Make Your Vote Count for the 2011 BroadwayWorld Philippines Awards
New York, November 16, 2011 -- The first-ever BroadwayWorld (BWW) Philippines Awards, an audience initiative project that encourages BWW readers from the Philippines to nominate and vote for their favorite plays, musicals, and theater personalities of the past year, revealed its list of nominees two weeks ago to an overwhelming response. Related web pages on my blog and BWW have around 2,000 hits, 100 comments, 2,000 likes, and 100 shares to date.
Although, user comments have been mixed, for example:
• "Sound of Music (SOM) for Best Sound? They must be kidding" (SOM's current performance venue, the Newport Performing Arts Theater, had some acoustic problems lately);
• "It's about time we had something like this;" and
• "This is a better venue for recognizing and levelling off the field for other theater companies especially those that aren't really mainstream... BWW Phils. Awards are a refreshing take from the usual award-giving bodies. This is a great beginning to empowering the theater industry. Kudos to BWW Phils."
I'd rather look at these diverse and opposing views as healthy conversations between BWW and its steadily growing fan base of readers more than anything -- every point raised is important.
Nonetheless, BWW Philippines has been thankful for the warm response from nominees like OJ Mariano, Vince Tañada, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Jaime del Mundo, Christopher de Venecia, Gian Magdangal, Jerald Napoles, Joey Mendoza, Jett Pangan, Caisa Borromeo, Ciara Sotto, Bea Garcia, Skyzx Labastilla, Markki Stroem, Shamaine Buencamino, Dexter Santos, Pipo Cifra, and Jon Jon Martin, among others; and for some Philippine media outlets that have picked up the story like MyxPh.Com and Pep.Ph.
The BWW Awards were first launched in the United States and United Kingdom three years ago. But since there has been a large number of readers that's based in the Philippines, BWW Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Robert Diamond, and I had decided to extend the BWW Awards to the Philippines. Last month, Filipino readers sent in their nomination entries in 20 categories (Best Musical, Best Leading Actor [Musical], Best Sound et al.), which totalled around 500. From these nomination entries, we've shortlisted 85; and these nominees were very diversified productions: they ranged from commercial Theater Productions, non-commercial Theater Productions, and semi-professional, campus-based Theater Productions whose book or script was either in English or Filipino.
The BWW Philippines Awards are now open for voting and will close on December 31, 2011. To help BWW readers decide, I'll do a weekly roundup of nominees starting with the nominees for Best Musical:
Collage work by Ching Nicolas
2011 BroadwayWorld Philippines Awards' nominees for Best Musical
In the Heights (Atlantis Productions Inc.)
Directed by Atlantis Productions' Bobby Garcia (Disney's The Little Mermaid, Next to Normal), In the Heights, penned by Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda, presents a portrait of the Hispanic community in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Its original Broadway production, which features high-energy musical numbers with hip hop, salsa, soul, and merengue (music and dance from the Dominican Republic) influences, won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2008. The production returns to Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in March 2012.
Sweet Charity (9 Works Theatrical)
Meet the exuberant cast of 9 Works Theatrical's production of the Broadway musical Sweet Charity; photo by Jory Rivera
Directed by 9 Works Theatrical's Robbie Guevara (Rent, The Wedding Singer), Sweet Charity, which had starred television host and singer Nikki Gil (Seussical, Legally Blonde) in her third stage outing, highlights Tony Award-winning composer Cy Coleman's catchy-but-naughty tunes (and sometimes with dark tones in the same vein as John Kander'smusical Chicago) and dance numbers based on Bob Fosse's original choreography.
Sound of Music (Resorts World Manila)
Currently playing at Newport Performing Arts Theater, The Philippine revival of Sound of Music, which stars London-based actress Joanna Ampil and young thespian Cris Villonco as Maria Von Trapp, is one of the beloved classics by Broadway composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein. For the Manila production, the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra provides live orchestral music, conducted by Maestro Rodel Colmenar with back-up vocals by Lyn Fabella; and independent filmmaker Paul Soriano produces larger than life visual effects and digital videos. The production runs until December 11.
Peter Pan (Repertory Philippines/Stages Production Specialists Inc.)
Repertory Philippines and Stages Production Specialists Inc. bring to life Anthony Drewe and George Stiles' musical incarnation of Peter Pan; photo by Dale Bacar
Directed by Jaime del Mundo (Shakespeare in Hollywood, N.O.A.H.) and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (Little Women), Peter Pan, which had cast television actor and singer Sam Concepcion in the title role, is Broadway book writer and lyricist Anthony Drewe and composer George Stiles' musical incarnation of J.M. Barrie's children's classic. Their version of Peter Pan, which first opened in Denmark in 1996, won several awards including The Orchestra Award and Best Song for "When I Kill Peter Pan" at the International Musical of the Year, also in Denmark.
Noli Me Tangere (Tanghalang Pilipino)
Maestro Ryan Cayabyab updates his score for this revival of Filipino musical Noli Me Tangere; photo c/o Tanghalang Pilipino
Directed by one of Philippine theater's thought leaders, Audie Gemora (Equus, Disney's High School Musical) , Noli Me Tangere, which had starred pop recording artists Gian Magdangal and Mark Bautista as the revolutionary pragmatist Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, is multi-award winning composer Ryan Cayabyab's musical adaptation of the Philippines' national hero, Jose Rizal's controversial novel published in 1887.
Care Divas (Philippine Educational Theater Association)
Care Divas is Philippine Educational Theater Association's (PETA) new smash musical!; photo c/o PETA
Directed by Philippine Educational Theater Association's (PETA) Maribel Legarda (William), Care Divas, which features music by prolific musical theater composer Vincent de Jesus, tells the life stories (based on book writer Liza Magtoto's personal interviews) of five Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs): Chelsea, Shai, Kayla, Thalia and Jonee who work as caregivers of elderly Jews in the morning and perform as drag queens at night in Tel Aviv, Israel. The production returns to PETA Theater Center on December 1, 2, 4, 8 and 9.
Cory ng EDSA (Philippine Stagers Foundation)
The Aliw Award-winning team behind the musical Ako si Ninoy returns with another critically-acclaimed production in Cory ng EDSA; photo by Dale Bacar
Recently awarded Best Musical at the 2011 Aliw Awards, Cory ng EDSA, is an original Filipino musical, created by Vince Tañada (Ako si Ninoy), which is based on the life and times of the nation's icon of democracy, the late President Corazon Aquino. The production is currently on a national tour.