JOE: Deconstructing Jose Rizal for Young Audiences

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By Precious Lee Cundangan

Manila, Philippines, July 18, 2012 – Philippine Stagers Foundation (PSF), the creator of original Filipino musicals "Cory ng EDSA" and "Enzo Santo," comes up with another captivating production in "Joe: The Filipino Rock'sical," which opened last weekend at St. Cecilia's Auditorium, St. Scholastica's College, and will continue to run there on Saturday, July 21, and on Sunday, July 22, and at the Tanghalang Pasigueño on Sunday, July 29.

This new rock musical deconstructs the ideologies of the Philippines' national hero, Jose Rizal. It also enlightens and educates the audience on the many controversies surrounding Rizal, including the truth about his retraction of religious errors prior to his execution in 1896; his wife, Josephine Bracken's true identity – and their child – among others.

Vince Tañada, PSF's president and artistic director, and composer and author of "Joe," welcomes the long-awaited break from working on productions centering on political and religious figures to finally produce a show about one of his real life inspirations, Rizal.

Besides being a huge fan of the Broadway musical "Rock of Ages," which he admits is one of the impetuses for him to create his very own "rock'sical," Tañada's love and respect for Rizal translates well on stage, through "Joe." However, this is not his first foray into working with the subject matter.

"I've done a straight play about Rizal called "Josephine's Joe". It was staged around 2002, and had a rerun in 2004," Tañada recalls. "'Joe' is a musical, and it's more fun and entertaining."

Using a musical theater work with rock music as a motivational tool, he wants to tell the audience that "we can be Rizal, and that Rizal can be our modern-day idol; he's not unreachable."

"We want to appeal to the youth, and we have to get their attention first in order for these youngsters to be inspired," Tañada explains. "Besides, I've used classical, pop, zarzuela, and Broadway musical styles in my previous works, and I've never ventured into rock.  So this is the chance to do so." Likewise, rock music and music videos appeal mainly among younger age groups.

"Joe: The Filipino Rock'sical," which features music by Pipo Cifra and choreography by John San Antonio, stars Patrick Libao, Monique Azerreda, Vince Tañada, Kevin Posadas, Jordan Ladra, Cindy Liper, Kierwin Larena, Adelle Ibarrientos, Chris Lim, Chin Ortega, JM Encinas, Cherry Anne Bagtas, JP Lopez, Gabby Bautista, and many more.

Jeff Ambrosio designs the production's highly functional sliding sets; Emy Tañada creates the show's numerous costumes; and Art Gabrentina handles both technical and lighting requirements of the stage presentation.

Photo Credit: Jory Rivera

Philippine Stagers Foundation presents JOE: The Filipino Rock'sical

Philippine Stagers Foundation presents JOE: The Filipino Rock'sical

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