MANILA -- It’s been a big year for Repertory Philippines, which celebrated its 50th anniversary as a trailblazer in the local theater industry.
After a one-night only extravaganza at The Theater at Solaire to mark its golden anniversary last June, local theatergoers are eagerly anticipating what the theater group has in store next season and beyond.
“We at Rep are more inspired than ever to keep showing quality theater to our audiences,” Rep president and CEO, Mindy Perez-Rubio said at a recent press conference. “For 50 years, we have been bringing the best of the West End and Broadway to the Philippines and creating a space for theater arts and artists to develop.”
Joy Virata, the group's vice president for audience development and founder of the Repertory Theater for Young Audiences, is likewise giddy about the next season. “The upcoming Rep season is one we’re very proud of, and we believe that this roster of productions offers something for all audiences to enjoy,” she said.
The recurring theme of Rep's 50th year was “Come Home to Rep.” It wasn’t only meant for the audience but also actors and actresses who’ve grown up with the company and have made their name here and abroad and established their own theater companies.
Here’s a preview of what’s in store for Repertory Philippines in the next couple of months.
1. 'Hair' (November 17 to December 17, 2017)
Repertory Philippines ends its current season by welcoming the dawning of the age of Aquarius and letting the sun shine in! "Hair" is set in in New York City during the hippie era. Topper Fabregas and Markki Stroehm alternate as Claude, the all-American farm boy on his way to enlist in the Vietnam War effort but gets waylaid by enigmatic hippie tribe leader Berger (played by George Schulze). Claude ends up rebelling against his established values and embracing love, peace, and freedom. The musical's message of hippie love and peace amidst the backdrop of the Vietnam War was controversial when it debuted but is still relevant in today’s uncertain climate. Topper Fabregas stars in 'Hair,' which opens on Friday. Photo by author
2. 'Comedy of Tenors' (January 26 to February 18, 2018)
It’s total mayhem as a temperamental opera star and his hot-blooded wife are joined by their daughter and lover, his producer, his assistant, a temperamental opera diva, and a singing waiter in a series of missteps on the evening before an important performance. This unofficial sequel of the Ken Ludwig’s hit comedy, "Lend Me A Tenor" is sure to get the audience rolling in the aisles with its comedic high notes. Lorenz Martinez and Issa Litton in a scene from 'Comedy of Tenors.' Photo by author
3. 'Silent Sky' (March 2 to 25, 2017, 2018)
Cathy Azanza-Dy marks her return to the Repertory stage as Henrietta Levitt, a young astronomer pulled from her simple American Midwest life to the Harvard Observatory whose universe-changing discoveries have made peering into the outer reaches of space possible. Cathy Azanza-Dy and Caisa Borromeo in a scene from 'Silent Sky.' Photo by author
4. 'Arsenic and Old Lace' (April 6 to 29, 2018)
This farce was described by the New York Times as “so funny that none of us will forget it." In this classic comedy, things quickly fall apart as a young man discovers the dark side of his aunts’ elderberry wine and hospitality. It is up to the young man to protect the family secret from the bungling arm of the law and his unsuspecting fiancée. Joy Virata and Jay Glorioso in a scene from 'Arsenic and Old Lace.' Photo by author
5. 'Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale' (September 15, 2018 to January 27, 2019)
This is a retelling of the classic fairy tel Rapunzel. Sir Roderick and his hair stylist Edgar (on a quest for the perfect head of hair) are out to rescue princess Rapunzel from the evil lady Za Za with the help of a neurotic Gypsy Woman and a poofless dragon named Socrates. A scene from 'Rapunzel.' Photo by author
6. 'Miong' (March 22 to April 14, 2019)
"Miong" is an original Repertory Philippines musical based on the life of Emilio Aguinaldo with book by Joy Virata and music by Ian Monsod. This was first staged during the Philippine centennial back in 1998. The production has been polished and streamlined for a new generation of the theatergoers in time for the 150th birth anniversary of the first president of the republic.
Repertory Philippines stages its shows at OnStage in Greenbelt 1, Makati City.
A scene from 'Miong.' Photo by author