Thursday, February 27, 2014

August: Osage County . . . Time for Some Drama

A family drama that will resonate with most of us. August:: Osage County by Repertory Philippines is about family relationships, it's imperfections, trials, and forgiveness.

It takes a powerhouse cast to make this one explosive play.  With Ms. Baby Barredo taking the lead as Violet,Sheila Francisco taking the role of her opinionated sister, Pinky Amador and Liezl Batucan as the next generation of strong women in the family, you can expect memorable, powerful scenes.  The menfolk have delivered their roles in the best possible way that helped highlight the stand out acting of the women.

The set design and lighting helped the scenes become more vivid for the audience, not putting too much strain on the imagination.  The story flow was clear with the efficient blocking in the three-level stage.  I must admit that I was a bit worried that Ms. Barredo might lose her balance and slip with the heights required of her to climb and descend.  With the challenges---physical, mental, and emotional-- that Ms. Barredo had to overcome in developing her role considering her age, I felt that she deserved nothing short of a standing ovation.  With Pinky Amador, Sheila Francisco, and Liezl Batucan's powerful exchanges and overall memorable performance, the show was a success in several levels.  The male actors, though shorter in appearance, was just as wonderful as their female counterparts. Every actor did their part well including the young, rebellious granddaughter.  The whole drama was in good taste with no over-the-top acting that could have easily ruined the mood.  

Great set, good ligthing, amazing actors . . . what more can I say?  Another great show from Repertory Philippines.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mga Ama, Mga Anak, Nick Joaquin's Social Drama begins Feb. 21

Press Release:
Tanghalang Pilipino, the resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines presents its final offering for its 27th Theater Season, opening at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater) this February 21st. “Mga Ama, Mga Anak,” written by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin based on his short story “Three Generations”, and translated by National Artist Virgilio Almario and Jose “Pete” Lacaba, Jr., into Pilipino from his original English play “Fathers And Sons”, is a poignant drama in three acts.

Featuring TV, Film and Stage luminaries Robert Arevalo and Spanky Manikan, alternate as Zacarias Monzon, Celeste Legaspi and Jackie Lou Blanco, alternate as Sofia Monzon, and young actress Cris Villonco (Bessie). The story revolves around a former town ilustrado and Caretela king Zacarias Monzon, his fall from power and wealth, and his gnawing conflicts with his son and his family. Cruelty, hedonism, disloyalty, and suffering marred his past. Now, so close to death, Zacarias still has the reins over his resentful son, his confused grandson, and a benevolent martyr of a mistress, until they decide it was time to cut loose and be responsible for what they are and what they will be. Award-winning director and stage actor Joel Lamangan directs this production for Tanghalang Pilipino.

TP exemplifies Filipino literary classics and artistry, and focuses on social realities through artistic expression on stage. Also leading the sterling cast is Tanghalang Pilipino’s Artistic Director and premier actor Fernando ‘Nanding’ Josef who plays Celo Monzon, Zacarias’ son. Noted actress Madeleine N. Nicolas (Nena), Peewee O’Hara (Mrs. Paulo), Banaue Miclat Janssen (Nena) and Marco Viana (Chitong) are also in the cast, as well as understudies from the TP Actors Company -- Lhorvie Anne Nuevo, Nicolo Magno, Jonathan Tadioan and Doray Dayao. Production Design for the play is by Tuxqs Rutaquio, Lighting Design is by Monino Duque, and Sound Design is by TJ Ramos. “Mga Ama, Mga Anak” is on stage on Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 3:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm, from February 21 to March 9, 2014, at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theatre).

Tickets available at all TicketWorld outlets at PhP800 / PhP400 (students with IDs), with a 20% discount for senior citizens, government employees and PWDs. For inquiries, contact TicketWorld at 891-9999 and Tanghalang Pilipino at (02) 832-1125 local 1620-1621, 0917-750-0107.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

MNL X: Festival of Dance, Theater, and Performance Art at the CCP

Press Release:
PResNt (Performance Research Network) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines will be holding the first MNL X: Festival of New Performances on Feb. 19-23 at the CCP Tanghalang Batute. In this festival, dance, theater and performance art combine to present a contemporary performance experience.

In addition to performances, it will offer workshop and a forum free of charge and open to the public. Tickets to shows are priced at P350.00.

MNL X is presenteby independent artists and companies from Manila. Featured artists and companies are Jay Cruz, Tess Jamias, Eisa Jocson, Arco Renz, Transitopia Plus, Kolab Co., Sipat Lawin Ensemble, Destiyero Theater Commune, INC (Innovative Noise Collective), Games People PLay, and Art isTalk.
PResNt (Performance Research Network) is a community of independent artists and contemporary performance companies. PResNt is geared towards creating investigative and exploratory platforms addressing new modalities in performance.

For inquiries about MNL X (Workshops, Forum, Performances) and other information, contact 0917.544.0408 (Alex) or 0917.506.4517 (Alon) or

Sunday, February 16, 2014

PPO Presents "Romantic Brahms" for February Concert

Press Release:
The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra performs music about love and tragedy in a concert on February 21, 2014 at the Meralco Theater at 8:00 pm. Guest soloist is American violinist Odin Rathnam. Olivier Ochanine conducts.

Entitled “Romantic Brahms”, the concert features American violinist Odin Rathnam, who performs what is considered one of the top three concertos for the instrument - Johannes Brahms's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77. Richard Wagner's evocative and touching music from his opera "Tristan und Isolde" is performed in the "Prelude and Liebestod", which makes use of a very special chord known as the 'Tristan' Chord, and which is seen by many musicologists as a catalyst for composers to move away from traditional tonal harmony. Also in the program is Tchaikovsky's beloved "Romeo and Juliet Overture", whose beautiful love theme has been featured in countless TV series and movies including "Pushing Daisies", "A Christmas Story" and "The Three Musketeers".

Since his critically acclaimed Lincoln Center debut in 1993, Rathnam has established himself as one of the most passionate and versatile artists of his generation. He has received unanimous praise from critics and audiences for his "captivating temperament," "brilliant technique" and “recalling the legendary violinists of the past.” He is a veteran performer at many major European and American festivals including the Algarve International Music Festival in Portugal, Denmark's Tivoli and Vendsyssel Festivals, Deia International Festival in Mallorca, Boswil Festival in Switzerland, Aspen, Caramoor and Endless Mountain Music Festivals. He has also appeared in recital on the Market Square Concerts series, Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall, where he first appeared at the age of 15. As a soloist, he has performed with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Colombian National Symphony, the Harrisburg Symphony, the Lancaster Symphony, the York Symphony, the EMMF Orchestra, The New Amsterdam Symphony and the Randers Chamber Orchestra, to name a few.

Rathnam is extremely committed to the development of young musicians, and his numerous students have been accepted at major conservatories throughout the United States and abroad, several going on to win prizes in national and international competitions. Rathnam performs on a late 19th century violin crafted by an unknown maker, in the manner of Guarnerius Del Gesu’s middle period, and on an Italian violin by Batolomeo Calvarola, built in 1755.

He received his early training at Juilliard Pre-College and Mannes College of Music with Sally Thomas. He continued at Juilliard School as a scholarship student of Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki.

Ticket prices are P1,500 / P1,200/ P800/ P500, with discounts available to students, senior citizens and groups. Subscription packages are also available for eight (8) or four (4) shows. For inquiries and subscriptions, please call the CCP Marketing Department (832-1125 loc. 1806), the CCP Box Office (832-3704) or Ticketworld at National Bookstore (891-9999).

Friday, February 7, 2014

An Intimate Chat with Rep's August: Osage County Drama Team

Here is a glimpse of what to expect from Repertory Philippines this coming February 21.  Meet the actors and what they have to say about their roles.  Let the Drama begin . . . see you at the theater.

Repertory Philippines proudly announces its second offering for the Season 2014 with “ AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY ” - The 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama written by Tracy Letts.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is set to open on February 21 and shall run up to March 9, 2014 at Onstage, 2/F, Greenbelt 1, Paseo de Roxas corner Legazpi St., Makati City.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is set on the plains of modern day, middle-class Oklahoma. The Weston family members are all intelligent, sensitive creatures who have the uncanny ability of making each other absolutely miserable. When the patriarch of the household mysteriously vanishes, the Weston clan gathers together to simultaneously support and attack one another.

Written with a strong sense of humor, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
shall follow the meltdown of the Weston family as each member has personal difficulties that they are unable to resolve.

Chris Millado, a well-respected theater veteran and currently the Vice-President and Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines will direct August: Osage County.

The cast of August: Osage County and the characters they portray are as follows:

BABY BARREDO shall play the role of Violet Weston, the central character of the play and tracks her life across the month of August while she lives in Oklahoma. The devious matriarch, Violet is addicted to painkillers (and any other pill she can pop) including alcohol and is beyond the glory of her life when she was a famous poet. She suffers from cancer of the mouth. But that doesn’t stop her from spewing her cynicism or her hilariously sinister insults. She has also lost Beverly, her husband.

PINKY AMADOR plays the role of Barbara Fordham, the eldest daughter. In many ways, Barbara is the strongest and most sympathetic character. Throughout the play, she tries to gain control of her chaotic mother, her dilapidated marriage, and her pot-smoking 14 year old daughter.

TAMI MONSOD plays the role of Ivy Weston, the middle daughter. A quiet librarian, and stereotypically mousy. Ivy has stayed close to home, unlike the other errant Weston sisters. This means Ivy has had to endure the acid tongue of her mother. She has been maintaining a secret love affair with her first cousin.

LIESL BATUCAN plays the role of Karen Weston, the youngest daughter. She claims to have been unhappy her entire adult life, prompting her to move away from the family and reside in Florida. However, she returns to the Weston home bringing along a fiancĂ© in tow – a successful 50 year old business man who, unbeknownst to Karen, turns out to by the most loathsome character within the play.

LEO RIALP plays the role of Beverly Weston, husband of Violet and father to his three 40-something daughters. He was a one-time world class poet and full-time alcoholic. He’s polite, soulful, melancholy, and ultimately suicidal.

KENNETH MORALEDA plays the role of Bill Fordham, Barbara's estranged husband and Jean's father, age 49. A college professor, he has left his wife for a younger woman named Cindy, one of his students, but wants to be there for his family. His marriage is disintegrating and his patience is slowly running thin.

SHEILA FRANCISCO plays the role of Mattie Fae Aiken, Violet's sister, Charlie's wife and Little Charles' mother. Just as jaded as her sister, Mattie Fae constantly belittles her son and antagonizes her husband. Eventually she reveals the major plot point that Beverly, not Charlie, is the real father of Little Charles. Sheila is also the understudy for Violet Weston.

THEA GLORIA plays the role of Jean Fordham, Bill and Barbara's smart-tongued 14-year-old daughter. She smokes pot and cigarettes, is a vegetarian, loves old movies, and is bitter about her parents' split. More naive than she would like to believe.

RICHARD CUNANAN plays the role of Charlie Aiken, husband of Mattie Fae and the presumed father of Little Charles. Charlie, a genial man, was a lifelong friend of Beverly. He struggles to get Mattie Fae to respect Little Charles.

HANS ECKSTEIN plays the role of Steve Heidebrecht, Karen's fiancé. A businessman in Florida, (whose business, it is hinted, centers around the Middle East and may be less than legitimate) and not the "perfect man" that Karen considers him. He eventually sexually molests Jean after the two smoke pot together.

NOEL RAYOS plays the role of "Little" Charles Aiken, son of Mattie Fae and Beverly, 37 years old—but, like everyone else, he believes Charlie is his father. Unemployed and clumsy, his mother calls him a "screw-up", which may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. He is secretly having an affair with Ivy, who is revealed to actually be his half-sister.

ANGELI BAYANI plays the role of Johnna Monevata, a Cheyenne Indian woman, whom Beverly hires as a live-in housekeeper shortly before he disappears. Violet is prejudiced against her, but she wins over the other family members with her cooking skills, hard work, and empathy. Johnna is the silent witness to much of the mayhem in the house.

NATHS EVERETT will understudy the role of Johnna Monevata.

ARNEL CARRION plays the role of Sheriff Deon Gilbeau, a high-school classmate and former boyfriend of Barbara's, who brings the news of Beverly's suicide to the family.

August: Osage County received the Jeff Award (Chicago – 2007) for Best New Work and Best Production. These two awards were closely followed in 2008 by other six awards: Best New Play awarded by Drama Desk, Distinguished Production of a Play by Drama League, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play.

Most specially, it was also in 2008 when the play received the biggest award in the industry, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the TONY Award for Best Play.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY was originally produced in 2007 by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company at the Downstairs Theatre in Chicago. After conquering Broadway from October 2007 until June 2009, it made its UK debut at London's National Theatre in November 2008. Consequently, many other international productions were produced in Israel, Tel Aviv, Puerto Rico, Australia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Sweden, Peru, Spain, New Zealand, Holland, India, Poland, Netherlands. The movie version starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts opened late 2013.

For details of the show, you may contact us the following ways:
By phone: 571-6926 and 571-4941
By e-mail:
By Internet:

Tickets are available through Ticketworld at 891-9999, or via

Connect to Repertory Philippines online through the following social media networks:

May not be suitable for children under the age of ten. Children under the age of four are not permitted.

Monday, February 3, 2014

SIA Flight Info Accessible with Google Now

Press Announcement:

Imagine having easy access to the latest information on your upcoming travel, such as your flight status, and traffic and weather conditions for your destination. This is now possible with an initiative by Singapore Airlines (SIA) to integrate website bookings with Google Now.

Google Now provides you with the right information at the right time. For instance, Google Now will show you what the weather will be like at your travel destination even before your flight departure. This feature is available via the Google Search app for iOS devices on Apple’s App Store, and is built into Android 4.1+ devices, as part of the Google Search experience.

To activate Google Now on iOS devices, users only need to install the Google Search App and log in with their Google account. No installation is required for Android devices.

SIA customers who make a booking through and indicate their Gmail address in the booking will be able to view travel information in Google Now several hours before their flight departure. Information includes updates on their flight schedule, and the airport terminal and departure gate for their flight. This information is automatically updated in Google Now.

We are constantly seeking opportunities to improve our customers’ travel experience with us. The integration of our website with Google Now will reduce the hassle of having to remember important travel information and provide customers with relevant information about their destinations,” said SIA’s Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing, Mr. Chin Yau Seng.

International Rondalla Festival Kicks Off in Manila

Press Release:

The 4th International Rondalla: Plucked String Music Festival begins with Kuwerdas ng Pagkakaisa: Philippine Rondalla Festival from February 12 to 16, 2014 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Presented by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) through the Musicological Society of the Philippines (MSP) and the UP Center for Ethnomusicology, Kuwerdas Festival will highlight the genius of the Filipino in the plucked string tradition through performances at the CCP Little Theater, an exhibit on the History and the Development of the Philippine Rondalla, a Forum on Rondalla Instruments Development, and a Parangal, a tribute to the composers, conductors and dedicated rondalla teachers who have contributed greatly to the development of rondalla music in the country and abroad.

Kuwerdas, which launches the 4th International Rondalla/Plucked String Music Festival will be mounted in other countries where the plucked string tradition is practiced. Kwerdas also celebrates the 10-year effort of the NCCA and MSP in promoting, sustaining and enhancing the rondalla that forms part of a shared plucked string tradition with countries such as Spain, Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Australia, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Myanmar, India, Japan and Iran, among others.

Dr. Ramon Santos, well-renowned composer and Festival Director of Kuwerdas, regards the rondalla as an emblem of Filipino cultural identity, which has principally contributed to the social and artistic life of the entire nation. Santos claims that today the Filipino Rondalla is continuously developing in the United States, Europe, Australia, and in some Asian countries.

Performing a formidable repertoire that will provide Filipino audiences an exceptional rondalla musical experience are seven (7) of the best rondalla ensembles in the country today that have passed the rigorous audition recently held in Manila, Davao City, Silay City and Dipolog. Concert repertoire includes classic and avant-garde compositions by Filipino composers, baroque pieces by Vivaldi, Bach, Corelli and Handel; overtures by Filipino and foreign composers.

The Filipino groups featured are the Celso Espejo Rondalla, a family rondalla from Las Pinas City that has consistently won grand prizes in prestigious rondalla competitions; Dipolog Community Rondalla, a group that has won in the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA), national level category in 2010; Harmonya: The String Ensemble of the University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna, which dedicates its existence to the pursuit of excellence in both classical or contemporary works; Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble that has earned the title of “Young Cultural Ambassadors of Negros Occidental”; Lucban Pahiyas Community Rondalla, National Champion Rondalla A and Solo Competitions, NAMCYA 2012; Maco Heights Central School Rondalla of Davao del Norte, 3rd place winner, NAMCYA Rondalla category A 2011 and 2013; University of the Philippines Rondalla, a group that has represented the country in major music festivals and that promotes, preserves and explores the versatility of the rondalla.

Joining the best Philippine rondalla groups are the plucked string artists Fu-Shing Junior High School and NTNU Chinese Plucked Instruments Ensemble of Taiwan as well as plucked string ensembles from Vietnam and Indonesia.

Performances are set at 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. from February 13 to 15, and 4 p.m. on February 16.

For tickets, call the CCP Box Office at 8323704 or 8321125 local 1409/1406. The Rondalla Exhibit at the second level of the CCP Main Lobby is open to the public and runs from February 16 to 28; Forum on Rondalla Instrument Development on February 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is also free to interested parties. Please call 9260028 to pre-register. For details on the festival visit or like us on facebook: rondalla.festival.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

CCP Holds Necro Rites for Late National Artist Ildelfonso P. Santos Jr.

Press Release:
The Cultural Center of the Philippines will pay tribute to National Artist for Architecture Ildefonso P. Santos, Jr. in a necrological ceremony on Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 9:00am at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo lobby (Main Theater lobby). Interment will follow at the Magallanes Crypt.
Santos passed away on January 29 due to multiple organ failure. He was 84.

Santos was a pioneer in landscape architecture in the Philippines and known as the Father of Philippine Landscape Architecture. He had a distinguished career that spanned more than 40 years and was responsible for the creation of hundreds of parks, plazas, gardens, and outdoor sites that have become a part of modern day Filipino life.

Proclaimed National Artist for Architecture in 2006, he was cited for “designs that took inspiration from the Filipino celebration of free-flowing, positive, ‘maaliwalas’ space. He understood and accommodated Filipino physiological, behavioural and social needs in providing shade, providing opportunities for close seating and the sharing of food and laughter in his public spaces’. The National Artist Award also recognized his contributions to the professionalization of the field of landscape architecture. Santos helped established the first university programs in landscape architecture and advocated for the recognition of the art and profession by the government and allied fields. He also organized the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects.
Among Santos’ well-known projects were Loyola Memorial Park in Manila, the Eternal Gardens Memorial Park in Caloocan City, the Caliraya Lake Resort in Laguna, the Batulao Village Club in Batangas, the Imus town plaza in Cavite and the Rain Tree Sports Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Santos was awarded the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award by the City of Manila in 1972 and named Outstanding Landscape Architect by the United Garden Clubs of the Philippines in 1986.

Santos held two degrees in Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas (1954) and the University of Southern California (1956), where he also earned his master’s degree. From 1955 to 1963, He worked in Los Angeles with Cornell, Bridges and Troller, and then later established his own firm in the Philippines. He oversaw projects in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Guam, Thailand, Singapore, Taipei and Bahrain. Santos was president of the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects from 1977 to 1986 and was a member of the Board of Examiners for Landscape Architecture of the Professional Regulation Commission from 1982 to 1986.

Santos was born September 5, 1929 to Ildefonso Santos and Asuncion Paez.

For more information about the CCP necrological ceremonies for Santos, please call the Office of the Artistic Director at 832-1125 loc. 1121.


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