Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15Manila, Philippines--The Philippine Department of Health recently revealed: "692 Filipino youth aged 15 to 24 were diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the first two months of 2019." This latest data is alarming and we need to talk about it. "Roses For Ben," a new musical tackling the most important issues surrounding HIV-AIDS, is shaping up to be a possible discourse platform.

Artist Playground (AP) Arts and Performances, in partnership with The Red Whistle and Twelfth Studios, is set for the world premiere of "Roses For Ben, A New Musical," featuring the book, music, and lyrics of Rayne Jarabo, in collaboration with AP's Roeder Camanag (project consultant and stage director) and Jesse Lucas (musical director), on June 15, 2019, at Arts Above along West Avenue in Quezon City.

Camanag said, "We're focusing all our energy on 'Roses for Ben' because we want this musical to go on a national tour. We're currently in talks with Bill Julius Cosare, the program manager at The Red Whistle [a non-profit organization focused on spreading awareness and ending the stigma towards HIV and AIDS]. Gusto namin dalhin ang show hanggang sa grassroots. We've actually made the show's staging very portable--we can run the musical even in basketball courts."

"We hope this show will help raise awareness about important issues surrounding HIV, especially among our youth, he added.

"Ben has everything he's ever wanted.
A high-paying job, a loving relationship,
and friends he can always count on.
But there's a catch...he's HIV positive.
Will life ever be the same?
This is his story."

Pop-Millennial Sound

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15The music for "Roses for Ben" is verging on the "pop-millennial" sound. "We're eyeing to capture the 'musical sound' of today's youth, who are our main target audience. It doesn't sound 'Les Mis' or 'Phantom of Opera.' It's very now--very pop."

The musical numbers include "Umagang Paparating," "The Kinky Song," "Nagmamahal, Dave," "Umiikot ang mga Rosas," "Balakid," and "Different Faces" (Listen on Facebook).

At the press launch, Lucas, who accompanied on piano cast member Bobby Martino, an original member of the London company of "Miss Saigon" who plays Ben's father, Mang Boyet, stressed that "it's important that the show will be accompanied by a live accompaniment: with a keyboard, guitar, and acoustic instruments--percussion. This show is quite interesting because our creative team is mostly composed of young talents, very much in line with the vision of Artist Playground of honing new talents." Young pianist Arnold Bacsal is Lucas' assistant musical director, along with Lezlie Dailisan, choreographer.

The musical features Jude Matthew Servilla and Benj Espina (Ben), Bobby Martino (Sir Wency, Mang Boyet), Beulah Mae Saycon (Alice), Mirriam Reyes (Denise), Kim Delas Alas (Lance), Jerome Fugoso (Sir Wency, Mang Boyet), Dene Gomez (Dave), Ken Del Prado and Christian Silang (Jess), Nikki Herrera (Queenie), and April Jasmin Rosales (Cecile).

"Roses for Ben" plays at Arts Above (112 West Ave., Quezon City) on Saturday, June 15 and 22, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 16 and 23, at 7 p.m.

Get tickets from Kim, 0975 919 3179.

Photos: Oliver Oliveros

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15The original cast of ROSES FOR BEN, with Artist Playground's Roeder Camanag, Jesse Lucas

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15The original cast of ROSES FOR BEN, with Rayne Jarabo

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15Rayne Jarabo

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15Kim Delas Alas, Jude Matthew Servilla

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15Kim Delas Alas, Jude Matthew Servilla

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15Jude Matthew Servilla, Benj Espina, Ken Del Prado, Rayne Jarabo, Roeder Camanag

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15Jesse Lucas, Bill Julius Cosare

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15Roeder Camanag

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15Benj Espina

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15Toots Tolentino, publicist

Photo Coverage: ROSES FOR BEN, A New Musical Meets the Press; Show Opens June 15Bill Julius Cosare



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