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SHOW OFF Broadway Open Mic: Show Us What You’ve Got!

Sixteen Bars, in partnership with DITO: Bahay ng Sining, presents SHOW OFF Broadway Open Mic: Songs and Scenes. Enjoy a night of songs and scenes from Broadway musicals. Take the stage. Simply bring your music sheet and hand it to our pianist and sing your heart out. We had it at the reprise, we’ll reprise it again.Broadway Open Mic x Reverb Manila

There will be games throughout the program so be ready to take home prizes. Let’s make it bigger. This SHOW OFF, the mic is now open to Monologues and scenes! Register a slot for a scene and take your moment on the stage!

Want to get that standing ovation? Feel free to dress up for the part! what can possibly be more fun than pulling an all out for your dream role? There’s more. DITO’s menu is now inspired by Broadway! Come to the open mic to taste some of your favorite musicals!

Join Sixteen Bars on July 25, 2015 (Saturday), from 7:00 -11:00 p.m. at DITO: Bahay ng Sining located at J. Molina Street, 1807, Marikina City. Your Php 150.00 comes with a free drink and a slot for a song or scene. Registration starts at 6 P.M.

Some photos from the debut Broadway Open Mic last April 25:


The Normal Heart Manila Exposes the Elephant in the Room

Last Saturday, the Philippines was one with the world as it celebrated Pride Month through the Pride March. It’s been 21 years since our community has recognized the need to fight for love, equality, and freedom. The historical 21st Pride in Luneta gathered about 2,000 people. The Philippines also celebrated along with the US’ triumph over having same-sex marriage legalized in all 50 states.

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Whatever successes or endeavors – no matter how little or grand – our countries have achieved altogether are proof of how far we have come and how farther we are willing to go. Yet the gap remains – some void that keeps us from understanding the basics of RESPECT. Marginalized members of the society remain pressured by the dictates of society, reducing them to confused individuals who are forced to become someone they’re not.

Haters troll across all forms of media. Every day, others have to live their lives being named faggot, immoral, etc. Some do not know how impactful words can be, most especially when aimed mindlessly at those who are already finding it difficult to be themselves. Our society finds it so daunting a task to openly talk about.

Sadly, there are people who think being gay is a disease. Let’s make the conversation even more uncomfortable by exposing the other elephant in the room. Let’s talk about HIV/AIDS.

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From January 1984 to April 2015: 24,936 HIV cases have been reported.

According World Health Organization (WHO), the HIV/AIDS statistics in the Philippines has significantly augmented from 1 (2008) to 22 (2015) newly diagnosed HIV cases per day in a span of just 7 years. The rise in HIV cases is now the fastest in Asia and among the fastest worldwide.

At the rate it’s going, the numbers could only increase in the next few years. But more than the rise in statistics, how much does our country know about this disease? Aren’t these numbers enough to scare the hell out us, of our government?

Actors’ Actor, Inc. and The Necessary Theatre as they boldly present The Normal Heart for the very first time in the Philippine shores. Dubbed as The Normal Heart Manila, I’m certain it’s bound to make waves.

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The death scene.

The Normal Heart is a critically acclaimed masterpiece of playwright and activist Larry Kramer, who initially wrote this as a result of his frustration over New York City’s indifference to the rise of a then unknown disease that was ravaging gay men in the 1980s. A straight play that is mainly autobiographical in nature, the plot takes us to New York City at a time HIV/AIDS was still a disease many ignorantly dismissed as “gay disease.”

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Bart Guingona as Ned Weeks and Topper Fabregas as Felix Turner.

The first minute into the story is highly contagious. So be warned. Kramer brilliantly engineered it to bring you to the edge of your seat. The Normal Heart revolves around an angry Jewish-American writer, gay activist, and loudmouth Ned Weeks (played by Bart Guingona, also the director) who – through the expertise of polio-stricken Dr. Emma Brookner (played Roselyn Perez) – learns about the outbreak and decides to form a crisis organization in an effort to stop the spread of the mysterious disease.

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Brotherly love. Ben (Richard Cunanan) and Ned (Guingona).

His lawyer brother Ben Weeks (played by Richard Cunanan) passively supports his brother’s advocacy but later on argues with him due to his unwillingness to understand. The story unfolds as Ned crosses paths with New York Times writer Felix Turner (Topper Fabregas). The two will fall in love.

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The conflict arises.

He also forms a volunteer organization with Bruce Niles (TJ Trinidad), Tommy Boatwright (Red Concepcion), Mickey Marcus (Nor Domingo), and Craig Donner [also Hiram Keebler and Grady] (Jef Flores) on board. But years would pass and more deaths plague the community; the illness was already spreading like wildfire, and their much-awaited meeting with Mayor Ed Koch has not seen the light of day…

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Ned comforting the dying Felix.

The piece to this day bleeds with so much insight that yearns to be heard and understood. The Normal Heart is unafraid to expose the ironies of reality, and it needed only eight cast members to get the message across effectively. Whatever the simple setup offered, the cast made up for it. But a material as rich as this did not need a grand stage in the first place.

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Nor Domingo as Mickey and Red Concepcion as Tommy.

Each of the characters was relatable and real. The major conflict areas were tucked in between the different relationships Ned had with the characters, which also means a tough acting challenge awaits Guingona. He takes on an energetic role of a gay activist and writer, brother, a lover, a leader, and a 24/7 loudmouth.

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Puzzled Ben.

Accept me as your healthy equal, your brother.

His relationship with his brother Ben, whom Cunanan played so effortlessly, revealed a brother’s refusal to accept Ned for who he is, thereby hindering him from understanding how strongly Ned feels about his advocacy. While Ben expresses some support in the beginning, t would later on be clearer that he is a homophobe himself.

His relationship, however, with the members of the volunteer crisis organization is more of antagonistic. Known as the bad cop of the organization, his tactless approach, though pure and thought-provoking, is greatly misunderstood, and the rest of the group seem to feel he oftentimes presses the wrong buttons.

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Good cop | bad cop.

Bruce Niles (TV actor TJ Trinidad) is the exact opposite of Ned Weeks. A closeted gay, his leadership decisions lack the conviction it needs to get the advocacy across. He continues to live in fear of prejudice and rejection. Tommy Boatwright, and Mickey Marcus had their fair share of unforgettable moments, too, as they struggled dealing with the always clashing Ned and Bruce. Also noteworthy is Jef Flores as he takes on three roles. Their intense arguments reveal how they confront the issue, given their different personalities and attitude.

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Roselyn Perez as Dr. Emma Brookner.

Ned’s relationship Dr. Emma Brookner was intellectual in nature. Both knew something had to be done. And they took it upon themselves to go beyond their call of duty. Perez as Brookner was instantly a favorite character of mine. Despite her physical limitations due to her disability, she ironically stands for what she believes in and speaks against the US government for their refusing to allocate resources for research on the disease.

But wait, there’s also an element of romance amidst the heavily infused plot. Topper Fabregas gives life to Ned Weeks’ lover Felix Turner, who works for the New York Times. They have cheesy moments and they would go on to share their dreams and plans. Ned and Felix’s banters were Kramer’s clever depiction of gays at that time.

Again, these rosy scenes wouldn’t last for long. As Felix falls ill, we witness the deterioration of his body, and the crumbling of his very spirit. Several noteworthy scenes between the two broke my heart. Especially when Felix shows how much he loves Ned ’til the very end. The ending was painful to watch.

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The pain was too sharp, and too deeply felt. And the insights were hard-hitting and that Kramer’s world in 1980s is very much real elsewhere in the world. History has repeated itself. Fast track to 2015, and this is still very much the reality in the Philippines.

Instant takeaways? Unsettled differences in attitude greatly impacts the accomplishment of a shared goal, no matter how noble it may be. Oftentimes, friends and families find it so difficult to understand and accept you. Sadly, even the more experienced, passionate doctors are not given the opportunity to put their expertise to use because of the lack of funding for research. Lastly, people have no access to the healthcare that they need.

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I do.

We don’t need to wait for another Ned Weeks to effect such change. If the story reveals a failure of a worthy cause, may this autobiographical account emphasize history is a lesson. The material gives it to you raw, with the intent to pierce your heart and soul. There’s a Ned Weeks in each and everyone of us, struggling to be heard every day. We cannot continue being indifferent about HIV/AIDS, about anything that concerns whether individually or collectively.

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Felix withering away.

Awareness is the first crucial step to achieving the understanding and acceptance that we so yearn for. While judgement, fear and abound, while there are dying AIDS victims who amid their dire, desperate situation cannot even convince the government to intensify efforts to combat the disease.

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TJ Trinidad and Jef Flores.

This material deserves to be seen. But it will only run five shows. I hope they extend it so it reaches out to bigger audiences.

Because at the end of the day, our brothers and sisters who have fallen ill to this disease deserve to be understood and accepted. They deserve to be heard. They deserve to be healed. Above all, they deserve to be loved.

It’s a war where love wins.

Don’t miss its limited runs from July 3-5, 2015 (Friday, 8 P.M. | Saturday & Sunday, 3:30 P.M. And 8 P.M.) at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, 4th Floor, RCBC Plaza, Makati, Philippines. Tickets are available via Ticketworld:

Acknowledging the production team: Coco Anne and Baby Imperial (set design), Don Taduran, Mark Philipp Espina (video projections), Jethro Joaquin (sound design), Meliton Roxas (lighting design), and Dodo Lim (producer).

IpagLOVEan: The Fight Continues at the 2015 Metro Manila Pride March

Imagine a world where you never have to explain why you are who you are.

We had quite an awesome time hanging out with over 150 attendees last June 13 at the Bunk Bar rooftop. IpagLOVEan was a fundraising activity Task Force Pride and Words Anonymous organized for the upcoming Metro Manila Pride March.

Alongside Word Anonymous’ talented group of spoken word artists, we also witnessed performances from Trisha O’Bannon, Jonel Revistual, Kettle Mata, Martin Salvano, Sleepersecond, Start it Up, Daryll Bernal, Project Mayhem, and Unmute.

So here’s what went down last week:

Join Metro Manila Pride and Task Force Pride Philippines on June 27 at the Lapu Lapu Monument, Luneta, Manila.

Fight for Love.
Fight for Love.

Best Philippine Theater Productions Gather for the 7th Gawad Buhay Awards

The recently concluded 7th PHILSTAGE (Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group) Awards for the Performing Arts or the Gawad Buhay Awards Night went from poignant to hilarious. From meaty punchlines and long, emotional acceptance speeches to graceful dance numbers and two bigwigs who have shaped Philippine theater, that night was of most importance for the theater community because, similar to the Tonys in the US, the Gawad Buhay is an annual event that gathers and recognizes the Philippines’ best theatrical performances throughout the season.

Let this entry walk you through the highlights of the 7th Gawad Buhay:

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Topper Fabregas of Red Turnip Theater gives life to the 7th Gawad Buhay Awards Night as the host. Fabregas, who would later go on and on with his inside jokes, summoned powerhouse actors Joaquin Valdez, Kim Molina, and Red Concepcion to join him on stage.
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What followed was an intense attempt to outshine one another in an all-out vocal showcase.
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Red Concepcion representing Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Full House)
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Nikki Gil and Steven Silva (9Works Theatrical) were the first pair of presenters.

Female Featured Performance in Classical Dance
Celina Dofitas, “Cinderella” (BP)
Edana Mae Labitoria, “Cinderella” (BP)
Rita Winder, “Cinderella” (BP)

Male Lead Performance in Classical Dance
Richardson Yadao, “Cinderella” (BP)
EARL JOHN ARISOLA, “Cinderella” (BP)

Female Lead Performance in Classical Dance
DENISE PARUNGAO, “Cinderella” (BP)
Monica Gana, “Cinderella” (BP)
Dawna Mangahas, “Nutkraker” (BM)

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PHILSTAGE welcomes its newest member: The Philippine Ballet Theater
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Philstage welcomes its newest member: The Philippine Ballet Theater
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Is it possible that Topper is the new Tolits?
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Margie Moran-Floriendo, President of Ballet Philippines, is the next presenter.
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Liza Magtoto receives the award for Outstanding Original Libretto (Rak of Aegis, PETA). She dedicates the award to her dad who she describes as her “Original Tolits.”
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Tanghalang Pilipino

Outstanding Translation or Adaptation
Virgilio Almario and José Lacaba, “Mga Ama, Mga Anak” (TP)
ROLANDO TINIO, “Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente” (TP)

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Topper changes into Ebenezer Scrooge and jokes about how the costume hasn’t probably been washed since the show.

Female Featured Performance in a Play

Pinky Amador, “August: Osage County” (Rep)
LIESL BATUCAN, “August: Osage County” (Rep)
Sheila Francisco, “August: Osage County” (Rep)
TAMI MONSOD, “August: Osage County” (Rep)
Madeleine Nicolas, “Mga Ama, Mga Anak” (TP)

Male Featured Performance in a Play
Richard Cunanan, “August: Osage County” (Rep)
Hans Eckstein, “August: Osage County” (Rep)
YUL SERVO, “Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente” (TP)
Dido dela Paz, “Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente” (TP)
Marco Viaña, “Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente” (TP)

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Bituin Escalante is 2014’s Outstanding Female Featured Performance in a Musical.

Female Featured Performance in a Musical
BITUIN ESCALANTE, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (Full House)
Kalila Aguilos, “Rak of Aegis” (Peta)
Antoinette Taus, “Grease” (9WT)

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Pepe Herrera who stars as Tolits in Rak of Aegis dedicates his award to his mother, who once told him to follow his heart.

Male Featured Performance in a Musical
PEPE HERRERA, “Rak of Aegis” (PETA)
Jerald Napoles, “Rak of Aegis” (PETA)
Myke Salomon, “Rak of Aegis” (PETA)
Juliene Mendoza, “Rak of Aegis” (PETA)
Micko Laurente, “Kleptomaniacs” (TP)

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A scene from “Sinta” by Dulaang Sibol
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Onofre Pagsanghan receives the first of two Natatanging Gawad Buhay awards for his brainchild Dulaang Sibol. Photo shows Pagsi embracing Paul Dumol.
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Onofre ‘Pagsi’ Pagsanghan
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Tanghalang Pilipino‘s Kleptomaniacs, with Nicco Manalo and the group.
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Fabregas came out in what seemed like a loin cloth, from the nominated costume collection from the Ballet Philippines’ La Revolucion Filipina.
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Carissa Adea of Ballet Philippines

Female Lead Performance in Modern Dance
Dawna Mangahas, “Shutter” from “Heart2Heart: Ballet & Ballads” (BM)
Monica Gana, “Duet” from “Art of Dance” (BP)
Kris-Belle Paclibar-Mamangun, “Salome” from “The Blue Moon Series” (BP)
CARISSA ADEA, “Songs of the Wayfarer” from “The Blue Moon Series” (BP)
Jessa Balote, “Sari’t Bahag” from “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika: An OPM Festival” (BM)

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Richardson Yadao, Ballet Philippines

Male Lead Performance in Modern Dance
Elpidio Magat, “Shutter” from “Heart2Heart: Ballet & Ballads” (BM)
Earl John Arisola, “Duet” from “Art of Dance” (BP)
Rudy de Dios, “Aramica” from “Heart2Heart: Ballet & Ballads” (BM)
Jean Marc Cordero, “La Revolucion Filipina” (BP)
RICHARDSON YADAO, “La Revolucion Filipina” (BP)

Outstanding Choreography for a Dance Production
BAM DAMIAN, “Aramica” from “Heart2Heart: Ballet & Ballads” (BM)
Denisa Reyes, “Muybridge Frames” from “Art of Dance” (BP)
Bam Damian, “After Whom” from “The Blue Moon Series” (BP)
Alice Reyes, “Bungkos Suite” from “The Blue Moon Series” (BP)
Agnes Locsin, “La Revolucion Filipina” (BP)

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The cast of Gantimpala Theater Foundation‘s Kanser@35: The Musical features members of Viva Voce.
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The cast of Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s Kanser@35: The Musical features members of Viva Voce.
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The cast of Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s Kanser@35: The Musical features members of Viva Voce.

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Topper in Full Gallop! The production’s costumes were designed by Rajo Laurel.
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Philippine Opera Company’s Karla Gutierrez belts out You’ll Never Walk Alone as accompaniment to the “In Memoriam” segment.
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The PR gurus of Theater: Toots Tolentino and Leloi Arcete.
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Winning Outstanding Sound Design are PETA’s Happy Constantino and Myke Salomon

Outstanding Sound Design
Jethro Joaquin, “Noises Off” (Rep)
Jethro Joaquin, “Wait Until Dark” (Rep)
Bart Guingona, “Venus in Fur” (AAI/The Necessary Theatre)
Ryan Cayabyab (remastered by David Theo), “La Revolucion Filipina” (BP)

Outstanding Lighting Design
John Batalla, “Wait Until Dark” (Rep)
Katsch Catoy, “August: Osage County” (Rep)
Martin Esteva, “The Last 5 Years” (9WT)
Bart Guingona, “Venus in Fur” (AAI/The Necessary Theatre)
KATSCH CATOY, “La Revolucion Filipina” (BP)

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Ballet Philippines perform a dance excerpt from “After Whom.”
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Topper’s next costume represents Full House’s Priscilla, Queen of the Desert!
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Presenters Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and partner Robie Zialcita.
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Red Concepcion probably had the most costume change that night. Apart from winning Male Lead Performance in a Musical, he also appears in excerpts from Priscilla Queen of the Desert and, in this photo, alongside Team Kayumanggilas in Kung Paano Ka Naging Leading Lady!

Male Lead Performance in a Musical
RED CONCEPCION, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (Full House)
Joaquin Valdes, “The Last 5 Years” (9WT)
Nicco Manalo, “Kleptomaniacs” (TP)
Michael Williams, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (Full House)

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Kim Molina wins Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a Musical!

Female Lead Performance in a Musical
Aicelle Santos, “Rak of Aegis” (PETA)
Joan Bugcat, “Rak of Aegis” (PETA)
KIM MOLINA, “Rak of Aegis” (PETA)
Nikki Gil, “The Last 5 Years” (9WT)
Tippy Dos Santos, “Grease” (9WT)

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Director Maribel Legarda for PETA.

Outstanding Stage Direction for a Musical
Jaime del Mundo, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (Full House)
Robbie Guevara, “The Last 5 Years” (9WT)

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Mio Infante, the man behind the infamous flooded set of Villa Venizia.

Outstanding Set Design

MIO INFANTE, “Rak of Aegis” (PETA)
Miguel Faustmann, “August: Osage County” (Rep)
Miguel Faustmann, “Noises Off” (Rep)
Mio Infante, “The Last 5 Years” (9WT)
Mio Infante, “La Revolucion Filipina” (BP)

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Carlo Pagunaling (PETA)

Outstanding Costume Design
Edgar San Diego, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (PETA)
Rajo Laurel, “Full Gallop” (My Own Mann Productions/AAI and The Necessary Theatre)
Victor Ursabia, “La Revolucion Filipina” (BP)
Valeen Vicente, “Scrooge” (Rep)

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Fuersa Filipinas and Team Kayumanggilas showcase an exciting, must-see excerpt from Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady
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Teatrong Mulat in a puppetry number.
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Second Natatanging Gawad Buhay recipient was founder of Teatro Mulat, Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio. Joined by her former students Bibeth Orteza and Dennis Marasigan.
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Joaquin Valdes and Nikki Gil deliver a moving excerpt from The Last Five Years.

Outstanding Stage Direction for a Play
CHRIS MILLADO, “August: Osage County” (Rep)
Miguel Faustmann, “Wait Until Dark” (Rep)
Bart Guingona, “Full Gallop” (My Own Mann/AAI)
Chris Millado, “Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente” (TP)
Bart Guingona, “Venus in Fur” (AAI/The Necessary Theatre)

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Gio Gahol (PETA) wins Outstanding Choreography for a Play or Musical.

Outstanding Choreography for a Play or Musical
Nancy Crowe, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (Full House)
Gio Gahol, “Rak of Aegis” (PETA)
Nestee Mamaril Gamilla, “Kleptomaniacs” (TP)

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Myke Salomon receives another win for PETA.

Outstanding Musical Direction
MYKE SALOMON, “Rak of Aegis” (PETA)
Inday Echevarria, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (Full House)
Joseph Tolentino, “The Last Five Years” (9WT)

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Jon Santos, Michael Williams and Red Concepcion sing “True Colors.”

Jon Santos, Michael Williams and Red Concepcion sing Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”

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Sandino Martin, Regina de Vera, and Bart Guingona
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Representing Cherie Gil, who won Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a Play

Female Lead Performance in a Play
Baby Barredo, “August: Osage County” (Rep)
CHERIE GIL, “Full Gallop”
Liesl Batucan, “Wait Until Dark” (Rep)
Jennifer Blair-Bianco, “Venus in Fur” (AAI/The Necessary Theatre)
Gina Pareño, “Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente” (TP)

Male Lead Performance in a Play
Spanky Manikan, “Mga Ama, Mga Anak” (TP)
ROBERT AREVALO, “Mga Ama, Mga Anak” (TP)
Jonathan Tadioan, “Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente” (TP)
David Bianco, “Venus in Fur” (AAI/The Necessary Theatre)

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Champions Kim Molina and Pepe Herrera sing Mahal na Mahal Kita.
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Aicelle Santos and Jerald Napoles
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Kalila Aguilos of Rak of Aegis.
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Lorenz Martinez of Rak of Aegis.

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Antoinette Taus and Guji Lorenzana

Outstanding Ensemble Performance for Modern Dance

“ARAMICA” from “Heart2Heart: Ballet & Ballads” (BM)
“Muybridge Frames” from “Art of Dance” (BP)
“After Whom” from “The Blue Moon Series” (BP)
“Bungkos Suite” from “The Blue Moon Series” (BP)
“La Revolucion Filipina” (BP)

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The ensemble of August Osage County, composed of Pinky Amador, Sheila Francisco, Richard Cunanan, director Chris Millado, Tami Monsod.

Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Play
“Venus in Fur” (AAI/The Necessary Theatre)
“Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente” (TP)

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The winning ensemble of RAK OF AEGIS jumps for joy!

Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Musical
“The Last 5 Years” (9WT)

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Chris Millado and Audie Gemora thank the audience.
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Bibeth Orteza, Rafa Siguion Reyna and…
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Jon Santos as Armida Siguion-Reyna

Outstanding Modern Dance Production
“Aramica” from “Heart2Heart: Ballet & Ballads” (BM)
“Muybridge Frames” from “Art of Dance” (BP)

Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Play
“Full Gallop” (My Own Mann/AAI)
“Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente” (TP)
“Venus in Fur” (AAI/The Necessary Theatre)

Gawad Buhay 2014 x Reverb Manila (63)

Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Musical
“The Last 5 Years” (9WT)

Outstanding Original Musical

Congratulations to all the winners! ‘Til the next Gawad Buhay!

Philstage is an organization of professional performing arts companies in the Philippines, namely: Ballet Manila, Ballet Philippines, Gantimpala Theater Foundation, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit, PETA, Repertory Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino, Trumpets, Actor’s Actors, 9 Works Theatrical and Philippine Opera Company. New among the roster of members are: Resorts World Manila’s Full House Theater Productions, Red Turnip Theater, and Philippine Ballet Theater.

3 Voices 1 Journey: Celebrating the Music of Joey G., Jinky Vidal and Top Suzara

3 Voices 1 Journey x Reverb ManilaGet ready for the ultimate throwback of your favorite songs as Mossimo Radio proudly brings you one of the most breathtaking concerts this year: “3 Voices, 1 Journey.”

This one-night only concert features three of the most sought after vocalists in the industry: Joey Generoso, Top Suzara, and Jinky Vidal.

After years of glory as frontliners for Side A and Freestyle, Joey G., Top Suzara and Jinky Vidal will take the stage and perform their best concert to date as solo artists. The concert will also feature both their hit songs and cover songs that you fell in love with.

“3 Voices, 1 Journey” will be held at the Music Museum this Friday, June 19, 2015, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are now available at the Music Museum 721-7626 and Dragon Arc Events Management (63) 917 803 2571. Ticket prices are P2,500, P2,000, P1,500 and P1,000.

Follow “3 Voices, 1 Journey,” on Instagram and Twitter, and like them on Facebook. For ticket inquiries and concert bookings, please contact (63) 917 803 2571 or email

Ginugunita Kita: Transforming Pain into Something Beautiful

Words by Helen de Castro | Photos by Reverb Manila

Gingunita-Kita-Reverb-Manila-9 Losing a loved one is heartbreaking. I once was told that the experience of losing a close relative to the unforgiving arms of death feels weird, surreal. But contemplating on words once spoken and reliving memories over and over again is heartwrenching. This was the feat bravely faced by artists close to Maningning Miclat, the multilingual poet and visual artist who passed away at the tender age of 28. Gingunita-Kita-Reverb-Manila-3 I could describe Ginugunita Kita as a close and intimate gathering at the Aldaba Hall in U.P. Diliman. A celebration of the short but meaningful life of Maningning that explored and internalized her literary works from the book Voice from the Underworld. The stage employed a simple set-up – a chair on the left that was occupied by the soulful cellist, Patrick Espanto; a piano on the right, whose keys were graced by the acclaimed composer, Jesse Lucas; and in the middle, a chair for singer-actor Banaue Miclat-Janssen, Maningning’s younger sister. Gingunita-Kita-Reverb-Manila-2 More than a concert, the setting reminded me of a warm family gathering where members would sit around the living room, exchanging stories on how Maningning has touched each of their lives. In between one of the songs, Banaue shared how people responded to her sister’s book Voice from the Underworld, with most of them interpreting it as if it were Maningning’s final messages. The younger sister took their remarks as they were, opened the book once and never read it again. It wasn’t until 15 years later, as she prepared for that night’s performance, had she been compelled to read it again. She realized that Ningning’s poems weren’t at all goodbyes, rather a recounting of her life journey. Gingunita-Kita-Reverb-Manila-10 Ginugunita Kita started when Jesse Lucas read Maningning’s book. Struck with inspiration, he sought permission from her family if he could put music to the poet’s words. Describing her works as visually rich, it was incredibly easy for him to connect with them. Gingunita-Kita-Reverb-Manila-1

Jesse Lucas: “The poems of Maningning Miclat is almost melodious that I can hear the music through the images used in poetry”.

One could not help but wonder about Banaue, the younger sister’s, journey in this whole creative process. The actress acknowledged director Roeder Camañag’s guidance. Gingunita-Kita-Reverb-Manila-7

Banaue Miclat-Janssen: From the beginning, I was scared that I might go to a dark place in the process of the journey, and he (Camañag) always guided me, showed me another way of looking at things na ‘oo nga no, it makes more sense.’

The performance featured a number of Maningning’s poems: Ginugunita Kita, Tawag, Kulay sa Bato, Ang Naliligaw, Duet (Rizal at Bracken) – where Banaue sang alongside singer-actor Al Gatmaitan; A Stare, which was elegantly interpreted by Delphine Buencamino through dance; Verses #2; and To Catch a Second and Turn it To Forever.


Of all the songs performed that night, Banaue said that it was Verses # 2 that made her see Maningning not only as an artist but as her sister. She shared that it reminded her of the day she passed away. Before she left for FEU that morning, Maningning kissed her and said, “I love you, Wei. Ok na ako.”

Banaue Miclat-Janssen: “With Verses, I will always, always see that. I understood what that meant with that song. Ok na talaga siya.”

There was not a single hint of tension during the whole performance. It was relaxing, comforting, nostalgic even. Ginugunita Kita is described as a healing process and a ‘rite of passage’ as each accepted that their loved one, who once graced this earth to impart so much wisdom even at a very young age, is now at peace. And they are left here to celebrate and keep her legacy alive. Gingunita-Kita-Reverb-Manila-5 Pain – whether caused by death, a heartbreak, or a seemingly impossible challenge – is processed differently by each individual. We all have unique styles of coping. Ultimately, it is how we respond to it. We have two choices when confronted with pain: To allow it to destroy us or to get up and create something worthwhile, fueled by that intense emotion. In Ginugunita Kita, we saw how Maningning’s family and friends chose the latter. Through the collaborative efforts of these renowned artists, they have created something beautiful out of it. Gingunita-Kita-Reverb-Manila-6 I was deeply moved by what I had witnessed that night. It was as if the whole theater was engulfed with so much love and fond memories. And though I have only encountered Maningning through poetry classes back in college or in conversations with friends, that night gave me the opportunity to experience the poet beyond her written words. She was no longer just a byline, or a Filipino painter, or the professor who taught in FEU. That night, she simply became a person. Relatable, real, someone who also went through the ordinary highs and lows of human emotions – it was her dedication to her life’s work that put her high up on a pedestal. I could not fully explain here the warmth and intimacy of that night’s experience. Even the photos stored in my phone could not give it justice. It is one of those performances that could not be described by words, but could only be truly enjoyed and appreciated if you are there. Gingunita-Kita-Reverb-Manila-4 It is not quite possible to relive that night’s experience. So in Maningning’s words, I conclude:

So grant me another second

I will catch up with it

I will lock it in my heart

And turn it to forever.

An excerpt from To Catch a Second and Turn it to Forever

There will be a rerun of the performance on July, which will feature more songs (including a Chinese poem), and we’re all hopeful that a CD compilation of the songs will be available by then.

Congratulations, Talent Factory, Inc. and Maningning Art Foundation!

Videos will be up soon. #ReverbManila

Hit Comedy Musical ‘Rak of Aegis’ Version 4.0 is Coming Your Way

Seventeen nominations at Philstage Gawad Buhay 2014 is not surprising for a hit comedy musical like Rak of Aegis. After achieving a record-breaking 135 shows in its three runs last year, PETA would be making a mistake not bringing the crazy gang from Villa Venizia back as it kicks off its 48th season. Rak of Aegis Version 4.0 promises to bring in a lot of elements to look forward to and more. Fans and first-timers are expected to flood the theater for this record-breaking hit that is set to open this month!

Breakout Kapuso star Aicelle Santos, and 2009 WCOPA Champion Kim Molina come back as Aileen; the promodizer with big dreams to raise her family from the knee-deep floods that have plagued their town for months. This all-Filipino, all-original musical features songs from the iconic band Aegis, with a star-studded ensemble on an award winning, must-see set. Reverb-Manila-Rak-of-Aegis-13

Rak of Aegis is considered a milestone for the theater company and indeed, for Philippine theater. In 2014 alone it has garnered over 16 citations for performance and technical categories including: Outstanding Original Musical, Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Musical, Stage Direction for a Musical (Maribel Legarda), Original Libretto (Liza Magtoto), Musical Direction (Myke Salomon), Choreography (Gio Gahol), Costume Design (Carlo Pagunaling), Sound Design (Salomon and Happy Constantino), Set Design (Mio Infante), Female Lead Performance in a Musical (Aicelle Santos and Joan Bugcat), Female Featured Performance in a Musical (Kalila Aguilos) and Male Featured Performance in a Musical (Myke Salomon, Pepe Herrera, Jerald Napoles and Juliene Mendoza)

The cast of Rak has also enjoyed several new projects in between runs: Poppert Bernadas who plays Aileen’s suitor Kenny was recently seen in The Voice Philippines, while Pepe Herrera (Tolits) enjoys a stint in the romcom TV series, Forevermore. Reverb-Manila-KPANLL-2 Singer Kim Molina also breaks into the theater scene with production after production, most recently in Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady by Dalanghita Productions. This run also welcomes many new neighbors to Barangay Venizia. Actor and singer Lorenz Martinez plays Aileen’s father Kiel, opposite Lani Ligot (Priscilla Queen of the Dessert; Broad Way, Narrow Way) who plays Mercy, Aileen’s mother; The Company’s Sweet Plantado also joins the cast as Mary Jane. The ensemble is joined by PETA artist-teacher Roi Calilong (D’ Wonder Twins of Boac, PAMANA), and Teetin Villanueva (MANHID, Maxie the Musical). Reverb-Manila-Rak-of-Aegis-9 The cast also sees the return of talented ensemble members made up of Stella Mendoza (Mary Jane), Kakai Bautista and Neomi Gonzales (Mercy), Jerald Napoles (Tolits), Myke Salomon (Kenny), Nor Domingo, Julienne Mendoza, and Gie Onida (Fernan), Phi Palmos, Ron Alfonso, and Jimmy Marquez (Jewel), Gimbey dela Cruz, Abi Sulit, Gab Pangilinan, Jet Barrun, Gio Gahol, Carlon Matobato, John Moran, Paeng Sudayan, and Kakki Teodoro (Ensemble). Rak of Aegis The play runs from June 17 to August 16, 2015, from Tuesdays to Fridays (8PM) and Saturdays to Sundays (3:00pm and 8:00pm) at the PETA Theater Center located at No. 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, QC. Tickets are available via, 891-9999. For more information contact PETA at 725-6244 or 0917-5765400, or visit

KALAT By Basti Artadi: Revisiting the Icons of His Youth

To many of us, Sebastian ‘Basti’ Artadi is the frontman of the iconic Filipino rock band Wolfgang. Since last year, we would see him do a few collaborations with other musicians here and there. Later on that year, he would go on to launch his first solo music project online.

The album entitled Everybody Knows that the Dice Are Loaded is a compilation of songs he wrote himself from way back, with the help of some really, really nice guys called the Nice Ones. Now there is Basti and the Nice Ones who regularly plays around the metro.


Earlier this year, Reverb Manila spotted him perform live at OPM’s 12-hour music festival in a notable Collab Session with balladeer Christian Bautista.

He really seems to be all over the place.

Then last May 20, he makes another solo debut, this time, as a painter during the launch of his solo art exhibit entitled KALAT.

It’s been over a week since we witnessed the launch of his collection of paintings at A Space _Gallery. It was barely six in the evening, and everyone else was just about on their way out of the office or the usual traffic jam in Makati. The night was beginning to wear on real quick while there I was, busy getting lost in Makati. It could’ve been an ordinary Wednesday night; instead, I chose to pay A Space Manila a visit and catch a glimpse of Basti Artadi’s opening night. What I saw upon entering the fifth floor of the building was a cozy, minimalist space that’s undeniably inviting that I’d almost forgotten what I was there for. Artadi’s exhibit was a few steps away to the left from the entrance. And within those walls was yet another world.

Let’s call it #KalatbyBasti.

The view from the moment I entered the gallery was a masterpiece in itself. Picture this: there Basti Artadi was, the rock star that we know, only he wasn’t singing. Instead, it was a scene of Artadi constantly conversing with some familiar and new faces. There he was, sharing a part of himself that’s beyond his being a musician. A splash of colours and film and music and comic book icons that were reminiscent of different eras, surrounded him and the guests during the opening night.

I’ve easily found favorites from his collection, listing Nicdao, Blue Boy, and Newman Taylor as my Top 3 favorites. There were 16 paintings to his collection, and I had quite a lot of questions going on in my head as I took a closer look at each one. I needed answers. I had to approach him.

So here’s Reverb Manila’s short interview with the main man behind all this mess. #KalatByBasti

So. Why Kalat?


Basti: It’s a mess, so it’s kind of all over the place. I didn’t paint these with one idea in mind. You have musicians, actors, then all of a sudden you have comic book characters. Hence, the title Kalat. And it kind of goes with the style. Kalat.

How would you describe yourself as a painter?


Basti: I don’t really consider myself one (a painter). I paint because I lose myself in it when I do it.

How would you compare your art with your music?

Basti: It’s just weird. It’s just the way it came out. I’m really, really into color, and it just happened naturally. When you listen to my music though, the imagery in my lyrics are usually negative and dark.


When did you start drawing?

Basti: I’ve been drawing since I was seven or eight. I started with watercolor, and then maybe around 2006, I started with oil. The paintings are of icons that I grew up watching or listening to. The earliest one was that (pointing to Elvis). It was my first creation.


What finally pushed you to pursue this exhibit? 


Basti: Honestly, it was A Space Manila. I had all of these stuff at home, and a friend of mine came and saw these and said, ‘Man, what are you doing?’…Then he happened to know some people from A Space (Manila) and told them about it. So A Space Manila approached me and asked me if I was interested. I showed them my works and they said, ‘Oh, let’s do it’. Okay then. But you know, if they hadn’t approached me, this wouldn’t have been possible.

Among your paintings, which one is your favorite? Kalat-by-Basti-Reverb-Manila-36

Basti: I don’t have a favorite. Although that Clint Eastwood over there, I really love.


Basti: Captain America, too.

What is the story behind Blue Boy? Kalat-by-Basti-Reverb-Manila-37

Basti: I saw a picture online – a painting from Picasso’s Blue Period. I was looking at a couple of paintings of his from that time. I wanted to try doing that, so I ended up with this.


Blue Boy is the only painting out of all this that’s different, wherein I actually wanted to emulate something from someone else’s.

What about Nicdao (reference to photographer Mark Nicdao)? That to me is the most unique out of all your artworks. Kalat-by-Basti-Reverb-Manila-16

Basti: That’s my first time working with sculpture. It’s basically made of paint and plaster. I did it that way. I was talking to him (Mark Nicdao), and I asked him how many people he photographed…


Basti: The skulls are supposed to represent all the people that Nicdao photographed.

Let’s talk about your other solo projects. What’s the story behind We All Know That the Dice Are Loaded? Basti

Basti: These are songs that I had over eight years. When I was in the US, I just kept writing. I came up with 26 songs, and I chose to record ten with The Nice Ones. It’s like Americana; it’s different. It’s not Wolfgang. It’s got a Blues art to it.

What’s next for Basti as a solo artist?

Basti: The thing is that I’m an artist. I just have to do what I gotta do and be open to new things. I had those original songs then I found the guys to play them with…Basti and the Nice Ones.

I guess this year, I’m gonna dance.

Basti was kidding. Although some part of me wished he wasn’t. Basti, dancing? That’s something to watch for.

What’s next for Basti as a painter? Kalat-by-Basti-Reverb-Manila-30

Basti: Since Kalat is more of a retrospective collection that did not have a central theme, I’d like to do one with a theme next time. Hopefully, through this medium, it will make people realize something about our music scene.


Our short chat with Basti Artadi concluded with him inviting us to listen to Everybody Knows that the Dice are Loaded on Spotify! Follow Basti Artadi on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


#KalatByBasti is a collection of art within another art form. His is a collection that transports us back to the heydays of these personalities and icons who have significantly influenced the art and entertainment industry over the past decades. When you say Hollywood, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, or Clint Eastwood come to mind, just as you would equate Picasso and his “Blue Period” with painting, Elvis Presley with music, or Stan Lee with comic books. They are just as relevant today as they were during their time. These paintings allow us to explore Basti Artadi’s exposure to these icons’ craft in his youth. In the local scene, Basti also paid homage to rock icon Pepe Smith and accomplished photographer Mark Nicdao.


Although Kalat would be described as one that didn’t come with a theme, to me, this collection has created a retrospective unison. Artadi has also shown us a different side to him. His chosen medium expresses his love for colour, which is in stark contrast with his music.

He’s given his fans more reason to expect new things ahead of him as an artist. And we are just as thrilled as everyone else is for what he’s going to do next!

It’s Friday! If you haven’t visited the gallery to check out #KalatbyBasti just yet, catch it while you still can. Artadi’s exhibit will be up ’til June 22, 2015. Open from Mondays to Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., visit A SPACE _Gallery and hang out with the cool guys behind the awesome co-working space that is A Space Manila.


For more information, please contact Coco Torre at (63) 917 848 9943 or

Less Effort, More Style with the New Fragrance of AXE Black!

Bamboo Mañalac: “When you strip it down to the essentials, that’s where the magic happens. In music, less is more. That goes with fragrance too. Less effort, more style.”

Nothing says ‪#‎LessEffortMoreStyle‬ than a man who sprays on the light and refined fragrance of AXE Black. Last April was an exciting time for AXE Philippines as it launched the new AXE BLACK fragrance at the Shooting Gallery Studios in Makati City, Philippines.

Finally, resident hottie Solenn Heussaff and KC Montero had the opportunity to reveal the new fragrance of AXE Black.

WARNING: This post contains a photo compilation of some of the hottest names in the mainstream entertainment industry. Photos courtesy of A. Gonzales.

Introducing Axe Black.

The new AXE Black fragrance was created for the man who exudes quiet confidence. Its light and refined fragrance makes an ideal partner for the understated man. It’s impressionable, without really going over the top.

Solenn Heusaff, Bamboo Mañalac and KC Montero
Solenn Heusaff, Raymond Gutierrez and Frank Magalona at the Pop-up Bar
The confident Bamboo, Axe Black’s newest endorser, sings during the much-anticipated launch.

The AXE Black Ambassadors. Meet Fabio Enrique, Victor Basa, and Frank Magalona. They are the men who embody AXE Philippines’ mantra: “Less Effort, More Style.”

Fabio Ide is #AxeBlackFabio.
Frank Magalona is #AxeBlackFrank.
Victor Basa is #AxeBlackVictor.

The sexy resident hottie Solenn Heussaff.
KC Montero.

Look at the rest of the celebrities who came to party with Axe Philippines!

Maxene Magalona.
James Reid.
Phoemela Baranda.
Carla Humphries.
Asia’s Next Top Model finalist Katarina Rodriguez.
Lauren Young.

Watch for the Axe Black Pop-up Bar Series Victor, Fabio and Frank already gave the audience a sneak peek of their bar concepts that define the understated guy during the launch. These pop-up bars will bring to life the understated world of AXE Black. Now the question is: where and when exactly will we catch these pop-up bars? We’ll find out soon. Watch for Axe Philippines’ Pop-up Bar Series starting this June.

Get to see more of #AxeBlack’s ambassadors: Fabio, Victor, Bamboo and Frank at the Pop-up Bars

For more details, log on to and follow @axephilippines on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Six Things We Love About Sixteen Bars’ Broadway Open Mic

Don’t you wish we could all just sing through our lives the way characters from musicals do? Imagine bursting into song when you’re angry, falling or keeping yourself from falling madly in love, or fighting tirelessly for what you believe in? Just imagine what these emotions would sound like…

In reality, you don’t get to meet a cute boy or girl and start singing about him or her while you’re walking down the street. You’d be crazy. The world we live in simply isn’t that kind of stage. That’s why we spend thousands of pesos just to see these theater productions, to ultimately and hopefully (re)discover ourselves. I remember shedding a few tears when I watched Phantom of the Opera a few years ago; it was the first Broadway musical I got to see with a dear friend who taught me to appreciate musicals.

At the end of the day, no amount of singing in the shower or Dubsmash-ing to your all-time favorite songs can ever fully express your love for Broadway theater. So when an opportunity like Sixteen Bars’ announcement of Broadway Open Mic comes knocking on your musical door, how can one say no?

So what is Broadway Open Mic?

Sixteen Bars April 25

Broadway Open Mic is a Broadway-themed open mic session organized by Sixteen Bars at DITO: Bahay ng Sining. For only P 150.00, you get a free drink and sing a Broadway song of your choice with a piano accompaniment, thanks to Jeruel. You can sing it on your own, with a friend, or with a group.

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A month leading up to April 25, Sixteen Bars and DITO: Bahay ng Sining had been reaching out to Broadway theater fans in Manila to join the activity. It sounded exciting, and a lot of these guys must have felt the same way.

Having mustered the courage to attend and participate, some arrived in pairs while others, in groups. Some were in the company of friends and family; some were strangers – but not for too long.

6 | I’m loving the venue. I had lived in Marikina for a good four years, so I can’t help but get all sentimental whenever I visit the area. Marikina has improved ever since. Tempting food places have been sprouting like mushrooms here and there. But to have an art cafe like DITO: Bahay ng Sining? Now that’s something I wish that had existed years ago. DITO is conveniently located along J. Molina Street, Concepcion, Marikina.

It’s so easy to grow fond of its cozy vibe. It’s like one of those favorite spots you and your friends keep going back to just because it feels like another home away from home.

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DITO Bahay ng Sining.
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The view of the ceiling.
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Reminds me of Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast.

5 | Witness and capture a variety of Broadway song performances. Potential participants had a couple of weeks to prepare for their weapons of choice – their voices and music sheets.

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Channeling Boy and Girl of Once the Musical.

Some saved digital copies of their music sheets in their mobile devices. Well, some dressed to look and play the part. One brought her music teacher, and a few others brought their instruments with them.

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Somebody to Love – We Will Rock You

There was also an element of surprise to the whole experience. You want to keep guessing what they’re going to sing. Sometimes, the first note to a familiar tune can start a chorus later on.

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Surprisingly, the crowd was able to witness a wide variety of song performances from hit musicals, such as: Les Miserables, Little Women, In the Heights, Rock of Ages, Wicked, The Little Mermaid, We Will Rock You, Sound of Music, The Last Five Years, Rent, Once, Phantom of the Opera, among others. For a theater noob like me, the activity allowed me to discover some broadway songs for the first time.

4 | Get to hang out with an appreciative and supportive crowd. Another thing I really love about the whole experience is having to be around such a warm and supportive audience. It’s okay to sing as if you’re right there in the shower, without a care in the world. And even though you may end up singing offkey because you’re nervous, that’s alright. You know they’ll be there to sing along.

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This cute girl sang Popular from Wicked.

Edelweiss – Sound of Music

3 | Meet new friends. It was also an evening of friendship and of meeting new people who share the same passions and interests. What a way to spend your Saturday night!

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Happiness is walking hand in hand.

Falling Slowly – Once the Musical

2 | Surprise, surprise! There’s an upcoming reprise and a prize! Due to its successful first session, Sixteen Bars announced another round right away, this time in collaboration with Pulp Live World for Idina Menzel’s upcoming concert in the Philippines. So calling the attention of all Idina Menzel fans out there! Now’s your chance to Moo with Sixteen Bars! Here’s how:

Moo with Me

For Good – Wicked

1 | Who forgets their first Broadway Open Mic Experience, anyway? No one. It was another evening of firsts. I got to visit DITO and catch Sixteen Bars’ broadway-themed open mic session for the first time. My friends and I thought the whole experience was all worth it.

Don’t Stop Believing – Rock of Ages

All in all, there was this indescribable magic, the warmth the venue had to offer. There was something in the air that brought the people close, and friends and family even closer.

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Here’s to more Broadway Open Mic sessions in the near future! And next time, you know the drill. Maybe we’ll all get to see each other again in this beautiful, little world that is DITO. Next round is on May 29, so save the date!

How was your #BroadwayOpenMic experience? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.