Upstart Productions Goes Full Circle with BREAKUPS AND BREAKDOWNS

‘Breakups & Breakdowns’ plays at the Creative Arts Centre, British School Manila, from Apr. 15-16 to Apr. 22-23.

By: Apr. 12, 2023
Upstart Productions Goes Full Circle with BREAKUPS AND BREAKDOWNS

Manila, Philippines--Theater company Upstart Productions Inc., founded by actor-director Joel Trinidad, goes full circle with restaging the musical comedy "Breakups & Breakdowns," its maiden production over a decade ago.

"Breakups & Breakdowns," whose plot is loosely based on Trinidad's "dating spree" in the late '90s, features book and lyrics by Trinidad and music by Rony Fortich. "It's a light-hearted look at modern-day dating and relationships," said Trinidad, who co-directs this 2023 restaging with Nicky Triviño, Upstart Productions' creative director and dramaturg.

"While the original 'Breakups & Breakdowns' was set in the late '90s (that's because that is the dating period I'm most familiar with), I wanted the show NOT to be bound to any particular time or place, to give it a kind of universal quality--a quality I hope I was able to retain in this new incarnation," he said.

"The world has inarguably changed a lot since the show was first produced in 2010, but no matter how different things are now in terms of technology and socio-cultural norms, dating itself is still the same: you meet someone, you hang out, you fall in love, you fall out of love, etc."

However, in this special restaging of "Breakups and Breakdowns," which features new songs, new characters, and an expanded book, the production takes an anti-thesis stance that dating and relationships aren't always running in circles.

"Our dramaturg Nicky Triviño, brilliant (but maddeningly low-key), helped me to focus on the aspects of relationships that never have and will never change," he said.

Trinidad and Triviño also act in the musical alongside Reb Atadero, Rachel Coates, Sarah Facuri, Nelsito Gomez, and Tanya Manalang.

Fortich is the musical director, and Deana Aquino is the choreographer.

Since Upstart Productions' original staging of "Breakups & Breakdowns," the company has produced popular titles: Stephen Sondheim's "Into The Woods" and "Company," Gerard Alessandrini's "Forbidden Broadway," and John Du Prez and Eric Idle's "Spamalot," among others.

But self-reflecting during the pandemic, Trinidad and Triviño, also a member director at the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab (NYC), are shifting their focus on staging original works in the next few years.

Trinidad believes "there's so much great material out there, but so little of it is getting recognition! For producers, big-ticket shows from Broadway or the West End will always be a better financial bet than unknown, untested works. Still, if we don't start taking risks with new, original material, our theatrical culture is in danger of stagnating.

"To that end, Upstart Productions has created the Upstart Actors Lab, which mentors the next generation of actors, writers, and directors, and gives them a platform to share their work (Some of these young artists are working on the production team of 'Breakups & Breakdowns')."

Photo: Jaypee Maristaza


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