghalang Ateneo’s (Ateneo de Manila University) staging of Ron Capinding’s “Para los Jovenes,” a collection of Rizal’s stories for children; and Navotas Polytechnic College’s staging of “Sampung Hampas ni Mesiyas,” a production tackling current social issues.

“The festival, now on its sixth year, offers performances from university theater groups from all over the country, showcasing the harvest of Philippine theater,” says Roberto “Bobet” Mendoza, festival director.

There will be fringe productions by Molave Theater (Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila); UP Rep (University of the Philippines, Quezon City); Our Lady of Perpetual Help College, Las Piñas; Paaralan ng Bayan (Special Program for the Arts, Manila); and SuhayFil (Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila).

Organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ National Committee on Dramatic Arts, the festival is the committee’s flagship project for National Arts Month—held every February, as per Presidential Proclamation No. 683 signed by President Corazon Aquino.

Part of the festival’s goals is aimed at strengthening a national network of college-based theater groups in the country and to facilitate collaborative work among theater groups and artists.

There will be a workshop conference, titled “D2 Na Me, Wer Na U?,” which will tackle university-based/student theater groups’ use of “theater language” for the stage.

“Theater language, meaning the signs, symbols and meanings that the groups have employed in their performances,” says Mendoza.

After the activities at University of Makati, the festival moves to Baguio City (Luzon), Feb. 9-11; General Santos City (Mindanao), Feb. 22-24; concluding in Dumaguete City (Visayas), Feb. 27-29.
Contact 0906-4911006, 0923-1318131, 0928-6256895 or

Also published online:

What do you think of this festival? Share your comments.

2011 BroadwayWorld Philippines Awards list of winners

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2011 BroadwayWorld Philippines Awards list of winners

Nominations were submitted on October 2011, and voting ran through midnight of December 31, 2011.

The BroadwayWorld Philippines Awards was created partly to celebrate BroadwayWorld Philippines's third anniversary (2011).

Best Leading Actress (Musical)
Nikki Gil - Sweet Charity - 9 Works Theatrical

Best Leading Actor (Musical)
Vince Tañada - Cory ng Edsa - Philippine Stagers Foundation

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role/Ensemble Role (Musical)
Ciara Sotto - Sweet Charity - 9 Works Theatrical

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role/Ensemble Role (Musical)
OJ Mariano - Rent - 9 Works Theatrical

Best Leading Actress (Play)
Shamaine Buencamino - Fake - UP Playwrights' Theater

Best Leading Actor (Play)
Martin Delos Santos - Ang Post Office - PETA

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role/Ensemble Role (Play)
Cris Villonco - The Joy Luck Club - Repertory Philippines

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role/Ensemble Role (Play)
Jeremy Domingo - American Hwangap - Tanghalang Pilipino

Best Choreography
John San Antonio - Cory ng Edsa - Philippine Stagers Foundation

Best Costume Design
Emy Tañada - Cory ng Edsa - Philippine Stagers Foundation

Best Lighting Design
Shoko Matsumoto - Next To Normal - Atlantis Productions Inc.

Best Set Design
Jeffrey Ambrosio - Cory ng Edsa - Philippine Stagers Foundation

Best Sound Design
Art Grabentina - Cory ng Edsa - Philippine Stagers Foundation

Best Theatrical Venue
Resorts World Manila

Best Musical Direction
Pipo Cifra - Cory ng Edsa - Philippine Stagers Foundation

Best Direction of a Musical
Vince Tañada - Cory ng Edsa - Philippine Stagers Foundation

Best Direction of a Play
Gary Labad - Ang Post Office - PETA

Best Musical
Cory ng Edsa - Philippine Stagers Foundation

Best Play
American Hwangap - Tanghalang Pilipino

Best Theater Company
9 Works Theatrical

What do you think of the winners? Share your comments.

Auditions for Spotlight Artists Centre's "Katy!" on Jan. 29, 2012

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Announcement from Spotlight Artist Centre

Auditions for "Katy!" on Jan. 29, 2012

Spotlight Artists Centre's
revival of
a musical based on the life and times of
the “Queen of Filipino Jazz” and "The Queen of Bodabil"
Katy dela Cruz (1907-2004)

Music by Ryan Cayabyab
Book and lyrics by Jose Javier Reyes

Auditions for major roles only
Katy (25-40 years old)
Male lead (25-40 years old)
Young Katy’s father (45-55 years old)

Prepare a song from the musical or a jazz song.
Contact 899-8089 or 922-898-6644 for copies of songs from the musical and registration requirements. 

The musical premiered at the now-defunct Rizal Theater in 1989 and later transferred to the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Originally produced by Musical Theater Philippines (Musicat), headed by Celeste Legaspi and Girlie Rodis, “Katy!” starred Mitch Valdez, Legaspi, Bernardo Bernardo and Marco Sison, directed by Nestor Torre.

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Of high ticket prices and equity fees

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Cecile Zamora-Van Straten, who writes the blog, posted about high-ticket prices for foreign acts performing in the Philippines in her reaction to a news article:

Why Ticket Prices Are Sky High In The Philippines
Posted on January 21, 2012

Ever wonder why Filipinos pay so much money foreign acts in concerts in Manila, even though we sometimes have to stand in the rain in some reclaimed area/parking lot in a god-forsaken place?

OPM, that’s why. OPM apparently demands a very high fee from any foreign act performing in Manila. This includes the international touring group of Mamma Mia that is set to perform at the CCP this January 24-Februrary 12. 

Instead of feeling insecure about foreign artists performing here, OPM should be more nationalistic and consider:

1. All the hotel rooms these people are going to occupy = tourism
2. All the Filipinos who will enjoy watching a real performance of Mamma Mia, fresh from abroad, instead of having to fly to another country to see it
3. Whatever happened to “it’s more fun in the Philippines?” You are actually making it “more hassle in the Philippines.”
4. It’s not only the Filipinos would enjoy watching Mamma Mia at the CCP, it would also give tourists/foreigners/expats something else to look forward to besides our ho-hum malls.
5. Your exorbitant fees are absorbed by the producers who pass it on to the consumers. That explains why it’s more expensive to watch concerts and shows in the Philippines. Thank you very much.

Read on and let us know what you think in the comments section.

OPM to stop ‘Mamma Mia!’ if million-peso fee not paid
By: Pocholo Concepcion, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 21, 2012 | 2:01 am

MANILA, Philippines—The Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) is considering filing an injunction or temporary restraining order against the local promoter of the international touring production of the long-running West End and Broadway musical, “Mamma Mia!,” set to open Jan. 24 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Elmar Beltran Ingles, OPM executive director, told the Inquirer on Friday that the local promoter Concertus Inc. had not paid the equity clearance, a requirement for all foreign artists performing in the Philippines, which is bound by a memorandum of agreement between the singers’ union and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

“We’ve been talking with the promoter since November last year and were willing to give a 20-percent discount because the amount due is P1.8 million which is huge,” said Beltran.

The equity clearance fee—Php 5,000 per performer per show—Beltran said, goes to the OPM fund that pays for medical treatment and other emergency expenses of singer members.

But Concertus managing director Bambi Verzo said the BI had issued a special permit for the performers in the musical, which will have a four-week run.“We were being charged double [from the original amount of Php 900,000] because OPM said December to February is a peak season for local shows. We discussed the situation with the BI.”

Verzo told the Inquirer that her office paid the bureau Php 367,000 for the special permit.

She did not explain why she paid an amount much lower than the OPM’s asking price.

Beltran pointed out that the amount does not cover the equity clearance. “We suspect something happened inside the BI without the knowledge of the top officials,” he said. “Ogie Alcasid (OPM president) has been trying to contact the immigration commissioner (Ricardo David Jr.) but it seems his calls are being ignored. We may bring the matter to the attention of President Aquino.”

Verzo, whose group has produced other international productions including “Cats” and “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” also at the CCP, said she didn’t see a problem. “We have the official permit, including the receipt of payment. That should settle the issue.”

Beltran said OPM will wait until Monday for Concertus to meet with them.

A few days later, Elmar Beltran, executive director of Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), posted this in his Facebook account:

Setting the facts straight on the OPM Equity Issue
by Elmar Beltran Ingles 
on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 1:17am

Why ticket prices are high in the Philippines: The Facts Behind the Equity Issue

Whatever shows you’re watching, Ms. Chuvaness, you better check your math and review your economics and the Philippine Constitution.

Last time we checked, local plays charge only between a minimum of 300 to a maximum of 1,000 pesos per ticket – or roughly 7 to 23 in dollar equivalent. Concert tickets for local acts sell for a maximum of 6,000 pesos or a little over 137 dollars. That’s for very few good seats. But you obviously prefer foreign acts with tickets as high as 12,500 pesos for very good seats.

And you blame OPM and the Equity agreement it inked with the Bureau of Immigration for “making it more hassle in the Philippines.” And you call local artists “insecure.”

Last time we checked, Article II, Sections 17, 19, and 20 of the Philippine Constitution still prioritize arts and culture (among others), guarantee the development of a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos, recognize the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private enterprise, and provide incentives to needed investments. The same Constitution’s Article 14, Sections 14 to 18 enshrine the policies and support system guaranteed by the state in promoting and developing local arts and culture.

Let’s try some education here.

The Performers’ Equity Rights program has been in force since 1987 upon the initiative of then Immigration Commissioner Miriam Defensor Santiago who dialogued with OPM and the Asosasyon ng Musikong Pilipino (AMP) to engage these artists’ NGOs in policing the entry of foreign performers who do professional work in the Philippines. This was seen as a government-private cooperation which also sought to provide assistance to local performers and producers whose livelihood and practice of profession are displaced by the influx of foreign productions. The tripartite Memorandum of Agreement has since been upheld and honored by succeeding Immigration Commissioners. As of this writing, efforts are being done to review the MOA in the hope that other affected sectors – theater, fashion and advertising, magic and circus, and other live entertainers and performers – are covered and benefited by the Equity scheme which is a big help in providing medical, hospitalization, emergency assistance and burial benefits now available to singers and musicians.

The Philippines is not the only country that levies Equity dues to foreign performers. We only have to look back and recall how Ms. Lea Salonga was subjected to very strict equity rules by both West End and Broadway Equity unions. France and Australia also levy a certain “displacement fee” that supports local artists affected by visiting ones.

OPM is NOT against foreign artists performing in the Philippines. We have long recognized that the world is increasingly becoming borderless and highly-globalized which augurs well for cultural exchanges between people of all nations. BUT WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT OUR OWN ARTISTS AND PRODUCERS by levelling the playing field through policy reviews and actual government support.

OPM upholds and respects the freedom of choice made by our audiences when they patronize concerts and other forms of entertainment or cultural expressions. But critics of local concerts ought to realize that the much-sought regulatory measures are not only about levelling the playing fields for ticket sales between concerts featuring so-called “world-class” artists and those of local talents. It is more about supporting, promoting and asserting the bearers and promoters of our own cultural identity, local creative economy and national patrimony.

Foreign acts have long dominated the local concert circuit. Admittedly, they offer more attractive options for marketing and advertising. When foreign acts come to town, they normally take the route of Asian tours that have been conceptualized and produced abroad ready for local viewers to watch. They do not incur the same prohibitive costs of creative development, pre-production work, rehearsals, promotions and local taxation that local concerts are regularly exposed to. Local acts also have a more difficult time securing amusement tax exemptions or discounts from local government units than their foreign counterparts.

True, visiting artists and foreign acts help promote the country and its tourism industry and contribute to the economy. But for how long? It is the collective effort of local artists and producers that sustain the local entertainment, music, theater and performance industries long after foreign acts have left with their profits.

Foreign artists do not pay regular local income taxes while Filipino artists do. In fact, when a big foreign act is mounted locally, local concert, theater and related performing arts productions suffer from almost zero local advertising support for the rest of the year as advertisers have committed most of their resources to foreign acts. It is the local producers who are left holding empty bags. All of these contribute to a near-death spell for a local performing arts industry that has long invested in the development and long-term sustainability of the local creative economy.

And Ms. Chuvaness bullies OPM to be “more nationalistic” by discarding Equity dues levied against foreign productions? Does she even know what she’s talking about? OPM has exempted Bruno Mars and others from paying Equity because they are half-Filipinos – a rule that we have stipulated to encourage foreign artists of Filipino parentage to share their talents with local audiences. We exempt foreign classical productions (ballets, choirs, orchestras, and solo acts) from Equity dues because we believe they provide opportunities for global artistic exposure and education among our audiences. We provide professional training to new talents and social benefits to needy ones from the Equity collections. And still, some people call us “extortionists”. Does Ms. Chuvaness even know that each of the more than 15 top-rated foreign acts which competed against a few local artists for sponsorship ticket sales in February 2011 paid a measly 10,000 pesos Equity dues for each show? Does she know how much money was lost by local producers who got clobbered in sponsorship and ticket sales? We don’t think so.

If most other foreign-dominated industries or economic ventures operating locally get subjected to local regulatory measures for protective sustainability, why can’t it be done to music and the rest of the arts which are said to be “the soul of the nation”? The government must act now to recognize the value of Filipino artistry by ensuring greater support for the development and promotion of the dignity of artistic labor and industry.

We reiterate that we are not against the presence of foreigners in our local music industry and in the local concert, theater and entertainment circuits. But we reserve the right to protect our own livelihood – just like any other Filipino professionals who care for equitable and fair treatment, dignity of local labor, sense of patriotism, and the recognition of the Filipino creative genius.

And why is OPM and AMP collecting Equity dues for musical theater and, hopefully,  other live foreign production in the performing arts? Because, presently, OPM and AMP are the only ones that have entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Immigration. We long for the day when other guilds and artists’ organizations – such as the Philippine Theater Actors Guild, the Professional Models Association of the Philippines, the circus and magicians groups, and the local performing arts producers association (PHILSTAGE) – are made parties to the agreement. Because we believe that our collective initiatives are the reasons why we have a vibrant local creative industry that, unfortunately, is better appreciated and supported by global audiences and producers than our very own government, audiences and critics.

What do you think about this matter? Share your comments.

New musical celebrates long-running Ateneo-La Salle rivalry

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Yay! My article on the upcoming production of "Rivalry" was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its Jan. 24, 2012 issue.
New musical celebrates long-running Ateneo-La Salle rivalry
By Walter Ang

Gatchalian and Del Mundo
Ed Gatchalian is producing, with 4th Wall Theatre Company, “Rivalry: Ateneo-La Salle The Musical,” a musical with fictitious characters from De La Salle University and Ateneo De Manila University.

“‘Rivalry’ is unique, original and local, not just a remake of a Broadway hit,” said Gatchalian. “It may be about the fabled feud between La Salle and Ateneo in sports, academics, love and marriage, business, politics and the professions, but such competition, and the excitement it generates, is a universal theme.”

“It will be enjoyed by even those not associated with either of these two schools,” he said.

How it started

Gatchalian has had a long and successful career in advertising, creating scores of jingles that have become familiar to generations of Filipinos. He was the musical director for television shows like “Celeste Music Hour,” “Pilita and Jackie Lou,” and “Champoy.”

“Over 30 years ago, Noel Trinidad, actor, singer and a good friend of mine from our  ‘Champoy’ days, approached me with an idea for an original musical about Crispa and Toyota, then the stellar teams in the Philippine Basketball Association. But the idea never materialized,” he said.

“Last year, I was writing original music with director Jaime del Mundo on a commissioned musical, and it rekindled my desire to pursue Noel’s idea. Instead of Crispa and Toyota, I decided to zero in on Ateneo and La Salle.”

Gatchalian started composing music. He recruited Noel’s son Joel (artistic director of Upstart Productions) as the show’s lyricist. Del Mundo developed the book.

The collaboration has resulted in a plot set in 1968, revolving around two young men, both star basketball players of their respective schools who vie for the affections of a beautiful coed from a nearby girls’ school.

Gatchalian is musical director with Jaime del Mundo directing.

“I felt I would be the ideal person to direct,” said del Mundo. “I don’t have strong feelings of loyalty to either school. I can see and appreciate both the Ateneo and La Salle sides. My job is to find the commonality and right balance.”

Nancy Crowe will choreograph, Lex Marcos is set designer. Johnsy Reyes is lighting designer and Albert Figueras will handle costume design.

A total of 51 actors have been cast, including, of course, Noel Trinidad. Gatchalian wrote a part for his friend, and Joel wrote a vaudeville-inspired song especially for his father to perform.

Seating will not be segregated for Ateneans and Lasallians. “We’ll have free seating,” said Gatchalian.
“Rivalry” runs Jan. 27-March 11, 8 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, with 3 p.m. shows on Saturday and Sunday at Meralco Theater. Call Ticketworld at 8919999.

Also published online:

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Tanghalang Ateneo's "Fireflies" Feb. 9-25, 2012

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Announcement from Tanghalang Ateneo

Tanghalang Ateneo


Suzue Toshiro's
English Translation by David Goodman

A love story of the post-industrial age
("Post-industrial" is a synonym for contemporary. The industrial age was the age of machines. The post-industrial is the age of technology as in contemporary Japan. The concerns are pretty much existential or the self.)

Three interconnected couples are trapped in emotional alienation

"There must be a hole in our hearts. And in mine, and in the hearts of everyone in the world."

February 9-11, 15-18 and 22-25 (7 PM)
February 11, 18 and 25 (2 PM)
Rizal Mini-Theater, Ateneo De Manila University, Quezon City

Directed by Ricardo Abad and BJ Crisostomo
Set Design by Ohm David
Costumes Design by Lhenvil Paneda
Lighting Design by Jonjon Villareal
Sound Design by Michiyo Reyes

Contact 0920-584-7421.

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Peta stages ‘King Lear’ in Filipino, opens Jan. 27, 2012

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Yay! My article on an upcoming Tagalog translation of "King Lear" was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its Jan. 16, 2012 issue.
Peta stages ‘King Lear’ in Filipino
By Walter Ang

The Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) wraps up its 2011-2012 season with a Filipino translation of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” that opens on Jan. 27, employing an all-male cast.

Felix “Nonon” Padilla directs, using National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera’s translation of the tale of King Lear, how he bequeaths his kingdom amongst his three daughters and is betrayed by two of them.

When Padilla was asked by Peta artistic director Maribel Legarda to stage a Shakespeare production, he immediately offered “King Lear.”

“It was suggested to me by Salvador Bernal because he’d always wanted to design it,” said Padilla, a longtime collaborator of National Artist for Theater Design Bernal, who passed away October 2011.

Post-apocalyptic setting
Production design duties are being handled by Gino Gonzales, one of Bernal’s protégés, who will build on Padilla’s post-apocalyptic setting.

“Originally, it’s set in prehistoric Britain,” says Padilla. “Shakespeare had very good reasons to set it in that time [instead of his own time] because he was trying to camouflage all of the touchy political issues about the [current] king.”

“I thought it would be interesting to go the opposite. To set it in the future, a future that is as bleak as it was in barbaric or primitive times.”

“It is one of the mature plays of Shakespeare. It’s emotional and riveting,” he says.

“The play is all about legacy. It’s about leaving something behind. It’s about somebody in the grips of mortality and facing mortality. What do you leave behind? You can leave your material wealth, or you can leave your soul, your compassion.”

“In ‘Lear,’ that’s what he learns. He learns to become human. It’s a running theme in Shakespeare, about how a man gets crushed by his own guilt, and ‘Lear’ is a prime example of that.”

Nod to Shakespeare’s text
The decision to use an all-male cast is Padilla’s nod to Shakespeare’s text and the way roles were cast and played during the Bard’s time. (In 2001, director Anton Juan cast Repertory Philippines founder Zenaida Amador as King Lear in his staging of the play.)

“In Elizabethan times, the young boys would always play the female roles,” says Padilla.

He also notes there are two characters in the play that were traditionally played by only one actor. “As written, in the scenes of Cordelia, the Fool is never there. When the Fool is onstage, Cordelia is gone. I think that’s crucial, and since Shakespeare designed it that way, I thought it was important to play around with that, to give it some focus or emphasis.”

Teroy Guzman plays the role of the aging monarch, Haring Lear. Lear’s daughters will be played by Gary Lim (Regan), Nor Domingo (Goneril) and Abner Delina (Cordelia).

“Haring Lear” runs Friday to Sunday, Jan. 27-Mar. 4, 2012 at Peta Theater Center, Quezon City. Contact 7256244, 4100821 to 22, 0917-5765400, or

Also published online:

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Auditions for Kids Acts Philippines' children actors pool Jan. 14, 2012

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Announcement from Kids Acts Philippines

for boys and girls, 7-11 years old
to be scholars of Kids Acts Philippines'

TheCampArt Kids Actors Pool

Jan. 14, 2012 Saturday 4pm to 6pm

TheCampArt Studio,
Unit 209, 2F Cityland Pasong Tamo Condominium,
6264 Estacion St., Brgy. Pio Del Pilar, Makati City
(Back of WalterMart Makati)

Contact 750-1551, 0915.4478959 or

Please note: Audition is FREE. Kids Acts Philippines does not collect any payments or fees for auditions.

YOU MUST prepare:
---Any ENGLISH Song from any Broadway/West End Musicals or Disney Classics (pls bring minus one) - NO POP SONGS PLEASE!
--- one (1) minute dance of any style
--- one (1) minute English monologue

---An Artist Resume
---Photocopy of Birth Certificate
---Photocopy of Current Report Card (if available)
---Half Body Picture or Mug Shot Photo

-A Scholarship Program on Musical Theatre (every Saturday during school days and during Summer Vacation)
-Opportunity to perform on special events, etc.
-Opportunity to join "Hansel and Gretel: a children's musical," the first Kids Acts Philippines' Kids' Theater Season Play

What do you think of this audition? Share your comments.

“Mamma Mia!” opens in Manila Jan. 24, 2012

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Announcement from Concertus

“Mamma Mia!” opens in Manila in Jan. 2012

The international tour of the musical "Mamma Mia!" arrives in Manila.  The musical features the music of Abba and will be staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater starting Jan. 24, 2012.

On a Greek island paradise, Sophie Sheridan goes on a quest to discover the identity of her father and brings three men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. 

The production features 22 Of Abba's hits Including: Chiquitita; Dancing Queen; I Have A Dream; Knowing Me, Knowing You; The Winner Takes It All; Super Trouper; Take A Chance On Me; and Voulez-Vous.

The story-telling magic of Abba's timeless songs propels an enchanting tale of love, laughter, and friendship.

With music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, "Mamma Mia!" is written by Catherine Johnson, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The production is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken.

“Mamma Mia!” International Touring Production premiered in Dublin in 2004 and has already performed more than 2,000 shows.  The touring production has performed in Switzerland, Dubai, Germany, Sweden, Prague, New Zealand, Turkey, China, and Tapei. 

Call Ticketworld at 891 9999 or visit

Weekday and Sunday evening rates start at P750.
Weekend matinee rates start at P1000.
Family Package: Buy 4 tickets to get 40% discount on 3rd and 4th tickets.
Groups of 20 or more can also get a 10% discount.
Senior citizens also enjoy a 20% discount.

For block buys, sponsorships, call Concertus at 403 8678 or Hi Definition Radio, Inc. at 706 1580.

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Fil-Canadian dancer Alvin Tolentino returns to Philippines with new work

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Announcement from Co.Erasga Dance Company

Fil-Canadian dancer Alvin Tolentino returns to Philippines with new work

Filipino-Canadian choreographer and dance artist Alvin Erasga Tolentino is returning to the Philippines to tour his critically-acclaimed solo dance piece "Paradis/Paraiso."

This multimedia dance performance was conceived and created in 2008 by Tolentino in collaboration with media artist Donna Szoke (Vancouver) and musician-composer Emmanuel Mailly (France).

Since then, "Paradis/Paraiso" has been performed in indoor, outdoor and unconventional spaces across Canada, France and Italy.

The production is open for showbuyers and can be used as a fundraising activity for individual showbuyers or groups and organizations.

Academic institutions are also invited to host the show in order to expose students to the performing arts and to use the show's content and execution as a springboard for discussion about the arts, history and culture.

Tolentino's most recent visit to the country was back in 2007 when he toured the solo-piece "Field: Rice is the belly of man" across the Philippines.  He has also choreographed for Ballet Philippines.

For "Paradis/Paraiso," Tolentino began with an attempt to explore the "idea of paradise as an environment, or as a utopian place."

"But then, as the research progressed, I kept asking myself what the project was really about, and I decided to live the idea of paradise through my body, the idea of being able to see, to hear, to touch, and to taste all of these different paradises. And of being really aware of my perception, my own feelings. I guess paradise lives inside of me. It's in my own body."

"I think that there is a sense of nostalgia in this piece-a sense of nostalgia and longing that's kind of sitting in the body. We don't really literally speak about it, but I think it sits in the body; it's centered in the body. And for me as a dancer, finding a way to express that is a dance."

Born in the Philippines and raised in Canada, Tolentino founded Co.Erasga Dance Company in 2000 in Vancouver.

The company has a distinguished international reputation of a singular vision of hybrid dance, diversity and collaborations of other artistic practice and multimedia.

Co.Erasga's works address themes of identity and ethnicity in a global context through contemporary dance.  The company has presented work across Canada and in festivals and venues as far as Scotland, France, Italy, Belgium, Singapore, Venezuela and most recently in Germany and Uruguay.

"Paradis/Paraiso" will tour the Philippines July 28-Aug. 11, 2012 and is open for showbuyers. Contact 0906-294-3895 or Visit

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Benefits and protection for Filipino artists, actors, dancers, performers, backstage staff

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Yay! My article on how artists (theater and otherwise) can help protect themselves financially was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its Jan. 9, 2012 issue.
Benefits and protection for artists
By Walter Ang

Image from Internet
Artists usually are not practical or business-minded. They don’t invest their money—most of the time they don’t have much money anyway—or have health or any kind of insurance,” says actor Fernando “Nanding” Josef, artistic director of Tanghalang Pilipino.

Josef is referring not just to theater artists, but also painters, sculptors, television and film actors, voice talents, production and backstage staff, dancers, composers, playwrights, choreographers, costume and fashion designers, photographers. Basically, people working in creative fields who are “self-employed” or “freelancers.”

Fortunately, there are now growing options for them on availing certain government-issued benefits and other safeguards against emergencies. There are also groups they can join that can assist them with these kinds of needs.

Life Basics
Luigi Nacario, artistic director of Kids Act Philippines, had an epiphany when a fellow actor was hospitalized. His friend had no Social Security System nor Philhealth benefits and was left with a large bill to pay off.

Nacario founded Life Basics Personal Solutions Company to “assist professionals who don’t have time to personally apply for or update contributions for their income tax returns, Social Security Services, Philhealth (government health insurance), Pag-Ibig (home financing program, officially known as the Home Development Mutual Fund), and Community Tax Certificate (more commonly known as cedula).”

His company does all the tedious legwork of transacting the five basic government duties for a P300 monthly fee.

“You’d spend the same amount, maybe more, for transportation and other expenses like photocopying certain documents if you had to do it all by yourself.”

Life Basics accepts all kinds of clients including non-theater professionals. “OFWs, full-time bloggers, anyone can avail of our services.”

Call 7942465, 0915-4478959 or 0919-4338565, email

Aside from being actors, Buddy Caramat, a senior member of Philippine Educational Theater Association, and Abner Delina, a freelance actor for stage and TV, have both been advocating “financial planning” to their fellow artists. Both are financial advisers of Manulife, a company that offers insurance, pre-need plans, pension plans.

Delina got into insurance when he wanted to use his free days (“While waiting for shows or tapings.”) productively. “But more than just an additional source of income for me, I realized I could now educate people on financial planning. In the arts, like in a risky theater actor’s life, our protection is limited, if not having nothing at all.

“I strongly encourage artists to get insured, from whatever insurance agency they feel most comfortable with,” adds Caramat. “One thing unique about what we do in Manulife is that we analyze first people’s priorities or needs and we come up with solutions and present them accordingly, whether they need a financial vehicle for education, health, retirement, investment and fund accumulation, estate planning, income protection, or all of the above.”

Both are not exclusive to theater clients. “But my primary goal is to help fellow actors secure a financial plan either for health, retirement or investment or even for the education of their child,” says Delina.

The Artists’ Welfare Project Inc. (AWPI) is an organization that provides financial, legal, and medical and hospitalization benefits to Filipino artists (theater or otherwise) who may be disabled or incapacitated by reason of age or physical or mental infirmity.

“Beyond meeting emergency needs, AWPI also hopes to assist artists achieve security in terms of having a place to live, providing education for their children, and having funds for their retirement,” says Josef, AWPI founder and president.

“We must support and help our artists, especially during their times of need.” Founded in 2006, the group is working towards becoming a foundation. “We can then apply for tax-exempt status so that donors can contribute tax-free.”

The group has had fundraising activities in the past few years. It plans, in collaboration with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, to host a national conference on artists’ welfare in summer of 2012.
The Outreach Division of the Cultural Center of the Philippines is assisting in coordinating with regional groups to put up AWPI branches nationwide.

Membership and annual membership dues apply. Call  8321125 loc 1620 to 21, e-mail

Newly formed Philippine Theater Actors Guild (TAG)  is specifically for actors. Founder and president Kalila Aguilos, freelance theater actress and costume designer, had been developing the group for the past few months and finally convened the group’s first First General Assembly and election of officers in early October.
“TAG is an association that protects and upholds the rights of professional theater actors,” she says. “We want to work towards getting artist-protection written into law.”

Among other goals, the group aims to provide its members with protection of their basic rights on artistic engagements both locally and abroad, and assisting with basic needs like legal obligations provided by the Philippine government such as health, security  and taxes.

Filipino artists have only much to gain by grouping together and helping one another. Aguilos is already in touch with Nacario on how his company can assist TAG, while Josef is in discussions with Aguilos on how AWPI and TAG can possibly work together on “the same goals and objectives for the Filipino artists.”

Membership and annual membership dues apply. E-mail

Also published online:

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Ateneo Entablado's "R.I.P. at La India Elegante y el Negrito Amante" Jan. 10-21, 2012

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Announcement from Ateneo Entablado

Inihahandog ng

Ateneo Entablado (ENterteynment para sa TAo, Bayan, LAnsangan, at DiyOs)

R.I.P. (ni Severino Reyes)
na nilakipan ng mga intermedyo mula sa
La India Elegante y el Negrito Amante (ni Francisco Balagtas)

Enero 14, 21 sa 2 n.h.
Enero 10-14, 17-21 sa 7 n.g.

Rizal Mini Theater, Loyola Schools, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City

ENTABLADO reinterprets R.I.P. as a satire play that tackles the transformation of the Philippine performing arts. It is about a theater group rehearsing for a performance while struggling against the situation of their company, which is losing to a rising form of performing arts.

The staging will emphasize on the shifts of the different forms – from a komedya to a sarswela and finally to a film shooting in the end. Within the play are commentaries on the English language, shift of the colonial forces in the Philippines and the morphing process that the Philippine performing arts has gone through and is still going through.

This story is framed by an intermedio of scenes from "La India Elegante y el Negrito Amante" that features the courtship of two clowns.

Direksyon: Alvin Yapan
Disenyo ng Entablado: Morny de Guzman
Disenyo ng Ilaw: Miyo Sta. Maria
Disenyo ng Kasuotan: Jean Pierre Reniva
Disenyo ng Musika: Jema Pamintuan, Mike Coroza, Maynard de Guzman
Disenyo ng Galaw: Gio Gahol

Para sa karagdagang impormasyon: 09064413838

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FREE Writer's Bloc's playreading sessions 2012

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Announcement from Writer's Bloc

Writer's Bloc has published
anthologies of the
output of its members, starting with
10x10x10: Sampung Tigsasampung
Minutong Dula ng Sampung
Mandudula, published in 2005.
Interested to know more about the craft of playwriting? Interested to have your play read?

The Writer's Bloc, an independent group of aspiring and experienced playwrights, invites interested parties to join its FREE regular and informal reading sessions of new plays every other Sunday afternoon starting January 8, 2012.

Plays read and discussed during these sessions will be considered for presentation in the group's numerous activities like the annual Virgin Labfest. Several of the group's output have won Palanca awards and/or have been staged by theater companies.

The group seeks to create a fresh vision and to define new perspectives in contemporary Philippine drama.

Information and history of the group can be read here:

The Writer's Bloc offers playwriting workshops to interested groups for a fee.

Contact 0939-475-9590 or

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Auditions for Carlos Celdran's "Livin' La Vida Imelda--The Performance" Jan. 9, 2012

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Announcement from Carlos Celdran

Carlos Celdran
Livin’ La Vida Imelda – The Performance

AUDITION DATE: January 9, 2012 8pm. MONDAY
Send name and background to or text 0908-897-5515 to receive location of audition venue.

Be part of the Philippine premiere of Carlos Celdran’s stage adaptation of his walking tour of the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex. “Livin’ La Vida Imelda” will be a campy comedic disco romp through the 1970’s.

First premiered in Toronto, Canada with Kapisanan Center for Culture and Arts, “Livin’ La Vida Imelda” will be first time the performance will be done onstage in the Philippines.

Rehearsals begin January 15.
Performance runs from February 8 to March 17.
Performance venue: SilverLens Gallery, Pasong Tamo

Five ensemble characters will be cast to play multiple roles of:
Ferdinand Marcos
Imelda Marcos
Chuchuwanee Girl
Beauty Queen
Communist Rebel

MUST: Prepare one acting piece, dance piece, or song. All options open for actors. We are open to all ages, color, body types, religious persuasions, and sexual orientation. Just be a good performer. Singing/dancing/choreography skills are a plus.

Two technical assistants.

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Tanghalang Pilipino's "Eyeball" Jan. 13-Feb. 12, 2012

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Announcement from Tanghalang Pilipino

Tanghalang Pilipino
resident drama company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines
concludes its 25th season (2011-2012)

Eyeball: New Visions in Philippine Theater.

Featuring four plays from the Virgin Labfest, the yearly festival of new works for the theater.

Jan. 13-Feb. 12, 2012
CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater)

Act 1
Carlo Pacolor Garcia’s
Bakit Wala Nang Nagtatagpo sa Philcoa Oberpas
Directed by Riki Benedicto
The story of a man and a woman who decide to meet at the Philcoa Overpass after months of flirting online.

Layeta Bucoy's
Doc Resureccion: Gagamutin ang Bayan
Directed by Tuxqs Rutaqio
A well-meaning doctor runs for Mayor only to find out that the community he so wanted to help desires a different path for itself.

Act 2
Reuel Molina Aguila’s
Directed by Chris Millado
Five years after the forced-disappearance of her eldest daughter, a mother confronts the question:  How does one close a chapter still to be written?

Nick Pichay’s
Isang Araw sa Karnabal
Directed by Chris Millado
Two former activists, both with missing loved ones, meet again after a long time and attempt to mend broken ties.

Collaboratores include Eric Cruz for set design, Katsch Catoy for lighting design, and TJ Ramos for sound design.

Contact 832-3661, 0920-9535381 or 0928-5518645 or CCP Box Office at 832-3704 or Ticketworld at 891-9999.

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Repertory Philippines' "Next Fall" Jan. 13-Feb. 5, 2012

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Announcement from Repertory Philippines

Repertory Philippines

Next Fall

Jan 13-Feb 5
8:00 PM on Fridays & Saturday
3:30 PM on Saturdays & Sundays

Onstage Theater, 2nd floor Greenbelt 1 Mall, Ayala Center, Makati City

Playwright: Geoffrey Nauffts
Director: Audie Gemora
Lighting Designer: John Batalla
Set Designer: Denis Lagdameo

A very moving story of a gay couple agonizing over differences in their religious faiths. Luke believes in God. Adam believes in everything else. "Next Fall" portrays the ups and downs of this unlikely couple’s five-year relationship with sharp humor and unflinching honesty.

And when an accident changes everything, Adam must turn to Luke’s family and friends for support… and answers.

"Next Fall" paints a beautiful and funny portrait of modern romance, asking the hard questions about commitment and faith. But ultimately, simply, it is about the transformative power of love. 

Bart Guingona as Adam and David Bianco as Luke
The cast features Bart Guingona as Adam, a committed cynic, atheist and hypochondriac, while David Bianco plays the role of Luke, Adam’s boyfriend, a born-again Christian and aspiring actor. David hails from Michigan and this is his first foray into the local theater scene.

The play won the 2010 John Gassner Award for Geoffrey Nauffts. In the same year, the play was also nominated for the Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Play; at the Tony Awards, for Best Play; and the Outer Critics Circle Awards, for Outstanding New Broadway Play.

Liesl Batucan essays the role of Holly, Adam’s fag hag best friend and owner of the candle shop where both Adam and Luke work. Niccolo Manahan plays Brandon, Luke’s friend, a property manager. Like Luke, he is both gay and a born-again Christian. Juno Henares plays Arlene, Luke’s mother, a former wild child who has since settled in to middle aged eccentricity. Miguel Faustmann is Butch, Luke’s father and Arlene’s ex-husband, a deeply religious man.

Visit, subscribe to, and add “Rep Phils” in Facebook.

Contact 571-6926 or 571-4941 or or Ticketworld at 891-9999 or

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Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires' "Tango Fire: Flames of Desire" Jan. 17-18, 2012

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Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires


TANGO FIRE: Flames of Desire

For the benefit of Noordin Jumalon Dance Scholarship Fund
of Ballet Philippines Foundation

Featuring10 Argentinean dancers and 5 musicians

January 17 to 18, 2012 at 8PM
Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila

Contact 551-1003 and 551-0221 or Ticketworld 891-9999.

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