Monday, December 20, 2010

CHASING TOFF: Something is Stirring

No photoSomething is stirring
CHASING TOFF By Christopher De Venecia (The Philippine Star) Updated December 20, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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The cast of The 39 Steps — Michael Williams, Rem Zamora, Jeff Arcilla and Liza Infante| Zoom
A couple of months ago, I was privileged enough to have been invited to the grand launch of Repertory Philippines’ 2011 season at the prestigious Enderun College. Aptly titled, “Something is Stirring,” a cut from Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece and one of my personal favorites, Merrily We Roll Along, I was delighted to see a bevy of Philippine Theater’s finest and upcoming actors coming together to celebrate a renewed promise and excitement over some fantastical new shows from the company that started it all.

More than 40 years in the industry, Repertory Philippines is home to many of our country’s finest talents who have graced both the local and international stage. Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Michael Williams, Audie Gemora, Leo Martinez, Bernardo Bernardo, Ana Abad- Santos, Rem Zamora, Robbie Guevara, Chari Arespacochaga, Liesl Batucan, Miguel Faustmann, Baby Barredo, Joy Virata, and Bibot Amador, the household names that are part and parcel to Rep’s constellation of stars run the gamut.

Rep has been a training ground for many artists who have gone on to work in London, Germany, Macau, Singapore, New York, and Hong Kong, and done our country proud. It is thus befitting that a new home in Ortigas, a new associate artistic director, and five brand new shows for 2011 deserve a seasonal launch in true theatrical fashion.

It’s a known fact that not all great actors make great directors. But there are a few who manage to do both and excel as testament to their inherent talent, instinct, charisma, years of theater training and experience, and some truly great artistry. Enter Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, the “First Lady of Philippine Theater,” now a bona fide theater director, an actor’s director, and Rep’s newly minted associate artistic director. Menchu was at the directorial helm of the 2008 restaging of Stages’ West Side Story (her first!) and the recently concluded Little Women (her second, and for me, one of the best theater pieces of 2010). Both musicals have earned her accolades from amongst the local theatergoing set. Her addition to Rep’s in-house artistic team is one that truly excites.

She relates, “We’ve picked an exciting selection of shows that are sure to stimulate theatergoers.” Enter: The Joy Luck Club (Feb. 4 to Feb. 20). Based on the beloved book by Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club is a chorus of eight voices telling scores of tightly woven stories. It tells of the lives of four Chinese immigrant women and their four American-born daughters, brought together through a single vision of rich complexity — maternal bonds, filial frustrations, native superstitions and cultural divide. The Joy Luck Club will be helmed by famed director, Anton Juan.

Enter: The 39 Steps (March 4 to 20), a comedy thriller based on Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece. I recently saw this on Broadway, and quite frankly didn’t enjoy it. Then again, the material hadn’t yet encountered the genius of Aliw award-winning actress and director Ana Abad Santos. 39 Steps is a fast-paced whodunit “with over 150 zany characters played by a cast of four,” says Yulo. She adds, “There will be non-stop laughs as audiences witness missing fingers, a plane crash and some good ol’ fashioned romance!”

Enter: Shakespeare in Hollywood (April 1 to 7). This is the play that excites me the least. There’s something about Shakespeare that is off-putting to a contemporary theatergoer, more so, the horrific title and ridiculous premise. Shakespeare’s most famous fairies, Oberon and Puck, end up on the Hollywood set of Max Reinhardt’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Smitten by the glitz and glamour of showbiz, they end up playing (who else?) themselves on the silver screen. It sounds to me like a DVD movie you can buy off thetiangge. Unless Rep manages to put a spin to it á la what Abad Santos did in her fabulousMad Max re-imagination of Hamlet, I’m not so sure that this would be the best way to conclude a Rep season. Then again...

Off to better things: Seussical the Musical (Aug. 13 to Dec. 11). Repertory has always had a special place for young audiences through its Children’s Theater. Conceptualized by Joy Virata, Rep’s former associate artistic director, its aim is to train the new generation to make theatergoing a regular habit. Now, if only schools would make an effort to train their students to observe proper theater etiquette as Lea Salonga has previously written about in her column. For Seussical, Tony Award-winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtimeand Once on this Island) bring to life the colorful characters from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos.

And finally: Peter Pan (Sept. 29 to Oct. 30), an exciting collaboration between Repertory Philippines and Stages which will be staged at the Meralco Theater. With the exception of Peter Pan, all Rep shows are usually staged at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1. With actor Sam Concepcion in the title role, joined by Tippy dos Santos as Wendy, the show will be co-directed by Jaime del Mundo and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo. George Stiles and Anthony Drew (Honk! and Disney’s Mary Poppins) are composer and lyricist of the show. Peter Pan is a spectacular musical where the actors will fly right before the audience’s eyes.

Something is indeed stirring for Repertory Philippines. With the addition of Yulo and five new shows for its 2011 season, audiences will surely realize why nobody does a show like Rep does. For ticket inquiries and other information, call Repertory Philippines at 571-6926, 571-4941, or email Tickets are also available at Ticketworld at 891-9999 or

Friday, December 17, 2010


It's been six years since you passed away. Hope wherever you are, you're well and okay. Love you very much KC =) I know I don't think about you as much anymore - but you're always in my heart =)

By Christopher de Venecia

I dreamt once of a child who walked by her mother’s side,
She ran through valleys, scaled mountains, and crossed oceans far and wide.
She spoke her mind, loved adventure, and set off to conquer the world
One journey after another, her legacy unfurled…

There was a hunger in her eyes that showed so much spark,
Her insatiable passion could overthrow the dark,
She was a light that brought fondness to all of our hearts,
Until such time tragedy tore us apart.

I dreamt once of a child who spoke with so much hope,
Who, despite extraordinary circumstances, had learned to cope,
Cousin, daughter, sister, and to most, a friend,
Her unwavering loyalty transcended ‘til the end…

She was unique, in any form, shape or way
Her radiance was unlike any that had ever seen the day,
She was a ray of sunshine that always shone bright,
But the flames were overwhelming that one awful night…

I dreamt once of a child who waited for life to start,
Her future ahead of her – so much excitement in her heart
She could’ve sang a few songs, taken up fashion, or law,
She had a way of seeing things that kept us in awe…

She was everything a star had destined to become
Living life to the fullest would become her solemn psalm
She became her own woman, tore away the silver spoon,
But like a thief in the night, her life was gone too soon.

I dreamt once of a child that had simply been away
on a very long sojourn, in Paris, Rome, or Saint Tropez,
That I’d walk into a room, and she’d finally be back
as we catch up on her travels and I help her unpack…

Her absence has made my heart grow fonder,
I talk with her continuously, hug her tight, then wonder,
“Will this beautiful reverie ever come to an end?”
And then I awoke, short of breath – my tears all spent.

It was just another dream – happiness and then pain,
The thought of your passing is more than I can take,
KC, my dear KC who left me all too soon,
How are you? Are you happy? I look towards the moon.

Six years have passed KC since you left us here,
The wounds are less, but not completely healed,
I know that we can rendezvous in the happiest of dreams
But happiness is not always what it seems.

I am happy that you are with our Maker
But I’d be happier if you left us much, much later,
When we’re all together old, and all together grey,
For now, as forever, I solemnly pray:

I look forward to the day that I’ll get back my friend,
Dear Lord, strengthen me, comfort me ‘til the end.
For now, I’ll take comfort in passing butterflies,
Pick up the pieces, strive to live, as my hopeful compromise,

I love you KC with all my heart,
Dear Lord, through my countenance, KC will never depart.
Six years will be seven, and seven will be ten,
‘til such day, we finally will meet again.


Saturday, December 11, 2010


Grab a copy of this month's issue of STATUS Magazine =)
Wrote a piece on New York-based photographer Jimmy Fontaine...

Monday, December 6, 2010


No photo'Coz everything is 'Rent'
CHASING TOFF By Christopher De Venecia (The Philippine Star) Updated December 06, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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Fredison Lo as Mark Cohen, Mian Dimacali as Maureen Johnson, and Jenny Villegas as Joanne Jefferson in Rent, which will have a limited run of eight performances at the Power Plant Cinema 2 starting Dec. 8| Zoom
If there’s one musical that perfectly captures the angst and essence of our generation, it’s probably Jonathan Larson’s rock opera, Rent — a Tony and Pulitzer award-winning neo-contemporary masterpiece based on Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme. The show, which opened in Broadway back in 1996 and holds the record of being the ninth-longest-running show on Broadway before closing in 2008, tells the story of young bohemians struggling to survive in the Lower East Side boroughs of Alphabet City during the rise of a mysterious virus known as AIDS. The show is also responsible for popularizing the hit song Seasons of Love, which is sung by the entire cast during the opening of Act 2.

There is probably no man on earth who hasn’t heard of the popular jukebox tune. A permanent fixture on commercial sound systems and radio stations during the Holiday season,Seasons of Love is also a fail-safe go-to for most Valentine’s concerts and even during weddings (I recently attended one that played it during the processional). I mean, how can you not fall in love or get all fuzzy with a song that counts the many ways in which a person can measure a year in his or her life? “In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee,” the means are endless. But for Roger, Mimi, Maureen, Angel, Collins, and the bohemians of Alphabet City, audiences come to realize just this — in a year lambasted with poverty, adversity, disease, and existentialist struggle entangled with an artist’s plight for self-actualization, every minute counts.

525,600 minutes — Jonathan Larson conceptualized the powerful numeric that follows after the momentous opening beats of Seasons of Love, subsequently giving rise to the many pillars through which musical theater stands today. As we’ve mentioned, there’s Seasons of Love that strikes a chord in the hearts of young and old alike, not to mention the many other songs that comprise the powerful score that Larson created right before his untimely death on the day that Rent officially opened in the Great White Way.
Sheree Bautista plays Mimi Marquez
Also, the show, through its powerful message of love and “No Day But Today,” was able to shed light on such issues as AIDS, HIV, and homosexuality – matters that were once seen as taboo to the general populace. Rent also popularized “The Lottery” system, an avenue through which financially challenged theatergoers are able to afford premium tickets to go see a play on Broadway as Larson himself had dealt with financial struggle while serving as a waiter at the Moondance Diner.

Furthermore, the show was able to jumpstart the careers of Adam Pascal, Taye Diggs, and Idina Menzel who played Roger, Benny, and Maureen respectively in the original cast. Menzel would eventually play Elphaba in the hit Broadway show, Wicked and Rachel Berry’s mom in Glee.

Overall, the show’s greatest contribution to Broadway was that it was able to rehash and redefine the rules of musical theater through its rock-operatic score — eventually enabling such musicals as Spring AwakeningNext to Normal and American Idiot to conquer the Great White Way.

For the holiday season, 9 Works Theatrical and Power Plant Cinema proudly bring back “the musical that changed the face of Broadway forever,” Rent which had sold-out performances last February at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC. Due to insistent public demand, Rent is back for a limited run at the Power Plant Cinema 2.

Robbie Guevara directs 9 Works Theatrical and Power Plant Cinema’s Rent.
Returning to the show is Gian Magdangal as Roger Davis who will be sharing the stage this time around with real-life girlfriend Sheree Bautista as Mimi Marquez. Sheree, a former member of the Viva Hot Babes, will be alternating with stage veteran Amparo Sietereales who played the role of Mimi many years back in a previous staging of Rent. Also returning to the show are Fredison Lo as Mark Cohen, OJ Mariano as Tom Collins, AJ Bautista as Angel, Jenny Villegas as Joanne Jefferson, and Mark Tayag, Gary Junsay, Johann dela Fuente, Harold Cruz, and Peachy Atilano as part of the ensemble.
For the December run, they will be joined by Mian Dimacali who bravely tackles the role of Maureen Johnson, Lorenz Martinez as Benny, Sab Jose as Alexi Darling, and Pam Imperial as the Homeless Lady who sings the powerful high note in Seasons of Love.

The show is directed by Robbie Guevara, with musical direction by Onyl Torres and Ricky Villante, set design by Mio Infante, lights design by Martin Esteva, sound design by Chuck Ledesma, costume styling by Bek Soriano, and additional choreography by Francis Matheu.

Rent will have a limited run of eight performances at the Power Plant Cinema 2, Dec. 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 (8 p.m.), and Dec. 10, 11, and 12 (4 p.m.). Get your tickets now at the Power Plant Cinema ticket booth. For tickets, call 898-1440 or 898-1441, or 0908-8692988.

Rent is brought to you by Rockwell Land, Rockwell Club, Power Plant Mall, Metro Society, Velvet Channel, and Basement Salon, and is presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI), 421 West 54th Street, New York, New York 10019 – tel: (212) 541

Monday, November 29, 2010


No photoFrom TV to stage
CHASING TOFF By Christopher De Venecia (The Philippine Star) Updated November 29, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

Writing for stage is very different from writing for TV,” quips Gilbeys Z. Sardea who has been writing for ABS-CBN drama shows such as Maalaala Mo KayaYour SongTanging Yaman, and Habang May Buhay for more than eight years now.

“The process in writing for TV is very tedious. A material needs to go through a long process before it’s produced and aired.” As opposed to writing for the stage, in which the process is not that long. In writing for TV, a script writer has to make each scene worth watching because people might easily switch channels at the touch of their remote controls; whereas when writing for the stage, the author has to give the material time and space to linger.

“I must say, the transition in writing from TV to stage wasn’t that easy,” relates Gilbeys who considers his “Postcard” episode starring Cherie Gil, Perla Bautista and Armando Goyena for Maalaala Mo Kaya as his most personal work yet. In the process, he had to change his writing style and how he envisioned the outcome to be. He adds, “I had to go back to the basics of writing and push my guts more to let all the emotions go into the script that I write.”

On stage, each emotion has to be more intense and bigger because it’s live. In stage sensibility, the story has to be larger than life — so clear and so precise such that when it’s delivered, it will reach all the way to the back of the theater, so that even the deafest and oldest of grandmas will still understand it.

Such was the feat that Gilbeys had taken upon himself to conquer when agreeing to write the full-length musical Fuse, a Filipino musical put together by the Economia Church of Christ (Eco). “My inspiration for writing it was the concerns of the Christian youth today,” he continues. “I am very much alarmed with the problems and challenges that the youth face today. And I want to let other kids and parents know that the youth today have different concerns.”

In writing for the stage, just like for TV, a judicious amount of research is required of the writer in weaving the material together. He recalls a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode he wrote which starred Carlo Aquino, Emman Abeleda, Jaclyn Jose and Ricky Davao where he got to meet the mother whose sons both died one after another because of different illnesses. In Fuse, while Gilbeys was given some initial material to work with, he had to take it upon himself to indulge in a more personal kind of research that gave rise to each character being a composite of the different people he knew.

The musical relates the story of five Christian teenagers with different problems, who like any other teens, rely on their own strengths to face their personal challenges. They soon realize that it is only with God’s grace that they can truly overcome adversity.

Fuse features talents from Eco’s youth ministry The show is directed by Amiel Mendoza, with Nelson Caruncho as vocal coach, Jenny Jamora, Cris Villonco, and Jean Judith Javier as acting coaches, Rycher Christian Alfonso of the Philippine All Stars teaching dance, and choreography by Nhaz Maniego

The show is set for Dec. 4, at the Adamson University, San Marcelino, St. Ermita, Manila at 8 p. m. For tickets, SMS 0917-8271218, or 0922-8175418, or e-mail

Monday, October 25, 2010


No photo'Un-Dawn-ted'
CHASING TOFF By Christopher De Venecia (The Philippine Star) Updated October 25, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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Thanks to the nurturing of director Bobby Garcia who was the artistic glue that gelled everything together. This is one of Bobby’s best works to date. Bravo, Bobby!
Currently on Broadway with the talented Bernadette Peters in the role of Desiree Armfeldt, A Little Night Music, Sondheim’s celebrated masterpiece that features the seminal hit, Send in the Clowns, recently reopened in the Great White Way with a tour-de-force performance from Catherine Zeta-Jones. Her regality and candor suited the role of Desiree so much and the “quietness” that the piece demanded, acting inwards and drawing audiences towards the actor rather than doing an outward and bombastic performance ala Gyspy Rose, that she won accolades in the recent Tony Awards as Best Actress in a Musical.

Now I didn’t really get to catch A Little Night Music on my recent trip to New York — reason being that it was the in-between rehearsal period of the show from Catherine Zeta-Jones to Bernadette Peters. And I have not seen any other version of the show for that matter. But after catching Atlantis Production’s local staging, featuring showbiz scion and the very beautiful Dawn Zulueta as Desiree Armfeldt, I may as well have come face to face with Zeta-Jones and some Broadway-level caliber interpreted on our local soil. Atlantis Production’s A Little Night Music was nothing short of breathtaking, fascinating, and life-changing as I walked away from the theater, stunned, haunted, and a reinforced aficionado and disciple of Stephen Sondheim (who is the show’s brilliant composer).

Based on Ingmar Bergman’s film, Smiles of Summer Night, A Little Night Music is a witty and urbanemusical set in waltz time. The action takes place in a weekend country house in turn-of-the-century Sweden, where surprising liaisons, long-simmering passions, and a taste of love’s endless possibilities are brought to light.

There is of course Desiree Armfeldt at the center of a humorous tug-of-war between Frederik Egerman, played by the excellent Nonie Buencamino, and Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm played by the comical Jake Macapagal. Both men, contrasting in personalities, are initially betrothed, and thus become adulterous to their respective wives — conjuring a messy Melrose web that entangles the show’s primary players. Frederik Egerman is married to the young Anne Egerman, played by the wonderful and amazingly comical Cris Villonco while the Count is married to Charlotte Malcolm, played by the beautiful Jenny Jamora. Adding to the mix is Felix Rivera who plays Henrik, Frederik’s son who we discover later on, to be in love with his stepmother Anne. The Melrose web climaxes when all the primary players travel to spend a Weekend in the Country, upon the invatation of Desiree and her mother, Madame Armfeldt, played by Jay Glorioso — the role played in the Broadway revival by Angela Lansbury.

Apart from the joyous and breathtaking performances and Mio Infante’s gorgeous chrysalis-looking set that encrusts the Carlos P. Romulo stage and paints the mood for each scene as it is transformed each time with Dong Calingacion’s lighting design, not to mention the powerful support from the likes of Teenee Chan and Raul Montesa, among other narrators in the show, accolades should be given to both Dawn Zulueta and Nonie Buencamino who, for this writer, are the luminous stars of A Little Night Music.

Dawn delivers the performance of a lifetime, not overplaying the character to depict a caricature but rather, tempering those tender moments that pull audiences in, hook, line, and sinker. Her Send in the Clowns was in a whole other universe. And myself, being a sucker for middle-age people who find love again in each other’s arms, I was this close to bawling like a kid from where I sat in the second row. Think The Notebook. Where Dawn shines brightly, there is Nonie Buencamino fueling Dawn’s light, lyric to lyric, word for word, emotion to emotion. There was so much depth in his performance, proof of his many wonderful years onstage, that the two of them together — Dawn and Nonie — really do paint a sterling example of how acting and theater should be done. Bravo! This is of course, thanks to the nurturing of director Bobby Garcia who was the artistic glue that gelled everything together. This is one of Bobby’s best works to date. Bravo, Bobby!

The show also stars Alys Serdenia as the hysterical maid Petra who sings a whopping The Miller’s Son, Crystal Baranda-Paras as Frederika, Gabriel Santos as Frid, and Agnes Barredo-Fenoli, Glen Llanes, Anthony Ong, and Jennie Nuyda as the other narrators. Chari Arespacochaga choreographs the show, with Ceejay Javier as musical director, Rajo Laurel as costumes designer for Desiree Armfeldt, Twinkle Zamora as costume designer, and Manman Angsico as vocal coach.

Monday, October 18, 2010


No photoThank heaven for little girls
CHASING TOFF By Christopher De Venecia (The Philippine Star) Updated October 18, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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The cast of Little Women: Kelly Lati, Cara Barredo, Lora Nicolas, Caisa Borromeo with Pinky Marquez

Laurie is Mr. Lawrence’s grandson and has a sense of displacement from the world because both his parents died when he was young. Jo is outspoken, daring, full of ambition, and one of four sisters of the March clan. Once Jo and Laurie meet, they easily become the best of friends. Their relationship becomes very “sibling-like” as they grow fond of each other’s company, exploring and embracing new adventures together. Sound familiar? This is of course part and parcel of the timeless classic and Repertory Philippines’ wonderful offering for the holiday season, Little Women.

But seeing as that “sibling-like,” family oriented-ness, and passion for life are common between the characters and the actors that play them in real life, I may as well have just described the stories of real-life pals and two of my personal favorites, Caisa Borromeo and Jaime Barcelon. Okay, maybe not the “sense of displacement” part for Jaime.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a great relationship with my mom who’s also like a friend and mentor to me,” quips Jaime who is fresh off his stint with local pop singing group, The Ryan Cayabyab Singers. “I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to work with Mr. C, recording and touring with them for the past few years.” But as Jaime makes preparations for his first solo music project, he conquers the theater stage alongside real-life pal Caisa Borromeo who, herself, is no stranger to the theater world. While Jaime has essayed several roles, including Rolf in Rep’s Sound of Music and Ryan in Ateneo Blue Repertory’s High School Musical, Caisa has played dozens of roles on stage, including notable appearances for Stages’ Footloose and West Side Story, Rep’s Aladdin Jr. and Mulan Jr., and I Love You Because.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” shares Caisa who considers the role of Jo to be her ultimate dream role. “It’s such a challenging role to play but it’s very exciting. I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity.” Luckily, for the challenge that the material and the roles demand of the two, they have the amazing Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as their precious director and artistic guide.

“She is very clear about her vision for the show but at the same time allows us the room for discovery and to see what feels right for us,” says Jaime. Caisa adds, “She’s an actor’s director. She trusts her actors completely.”
This wouldn’t be the first time though that the classic was adapted into something other than its novel form. In 1933, Katherine Hepburn headlined a movie version, followed by a 1949 “theatrical” version with June Allyson and Elizabeth Taylor as Amy, and finally an “intimate” 1994 version starring Winona Ryder. Caisa relates, “The book of course is a lot more detailed but the musical tells the story differently because it starts off in the present time, and then goes back in time when Jo remembers the time she spent with her sisters.”

Little Women is a coming of age musical about a young woman who actualizes her dream of becoming a writer and how those close to her play an integral role in helping her achieve that dream. “The show reminds us about the importance of family,” says Jaime. “It’s also an inspirational show because it reminds all of us never to give up on our dreams.”

Among the showstoppers for the show are More Than I Am, Small Umbrella Under the Rain, Some Things Are Meant To Be, and a gravity-defying piece for any female theater aficionado, Astonishing which Caisa has taken upon herself to conquer.

The show also stars Lora Nicolas as Meg, Cara Barredo as Beth, Kelly Lati as Amy, Jeff Arcilla as Professor Bhaer, Jack Salud as John Brooke, Mayen Bustamante-Cadd as Mrs. Kirk, and Rep veterans Joy Virata as Aunt March, Miguel Faustmann as Mr. Laurence, and Ms. Pinky Marquez as Marmee (who according to Caisa and Jaime, sings a very moving Days of Plenty).

Little Women marks Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo’s sophomoric undertaking as director. Her last piece was Stages’ West Side Story starring Christian Bautista and Karylle. For Little Women, she is joined by assistant director Rem Zamora, conductor Gerard Salonga for the FILharmoniKA orchestra, set designer Joey Mendoza, costume designer Tuxqs Rutaquio, and John Batalla for the lighting design.
* * *
The show will run from Nov. 20 to Dec. 12, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. with matinees at 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at Onstage, second floor, Greenbelt 1, Ayala Center, Makati.
For ticket inquiries and further information, call Repertory Philippines at 571-6926, 571-4941, or e-mail are also available at Ticketworld at 891-9999 or

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Apparently, a busy guy is capable of some downtime. And that's exactly what I had today. I mean besides the usual morning to mid-afternoon stress, I had pretty light day today... and most importantly some semblance of normalcy in my life. Today was my pal Rina's birthday. She was one of my sister and mother figures in SM and it's so nice that we've managed to stay in touch. Of course, the whole kooky and zany bunch of the marketing group was there to belt their hearts out to MUSIC 21... but more importantly, it's the company that you keep, even after your time with a company is over, that really just sticks with you. I love my SM family... I'll forever be a part of them, even if technically, I don't work for Men's Fashion anymore...

And then, I headed to Tata's surprise birthday party where Kirk, Deb, and some of her other friends prepared a carnival-themed party for her - replete with cotton candy, sorbetes, nachos, a candy buffet, and drinking games where you can possibly win a stuffed toy if you get luck. How cool right? It was just fun and good vibes all throughout the evening, and I guess I just really missed my friends. With my schedule for Wedding Singer, and the work that follows me 'til the wee hours of the morning, sometimes I can't catch a breath anymore. Thankfully today, I did =) And I feel reenergized moving forward to the hell week that is this week. Goodbye social life, hello prod week for Wedding Singer which opens in October 23 =)

Cheers to one of the cutest couples in the world, and congrats Kirk on the championship =)



Venti Creme Brulee Macchiato
3-Cheese and Ham Sandwich

Watermelon Shake
Pasta Telefono
3 slices of Bread
Mozarella Dip

Rina's Birthday:
Yakimeshi Rice
Fish Fillet
2 Chicken Wings
1 serving of pancit
1 glass of iced tea

Tata's Birthday:
1 pc. hotdog
Nachos w/ Beef and Cheese
Cotton Candy
1/2 bottle of beer
1 shot of brandy
Sour Tape
Gummi Bears


191.5 pounds
(gained three pounds... oh nyo)

Friday, October 15, 2010


On to the next one... Just finished successful shows at the Venice Piazza at the McKinley Hill. Now pulling an all-nighter working on the souvenir program for WEDDING SINGER THE MUSICAL. Ika nga ni mareng Nikki Valdez who message me on Facebook, ang hirap nga naman kumayod but we love what we're doing so we keep doing it...

All I know is, it took me a lifetime to get to this point. And now that my folks are finally supportive of what I wanna do, then I gotta do everything it takes to safeguard and protect this. Higher and higher... yep. Indeed.

Saw the cutest chow-chow by the way the other day while having lunch with my pal Caisa... How cute is this. I wanna have one, trained and all, with instant affinity and liking towards me, without the burden and hassle of having to raise it. AKA. Robo-Chow-Chow.



4 pcs. takoyaki.. right next to our ad for Wedding Singer which came out in Inquirer today. woot woot!

5 pcs. mozarella sticks with dip
5 pcs. chicken fingers with gravy
1/2 fried chicken from Mc Do
3 spoons of rice
5 sips of coffee


189.5 pounds

Thursday, October 14, 2010


You can be riding on top of the world yet still feel the full weight of the universe on your shoulder. Sometimes, seriously, a guy just needs a break. Thank God for my passion - it's my new security blanket. It's the new Energizer that keeps me going. On to the next one =)

Here's something that does cheer me up: BON CHON. Oh god, I'd kill for a dozen of these right now.


3 cups Corned Beef Rice 
Sunny Side Up Egg
3 pcs. hotdog

1/2 Bacon Pasta (which sucked by the way)
Nachos w/ Beef and Cheese
Some of Anna and Shelyn's pasta


189.5 pounds

Wednesday, October 13, 2010



TOMORROW'S TARGET (Monday Oct.11):
- eat breakfast
- eat less
- jog in the Polo Field before rehearsals
- no ice cream and late dinner

Eat Breakfast? Nope. I still skipped it. Because the minute I got up, I started working. 
Eat less? I think so. Well I didn't eat as much as Monday. 
Jog in the polo field? Nope. because work got in the way.
No Icream? Well, yes, I didn't have ice cream.
Late Dinner? Well, I had a late snack.


Spaghetti Vongole
3-cheese Ensaymada
Queso de Bola dip
1 glass of Apple Cinnamon Iced Tea

2 pc. Combo Kebab w/ Rice
2 glasses of Dalandan Sangria
2 pcs. sticky rice
1/2 serving of nachos

I'm getting busier and busier by the day. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Let's go! I have to regain my social life back though. haha. =)

188.5 pounds

- 2000 and THIN

Monday, October 11, 2010


Theater is like a drug. Imagine having a meeting from 2pm to 2am on a Saturday... yet loving every single minute of it. You feel like you can go on and on, discussing things because well, it's your passion. And what's better is that it's a shared passion by people whose passion are definitely overflowing. I feel driven to go from day to day because I love what I'm doing. I love it so much that it becomes me, it becomes who I am. I am what I do, and I love every single minute of it.

It took me a lifetime to get to this point - and now that I'm here, well, I just gotta do my best and God will do the rest. Lord, thank you for this opportunity to do something that will carve a mark in people's lives, for allowing me to enable people to grow in their own crafts, and for enabling me to grow with people who are willing to entrust me with the kind of responsibilities that people would have to work all their lives for. Help me protect them and nurture them and embrace them wholeheartedly that I emerge a better person who made a difference in people's lives.


6 pcs. Crazy Maki
Watermelon Shake
Fillet Mignon Tips with Mushroom Penne

1 serving of fried rice
1 serving of fish with tofu
1 glass of pineapple juice

Late Dinner:
1 Large Fries
1 Oreo McFlurry

193.5 pounds


- eat breakfast
- eat less
- jog in the Polo Field before rehearsals
- no ice cream and late dinner

Monday, September 6, 2010

CHASING TOFF: It's Your Wedding Day

No photoThis is your wedding day
CHASING TOFF By Christopher De Venecia (The Philippine Star) Updated September 06, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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All I wanna do is grow old with you: Iya Villania as Julia and Gian Magdangal as Robbie in 9 Works Theatrical’s The Wedding Singer| Zoom
New Jersey. 1985. When Robbie, a charismatic wedding singer, is dumped in the altar by his longtime girlfriend Linda, the protagonist becomes a casualty of love and plunges into the depths of “dumpster-level” despair. But with the help of his friend Julia, a sweet and caring waitress who is oddly engaged to a smug of a guy and Wall Street type named Glen, Robbie rediscovers why he was all about the “love” and not so much the “green” in the first place.
The premise is simple. Guy gets dumped. Guy meets Girl. Girl gets engaged. Guy and Girl, though star-crossed, fall in love. Girl dumps annoying Fiancé. While in Vegas, Guy and Girl get married and live happily ever after. Nothing fancy. Just your typical love story, except for the Vegas part — unless you’re Demi Moore or Britney Spears, and just about everybody else in Hollywood. But when I saw the Broadwayadaptation of the New Line Cinema film starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore a while back, incidentally on the night of its final performance before the show was slated to close and go on tour, my mind and my heart were literally blown away.

Amidst the scores of The Wedding Singer aficionados, bedazzled in actual wedding gowns and tuxedos, sore from camping out within the vicinity of the theater the night before the show (flashback on the diehards camping outside Manhattan’s AMC Theater for days in anticipation of Star Wars Episode One), there I sat and excitedly stood as early as the denouement of the first musical number, “It’s Your Wedding Day!” The energy, quirkiness, and passion of the cast, and specifically the show, were so infectious that it summoned an unprecedented standing ovation from everyone in the audience — a feat I had never quite experienced on Broadway before.

That was my most vivid memory of The Wedding Singer, sans the guy who played Robbie Hart who snuck out some other exit to avoid giving autographs and getting his picture taken with the fans. I mean, come on, it was the last performance! But that’s a story to tell for another day. One story though that is worth telling is that this celebrated musical, having won the hearts of everyone in America for its mind-blowing tribute to the ’80s, is finally coming to Manila, under the creative reigns of director Robbie Guevara and his company, 9 Works Theatrical.
Hot on the heels of Rent the Musical in RCBC, Guevara with executive producer Santi Santamaria, have taken on the challenge of bringing the neon, fun, and riotous spirit of the ’80s into the mishmash, forward-thinking melting pot of 2010. Hello Lady Gaga and an ’80s revival in just about anywhere. “When we encountered the material, we knew that we had to do it,” relates artistic director Guevara. Santamaria adds, “Wedding Singer is a crazy and energetic musical, and audiences will surely enjoy,” to which Guevara interjects, “One word to describe Wedding Singer? Fun!”

Melting the hearts of many, especially with the show’s jukebox song, Grow Old With You, is Party Pilipinas’ Gian Magdangal who will play the role of Robbie Hart. Here, he is reunited with pals Iya Villania and Nikki Valdez who he previously shared the stage with in Stages’ Footloose the Musical back in 2005. TV personality and MYX VJ Iya Villania will play the role of waitress Julia Sullivan, alternating with Hong Kong Disneyland alumna and stage veteran Shiela Valderrama Martinez. Meanwhile TV and movie personality Nikki Valdez will play the role of Holly, Julia’s polar opposite and lovable cousin. Valdez will be alternating with Analin Bantug who once played the role of Kim in Miss Saigon.

Also joining the cast are Jeremy Aguado as Julia’s fiancé Glen Guglia (Yes, if Julia married him, she would degenerate to Julia Guglia), Lorenz Martinez as Sammy, Johann dela Fuente as the flamboyantly eccentric George, Myrene Santos as Robbie’s ex-girlfriend from hell Linda, and Enchang Kaimo as the kooky grandmamma, Rosie.
The show will be directed by Robbie Guevara, accompanied by musical director Rodel Colmenar conducting the Manila PhilharmonicOrchestra, choreographer Francis Matheu, vocal coach Onyl Torres, scenographer Mio Infante, lighting designer Martin Esteva, sound designer Chuck Ledesma, and costume stylist Rosanna Aranaz.
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The Wedding Singer will open at the Meralco Theater on October 23, 2010 and will run until November 14, 2010. There will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows at 8pm, with Saturday matinees at 330pm and Sunday matinees at 4pm. For details, you may call 586.71.05, 557.58.60, 0917.554.5560, or visit or Ticketworld at 891.9999.