Philippine Opera Company's Master Class
“Film actress Cherie Gil, appearing as Maria Callas, gave what may be the performance of her life in Terrence McNally’s brilliant Master Class (Philippine Opera Company at RCBC Plaza Theater), directed by Michael Williams.
“Sopranos Deeda Barreto and Florence Aguilar were miscast, in the sense that they sang beautifully although they were supposed to be faltering voice students. And baritone Jack Salud was made to sing a difficult tenor aria. Ceejay Manuel Javier was effective as the master-class pianist.”
Tanghalang Pilipino's Mga Gerilya sa Powell Street
“One of the most significant plays of the year was Tanghalang Pilipino’s Mga Gerilya sa Powell Street, adapted by Rody Vera from the novel by Benjamin Pimentel (Ateneo University Press, 2007), and directed with élan by Chris Millado.
Vera and Millado exploited the novel’s comic and dramatic possibilities, while maintaining Brechtian 'objectivity' and Garcia-Marquez 'magic realism' when the scenes threatened to become too emotional. Ensemble acting was superb.”
Dulaang UP's Atang
“At the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater at UP-Diliman, the professionalism of Dulaang UP was again evident in the captivating play-with-music Atang, engagingly directed by Alexander Cortez and written by Floy Quintos, with original score and arrangement by Von de Guzman.
As National Artist Atang de la Rama in her twilight years, Frances Makil-Ignacio was consistently excellent, and soprano Kalila Aguilos as the young Atang showed she has a flair for musical theater. In a brief number as Katy de la Cruz, Bituin Escalante was a standout. Atang will be restaged Jan. 28-Feb. 8, 2009.”
Joey Ting, meanwhile, has released his own list of commendations, here. Highlights:
GOLD Citation: Tuxqs Rutaquio for Tanghalang Pilipino’s Kudeta; SILVER Citation: Loy Arcenas for Tanghalang Pilipino’s Golden Child; BRONZE Citation: Mio Infante for Ballet Philippines’ La Revolucion Filipina
GOLD Citation: Faust Peneyra for Repertory Philippines’ Hamlet; SILVER Citation: Victor Ursabia for Ballet Philippines’ La Revolucion Filipina; BRONZE Citation: Gino Gonzales for Tanghalang Pilipino’s Golden Child
GOLD Citation: John Neil Ilao Batalla for Dulaang UP’s Hinabing Pakpak ng ating mga Anak; SILVER Citation: Jonjon Villareal for Philippine Educational Theater Association’s Skin Deep; BRONZE Citation: Katsch SJ Catoy for Ballet Philippines’ La Revolucion Filipina
GOLD Citation: Von De Guzman for Dulaang UP’s Atang, a play with music; SILVER Citation: Ryan Cayabyab for Ballet Philippines’ La Revolucion Filipina; BRONZE Citation: J. Victor Villareal for Tanghalang Pilipino’s Golden Child
(Male) GOLD Citation: Mario O’Hara for Tanghalang Pilipino’s Kudeta; SILVER Citation: Jose Mari Avellana for Repertory Philippines’ Tuesdays with Morrie; BRONZE Citation: Teroy Guzman for Tanghalang Ateneo’s Otelo; (Female) GOLD Citation: Rowena Vilar for Stages’ West Side Story; SILVER Citation: Frances Makil-Ignacio for Dulaang UP’s Atang, a play with music; BRONZE Citation: Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino for Tanghalang Pilipino’s Ang Kalungkutan ng Reyna
Best Theatrics of the Year
GOLD Citation: Loy Arcenas for Tanghalang Pilipino’s Golden Child; SILVER Citation: Kiritani Natsuko and Soxie Topacio for Philippine Educational Theater Association’s Asian Tosca; BRONZE Citation: Floy Quintos for Tanghalang Pilipino’s Kudeta
The complete post here, with notes on each of the categories. Wait, he isn't done yet; Joey's set to release his “Worst Theatrics” any time now. Abangan!
PLUS: Ben Brantley's 10 best Broadway productions of the year--and why--here. In alphabetical order: Billy Elliot, Blasted, Boeing Boeing, Dividing the Estate, Gypsy, Hair, Liza's at the Palace, The Seagull, South Pacific and Sunday in the Park with George.
I might as well 'fess up now. The idea for my own Best of Theater round-up came from Mr. Brantley's annual tribute to the best of the best on Broadway. Why not, I thought. In New York or in London many shows, especially the big ones, run for months, even years, and they have their own Tonys, Drama Desks or Oliviers to look forward to at the end of the season. Here, a production is lucky if it could last four weeks. That's why it's even more imperative to recognize good work in local theater,considering its far more ephemeral, fragile nature--up today, gone tomorrow, with hardly a shrug from the distracted horde--and the paucity of official institutions recognizing the merit of such labors.
Do you remember the good shows you caught this year? Blog about them. The artists responsible for the diverting--perhaps even revelatory or life-altering--evenings you had at the theater would appreciate being remembered for their efforts. If, on the other hand, you didn't think a show was worth it, write about that, too. Honest criticism is as valuable as avid praise, and theater--the art form as well as the industry--would benefit as much from the aesthetic vision of its practitioners as from the candid feedback of its audience. The larger point, here and now, is to care that it exists at all.