International performer to help raise funds for Pinoy performing arts community

Acclaimed international theater performer and recording artist, Hayden Tee is lending his talents to help raise funds for displaced workers of the performing arts community in the Philippines. He will be spotlighted in PalabasTayo’s “After Party” an online series featuring conversations with artists on Friday, 24 April 2020.

Tee was recently in the Philippines playing Ms. Trunchbull in the Manila run of Matilda the Musical tour. Sadly, due to the enhanced community quarantine, the show that was supposed to run until March 22 at The Theater at Solaire was canceled a week after it opened.

The touring cast members from the Royal Shakespeare Company had to fly back to their respective homes before the Manila lockdown took place. Tee had to fly to New York before flying back to his home in New Zealand, and like most people who traveled to COVID-19 affective areas, he had to do self-quarantine for several days.

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CAMP, Inc. to hold “Art for Healing” fundraising exhibit on June 13, 2018

The Culture and Arts Managers of the Philippines, Incorporated (CAMP, Inc.) unites the arts and HIV advocacy for an “art for healing” exhibit on June 13, 2018 (4PM-11PM) at the Casa Real, Acacia Estates in Taguig City where 30 phenomenal artists and art patrons will donate about 50 artworks for auction.

CAMP, Inc. Executive Director Ian Felix Alquiros underscored, “We’ve seen in the previous years that arts have been pivotal in bridging people to take bold action, especially in turning the table of HIV epidemic in the country.” Latest data from the Department of Health showed that 871 individuals were diagnosed with HIV in February 2018 alone, bringing the total cases to 52, 280 since 1984.

According to Alquiros, “The launching of CAMP, Inc. excites the Filipino arts and HIV advocacy communities in the effort to formally merge culture and the HIV cause into a singular functioning organization to utilize the arts as a tool for personal and societal journey of healing.”

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Review: The Bluebird of Happiness



Manila, Philippines, October 4, 2013. A long-delayed follow-up to 2009’s N.O.A.H. (No Ordinary Aquatic Habitat), Trumpets’ new production “The Bluebird of Happiness,” a musical adaptation of Maurice Maeterlinck’s play of the same name, featuring music by Rony Fortich and book and lyrics by Jaime del Mundo, tells a story set on Christmas Eve, at the height of the frustration of siblings Mytyl and Tyltyl over not having the material things they think would make their lives better. It is a scene that is familiar not only among children but even adults. Mytyl and Tyltyl’s frustration is a reminder of lives that are driven by making ends meet or by achieving material wants that makes us lose sight of the very things that should have made us happy in the first place.

In the season of giving, it is ironic that this is also the time when people’s discontent and despair seem to manifest the most. And as these kids go on a quest to find true happiness through past and future, through greed and luxury, and through darkness and light, we go along with them realizing our own penchant for always wanting more than what we have. Through wondrous music and a spectacular production, “The Bluebird of Happiness” reconnects us with simple joys that provide more meaning in our lives than any material possession can offer.

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Cinderella (Preview Photos)

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, the King and Queen cooked up a plan to marry off the free-spirited Prince. At a time devoid of Facebook and dating sites, a ball in his honor seemed like the wisest choice to get him in a room with the fairest maidens in the land.

The Prince is giving a ball!!!


This got the ladies shrieking and screaming…

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Review: Sa Wakas, A Pinoy Rock Musical


Dale’s Review:

Manila, Philippines, April 22, 2013 — Sa Wakas has been subject of mostly rave reviews since it opened last April 13th at the PETA Theater. After catching the show yesterday, we were glad to see that it wasn’t just hype.

Sa Wakas is the type of show that you tell your friends about just because you want to share something special with them. It is the type of show that you would want people to see because you know that at one point in their lives, they may have walked the path of at least one of the characters and seeing it onstage calls to mind gut-wrenching conversations you may have had over several bottles of beer.

And that really is how the show felt like. It is as if you or your closest friend had just had his heart torn into pieces and he shares with you, over a couple of six-packs, the nitty-gritty details that led him to where he is now. Told backward, it is a painful journey of recollection and as an audience, you feel every bit of the pain because you know how this story will end.

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Review: The Graduate


During the first act of The Graduate, Benjamin Braddock exclaims in a fit that his father, as well as everyone that his father knows, are grotesque. I think there couldn’t be a more appropriate description of what follows in the next hour of the show.

Based on a novel of the same title written by Charles Webb and the 60s film starring Anne Bancroft and the very young Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate is characterized by that feeling of being trapped, the need to break free, and ultimately, one’s inability to escape fate. The stage version, however, seemed to miss the point of the story and portrayed relationships of repulsive, whiny people and even rewarded them with a happy ending.

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Philippine Stagers Foundation presents Vince Tañada’s Palanca-winning play

Philippine Stagers Foundation founder and director Vincent Tañada recently bagged the Grand Prize of the Full-Length Play Category, Filipino Division for Ang Bangkay at the 62nd Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. 

Ang Bangkay is a period tale that tells of the darkness that unravels after the death of a family matriarch. It is a 180° leap from any of Tañada’s previous works that I have seen and by far, the best of the lot. The play gives us access to the dark recesses of the mind of the same man that authored the inspirational Enzo, Ako si Ninoy, Cory ng Edsa, and Joe: A Filipino Rock’sical. 

Tañada is also a recent awardee of the Aliw Awards and the Broadwayworld Awards. 

Pooled Reviews: Joe, A Filipino Rock’sical

Joe: A Filipino Rock’sical tells a story of a group of artists who are pooled together to create a show about Rizal. It is a creative journey that tries to get to the core of the country’s foremost hero with the characters ending up seeing the essence of Rizal within themselves. 

Joe was launched last July 15th at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila. It is the 11th season offering of the Philippine Stagers Foundation. Here are some reviews posted about the preview performance:

What’s most unforgettable throughout the play was the character of Turing played by Gabby Bautista. He was brilliant and he exuded the discipline and behavior of an adult actor at his age. I really loved his performance and he is one character in Joe: A Filipino Rock’sical you should never miss. I will definitely recommend the play to all students in search of answers about Rizal or simply wanting to enjoy a well-prepared theatrical performance. It is definitely prescriptive to better understand Rizal in our lives at present.

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Always Forever by Ansh Das

Saw an old friend at an event recently and we briefly discussed this book, Always Forever. I have long wanted to buy it but have been putting it off until I have the time to sit down and read it. I did, however, read the preview at Amazon and already I felt like I was reliving the most private thoughts of the author.

With mostly friends and familiar people playing major characters in the story, I almost felt guilty, like I was peeking at someone’s diary. The book’s author, Ansh Das though is hardly a stranger. We started communicating through Facebook not long after the time when the story in the book started. As a fellow supporter of gay rights, Ad and I had discussed about writing for a website called then known as

The book’s subject, Mikee, was a constant companion when I used to cover for the Mr Gay World competition here in the Philippines. Mikee died in 2011. He was only 24.

More than a personal tribute, this is a story about love and loss. It is a story about soulmates and a promise that is kept, Always Forever.

Review: Bare, A Pop Opera


Bare is a production of the Ateneo Blue Repertory. That is perhaps the most significant piece of information needed to fully appreciate the magnitude of impact that this play has on a range of issues including, but not limited to, homosexuality, gay relationships and the conflicting stand of society on the subject.

Unlike the recently staged Next Fall, which appeared mostly neutral on the morality debate of same-sex relationships/union, this college production from a Jesuit-run University, did not play it safe. It presented a reality that is familiar to most of us, a reality often ignored and left undiscussed. It left no room for gray areas.   It boldly showed how people often cling to their faith in times of uncertainty but this faith can be misdirected to a mere messenger that could very well get the message wrong.

Much of the credit goes to the material itself. Bare: A Pop Opera received the 2001 Ovation Award, Backstage Garland Award, LA Drama Critics Circle and LA Weekly Awards for Best Original Score and Best Musical. Damon Intrabartolo that wrote the book and music has done film orchestration in movies like Dreamgirls, X-Men 2, Superman Returns, The Usual Suspects and a lot more. Josh Hartmere co-author of the book and lyricist has written screenplays for Disney, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Street.

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BroadwayWorld reveals list of nominees for first ever BWW Philippines Awards has finally revealed the official list of nominees from over 500 entries sent in from October 6-31, 2011 for the first-ever Broadwayworld Philippines Awards. 

This aims to recognize the ever-vibrant theater industry in the country and give recognition to theater practitioners. Musicals and straight plays that opened in the Philippines from September 2010 to October 2011 were qualified. Voting officially starts on November 3rd and culminates on December 31, 2011. 

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Cory ng EDSA

I first saw Cory ng Edsa as it was presented to the Cojuangco family for critique before the actual launch of the show last July. Having seen shows by bigger and more established theater companies, I did not expect much from the obviously junior group. Add up the fact that the subject of the EDSA revolution has been tackled time and again by masters and mediocre directors alike in film and Cory being the centerpiece of the show just seems mundane.

The Cojuangco Family giving their feedback to the group

Performing in nothing more than uniform printed shirts, some jeans, and an imaginary moving backdrop, the group started what I expected to be the longest two hours of my theater-viewing life. I was wrong.

From the opening number in a room that can barely hold almost 50 members of the ensemble, to the perfectly executed intimate and dramatic scenes among the main cast, the 15 or so members of the audience, myself included, held our breath and from time to time wiped our tears as we witnessed what could be the most important theater event of the year.

When the applause died down, the much-coveted endorsement of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation was easily given and the stage-musical event that is a must-see for every Filipino was set to begin its series of shows.

Aliw Awardee for Best Director, Vince Tañada plays the reporter that chronicled the life of the former President (Cindy Liper plays Cory with Glory Ann Nacional as alternate, and Patrick Libao alternates as the reporter.)

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