JNP Theater's "Bed Scenes/Sins" July 8-Aug 12, 2012

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JNP Alternative Theater

Bed Scenes/Sins

Love, lust and sexual conquest are the themes presented in  “BedScenes/Sins,” twin-bill of two-one-act gay themed plays, “Dapo” at “Carmi Martin,” written by award-winning playwright  J. Dennis Teodosio.

Directed by Bong Cabrera (2008 Philstage Gawad Buhay! for Featured Male Performance in a Play) and Paul Santiago

A college student and a married man are inside a motel room, they recollect where they met, seek to find the meaning of their tryst, and contemplate reasons to be together. Will this end happily ever after? 

College student: Jay Enriquez
Married man: Joe Andrei Vegas
“Carmi Martin”
Gabriel, a straight-acting, curious professor, picks up Adonis, a sex trader pretending to be a high school student. In the process of trying to get to know each other, they discuss sex, the economy, subtext, and love. A plan gets implemented with a little help from a glass of juice and comfortable bed.    

Gabriel: Paul Jake Paule
Adonis: Kyle Thomas David
July 8, July 15, July 22, July 29, August 5 and August 12, 7p.m
The Library, Orosa St., Malate, Manila.
Contact 0939-908-7633, 0915-7594216, 415-6684.
Tickets are also available at The Library box-office.

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

MGC New Life Academy's "A Visitor for a Night" July 7, 2012

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MGC New Life Academy
in celebration of its 20th anniversary

Evelyn Shih's
A Visitor for a Night

July 7, 2012 (Saturday)
3PM (Matinee) and 7PM (Gala)
Armed Forces of the Philippines Theater, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City

The musical will be performed in Hokkien (Chinese Fujian dialect) with English supertitles.
Directed by Rebbeca Chuaunsu

This musical is about Mr. Liu Fu Hai, a wealthy and successful man who boasts certainty over death, and the experiences that will change his perspective towards life.
Contact 816-4233 to 34.

Here is the trailer:

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

Auditions for Chancel Repertory Theatre's "The Choice" June 30-July 1, 2012

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Chancel Repertory Theatre

Robert and Cindy Sterling's
The Choice

June 30, 2012 (3-6pm)
July 1, 2012 (2-5pm)

Jubille Evangelical Church
25 Dona Hemady Ave. cor. 3rd St.,
New Manila, Quezon City

Reserve your slot by emailing thechoice20@yahoo.com.ph
Put your name and preferred audition date in the message and attach your updated resume.
Put "The Choice Auditions (your full name)" in the subject line.

Prepare 16 bars of a song from any Broadyway musical or pop ballad.

Contact 732-0973.

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

Final curtain for Tony Espejo and Mario O' Hara 2012

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Antonio "Tony" Espejo
Founding artistic director of Gantimpala Theater

Tony Espejo passed away June 21, 2012.
Wake at Charity Chapel of Don Bosco Church, Makati.
Interment June 26 at Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque

One of the very first plays I ever saw was Gantimpala's "El Filibusterismo" staged at the Metropolitan Theater in the mid '90s.  Since then, I've seen all four curriculum plays staged annually by the group.

The very first theater-related workshop I ever took was Gantimpala Theater's Stage Management and Teacher Training workshop in summer of 1999. My teachers were Ed Murillo and Ama Quiambao. Sir Tony monitored our progress and gave very insightful lectures.

Mario O' Hara
Theater actor, playwright; Film scriptwriter, actor, director

Mario O' Hara passed away June 26, 2012.
Wake at Magallanes Church.
Interment details to follow.

I had the opportunity to interview Mario O' Hara in 2008 when he was acting for Tanghalang Pilipino's staging "Kudeta."  Read the article here.

I've seen O' Hara perform in the following productions:
Tatlong Mariya
Belong Puti
American Hwangap (Tagalog translation)
Orfeo sa Impyerno
Pokpok ng Ohio
'Yun na nga (Kung 'yun na nga)

Thank you and farewell, gentlemen.

June 26, 2012 is also the first year death anniversary of
Jose Mari Avellana
Theater actor, director
Read about it here.

Here is a video tribute to Tony Espejo that I found online:

Here is a statement from Theater Actors Guild:


Just as Tony Espejo was being laid to rest, Mario O’ Hara was breathing his last. In a week’s time, Philippine theater lost two of her most glorious sons.

We, members of the Philippine Theater Actors Guild, grieve.

Tony, through Bulwagang Gantimpala (later Gantimpala Theater Foundation), ushered in the flourishing of original Filipino plays in the 80s. Through its laboratory productions, Gantimpala in Tony’s guidance, discovered and nurtured the talents of many of today’s theater actors, directors and production staff.

Mario, on the other hand, was more popularly known for his achievements in film (as an actor in Lino Brocka’s Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang which Mario also wrote; and either as writer or director or both for films like Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Insiang, Bulaklak ng city Jail , Babae sa Bubungang Lata, Babae sa Breakwater and Paglilitis kay Andres Bonifacio ) . But Mario was, and will always be the son of the theater. He lent and shared his talent as an actor to various theater companies --- PETA, Dulaang UP, and Tanghalang Pilipino among others.

At the time of his death, Mario was prepared to do his original musical , Stage Show, for Tanghalang Pilipino. Stage Show is the story of aging veterans of Filipino vaudeville caught between their love for the craft and economic survival. He did not live long enough to be physically present to pay tribute to a lost art.

Tony and Mario were icons of Philippine theater. Their deaths will leave a vacuum in the community of artists. We grieve, but in that grief is our vow to remember the shared stories with them, and pass it on to the new and the young that they ,too, may catch a glimpse of the passion and creative genius now gone.

With the death of Tony and Mario --- our seniors, mentors, colleague and friends ---- we can only commit to live up to the ideals of Philippine theater for which they lived.

President, TAG
26 June 2012

Auditions for Repertory Philippines' "Camp Rock" July 28, 2012

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Repertory Philippines
is holding

for its production of
Disney's Camp Rock: The Musical

July 28, 1:00-6:00 P.M.

WHO: Ages 13-25 years old
WHAT TO PREPARE: One pop or Broadway song. Bring your own minus 1.

Repertory Philippines Rehearsal Hall,
Unit 520 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, 
ADB Avenue cor. Sapphire & Garnet Streets, 
Ortigas Center, Pasig City
(across the street from back entrance of Robinson's Galleria Mall)

CALL BACKS: July 29, 2012

From a previous post:
"Disney's Camp Rock: The Musical" runs Nov. 16-Dec. 16, 2012
The musical is a stage adaptation of Disney Channel's "Camp Rock" films which feature the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, where attendees of a summer music camp learn the value of honesty, friendship and teamwork. To be directed by Audie Gemora.

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

Helsinki toast Candice Adea to open Ballet Philippines' 43rd season

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Yay! My article on the 43rd season line-up of Ballet Philippines was published in Philippine Daily Inquirer's June 18, 2012 issue.

Helsinki toast Candice Adea to open
Ballet Philippines' 43rd season

By Walter Ang

Adea and Cordero
Ballet Philippines opens its 43rd season with "Songs," a gala of masterworks featuring the work of international and Philippine choreographers on July 6-8 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.

The season is dubbed "Dragon Song," inspired by this year being the Chinese year of the dragon.  "Dragon years are always significant with their great energy and sense of renewal, the beginning of a new cycle," says BP artistic director Paul Morales.

In "Songs," fresh from winning first place in the women's category of the 2012 Helsinki International Ballet Competition, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world, principal dancer Candice Adea will perform in the world premiere of a new grand pas de deux choreographed by former BP artistic director Bam Damian.

The piece was specifically choreographed for Adea and her partner Jean Marc Cordero, who won a Special Jury Award for Best in Pas de Deux Technique at Helsinki.

The pair had performed another Damian piece, "Evacuation," winner of 2009 Philstage Gawad Buhay! Outstanding Choreography for Dance Production, at Helsinki as part of their competition repertoire.

Other works in "Songs" include a new piece by Morales and "Les Petit Mots d'Amour" by French choreographer Redha Beintefour, a piece that "embodies man's innermost desires."

Also included is "Moriones" by Agnes Locsin, inspired by the Moriones Festival of Marinduque and originally choreographed for BP2 (BP's junior corps)'s participation at Recontres Festival Du Danse in La Baule, France.

Alden Lugnasin choreopraphs "This is My Life," a solo contemporary piece highlighting the independence and elegance of women.

Candice Adea
The rest of the season includes a reshuffling of BP's Neo-Filipino series from its usual February slot to September.  This year's Neo-Filipino is "Anting," where four noted Filipino choreographers will choreograph dramatist Tony Perez's libretto exploring the world of talismans and amulets of Filipino magical traditions.

In December, BP restages its pop ballet musical "Rama Hari," choreographed by BP founder Alice Reyes, with music by Ryan Cayabyab, and libretto by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera.

Based on the Indian epic "Ramayana," the show premiered in 1980 with Basil Valdez as the prince Rama, Kuh Ledesma as Rama's wife Sita, and Leo Valdez as the villain Ravana.  The lead characters are dually portrayed by singers and BP dancers.

The season concludes in February 2013 with "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a new production of William Shakespeare's romantic comedy by award-winning Hong Kong-based choreographer Carlo Pacis.

Four BP touring productions are also available for booking.

Former BP artistic director Agnes Locsin's neo-ethnic ballet "Encantada," showcasing the mixture of paganism and Christianity set during the Spanish colonial era.

A one-hour version of former CCP Dance School principal Noordin Jumalon's "Nutcracker" featuring BP2 and BP Kidz (BP's children corps).

Paul Morales' "Crisostomo Ibarra," a contemporary ballet based on National Hero Jose Rizal's novel "Noli Me Tangere," focusing on vignettes of the novel that focus on Ibarra.

"Body Politix," a mixed bill of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works including "Shifting Wait" by Carlo Pacis, winner of 2010 Philstage Gawad Buhay! Outstanding Choreography for a Dance Production.

Season subscribers get preferred seating, a 20% discount on all tickets, a complimentary souvenir program per show.  Donations and sponsorships to BP are tax-deductible.

"Proceeds support our Philippine dance artists such as professional wages and training," says BP president and former Binibining Pilipnas and Miss Universe Margie Moran-Floirendo. "Let's all rally behind and embrace Ballet Philippines, which has brought much pride to the country-after all, it is truly our own,"

Contact 551-1003, 551-7919, 624-5701; Ticketworld (891-9999); or CCP Box Office (832-3704).

*Adea also won a prize last year in the Boston International Ballet Competition. You can read about it here.

What do you think of this line-up? Share your comments.

FREE ADMISSION 2011 Philstage Gawad Buhay! awarding ceremonies July 1, 2012

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FREE ADMISSION 2011 Philstage! Gawad Buhay awarding ceremonies July 1, 2012

Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group (Philstage) has announced the nominees for its 2011 Gawad Buhay!, the Philstage awards for the Performing Arts for outstanding theater, dance and musical achievements.

Recipients of the awards will be announced on July 1, 2012 Sunday 7pm at the awarding show at the lobby of the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. FREE ADMISSION!

This year's awarding ceremonies has two posters that riff on last year's "actors and cat food" incident, which you can read here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Yay! I was able to watch all three nominees for best musical!
I was able to write my thoughts on two of the productions and an article for one.
- article on "Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure" here
- article on "Care Divas" here. Theaterbatoring "Care Divas" here (and a more structured version here)
- theaterbatoring "Noli Me Tangere: The Musical" here 

Announcement from Philstage (Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group)

This year’s Gawad Buhay! is a tribute to the enduring creative excellence, perseverance and the unrelenting spirit of the Filipino performing artists in the face of unmitigated influx of foreign artists to the country, according to Philstage president and Tanghalang Pilipino artistic director Fernando "Nanding" Josef.

“Despite lack of government support for the arts, we managed to come up with world-class productions that can equal or even surpass the quality of imported productions,” Josef said.

Now on its fourth year, Gawad Buhay! is the first-ever industry awards exclusively for the performing arts juried by an independent panel of critics, scholars, reviewers, and artists. 

Outstanding individual and group achievements in various artistic and technical aspects of play, musical and dance productions and performances are honored based on quarterly citations deliberated by the jury who are required to watch all productions of Philstage member-companies for the entire year.

Lifetime achievement 
Elevated to the Natatanging Gawad Buhay! roster of distinguished lifetime achievers in the performing arts are premier danseur Nonoy Froilan for dance and veteran actor and director Baby Barredo for theater. Posthumous awardees are Tony Fabella for dance and Rene Villanueva and Carlos dela Paz for playwriting and playwrights development.

Members and officers
Philstage is the only alliance of professional performing arts organizations in the Philippines. Its members include Ballet Manila, Ballet Philippines, Gantimpala Theater, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta), Repertory Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino and Triumphant Peoples Evangelistic Theatre Society (Trumpets).

Executive director: Elmar Beltran Ingles (OPM)
Vice president: Maribel Legarda (Peta)
Secretary: Paul Alexander Morales (Ballet Philippines)
Treasurer: Gidget Tolentino (Rep)
Board members:
Bart Guingona (Actors Actors)
Susan Macuja (Ballet Manila)
Tony Espejo (Gantimpala Theater)
Audie Gemora (Trumpets) 
Veteran actor, singer and director Audie Gemora will direct the program scripted by George de Jesus.

(2010 winners here.)

Here is the list of 2011 nominations:

Bombita (TP)
Nobyembre Noong Akala Ko Mahal Kita (TP)
The Joy Luck Club (Rep)
William (Peta)

Care Divas (Peta)
Noli Me Tangere: The Musical (TP)
Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure (Rep)

Sleeping Beauty (BP)
Swan Lake (BM)

Encantada (BP)

Audie Gemora (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)
Anton Juan (The Joy Luck Club)
Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and Jaime Del Mundo (Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure)
Maribel Legarda (Care Divas)
Maribel Legarda (William)

Bombita (TP)
Shakespeare in Hollywood (Rep)
The Joy Luck Club (Rep)
William (Peta)

Care Divas (Peta)
Noli Me Tangere: The Musical (TP)
Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure (Rep)

Swan Lake (BP)
Encantada (BP)

Mayen Estañero (Nobyembre)
Jay Valencia-Glorioso (The Joy Luck Club)
Anj Heruela (William)
Frances Makil-Ignacio (The Joy Luck Club)
Marjorie Lorico (Nobyembre)
Anna Luna (William)
Ana Abad Santos (The Joy Luck Club)
Cris Villonco (The Joy Luck Club)

Hans Eckstein (Shakespeare in Hollywood)
Inno Martin (William)
John Emmanoel Moran (William)
Ian Segarra (William)
Jonathan Tadioan (Nobyembre)
Marco Viana (Bombita)

Me-Ann Espinosa (William)
Cris Villonco (Shakespeare in Hollywood)

Jojo Atienza (William)
Jelson Bay (Bombita)
Red Concepcion (Shakespeare in Hollywood)
Jonathan Tadioan (Bombita)
Rem Zamora (The 39 Steps)

Cris Villonco (Noli Me Tangere)

Sam Concepcion (Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure)
Vince De Jesus (Care Divas)
Melvin Lee (Care Divas)
Gian Magdangal (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)
Jerald Napoles (Care Divas)

Pinky Amador (ZsaZsa Zaturnnah)
Angeli Bayani (Care Divas)
Angeli Bayani (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)
Tippy Dos Santos (Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure)
Bituin Escalante (Seussical)

Al Gatmaitan (Noli Me Tangere)
Paul Holme (Care Divas)
Bodgie Pascua (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)
Myke Salomon (Care Divas)
Dudz Terana (Care Divas)
Michael Williams (Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure)

Mylene Aggabao (Swan Lake)
Candice Adea (Sleeping Beauty)
Carissa Adea (Sleeping Beauty)
Lisa Macuja Elizalde (Swan Lake)

Jean Marc Cordero (Sleeping Beauty)
Rudy De Dios (Swan Lake)
Nobuo Fujino (Swan Lake)
Angel Gabriel (Sleeping Beauty)

Rita Winder (Sleeping Beauty)

Jean Marc Cordero (Sleeping Beauty)
Cyril Fallar (Sleeping Beauty)

Carissa Adea (Encantada)
Carissa Adea (Hardin ng Bato, Inamorata)
Georgette Sanchez (Encantada)
Rita Winder (Every Woman, Inamorata)
Katherine Trofeo (Mithi, Inamorata)
Sofie Sangco (Alon ng Buwan)

Jean-Marc Cordero (Encantada)
Rudy De Dios (Ang Prinsipe ng mga Ibon)
Alvin Santos (Ang Kapatid ng Tatlong Marya)

Carissa Adea (Encantada)
Katherine Trofeo (Encantada)

Angel Gabriel (Every Woman)

Ron Capinding (William)
Lisa Magtoto (Caredivas)
Tony Perez (Bombita)
Tony Perez (Nobyembre Noong Akala Ko Mahal Kita)

Lisa Magtoto and Vincent de Jesus (Care Divas)
Bienvenido Lumbera (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)

Bienvenido Lumbera (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)

Jed Balsamo (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)
Vincent de Jesus (Care Divas)
Jeff Hernandez (William)
Jojo Malferrari (Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure)

Joey Ayala (Encantada)
Vincent de Jesus (Care Divas)
Ryan Cayabyab (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)

Teresa Barroso (William)
Vincent De Jesus (Care Divas)
TJ Ramos (Encantada)
TJ Ramos (Shakespeare in Hollywood)
TJ Ramos (The Joy Luck Club)

Osias Barroso (Ang Prinsipe ng Mga Ibon)
Lisa Macuja-Elizalde (Ang Kapatid ng Tatlong Marya)
Tony Fabella (Ang Mahiwagang Biyulin)
Hazel Sabas-Gower (Green)
Agnes Locsin (Encantada)
Carlo Pacis (Mithi)

Deana Aquino (Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure)
Agnes Locsin (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)
Carlon Matobato (Care Divas)
Batche Tan (William)

John Abul (Care Divas)
Salvador Bernal (Encantada)
Salvador Bernal (Noli Me Tangere)
Salvador Bernal (Sleeping Beauty)
Jonathan Janolo and Michael Angelo Albay (Tatlong Kuwento Ni Lola Basyang)
Raven Ong (Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure)
Raven Ong (Shakespeare in Hollywood)
Carlo Pagunaling (William)
Eric Pineda (The Joy Luck Club)

Joaquin Jose Aranda (Sleeping Beauty)
John Batalla (Encantada)
John Batalla (Peter Pan)
John Batalla (Shakespeare in Hollywood)
John Batalla (The Joy Luck Club)
Katsch Catoy (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)
Jimmy Villanueva (Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang)
Jonjon Villareal (Care Divas)
Leo Abaya (Care Divas)
Salvador Bernal (Encantada)
Ricardo Cruz (Sleeping Beauty)
Ohm David (The Joy Luck Club)
Gino Gonzales (Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure)
Mio Infante (Noli Me Tangere: The Musical)
Boni Juan (William)

What do you think of "Gawad Buhay!"? Share your comments.

Virgin Labfest 2012 has ten new plays, 4 'virgin' playwrights

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Yay! My article on the 8th Virgin Labfest (2012) was published in Philippine Daily Inquirer's June 18, 2012 issue.

*The editors put down nine new plays for the headline, but I think it should be ten. But then math has always eluded me, kekeke.

Schedule and synopses of the plays can be read here.

Virgin Labfest 2012 has ten new plays, 4 'virgin' playwrights*
By Walter Ang

"Ang Unang Regla ni John"
This years' Virgin Labfest will present ten new works: three sets of one-act trilogies and one full-length (two-act) play at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. (See line-up in sidebar.)

Now on its eight year, the labfest is "a venue for playwrights, directors and actors to bring to life 'untried, untested, unpublished and unstaged' plays."

Tuxqs Rutaquio is the new artistic director, taking over from Rody Vera, who founded the festival through Writer's Bloc, a playwright's group, and Tanghalang Pilipino, CCP's resident theater company.  This year's funding is partially provided by CCP and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.

Young, new
"The labfest has grown in popularity and reputation throughout the years among audiences, teachers and theater artists," says Rutaquio.

"We've heard from groups from the regions who have made it an annual tradition to come to Manila to watch.  Some groups have been consulting with us to see if they can create a similar event in their region."

Submissions were screened and shortlisted by Rutaquio, Vera and actress Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino.  "We read all submission over the summer break.  Most show promise but still need work on technical aspects like structure. We plan on writing back the playwrights whose works weren't chosen for the festival this year with notes to give them advice."

He notes that submissions this year were mostly from playwrights in their late 20s. "This is a good sign. It means we have young playwrights out there who are creating works."

Out of the nine featured plays, four playwrights are virgin to the labfest: Em Mendez ("Ang Unang Regla ni John"), Guelan Luarca ("Kuneho"), Mar Anthony dela Cruz ("Hayop"), and Aizel Cabilan ("Pagsubli"), with dela Cruz and Cabilan having written their first plays ever.

"Isa Pang Soap Opera"
Out of the 77 submissions this year, 16 are full-length plays.  The festival started staging full-length plays last year and continues this year with "Totong Hilot" written by Jose Dennis Teodisio and directed by Roobak Valle.

Teodisio has had his works performed in all previous labfests, up to two per fest in some years, except last year, for a total of nine one-acts.  He is no longer allowed to submit one-acts to the fest.  "This is my 18th full-length play, but my first full-length for VL," says Teodisio. "I write plays because it's cathartic."

Rutaquio says, "Eventually, there are plans to stage more full-length plays and reduce the number of one-acts for the festival."

Revisiting, teaching
The festival usually features a set of trilogies from the previous year.  This year's "revisited" set includes: "Kawala" written by Rae Red and directed by Paolo O'Hara; "Evening at the Opera" by Floy Quintos, directed by Jomari Jose; and "Kafatiran" by Ricardo Novenario, directed by JK Anicoche.

There is no children's set this year due to lack of entries.

This year's festival resurrected its Playwriting Fellowship Program for college students taught by Glenn Mas with script writing workshop, lectures, discussions and script critiquing.

Selected lectures and discussions are open to the public.

"We were able to get funding this year for the program.  Hopefully it will become a permanent part of the festival in the future. The program is part of VL's desire to train young aspiring playwrights.  The festival has produced provocative and outstanding 'virgin' plays that have been recognized by the Palanca Awards for Literature."

Accepted applicants will be given access to this year's selected rehearsals as part of their mentorship and interactions with known playwrights, directors and selected actors.  The program concludes in a staged reading of the fellow's works on the last day of the fest.

The 8th Virgin Labfest (2012) runs June 27-July 8, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City. Call 8321125.

Schedule and synopses of the plays can be read here.

Also published online:

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

Music Artes' "Madame Butterfly" June 22-23, 2012

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"Madame Butterfly" at Cultural Center of the Philippines June 22-23, 2012
By Walter Ang

An entire generation of Filipinos grew up to the music of "Miss Saigon" after Lea Salonga and Monique Wilson were chosen to portray the titular character Kim in London's West End.

Now audiences will have a chance to watch the opera on which the musical is based in a staging by the Cultural Center of the Philippines in a coproduction with Music Artes production company.

Madame Butterfly, composed by Giacomo Puccini and libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, is the story of young Japanese Ciocio-san and her marriage to and betrayal by US naval officer B. F. Pinkerton.

The production will be staged in Italian with English supertitles.

International singer Japanese soprano Mako Nishimoto portrays Ciocio with Mexican tenor Dante Alcalá as Pinkerton.

Nishimoto grew up in Shizuoka prefecture near Mt. Fuji and attended Musashino Academy of Music in Tokyo.

Recent performances include Giorgetta in "Il Tabarro" and Michaera in "Carmen" for the Shinjuku City Opera and Adina in "L'Elisir d'amore" for the Suginami City Opera.

This is Nishimoto's first time to perform in the Philippines.  She's performed in the UK, Canada, USA, South America, and in Europe.

For this role, she reviewed Japanese traditional culture, "including how to dance and sit down while wearing a kimono in the tatami matted house and so on."

"[Before each performance,] to concentrate, I don't use my telephone or the internet," she says. "I face my inner self and convince myself that I can surely do it."

Cast and collaborators
Filipinos soprano Camille Lopez Molina portrays Suzuki (Ciocio's handmaid) and baritone Andrew Fernando plays Sharpless (US consul and friend of Pinkerton).

Francisco Feliciano is music director with Singaporean Maestro Lim Yau conducting the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and direction by Anton Juan.  Lighting design is by John Batalla and video design by Pat Valera. 

Set and costume design is by Leeroy New, who builds on Juan's directorial concept of "melding the past and present" by designing a set in that attempts to "reconcile the classical piece with the seemingly 'dark' aesthetics associated with Butoh and references to the devastation of the Hiroshima bombing."

"Madam Butterfly" runs June 22-23 at Tanghalang Nicano Abelardo, CCP, Pasay City.  Contact CCP Box Office 832-3704, Music Artes 895-8098 and 0918-908-5088, and Ticketworld 891-9999.

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

Atlantis Productions' "Rock of Ages" June 15-July 8, 2012

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Announcement from Atlantis Productions

Atlantis Productions

Rock of Ages

June 15-July 8, 2012
Carlos Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza Bldg., Makati City

“Rock of Ages” is a feel-good love story told through such ‘80s hit anthems as “I Want To Know What Love Is,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “We Built This City,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”

Directed by Chari Arespacochaga, the show is headlined by Nyoy Volante and Vina Morales.

Philippine-born Australian singer Mig Ayesa (a finalist of "Rock Star: INXS") plays Stacee Jaxx.

In the show, it is 1987 on the Sunset Strip in LA. Drew (Volante), a young busboy, dreams of being a rock star while he works at the Strip’s most famous bar, The Bourbon Room, owned by Dennis Dupree (Jamie Wilson).

There, he meets Sherrie (Morales), a small-town girl who goes to LA to pursue her dreams of being an actress.

They fall in love and then lose each other when the (in)famous, sexy, over-the-top rock star Stacee Jaxx comes into the picture.

The show’s “dramatic conjurer” or narrator, Lonny (Jett Pangan). 

Threatening to close down the Bourbon Room to turn the Strip into a “model of clean and efficient living” are father-and-son German developers Hertz (Calvin Millado) and Franz (Bibo Reyes).

Passionately protesting against these developers is bohemian activist Regina (Aiza Seguerra).

Down the road from the Bourbon Room is the Venus Club--a haven for “gentlemen” run by Justice Charlier (Jinky Llamanzares).

Contact 8927078.
What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

9th World Congress of the International University Theatre Association July 2-6, 2012

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9th World Congress of the
International University Theatre Association (AITU-IUTA)
Minsk, Belarus
July 2-6, 2012

Traditions; Research; Experimentation:
The Essential Elements of Contemporary University Theatre

The International University Theatre Association was established during the Founding Congress at Université de Liège (Belgium) in 1994 to develop and promote theatre training, creation, and theoretical and practical research, at the level of university or higher studies.

The AITU-IUTA is represented on five continents and has members in over 50 countries.

Designed by and for people from universities and other types of post-secondary learning institutions, the AITU-IUTA is a unique forum where teachers, practitioners, creators, scholars and theorists can share discoveries and discuss common concerns.

The Association provides a space for exchanges and services, and is open to all members of the academic community with an interest in theatre.

Since the Belgium Congress, the AITU-IUTA has been holding a World Congress essentially every two years, including in Valleyfield, Quebec (Canada) (1997); Dakar, Senegal (1999); Krakow, Poland (2001); Olympia, Greece (2003); Urbino, Italy (2006); Puebla, Mexico (2008); and Leicester, United Kingdom (2010).

In 2012, the 9th World Congress will be hosted in Minsk by the Belarusian State University.
The Belarusian State University is a leading scientific, educational, innovation and cultural center of the Republic of Belarus. The University draws on the best domestic and international experience to respond to the intellectual, cultural and social interests of the individual, society and the state, and to facilitate the sustainable development of the country.

For eight years the University has been organizing the Teatralny Koufar International Student Theatre Festival, which is recognized as one of the leading festivals of University Theatre in Europe and post-Soviet countries. The Festival showcases the best artistic achievements in university and youth theatres. Its diversity of nationalities and practices provides an opportunity for enhancement of worldwide artistic exchanges and cultural understanding.

Join the congress and contribute to the international theatre movement!
Visit http://www.theatre-fest.bsu.by/aitu/index_en.html

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

Wifi Body Independent Contemporary Dance Festival 2012 Schedule July 4-14, 2012

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Announcement from Contemporary Dance Network Manila's

Contemporary Dance Network Manila

Wifi Body Independent Contemporary Dance Festival 6 (2012)
Aspire to Dance. Aspire for Dance.
July 4-14, 2012

A gathering of contemporary dance artists, a showcase for new and innovative contemporary dance works and a magnet for collaborations with artists of other disciplines with contemporary dance.

We re-vision, we accept, but most of all. we still aspire to dance and all our efforts are for what we aspire for dance in the Philippines.

Read more about this year's festival here.

July 4-6, 2012
Quezon City

New Aspirations: Opening Gala of the
Wifi Body Independent Contemporary Dance Festival
Dance Forum Space
July 4, 2012 8pm

New Choreographers Competition
Dance Forum Space
July 5, 2012 Thursday 8pm

IndepenDance: Studio Set
Featuring new works by Jed Amihan, Rudolph Segundo, Jun Saagundo, Ea Torrado
Dance Forum Space
July 6, 2012 Friday 8pm

Other events
Contemporary Dance Workshops
UP Dance Studio
9:00am - 12:00pm
July 4, 2012 - Donna Miranda
July 5, 2012 -  Raul Alcoseba
July 6, 2012 - Gerald Mercado

Dance On Screen: Uncensored Bodies
(featuring finalists of the 3rd Uncensored Bodies Dance Video Competition)
UP College of Music Mini-Hall
July 6, 2012 1:30-2:30pm

Wifi Body Conference
UP College of Music Mini-Hall
July 5-6, 2012 2:30-pm-5:30pm

July 13-14, 2012
Pasay City

IndepenDance: Stage Set
Featuring new works by Elena Laniog, and Christine Crame
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Aurelio Tolentino Theater)
July 13, 2012 Friday 7:30pm

New Choreographers Competition
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Aurelio Tolentino Theater)
July 14, 2012 Saturday 5pm

Dance On Site
CCP Little Theater Lobby
July 13, 2012 Friday 9:30pm
July 14, 2012 Saturday 9:30pm

Fidelity: The Closing Gala of the
Wifi Body Independent Contemporary Dance Festival
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Aurelio Tolentino Theater)
July 14, 2012 Saturday 8pm

Contact 0917-328-2582 or 0999-881-6800.

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

French film, music, dance, fashion featured in FrancoPhil 2012

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Yay! My article on the activities for FrancoPhil 2012 was published in Philippine Daily Inquirer's June 11, 2012 issue.

French film, music, dance, fashion featured in FrancoPhil 2012
By Walter Ang

Dance film "Blanche-Neige" (Snow White)
This year’s French film festival kicks off the events for the second half of the year of FrancoPhil, a yearlong series of cultural events organized by the Embassy of France in the Philippines and Alliance Française de Manille.

“FrancoPhil is a play on the word ‘Francophile,’ meaning a lover of French culture, and is a celebration of the ties that bind French and Filipino cultures,” says Astrid Renoux, cultural attaché. “It also highlights the collaboration between French and Filipino artists in many of the events.”

Now on its third year, this year’s FrancoPhil is organized with Rustan’s Department Stores. FrancoPhil activities include performances, exhibits, workshops, across different art forms.

The film festival opened last weekend with the Philippine premiere of the romance-comedy “The Artist,” written and directed in the style of a black-and-white silent film by Michel Hazanavicius.

The 2011 film reaped multiple awards from France's Cannes Film Festival and Académie des arts et techniques du cinéma (César awards), the UK's British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta), and USA's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscar awards).

The festival’s opening weekend also featured the by-invitation-only Philippine premiere of Brillante Mendoza’s “Captive,” a Franco-German-Filipino co-production starring French actress Isabelle Huppert.

The film festival will be held in Manila until June 17 at Shangri-La Mall; and in Cebu June 21-23 at Ayala Center. Most films are free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Now on its 17th year, the festival will include an Olivier Assayas retrospective featuring seven of his films “chosen to demonstrate the great diversity in his topics and styles.” Assayas is considered “one of the most significant bodies of contemporary cinema in the whole world.”

This year’s Fête de la Musique, a showcase of “music of all genres from classical to rock bands and DJs” usually done in closed-off streets, will be held on June 23 simultaneously in Manila (Makati Avenue), Cebu (Ayala Center) and Bacolod (Café Joint art district).

Along with various Filipino bands, this year’s featured French group is the DJ collective Chinese Man.

Dance film "O Sensei"
As part of this year’s WiFi Body Independent Contemporary Dance Festival, FrancoPhil will bring over Emmanuel Serafini, director of Avignon Choreographic Center, for a talk on European Contemporary Dance on June 27 at the University of the Philippines.

Joining Serafini are choreographers Arco Renz (Germany) and Ilana Bellhasen (Israel). The talk is free.

FrancoPhil is also screening dance films (see line-up below) on June 13 and 20 at the Alliance Française de Manille (Nicanor Garcia St., formerly Reposo, Makati), and on June 28 at Lyceum of the Philippines University.

On July 10-14, there will be a free workshop at AFM with French textile experts from Institut Supérieur du Textile Alsace, on the development and use of Filipino natural resources such as nipa.

“The workshop is open to Filipino weavers, fashion enthusiasts, and the general public,” says Renoux. “It aims to help participants produce nipa-weaving for the textile industry according to international standards.”

Contact Alliance Française de Manille at 8957585 and 8957441. Add “SCAC Manille” on Facebook.

Also published online:

Bonus! Here is the schedule of the dance film screenings (click image to enlarge):

Another bonus! Here is an excerpt from the dance film "Blanche Neige" (Snow White), one of the films to be screened.
What do you think of this program of events? Share your comments.

Ballet Philippines' "Crisostomo Ibarra" June 16-24, 2012

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Announcement from Ballet Philippines

Ballet Philippines

marking the end of the year-long (2011-2012) celebration
of the 150th birth anniversary of national hero Jose Rizal

"Crisostomo Ibarra"

June 16-17 and 23-24, 2012
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, Cultural Center of the Philippines

Special Gala shows will be performed with live music featuring 5 leading classical musicians.
There will be a free admission performance at SM Calamba on June 18.

The contemporary ballet depicts Crisostomo Ibarra’s transformation from aristocratic idealist to revolutionary pragmatist. Ibarra’s internal journey begins on his travel back home, where he metaphorically resists the strong tides that sway his co-passengers.

Outstanding Dance Production, 2010 PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay!
Choreographed by Ballet Philippines’ artistic director Paul Alexander Morales
based on Jose Rizal's "Noli Me Tangere"
Music by Jed Balsamo
Sets and costumes by Jose Melencio
Videos by Ruelo Lozendo

Bonus! Here is the trailer:

Contact 5511003 or visit www.ballet.ph.

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

Silly People’s Improv Theater (Spit)'s Manila Improv Fest 2012 June 28-July 1, 2012

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Announcement from Silly People’s Improv Theater (Spit)

Silly People’s Improv Theater (Spit)
in celebration of its tenth anniversary

The First Philippine International Improv Festival
June 28 to July 1

Featuring performances from improv groups from Cebu, Bacolod, Xiamen, Beijing, Hong Kong, Taichung and Los Angeles alongside SPIT.

June 28 and 29, 8pm
June 30, 7pm
July 1, 4pm
at Quantum Café, 9590 Kamagong St. cor. Bagtikan St., Makati City

A Master Class Improvisation Workshops for long-time improv practitioners who wish to further hone their craft will be held at De La Salle College of St. Benilde, Manila.

Conducted by notable improv practitioners:
Gabe Mercado
Gabby Fernandez, Bacolod’s Kinengkoy Comedy Express
Shaun Landry, Artistic Director of Oui Be Negroes and founder of The West Coast Improv Alliance
Tom Farnan, The Second City, Annoyance Theater, IO and ComedySportz of Chicago

About the group
Founded by actor Gabe Mercado in June 2002, SPIT differs from the usual stand-up comedy routines as its performances fully involve the audience. SPIT performs scenes, songs and games completely based on audience suggestions, just like in the popular British and American show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

Visit www.spitmanila.com, follow on Facebook (www.facebook.com/spitmanila), follow on Twitter (www.twitter.com/spitmanila).

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

Sipat Lawin Ensemble's Suzuki and Viewpoints Acting Workshop June 14-23, 2012

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T-BACK (Teat-in-a-Backpack) Performance Laboratory

Suzuki & Viewpoints Actor's Training and Workshop
with Bong Cabrera

6 sessions with 2 hours of Viewpoints Training and 2 hours of Suzuki per session.
June 14 Thu., 16 Sat. , 17 Sun., 19 Tues., 21 Thu., 23 Sun.

Min. of 10 and max. 20 slots only.

Pugad Lawin (office of Sipat Lawin Ensemble),
Victoria School, 79 Ermin Garcia St., Cubao, Quezon City

Register here: https://www.facebook.com/events/469838019697001/

Contact 0917-500-8753 or sipatlawin.ensemble@gmail.com

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

Al Gatmaitan serenades the ladies

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Yay! My interview with Al Gatmaitan and his upcoming show "Ang Bagong Harana" was published in Philippine Daily Inquirer's June 4, 2012 issue.

Al Gatmaitan serenades the ladies
By Walter Ang

Tenor Al Gatmaitan used to serenade his girlfriend in college. “She liked it when I sang to her,” he says.

Audiences will get their turn to be serenaded by Gatmaitan in Philippine Opera Company’s “Ang Bagong Harana,” a musical revue featuring traditional and contemporary Filipino songs.

Gatmaitan has been singing since he was a child but never thought he could do it professionally.  “Every Sunday, I’d go with my lola to hear Mass and I’d sing my heart out in all of the songs. My brother would hit me with his elbow because I was singing too loud.

“I’d imagine myself being there in front, singing with the choir, but it was always the old ladies of the church who sang, so I thought, 'Nah, it’ll never happen.' I had to be content with my fantasies.”

Almost not
Growing up in Bulacan, Gatmaitan figured he might become a priest.  “My great-grandfather was a priest, my other grandmother is a Franciscan sister, and I have an uncle who’s also a priest.”

He realized he could “really sing” when he’d won a few singing competitions in elementary school. When college came, his father wanted him to take up engineering.

“Ahh! I hate numbers,” he says with a laugh.  “But I didn’t know what course to take up.”

Most of his friends took up pre-med at University of the Philippines and he “went with the flow” until a dorm-mate mentioned the existence of the Conservatory of Music.

“I was a probinsyano who didn’t know that there was such a school, how ignorant!” He promptly shifted courses.  “My entry into the conservatory was so amazing, as if I’d found a home. I had my first formal training as a singer.  It was heavenly!”

His father didn’t object and became one of his loyal supporters and strict critics.  “I once sang at a party without memorizing the lyrics and my amang reprimanded me.”

After graduation, he'd started performing for local theater groups but decided to pursue further studies in Italy.

Studying more
“Our first requirement at the conservatory was to sing Italian anthologies.  It was weird because I felt stupid singing songs I didn’t understand.”  He eventually “really fell in love with the language” and pursued a scholarship to earn a Diploma in Teaching Italian Language Abroad from University of Dante Aleghieri.

While there, he scored more scholarships to study at Teatro Calabria (Acting and Diction); Spazio Teatro (Actor’s Formation); and Conservatorio “Torre Franca” di Vibo Valentia (Intensive Vocal Formation Training).

He was able to train under Maria Francavilla.  “She’s a good friend of the late great tenor Luciano Pavarotti. She helped me a lot in my singing.”

“Before I left for Italy, I was doing quite well in theater in Manila but I wanted to sacrifice a bit since my studies would help me hone my craft.  One of my theater professors told me once, ‘For us artists it doesn’t matter if you eat just one piece of bread a day as long as you get to do what you have to do, which is to perform, and that’s your responsibility.’  I think my sacrifice paid off because now I’m sure how to use my instrument.”

Coming home
He’d started landing roles in Italy but was committed to returning.  “I missed home!” he laughs.  “And it’s a really different feeling when you perform for your own. Filipino audiences are more intimidating because we’re hard to please but it’s also more rewarding, more meaningful.”

Since his return, he’s performed lead roles in “Noli Me Tangere” and “Banaag at Sikat” (Tanghalang Pilipino); “Tales of the Manuvu” (Ballet Philippines); “Skin Deep” (Philippine Educational Theater Association); and “Hibik at Himagsikan nina Victoria Lactao” (Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas), among others.

He joins nine other classically trained singers in “Ang Bagong Harana,” “which was envisioned as love song to our country,” says POC artistic director Karla Gutierrez.  This restaging of the show (the show had its world premiere in 2008) is partly to celebrate this year’s Independence Day.

Conceived and directed by Floy Quintos, the show includes a traditional children’s songs suite, a kundiman suite, a tribal songs suite and a folk songs suite.  There is a bodabil suite that doubles as tribute to Sylvia La Torre (considered the Queen of Kundiman) and an OPM suite which includes classics like Freddie Aguilar’s “Anak.”

While he serenades audiences in “Ang Bagong Harana,” Gatmaitan will also be serenading a special lady.  “My mother passed away when I was five years old. Though my father remarried and my stepmother became my nanay, I grew up with my lola.  I was a lola’s boy. I had hoped she’d see me perform but she passed away before I even started. In every performance, I tell myself, ‘Lola, this is for you.’”

“Ang Bagong Harana” runs June 6-10 at Carlos Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza Bldg., Makati City.  Contact 8817168 or 0917-5272880; or Ticketworld, 8919999.

Also published online:

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

Deadline of submission to 3rd Uncensored Bodies Dance Video Competition June 24, 2012

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Announcement from Contemporary Dance Network Manila

A dance number from Wifi Body Independent
Contemporary Dance Festival 2010.
Deadline of submission to 3rd Uncensored Bodies Dance Video Competition June 24, 2012

Wifi Body Independent Contemporary Dance Festival
announces call for entries to the
3rd Uncensored Bodies Dance Video Competition

All entries must be submitted by June 24, 2012.
This year's theme is "Aspire to Dance, Aspire for Dance."

A definition of 'video dance' is movement-based work that is conceived and/or choreographed for viewing on a single screen, be it a TV, monitor or by projection, and that exists as a work in its own right, i.e. it is not part of a live performance. (http://www.makingvideodance.com)

Uncensored Bodies Dance Video Competition is part of
Wifi Body Independent Contemporary Dance Festival.
This year's festival is July 4-14, 2012.
The festival is organized by Contemporary Dance Network Manila.

Qualifications to enter:
- Submission is open to certified Filipino citizens only.
- Works created prior to 31 June 2011 are disqualified.
- Films that are documentations of live performances will be disqualified.
- Members of the Wifi Body Festival Committee are disqualified from joining the competition.

Note: We wish to extend the language of dance in the manner that only the filmic language and image can achieve. We will put emphasis on the videos that most articulate the concerns of contemporary dance.
- Interested parties may submit a maximum of three (3) entries, but only one (1) entry per participant may be considered as a finalist.
- Film duration must be ten (10) minutes or less.
- Due to copyright laws, music used in the film must be original, licensed or in the public domain.
- All entries must be in DVD format.
- Shipments of entries to the Festival must be prepaid. The organizing office shall not accept collect shipments.
- Contemporary Dance Network Manila reserves the right to screen and publicize the selectedfilms for festival purposes only.

How to enter:
Submit the following on or before June 24, 2012:

- Mail or deliver your film in DVD format to
Contemporary Dance Network Manila
36-E West Avenue, Quezon City, 1104 Philippines

- Email to cdnmdance@gmail.com your
a. Accomplished entry form which can be downloaded from
(a separate form is needed for each entry)

b. Three hi-res movie stills in .jpeg format

Other details:
- The six (6) finalists will be announced on June 29, 2012.
- The selected works will be screened online and during the festival period at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
- The first and the second place will be chosen by the Board of Judges, and an Audience Choice award will be determined via online voting.
- Winners will be announced by July 14, 2012, and the best dance film will be shown during the Wifi Body Festival Closing Gala at the Little Theater, Cultural Center of the Philippines.

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