PETA’s original Pinoy musical ‘A Game of Trolls’ returns this October

A GAME OF TROLLS will have a limited two-weekend run on Oct 13-14 and 20-21, 2018 at the PETA Theater Center. For tickets, you may contact PETA at 725-6244 or visit You may also visit our website: or send a message to the PETA Theater Center official Facebook page (, Instagram and Twitter (@petatheatercenter).

“Martial law is the best thing that happened to the Philippines in 1972. We won’t be the developing country that we are right now if it wasn’t for the Marcoses. Learn your history,” says the social media account without a real name.

Pro-HR netizens will probably go beastmode on statements like these. But before you go lit AF, maybe it’s good to take a step back, look at the bigger picture and think if “making patol” online will do you any good. Instead of wasting precious time arguing with faceless mythical beings who hide behind screens, why not log-out, get off your mobile phone or laptop, and invite family and friends to go to the theater with you, and watch A GAME OF TROLLS, PETA’s martial law musical for millennials (and millennials-at-heart!).

But what’s it about? A GAME OF TROLLS is the story of Hector (Myke Salomon / TJ Valderrama), a professional keyboard warrior for Marshalls of History, a troll center who is running a pro-Martial Law campaign lead by Bimbam (Vince Lim). Hector, being the tactless and detached Internet tough guy that he is, effortlessly infuriates anti-martial law advocates with his insensitive and random unsolicited comments about the victims of Martial law, making him the top guy in the trolling game. This prompts the “visits” of the Ghosts of Martial Law from the Internet Cloud, reminding him to never forget their struggle to liberate the country from the dictatorship. Their stories, along with his own mother’s, Tere (Upeng Galang-Fernandez / Gail Billones), made Hector re-examine his involvement in the trolling business.

Directed by Maribel Legarda, written by Liza Magtoto and music by Vince De Jesus, (the same team that brought you Caredivas), A GAME OF TROLLS is not only an ode to the heroes of Martial Law. It is an appeal to the millennials to #NeverForget that the dark history that took away democracy decades ago has spawned the same strain of oppressor that is taking our democracy away right now. It is a reminder that by understanding the history of the people’s struggle for democracy, we are also keeping in mind to #NeverAgain allow a tyrant to steal it away from us. It is an attempt to stimulate discourse about truth and history in the age of social media: to look beyond the memes and fake news, and to encourage thinking critically and acting responsibly both online and offline.

So what are you waiting for? Book tickets now, watch with your family and friends, and, regardless of opinions, let’s make theater a safe space for conversation, reflection, and critical thinking. Tuloy po kayo sa PETA Theater Center, kuwentuhan tayo!

Maronne Cruz joins the cast of Sara Bareilles’s ‘Waitress: The Musical’

Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group is proud to announce that Maronne Cruz joins the cast of “Waitress: The Musical” as Dawn. She joins previously announced cast member Bituin Escalante in this Broadway hit. Scored by Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles, and based on the 2007 movie of the same name, WAITRESS tells the story of expert baker Jenna who is disillusioned with her life and reckons with herself through the simple magic of baking. Accompanied by her friends Dawn and Becky, Jenna finds the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.

Maronne is more than excited to be joining the cast, saying, “Waitress is my dream show, and I get so elated when I think about playing Dawn. I connect so much with her! We’re both introverted, have geeky hobbies, get really anxious when putting ourselves out there, and are holding out for someone who can love all our oddities.”

Bobby Garcia, who directs, the highly anticipated musical says, “I was struck by Maronne’s authenticity as Dawn when she came into audition. It was an effortless audition and she hit all the right dramatic and vocal notes. I think audiences are in for a special treat when they see her on stage in WAITRESS.”

No stranger to musical theatre, Maronne has appeared in numerous productions including Hair (Jeanie), Sa Wakas (Gabbi), Ako Si Josephine (Josephine), Godspell (Learn Your Lessons Well soloist), Dog Sees God (Marcy), Horse & His Boy (Sallowpad the Raven), Sandosenang Sapatos (Red), and Cinderella (Stepsister Joy). She has also appeared in the indie film Mariquina as Monet.. She also runs an advocacy named A Hero’s Call, which encourages social awareness & action through geek culture.

Catch Maronne as Dawn in “Waitress: The Musical,” which opens on November 9 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati. Tickets will be available soon at TicketWorld Manila.

From Broadway to Manila: ‘Sister Act: The Musical’ stages at Solaire

You’re in for some glittery fun with SISTER ACT: Live in Manila! (Watch an excerpt from their live performance below.)

Ovation Productions brings to the Philippines a new theater offering perfect for all musical theater fans.

The Broadway and West End smash hit musical comedy Sister Act, based on the hit 1992 film that has more than 6 million audiences jumping to their feet worldwide, will rock Manila until July 9 at The Theatre at Solaire.

Buy your tickets HERE.

Sister Act Show Details

Remaining shows:
July 4, 5, 6 and 7 – 8 pm (Tuesday – Friday)
July 8 and 9 – 2 pm and 8 pm (Saturday – Sunday)

Duration: Two hours and 30 minutes. With one 15-minute intermission.

Venue: The Theatre at Solaire, 1 Aseana Avenue, Entertainment City, Paranaque City.

Be prepared for dazzling dance routines and a vast inspiration of musical styles from Motown, Barry White, soul and funk to great big disco anthems.

SISTER ACT features an original score with music by Tony® and 8-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Disney’s Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Enchanted, Little Mermaid), lyrics by Tony and Academy Award-nominee Glenn Slater (The Little Mermaid), and a book by multi-Emmy Award winners Cheri and Bill Steinkellner (“Cheers”) with additional book material by Tony and Olivier Award nominee Douglas Carter Beane (Xanadu, The Little Dog Laughed). Directed on Broadway by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks (Guys and Dolls, A Funny Thing…Forum, Smokey Joe’s Café), the production features choreography by Tony and Olivier Award nominee Anthony Van Laast (Mamma Mia, Bombay Dreams) and is based on the Touchstone Pictures motion picture Sister Act written by Joseph Howard.

Produced by Whoopi Goldberg, TROIKA Entertainment and Sister Act On Tour, LLC, SISTER ACT received five 2011 Tony® Award nominations including BEST MUSICAL, BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (Alan Menken (music)/Glenn Slater (lyrics), and BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL (Cheri & Bill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane).


The original film’s locations of Reno and San Francisco have been changed to Philadelphia and the action now is set in the 1970s. When disco diva wannabe Deloris Van Cartier sees her gangster boyfriend Curtis Shank commit a murder at the grungy club where she’s performing, she reports the crime to the police and is placed in the witness protection program. Disguised as a nun named Sister Mary Clarence, she is placed in the convent of the Holy Order of the Little Sisters of Our Mother of Perpetual Faith, where she finds herself up against the rigid Mother Superior. Deloris uses her singing talent to inspire the other nuns to create a more contemporary choir, and they become the hit of the community. Word of their success reaches Curtis and his mob, who arrive on the scene to settle their score with Deloris and find themselves battling not only her, but a gang of feisty nuns and the Mother Superior as well.


Best Musical
Best Book of a Musical
Best Original Score
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical – Patina Miller
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical – Victoria Clark

Outstanding Musical
Outstanding Actress in a Musical – Patina Miller
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical – Victoria Clark
Outstanding Music
Outstanding Lyrics

Distinguished Production of a Musical
Distinguished Performance Award – Victoria Clark
Distinguished Performance Award – Patina Miller

Patina Miller

Best New Musical
Best Actress in a Musical – Patina Miller
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical – Sheila Hancock
Best Theatre Choreographer – Anthony Van Laast

You can buy tickets HERE.

‘Virgin Labfest 13’ celebrates diverse unstaged plays with ‘Wagas’

The 13th Virgin Labfest will run from June 28 to July 16 at various venues of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

In partnership with its resident theater company Tanghalang Pilipino and the playwright group Writer’s Bloc Inc., the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will host the 13th edition of the annual theater festival Virgin Labfest, which provides an opportunity for aspiring playwrights to create new works for the stage.


Tickets are available at the CCP box office and all TicketWorld outlets. For ticketing information, please call the CCP Marketing Department at 832-3706 or 832-3704 or email the Sales and Promotions Division at

Each set is priced at 400 PHP. Students and PWDs may avail of the 20% discount (only over-the-counter).

Festival passes are available at 1600 PHP each.


READ MORE: Full schedule for Virgin Labfest 2017

The three-week festival promises to be a spectacular one offering twelve unpublished and unstaged plays and five new staged readings, written by 21 virgin playwrights, and three revisited plays all performed by 76 theater thespians and stalwarts and directed by 20 upcoming and established directors.

With overall theme “Wagas,” the festival of untried, unstaged and untested one-act plays offers a chance for new writers to see their creative skills taken from script to the stage. Out of more than 190 manuscripts submitted, 12 new plays were selected and were divided into four sets.

Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)

The new plays are divided into four sets.


  • “Loveteam,” written by Oggie Arcenas and directed by veteran actor-director Michael Williams;
  • “Pilipinas Kong Mahal with All The Overcoat,” written by Eljay Castro Deldoc and directed by Roobak Valle; and
  • “Birdcage,” written by Rick Patriarca and directed by Ian Segarra.


  • “Ang Mga Puyong,” penned by Ryan Machado and directed by Ricardo Magno;
  • “Hindi Ako Si Darna” by playwrights Maynard Manansala and U Eliserio, directed by Andoy Ranay; and
  • “Boses ng Masa” by Joshua Lim So and directed by Guelan Luarca.


  • “Si Dr. Dolly Dalisay at Ang Mga Ladybugs” by Layeta Bucoy, directed by Jonathan Tadioan;
  • “Ang Bata Sa Bus Stop” by Sari Saysay and directed by Topper Fabregas; and
  • “Dear and Unhappy” by Carlo Vergara and directed by Ricky Villabona.


  • “Sincerity Biker’s Club” by playwright Adrian Ho and director Jenny Jamoral;
  • “Nothing But Dreams” by playwright Dingdong Novenario and director Carlitos Siguion-Reyna; and
  • “Ang Bahay sa Gitna ng Kawalan” by playwright Eliza A. Victoria and director George de Jesus complete the list.

VLF Revisited
Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater)

Three plays in the 2016 edition of the VLF will be mounted again this year.

  • “Ang Sugilanon ng Kabiguan ni Epefania” written by May Cardoso and directed by Charles Yee;
  • “Ang Bata sa Drum” by Dominique La Victoria and directed by Dudz Teraña; and
  • “Mula sa Kulimliman” by Carlo Vergara and directed by Hazel Gutierrez.

Bulwagang Amado V. Hernandez

The Staged Readings will feature the following:

  • “Point and Click” by playwright Jamie Bautista, directed by Mara Marasigan;
  • “Vertigo” by playwright Nicko Manipis de Guzman, directed by Yong Tapang;
  • “Walang Forever Virus” by playwright Fatrick Tabada, directed by Elmer Rufo;
  • “Ang Pag-uulyanin ni Olivia Mendoza” by playwright Rolin Migyuel Cadallo Obina, directed by Emmanuel dela Cruz; and
  • “Andiyan Lang” by playwright Kevin Tabora, directed by Dennis Marasigan.

Other Features

The much-awaited 3rd Virgin Labfest Anthology, composed of selected plays featured in the latest editions of the festival, will be unveiled during the festival.

The Virgin Labfest Writing Fellowship Program, a two-week mentorship program on the study and practice of dramatic writing for the stage, will also be held as part of the festival. The fellowship program aims to train young aspiring playwrights through a series of lectures, script critiquing, writing sessions and interactions with known playwrights, directors and selected actors.

Artist Playground presents Chalmers + Shakespeare’s Macbeth in ‘M Episode’

M EPISODE is a back-to-back play about Macbeth and a prelude to it. Now on a new venue, Artist Playground will run this on June 16 until July 1, 2017.

Here are the schedules:

  • Fri. Jun 16 (7pm) | Sat. Jun 17 (3pm) | Sun. Jun 18 (3pm)
  • Fri. Jun 23 (7pm) | Sat. Jun 24 (3pm) | Sun. Jun 25 (3pm)
  • Fri. Jun 30 (7pm)| Sat. Jul 1 (3pm) | Sat. Jul 1 (7pm)

Artist Playground II, Arts Above is located at the Penthouse of West Venue Building, 112 West Avenue, Quezon City (beside McDonald’s).

Ticket at only 550 pesos with 20% discount for students with valid ID (via Ticketworld outlets).

Artist Playground proudly presents a breakthrough rare theatrical treat with ‘M EPISODE’ – a two-in-one experience about Macbeth, one of the most famous tragic characters during the Renaissance period.


Once there were three people thrown together by ambition, the pursuit of happiness, and passion both youthfulness and maturity share. A decade or so later, they meet again. What was done is now recalled, what was promised is now collected, and what was taken away is now reclaimed.

Directed by Roeder Camanag, ‘M EPISODE’ will take audiences to an in-depth view of Macbeth’s world and witness every episode that formed his psyche in two acts.

Act I: James Chalmers’ “PRELUDE TO MACBETH” introduces us to Lorna Stewart, Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, and Duncan, King of Scotland for the first time.

Act II: William Shakespeare’s “MACBETH” returns to us the three characters, Macbeth now about to be Thane of Cawdor, and Lorna Stewart, now Lady Macbeth. The Past now spurs a huge cloud of malice, malignancy, and murderous plots. All in the name of the golden round.

The cast are as follows: Prelude to Macbeth – Paul Jake Paule (Macbeth), Jernice Matunan (Lorna), Mariella Munji Laurel (Lorna), Andre Tiangco (Duncan), Juan Carlo Martin Pacheco and Vincent Pajara (Callum), Tasha Guerrero, Marjorie Duldulao, Princess Tuason, Kia Del Rosario, Jeremy Cabansag & Kathleen Francisco (Spirits 1,2,3);

Macbeth – Paul Jake Paule (Macbeth), Mailes Kanapi and Cathrine Go (Lady Macbeth), Anjo Resurreccion (Banquo), Mitoy Sta. Ana and Andre Tiangco (King Duncan), Al Gatmaitan (Macduff), Vincent Pajara (Malcolm), Dan Sheneill Solis (Fleance), Juan Carlo Martin Pacheco (Ross), Basty Batistis ( Porter), Gry Gimena (Lennox) , Marjorie Duldulao and Tasha Guerrero (Lady Macduff), Tasha Guerrero, Princess Tuason, Kia Del Rosario, Jeremy Cabansag, Marjorie Duldulao & Kathleen Francisco (Three Witches).

The artistic team of M Episode are as follows: Roeder Camañag (Director); Myra Beltran (Choreographer); Jesse Lucas(Music By); Banaue Miclat-Janssen (Speech and Voice Consultant); Reynoso Mercado (Production Designer); Anthony Salvador (Lights Designer); Paul Jake Paule (Lay-out Designer); Jaynus Olaivar (Photographer); and Alvin Espiritu (Dance Captain).

William Shakespeare’s MACBETH is more than 400 years old and the play has been adapted for the movies before, most notably by Orson Welles and Roman Polanski. (Akira Kurosawa’s “Throne of Blood” is loosely based on the play.) Other famous interpretations include Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in a much-lauded 1955 production; and Ian McKellen and Judi Dench in a staging in 1976 by the Royal Shakespeare Company that was filmed for television.

On Broadway, actors who have played the Scottish usurper include Patrick Stewart, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Plummer and Michael Redgrave. In 2013, Ethan Hawke headlined a production at the Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre. He followed Alan Cumming’s experimental “Macbeth” who depicted the title character as a mental patient who enacted most of the roles in the play. In the UK, Kenneth Branagh starred for the first time at the Manchester Festival. The production, which Branagh co-directed, was also shown in US cinemas. James McAvoy (who, like Cumming, is Scottish) also appeared in a West End production. A 2015 movie version of “Macbeth” featured Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.

For tickets and inquiries, visit Artist Playground’s website at or contact 09759193179.

Schedule for CCP’s ‘Virgin Labfest 13: Wagas!’ unveiled

Now on its 13th edition, the Virgin Labfest remains to be a celebrated event flocked by theater enthusiasts at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).  It is an annual festival of unpublished, unstaged, untried and untested works in partnership with Writer’s Bloc Inc. and Tanghalang Pilipino Inc.

Virgin Labfest 13 will run from June 28 to July 16, 2017. See the full schedule below.

Ticket Prices

Tickets and passes are now available via Ticketworld outlets and at the CCP Box Office. Tickets per set cost P400 (if bought at the CCP Box Office) and P412 (if bought via Ticketworld). VLF festival passes, which can be used to see all sets of performances, cost P1,600 each and are only available at the CCP Box Office.

For more information, call the CCP Box Office at (02) 832-3704 or Ticketworld at (02) 891-9999.

Schedules of Virgin Labfest 13: WAGAS!

June 28 to July 16, 2017
Cultural Center of the Philippines

MAIN LINEUP – Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino

• Oggie Arcenas, “Loveteam” (Direction: Michael Williams)
• Eljay Castro Deldoc, “Pilipinas Kong Mahal with all the Overcoat”
(Direction: Roobak Valle)
• Rick Patriarca, “Birdcage” (Direction: Ian Segarra)

June 28, July 7/12/16, 3 pm
June 28, July 6/11/15, 8 pm

• Ryan Machado, “Ang Mga Puyong” (Direction: Ricardo Magno)
• Maynard Manansala and U Eliserio, “Hindi Ako si Darna” (Direction: Andoy Ranay)
• Joshua Lim So, “Boses ng Masa” (Direction: Guelan Varela-Luarca)

June 29, July 2/8/13, 3 pm
June 29, July 7/12/16, 8 pm

• Layeta C. Bucoy, “Si Dr. Dolly Dalisay at ang mga Ladybugs” (Direction: Jonathan Tadioan)
• Sari Saysay, “Ang Bata sa Bus Stop” (Direction: Topper Fabregas)
• Carlo Vergara, “Dear and Unhappy” (Direction: Ricky Villabona)

June 30, July 5/9/14, 3 pm
June 30, July 2/8/14, 8 pm

• Adrian Ho, “Sincerity Biker’s Club” (Direction: Jenny Jamora)
• Dingdong Novenario, “Nothing But Dreams” (Direction: Carlos Siguion-Reyna)
• Eliza Victoria, “Ang Bahay sa Gitna ng Kawalan” (Direction: George de Jesus)

July 1/6/11/15, 3 pm
July 1/5/9/14, 8 pm

REVISITED – Tanghalang Huseng Batute

• Alexandra May Cardoso, “Ang Sugilanon ng Kabiguan ni Epefania” (Direction: Charles Yee)
• Dominique La Victoria, “Ang Bata sa Drum” (Direction: Dudz Teraña)
• Carlo Vergara, “Mula sa Kulimliman” (Direction: Hazel Gutierrez)

July 1/2/8/9/15/16, 3 pm
June 30, July 1/7/8/14/15, 8 pm

STAGED READINGS – Tanghalang Amado V. Hernandez (Conference Room)

• Jaime Bautista, “Point And Click” (Direction: Mara Marasigan)
• Nicko de Guzman, “Vertigo” (Direction: Yong Tapang)
• Fatrick Tabada, “Walang Forever Virus” (Direction: Elmer Rufo)

July 7, 6 pm

• Rolin Migyuel Cadallo Obina, “Ang Pag-uulyanin ni Olivia Mendoza” (Direction: Emmanuel dela Cruz)
• Kevin Tabora, “Andiyan Lang” (Direction: Dennis Marasigan)

July 14, 6 pm

3rd VIRGIN LABFEST Anthology: Book Launch

Little Theater Lobby
June 30, 6 pm


Direction: Dennis Marasigan

Staged reading at Tanghalang Amado V. Hernandez (Conference Room)

July 16, 6 pm

UP Manila Dramatista presents ‘Leán: A Filipino Musical’ at Adamson University

The 1997 original production “Leán: A Filipino Musical” is brought back to the stage through UP Manila Dramatista featuring powerful, catchy songs by Gary Granada that will give life to different characters and personals from the 1980s.

The new adaptation will be shown on the following playdates at Adamson University Theater (900 San Marcelino Street, Ermita, Manila):

  • May 12 (Fri) – 7:30 PM
  • May 13 (Sat) – 4:00 PM & 7:30 PM

For tickets, contact 09064273981 c/o Zoe Caballero.


The original production was produced by the Leándro L. Alejandro Foundation and the UP Student Council in cooperation with the UP Diliman Committee for Arts and Culture. The musical featured renowned artists like Chikoy Pura, Bayang Barrios, Cookie Chua, and Noel Cabangon. In 2013, it was restaged by the University of the Philippines Repertory Company (UP Rep) with youth activists Vencer Crisostomo of Anakbayan and Third Alub of the League of Filipino Students who both played the role of Lean.

27-year old UP Diliman student and noted “iskolar ng bayan” named Leandro Alejandro was shot and killed in September 19, 1987. As the iconic student activist, Lean fought for national democracy in the university and in the nation. He is one of the unsung heroes who have sacrificed their lives during the turbulent days of the martial law. His life has defined an era of student activism and his work still inspires the youth today.

Students of the University of the Philippines, being a state-funded institution, are called “Iskolar ng Bayan” or People’s Scholars. The description gained political weight during the First Quarter Storm (FQS) in the 70s, a time of discontent by a generation of Baby Boomers. The description also carried with it the aphorism “Serve the people.”

Described as a Filipino left wing activist and nationalist, UP student leader Lean Alejandro actively fought the dictatorship in the 1980s. Lean became a member of the Youth for Nationalism and Democracy in 1980-81. In 1983, he was chosen as a President of its University Student Council (USC). After Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. – himself a fighter and hero and a great pride of the UP students– was assasinated, Lean left the University and went full time in the anti-Marcos struggle. In 1985, Lean was one of the founders of the left-wing umbrella organization BAYAN becoming it’s Secretary-General. He was arrested and detained for two months and participated in the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolt after he was released. Post-EDSA Revolution, Alejandro ran for a seat at the Philippine House of Representatives for the small district Navotas-Malabon losing to Teresa Aquino-Oreta, the sister-in-law of then president Corazon Aquino. in a controversial and disputed election.

After losing in the election, Lean returned to his previous activities as secretary-general of nationalist organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. Lean openly criticized the 1987 coup d’tat that killed and injured innocent civilians. On 19 September 1987, after the failed coup attempt led by Col. Gregorio Honasan, Alejandro announced plans for a major demonstration against the return to fascism. Returning by car to the headquarters of BAYAN, he was fired upon by a gunman instantly killing Alejandro. One suspected that the assassination had been in the angle of Marcos loyalists from the Philippine Army, but no one was arrested for the assassination. Up to this untimely death, Lean offered his life to people’s movement, speaking in mass demonstrations, writing articles and discussing social issues inside the campus and in urban poor communities.

Don’t fail to watch this musical about the turbulent 1980s written by Gary Granada, one of the Philippines’ best composers of songs that evoke nationalism and pride in our country. In this musical play, Granada remixed the tune of “UP Naming Mahal” in a contemporary rock version and gave it a new and more “nationalistic sounding” lyrics, reasserting the purpose of the Iskolar ng Bayan as a “Iskolar ng Sambayanan, Tagapaglingkod ng Taongbayan”.

The cast are as follows: Kenneth Mangurit (Lean), Frances Mendoza (Lidy), Carlo Cabahug (Ka Tanny), Carmela Reyes (Bobby), Dean Lopez (Edward), Lalaine Quinan (Jojo(, Neil Suyat (Noli), Raffy Baybay (Chino) and Uriel Molina (Mr. Tim).

Ateneo Blue Repertory closes 25th season with ‘Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady: The Musical’

The box-office hit “Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady: The Musical” is back on stage fully re-imagined and revamped through the fresh eyes of rip-roaring millennials. This pun-filled musical extravaganza brims with Carlo Vergara’s acerbic wit, flamboyant production numbers, and superhero-supervillain action sequences that pack a punch.

Tongue-in-cheek comedy, family drama, romance and live action converge in Ateneo Blue Repertory’s 25th Anniversary Season Finale. They partner with Dalanghita Productions in bringing to life the famed comic book world of Zsazsa Zaturnnah, but this time focusing on new characters.

“Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady” tells the story of a lowly labandera, Mely, and her young and wild sister, Viva, who struggle to fulfill their dreams in a world that gives a premium to foreign super heroes with white skin and well-educated barako men who always get the job. They seem to fight to be favored in a society that has no room for them.

When Mely lands a job as the maid for Fuwerza Filipinas, she steps up to this unique challenge for the sake of her family. However, her sibling relationship with Viva becomes more complicated when an unsettled past keeps coming back and a forbidden romance happens amidst an ongoing war between Fuwerza Filipinas, the superheroes, and Kayumanggilas, the supervillains. “Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady” is a journey about compassion, heroism, and redemption.

“Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady” ushers in a new artistic team led by Issa Manalo Lopez, Director, who recently performed politically charged pieces “I” and “Colonized”. With additional lyrics and composition by Kevin Maske, an Ateneo alumna and awardee of Loyola Schools Awards for the arts and music, he comes in as Musical Director of Vincent de Jesus’ original music. Delphine Buencamino, who has essayed the role of Apolinario Mabini in Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Mabining Mandirigma” and has also choreographed Tanghalang Ateneo’s “Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon”, UP Dulaang Lab’s “Oresteia”, Ateneo Entablado’s “Desaparesidos”, and PETA’s “3 Stars and a Sun” directs movement as Choreographer. J Laspuña, whose previous soundscape collaborations include “Disco1081”, “I”, and “Kapit” does Sound Design.  Carlo Tabije and Ben Padero, the award-winning Production Designers of the film “Heneral Luna”, creates the highly imaginative Set and Costumes. Joseph Matheu, Lighting Designer and Co-Producer of Twinbill’s “Asher Lev”, does the Lights Design.

The cast boasts of up and coming talented young actors of Philippine theatre. Natasha Cabrera, who previously played Viva in the musical’s commercial run, comes back to the production to play Mely – (Maid of Fuwerza Filipinas). She shares the role with EJ Pepito of PETA’s “3 Stars and a Sun”. Jerome Fugoso plays Senyor Blangko (Lead Super Villain of Kayumanggilas). Ateneo blueREP’s Kassandra Barnes and Ashe Uy alternate as Viva (Mely’s younger sister), Hans Braga as Leading Man (Newest Member of Fuwerza Filipinas), and Arianna Norton as Madre de Dios (Lead Superhero of Fuwerza Filipinas).

Lending support is a mix of theatre professionals and fresh young actors. These include Dulaang UP’s Sheryll Ceasico (Nanay, Mely and Viva’s mother), Ateneo blueREP’s Celine Bengzon (Nena Babushka) and Monica Lopez Gamboa (understudy), Nikki Cadiz (Windang Woman), Shawn Landayan (Popoy Pusakal), Johnason Wei (Bazooka Man), Wrench Canicosa (Marakas Marko), Maia Dapul (Itak-Atak) and Senanda Gomez (understudy), Jason Tan Liwag (Jeryc Sans Rival) and Ale Reynoso (alternate), Rando Torregosa (Henyotik).

The ensemble is composed of Joyce Buen, Miko Insame, Bryan Mendoza, Rion Cairus Reyes, Joseph Matthew Tuazon, Lexi Cruz, Erin Locsin, Jason Cabrera, Titus Villanueva, Wynken Gelito, and Kyla Maegan Frencillo.

The production aims to foster learning by partnering professionals with creative student team members such as Ateneo blueREP’s Marcel David and Jamie Gutierrez (Assistant Directors), Chab Ocampo (Dramaturgy), and Evee Raypon (Assistant Choreographer).
The production team is composed of Twinkle Liboon and Mikee Alvero (Production Managers), Alicia Florentino (Head Stage Manager), Luis Yatco (Assistant Stage Manager), Charlene Odeste, Patti Tan Palanca, Keanu Benavidez, Sabrina de Mesa, and Iris Eleria (Stage Managers), Miko Castro (Head Technical Director), Jesse Lim (Set Technical Director), Danielle Teo (Set Technical Director Deputy), John Paul Manlapaz (Props Technical Director), King Morales (Lights Technical Director), Zerah Alba (Sounds Technical Director), and Gayle Mendiola and Tenny Cayco (Costumes and Makeup Technical Directors).

Heading the committees are Russ Santos (Chief Finance Officer), Stephanie Escuadro (Front-Of-House Head), JM Munar (Corporate Relations Head), Mitchie Cabrera (Public Relations Head), Jeff Pascual (Documentations Head), Pocholo Comsti and Niño Constantino (Logistics Head), Chris Cancio (Design and Publications Head), Jamie Gutierrez (Art Director), Tara Oppen (Special Projects Committee Representative), and Fifi Santelices and Adrian Chio (HR Representatives).

“Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady” runs until May 1, 2017. The show starts promptly at 8 p.m. (Thursday-Sunday for the first week, Tuesday-Sunday for the second week). Matinee shows (Saturday-Sunday) start at 2 p.m.  The show will be at Rizal Mini Theater, Faber Hall, Ateneo de Manila University.

For ticket inquiries, please contact Stephanie Escuadro at 09568452030.

Red Turnip Theater closes fourth season with sci-fi thriller ‘The Nether’

Fresh off the critical success of their last outing, the family comedy-drama Tribes, Red Turnip Theater is ready to take audiences into a different theater experience with the sci-fi thriller THE NETHER.

THE NETHER opens March 10 and runs all weekends until April 9. Tickets at or

Venue: Power Mac Center Spotlight Theater, Ayala Malls Circuit, Makati
(Level 2, Circuit Lane, A.P. Reyes Avenue, Makati City)

Ever since making their debut four years ago, Red Turnip has already made quite the dent in the local theater scene. By sticking to their vision of producing contemporary straight plays, this young company has almost single-handedly paved the way for the straight play to find equal footing in a landscape formerly dominated by the musical. Younger companies have sprouted and followed suit and there are now more text-driven plays getting produced than ever before. Each of the Red Turnip’s eight productions has gone on to top critics’ lists and garner awards and nominations from both the Aliw and Gawad Buhay Awards, making this company the go-to for outstanding plays that both entertain and move.

Their Fourth Season’s grand finale is THE NETHER, a sci-fi crime drama about the dilemmas of living in a virtual world. Written by Jennifer Haley and winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, this thrilling play explores the ethical questions and moral consequences of living out one’s hidden desires and fantasies. Set in the not-so-distant future, this haunting thriller made its West End and Off-Broadway debut back in 2015 and has been produced across the U.S. and Europe.

THE NETHER makes its Asian premiere via Red Turnip with multi-award winning actress and director Ana Abad Santos at the helm. A veteran of the stage and screen, Abad Santos returns to the director’s chair after her award-winning turn in the film Apocalypse Child and nominated lead performance in Red Turnip’s Time Stands Still. She won critical acclaim for her direction in the Red Turnip debut production Closer as well as her dystopian take on Hamlet for Repertory Philippines.

ABAD SANTOS: When I first read ‘The Nether’, it was love at first sight. It is a new material that bravely dives into the horrors of man, the unspeakable, and still makes sense of it. It’s about our present journey into the big unknown, that other world we call the Internet. And to present this advanced concept on a very basic traditional medium, which is the stage, is so exciting. It explores human desires and boundaries or lack of. And the discovery that no matter how beautiful or grotesque our desires are, we are all still searching for that “one”–to LOVE and to be loved.

THE NETHER boasts a powerhouse ensemble led by legendary actors Bernardo Bernardo (Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, El Filibusterismo, Katy!) and Bodjie Pascua (3 Stars and a Sun, The Tempest Reimagined, Waiting for Godot). Making their Red Turnip debuts, young actresses Alba Berenguer-Testa (Annie) and Junyka Santarin (GMA 7’s Pyra) alternate in one of the play’s pivotal roles. Screen actor TJ Trinidad (Saving Sally) joins the cast after an accomplished theater debut as Bruce in last year’s The Normal Heart, which garnered him a Gawad Buhay nomination for Best Featured Actor.

Jenny Jamora (Cock, The Vagina Monologues, A Little Night Music) returns to the Red Turnip stage to take on the lead role of Detective Morris, an investigator of The Nether’s online offerings.

JAMORA: I do most of my scenes with Bernardo Bernardo and Bodjie Pascua, I’m terrified but absolutely psyched for the challenge. In ’Cock’, my character was a fighter but due more to the external circumstances of being in a man’s world. Detective Morris is also a strong female character but, this time, in a position of power. I’m excited to take on her internal struggle to maintain that authority as she discovers hidden parts of herself that may threaten that.

THE NETHER is a play for our times. It is relevant; it is provocative. In the play, life is spent more and more in The Nether, a virtual paradise so interactive that it engages all the senses–a tempting haven to retreat from a bleak world. But the main conflict begs the question: In a computer-generated space, is there no room for ethics and morality? THE NETHER isn’t just about Virtual Reality, but Reality itself.

With a stellar cast and creative team, this Red Turnip production is sure to electrify with its one-of-a-kind story and give audiences the complete theatrical experience this groundbreaking new company is known for.


Directed by: Ana Abad Santos
Lighting Design / Technical Direction: John Batalla
Set Design: Ed Lacson, Jr.
Sound Design: Teresa Barrozo
Costume Design: Faust Peneyra

Photo by Waldo Katigbak.

THEATER REVIEW: Tanghalang Ateneo’s ‘Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon’

I’ve known Palanca winner Edgar Calabia Samar since his 2012 novel Sa Kasunod ng 909 but there was never a chance for us to meet even if we have long since been Facebook friends. It has always been nice to read his posts on Facebook and I’ve been wanting to meet the guy in flesh and see how he speaks his mind. When I first learned that the first of Janus Silang series will be adapted into a stage play, the excitement grew on me, knowing that his style is more contemplative than narrative. How on earth could this slowburn novel be written into stage? If there was one thing I looked forward to seeing, it has to be the faithfulness the adaptation would be willing to take in order to bring to life something as adventurous as Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon. Much to my satisfaction, Tanghalang Ateneo does not disappoint with its play adaptation of Janus Silang. I was able to see it on its press screening—one great opportunity to hear Samar’s thoughts and learn more about the production itself.

Tanghalang Ateneo’s Janus Silang is directed by alumnus Charles Yee and written by Guelan Varela-Luarca. It plays at the Rizal Mini Theater in Ateneo de Manila University. With a cast mainly composed of students, it is amazing to see how these young folks look passionate as early as now on their career as performers. Led by senior high schooler Earvin Estioco in the title role, Janus Silang eerily juxtaposes modern technology with Philippine mythology. The resulting backdrop is a horror story set in the now with creatures that we normally hear as folktales—stories our parents and grandparents would usually tell us to keep us from playing outdoors at nighttime.

Thanks to the stage design provided by Gwyn Guanzon, the production is confident enough to stay true to its desire to show the contrast between this generation’s computer-centric lifestyle and the almost dormant-looking caves to represent Tábon in Quezon, Palawan. The wall is decorated as if it were the insides of a computer, with colorful lights for the circuits. Gray is the primary color utilized to set a neutral tone for all settings. The floor and the ceiling are both teeming with different sizes of hexagons, all the more adding accent to the binary board background. Hanging on either side of the stage are two large hexagons used to project exchanges of text messages. I can only imagine the length of rehearsals it took to perfect acting plus projection.

It is also delightful to witness Janus and his friends play a local online game called TALA with local creatures as characters in it. There are neither computers nor graphics to enhance the visuals but the sound design is sufficient to tickle the imagination. The compromise is, of course, forgivable, granted the constraints. When the story leads to uncalled-for deaths, the play turns to a darker path as scary as the novel. Janus is then on the brink of self-discovery as he pieces together his origins.

Heart-pounding music and dim light work together to take one level higher of being scary. The lighting managed by Meliton Roxas deserves a commendation. The most surprising part is the entrance of tiyanaks, tikbalangs, and the likes. The costume designs by Mitoy Sta. Ana are outstanding and hair-raising. Notably, the production has a grasp on how to take mystery on stage by not showing everything right away.

While Tiyanak ng Tábon serves as an introduction to our lead character’s adventures, this stage play adaptation is faithful on showcasing Samar’s superb novel in which characters are grounded on their roots, desires and ultimate dreams. Right before it gets adapted into a TV series via ABS-CBN this year, Janus Silang has rightfully created an amusing world of his own, together with interesting characters that support (or oppose) his undertakings. Should there be other productions adapting Samar’s best-selling serial novel, Tanghalang Ateneo’s presentation is indeed the benchmark to surpass.

Tanghalang Ateneo’s “Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon” runs until February 25 with performances starting at 7:30 PM and Saturday matinee shows starting at 2:30 PM.