Three Filipino adaptations of British dramatist William Shakespeare's classic plays, produced and staged in 2013, were among the big winners at the 6th Gawad Buhay! Awards, presented by member-theater companies of PHILSTAGE, on June 6, at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
However, no award was given for Outstanding Original Play and Outstanding Original Script.
Tanghalang Pilipino's Der Kauffmann, an adaptation and reimagination of William Shakespeare's classic play, The Merchant of Venice (as translated into Filipino by National Artist for Literature and Theater Rolando Tinio), won a total of 7 awards, including Outstanding Production of an Existing Material for a Play, Ensemble Performance for a Play, Stage Direction by Tuxs Rutaquio and Rody Vera, Adaptation (also by Vera), Sound Design by TJ Ramos, and Performances awards, for TP Actors Company regulars Regina de Vera (Lead Female) and Racquel Pareno (Featured).
PETA's D' Wonder Twins of Boac, another adaptation (into a musicale) of a Shakespearean classic, The Twelfth Night, scored a double triumph for actors Cris Villonco and Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino for their Outstanding Female Lead and Featured Performances In a Musical, respectively. Both winners, however, were unable to attend the ceremonies. This musicale on mistaken identity also won for the prolific Rody Vera the award for Outstanding Original Libretto.
Ballet Philippines' modern dance production of the popular Shakespearean romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, won the top award for its category, as well as the Outstanding Choreography for a Dance Production by Carlo Pacis; Male lead performance by Cyril Fallar, Female Featured Performance by Guia Gequinto, and the Ensemble Performance for a Modern Dance. On hand to receive the various trophies was former Miss Universe and Ballet Philippines' President, Margie Moran-Floirendo.
SIGNIFICANT CHOICES. Other notable 2013 PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay! Awards trophies were divided among the following:
Trumpets' The Bluebird of Happiness, a musical adaptation of a 1908 play by Belgian playwright, Maurice Maeterlinck, with music by Rony Fortich, and directed by Jaime del Mundo, won three top awards: Outstanding Original Musical, Outstanding Production for Children (Play, Musical, or Dance), and Outstanding Ensemble Peformance for a Musical. This musical for children also won for Outstanding Set Design by Mio Infante.
Significant choices of this year's Gawad Buhay!, however, were Bart Guingona and Joaquin Valdez, of the two-character play, Red by the Actor's Actors, Inc. Guingona and Valdez won the Outstanding Male Lead and Featured Performance in a Play awards, respectively.
Likewise, heavy favorite Lou Veloso, also of Der Kauffmann, lost to a much younger opponent, Joaquin Valdez, who essayed Ken (to Bart Guingona's Mark Rothko) in the Filipino theater adaptation of a 2010 Tony Award-winning play by American playwright, John Logan.
The revered music composer and master conductor, Josefino "Chino" Toledo, was honored for his works in the musical play about the life and times of the Katipunan Supremo Andres Bonifacio in Tanghalang Pilipino's San Andres B, which won for Outstanding Musical Direction and Original Musical Compostion.
Dance icon Lisa Macuja-Elizalde scored another Gawad Buhay! triumph: Outstanding Female Lead Performance in Classical Dance, for Ballet Manila's The Nutcracker. Her counterpart (male lead winner) was Jean Marc Cordero, for Giselle (Ballet Phillipines).
For modern dance category, BP's Rock Supremo won for Carissa Adea (female lead) and Earl John Arisola (male featured).
But it was PHILSTAGE and Trumpets President, Audie Gemora's appearance as a crossdresser which brought the house down. Gemora, who won the Outstanding Male Featured Performance in a Musical Award. for Repertory Philippines' The Producers, reprised his role in a featured excerpt of the hilarious musical.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDEES. Hosted by Karylle and Christian Bautista of the musical Cinderella, the three-hour presentation also showed excerpts from the other nominated musicals such as PETA's D' Wonder Twins of Boac (with Chrome Cosio and partner), TP; Sandosenang Sapatos (a solo number by child female lead, Trixie Esteban) and Ibalong (chorus); Ballet Manila's The Nutcracker, Ballet Philippines' Rock Supremo and Trumpets' The Bluebird of Happiness. Also featured was a chorale performance by The Philippine Opera Company.
As tribute to one of this year's Natatanging Gawad Buhay awardee, actor-educator Naty Crame Rogers, an excerpt from A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, a.k.a. Quijano de Manila was presented through the dual media of theater (featuring Liesl Batucan, as Paula Marasigan and Randy Villarama, as Tony Javier) and film (Daisy Avellana and Conrad Parham in their respective roles, directed by Lamberto Avellana).
The wheelchair-bound 90 year-old veteran theater luminary Naty Crame Rogers had to be carried to the stage to receive her special award from distinguished peers and supporters in the industry.
Naty enthused, "I always said, 'You can't be a good teacher of dramatics without being able to perform yourself... drama is life, don't you understand?"
Naty also gave special thanks to her departed teachers in acting, all National Artists: Lamberto V. Avellana (Cinema), Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana (Theater), Ishmael Bernal (Film), Leonor Orosa Goquinco (Dance), and Dean Lucresia “King” Kasilag (Music).
"On behalf of those who taught me, thank you for being here to honor me," she said.
The other Natatanging Gawad Buhay! Lifetime Achievement awardee was Professor Esteban (Steve) Basilio Villaruz. He is esteemed in the theater community as an exemplary danseur-choreographer.
His award was presented by master dance choreographer and former Natatanging Gawad Buhay! awardee himself, Nonoy Froilan.
Currently, Prof. Villaruz is a Jury member of the PHILSTAGE Gaward Buhay Awards, which include other theater stalwarts, professor-critics, journalists, among them: Glenn Sevilla Mas, Gibbs Cadiz, Ralph Galan, Carlo Rivera, Joey Zarate, Rome Jorge, Jasmine Liana, Martin Lopez, Tats Manahan, Clarissa Mijares, Chantal Primero, Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre.
In his keynote address, CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado commended everyone who made this year's Gawad Buhay! awards another success.
"This is a celebration, rather than a competition," Millado said.
"We celebrate talents... we celebrate the passion of this job, which we consider as the best job in the world!"
A special video presentation also served as a moving tribute to departed colleagues and supporters from Philippine theater including veteran actress Amable Quiambao, actor-director Behn Cervantes and former PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay Jury Head Elmar Beltran Ingles, among others, who all passed away last year.
The PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay! started giving out awards in 2009 and has since been recognized as the first ever industry award of Philippine theater.
Present at the ceremonies were some of the founding members and practitioners from local theater including Joy Virata of Repertory Philippines, CB Garucho Bulaong and Director Maribel Legarda of PETA, actor-director Dennis Marasigan (of the forthcoming 10th Virgin Labfest of CCP-Writers Bloc), Christopher de Venecia, film director Seymour Barros Sanchez and film actress Che Ramos-Cosio of the 10th Cinemalaya Film Fest (New Breed) entries, Mariquina and Sundalong Kanin.
Presenters and performers included theater publicist Joselito "Toots" Tolentino, Ricci Chan, Vince de Jesus, Topher Fabregas, Gary Lim, Anna Luna, Martha Comia, Jake Macapagal, John Arcilla, Al Gatmaitan of The Opera Company, Jenine Desiderio of TP's Ibalong, Carla Guevarra Laforteza, and Sandino Martin of the PETA musical, William.
Eligible for citations, nominations and annual Gawad Buhay! Awards are the productions of the member-companies of PHILSTAGE, which include: Ballet Manila, Ballet Philippines, Gantimpala Theater Foundation, PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association), Repertory Philippines, Inc., Tanghalang Pilipino, TRUMPETS, Actor's Actors, Inc., 9 Works Theatrical, Resorts World Full House, and Philippine Opera Company.
Here is the 2013 PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay! Awards' complete list of winners:
Natatanging Gawad Buhay! Lifetime Achievement Award:
Naty Crame Rogers, actor and educator
Basilio Esteban Villaruz, danseur/choreographer and educator
Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a Play
Regina De Vera, Der Kauffmann (Tanghalang Pilipino/TP)
Outstanding Male Lead Performance in a Play
Bart Guingona, Red (Actor's Actors, Inc./AAI)
Outstanding Female Featured Performance in a Play
Racquel Pareno, Der Kauffmann (TP)
Outstanding Male Featured Performance in a Play
Joaquin Valdez, Red (AAI)
Outstanding Stage Direction for a Play or Musical
Tuxqs Rutaquio and Rody Vera, Der Kauffmann (TP)
Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Play
Der Kauffmann (TP)
Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Play
Der Kauffmann (TP)
Outstanding Translation or Adaptation
Rody Vera, Der Kauffmann (TP)
Outstanding Original Script
Outstanding Original Play
Outstanding Modern Dance Production
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Ballet Philippines/BP)
Outstanding Classical Dance Production
The Nutcracker (Ballet Manila/BM)
Outstanding Female Lead Performance in Modern Dance
Carissa Adea, Rock Supremo (Ballet Philippines/BP)
Outstanding Male Lead Performance in Modern Dance
Cyril Fallar, A Midsummer Night's Dream (BP)
Outstanding Female Lead Performance in Classical Dance
Liza Macuja-Elizalde, The Nutcracker (Ballet Manila/BM)
Outstanding Male Lead Performance in Classical Dance
Jean Marc Cordero, Giselle (BP)
Outstanding Female Featured Performance in Modern Dance
Guia Gequinto, A Midsummer Night's Dream (BP)
Outstanding Male Featured Performance in Modern Dance
Earl John Arisola, Rock Supremo (BP)
Outstanding Female Featured Performance in Classical Dance
Rita Winder, Giselle (BP)
Outstanding Male Featured Performance in Classical Dance
Gerardo Francisco, Jr., Le Corsaire (BM)
Outstanding Ensemble Performance for Modern Dance
A Midsummer Nights Dream (BP)
Outstanding Ensemble Performance for Classical Dance
Outstanding Choreography for a Dance Production
Carlo Pacis, A Midsummer Night's Dream (BP)
Outstanding Original Musical
The Bluebird of Happiness (TRUMPETS)
Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a Musical
Cris Villonco, D' Wonder Twins of Boac (PETA)
Outstanding Male Lead Performance in a Musical
Robbie Zialcita, The Producers (Repertory Philippines, Inc./REP)
Outstanding Female Featured Performance in a Musical
Shamaine Centenera Buencamino, D'Wonder Twins of Boac (PETA)
Outstanding Male Featured Performance in a Musical
Audie Gemora, The Producers (REP)
Outstanding Choreography for a Play or Musical
Alden Lugnasin, Ibalong (TP)
Outstanding Original Libretto
Rody Vera, D'Wonder Twins of Boac (PETA)
Outstanding Musical Direction
Josefino “Chino” Toledo, San Andres B (TP)
Outstanding Original Musical Composition
Josefino Chino Toledo, San Andres B (TP)
Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Musical
The Bluebird of Happiness (TRUMPETS)
Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Musical (Adaptation)
Grease (9 Works Theatrical)
Outstanding Production for Children—Play, Musical or Dance
The Bluebird of Happiness (TRUMPETS)
Outstanding Costume Design
Leeroy New, Ibalong (TP)
Outstanding Lighting Design
Jolu Escano, Red (AAI)
Outstanding Sound Design
TJ Ramos, Der Kauffmann (TP)
Outstanding Set Design
Mio Infante, The Bluebird of Happiness (TRUMPETS)