PHILSTAGE jury announces Gawad BUHAY! citations

by Joseph Dayrit
May 9, 2008
Tanghalang Pilipino's Kudeta starring Mario O' Hara (seated) and Bong Cabrera (standing) garnered nine citations by the Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group for the first half of the year.

The Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group has recently revealed which productions garnered citations for the first and second quarter of the year. PHILSTAGE is in charge of the Gawad BUHAY!, the performing arts awards program that aims to honor the best stage productions in the country.

Dominating the roster were productions by Tanghalang Pilipino (TP), Repertory Philippines (Rep), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), and Ballet Philippines (BP).


TP's Kudeta received a total of nine citations while Rep's Hamlet and PETA's Skin Deep tied with six citations each. BP's Latin Heat had five citations.

PHILSTAGE President Dennis Marasigan explained that Gawad BUHAY! honors outstanding accomplishments in theater, dance, and music among PHILSTAGE member-companies. Quarterly citations, nominations, and winners are determined by an independent panel of performing arts practitioners, critics, academicians, and enthusiasts invited or selected by the PHILSTAGE Board of Directors.


"The jury members are required to watch all productions of Philstage members and only those who have watched all productions are allowed to cast their final votes for the quarterly citations, nominations, and winners, " explained Marasigan, who is the also the artistic director of Tanghalang Pilipino.

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The jury meets quarterly for the citations from which the qualified nominees will be picked and subsequently vie for the annual award to be announced and honored in fitting ceremonies during the National Arts Month in February 2009.



NOMINEES. A Filipino translation of Mustapha Matura's black comedy about a coup that toppled a country's president, front-runner Kudeta was cited for outstanding play, stage direction for Floy Quintos, ensemble performance, male lead performance in a play for Mario O'Hara, featured performance in a play for Bong Cabrera and Riki Benedicto, outstanding adaptation or translation for George De Jesus III, sound design for Janice Dee, lighting design for Dennis Marasigan, and set design for Tuxqs Rutaquio.

Kudeta is actually based on incidents in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago located in the Carribean, though its plot is quite reminiscent of events that transpired in the Philippines. In the play, young military officers consolidate their position by trying to make their country's president sign a document confessing to crimes he committed against the nation. To regain power, the president must use everything in his possession.

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Rep's Hamlet, a futuristic take on William Shakespeare's classic, was cited for outstanding play, ensemble performance, featured performance in a play for Cris Villonco, sound design Jethro Joaquin, lighting design for Martin Esteva and costume design for Faust Peneyra. The play has a feel suggestive of the ‘80s action film Mad Max, which explains other characters' Mohawk hair, as well as the nightmarish ambience of the set.


Described as a musical comedy on ordinary people's search for beauty and happiness, PETA's Skin Deep was cited for outstanding musical, stage direction for Nor Domingo, ensemble performance, male lead performance in a musical for Robert Sena, female lead performance in a musical for the trio of May Bayot, Gail Guanlao Billones, and Isay Alvarez, and original libretto for Vince De Jesus.

Skin Deep tells the story of Doctor Beau Batoctol, an internationally famous Filipino cosmetic surgeon who opens the world's first one-stop beauty resort in the Philippines—the Skin-Deep Beauty Sanctuary.

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Ballet Philippines' Latin Heat earned five citations for outstanding dance production, ensemble performance, original choreography for Bam Damian and Alden Lugnasin, male lead performance in a dance production for Biag Gaongen, and featured performance in a dance production for Camille Ordinario-Joson.

The sounds of South America take center stage in Latin Heat with the sensual, flamboyant rhythms of the salsa, rhumba, bossa nova, reggae, and Caribbean music.

Another TP production, EJ: Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Edgar Jopson at Evelio Javier, was cited for outstanding male lead performance in a musical for The Dawn frontman Jett Pangan and Juliene Mendoza as well as for sound design which went to Jethro Joaquin.

Described by its director Chris Millado as a "rock memoriam," the production outlines the beginnings of social consciousness in the early lives of Edgar Jopson and Evelio Javier, their contrasting reactions to the turmoil in Philippine society, and their violent death.


Other citations include Jose Mari Avellana for outstanding male lead performance in a play (Rep's Tuesdays with Morrie) and prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde for outstanding female lead performance in a dance production (Ballet Manila's Le Corsaire).


Altar Boyz, Rep's production of an off-Broadway musical about a Christian boy band, was the lone qualified entry for the second quarterly citation cycle. The production garnered citations for outstanding musical, stage direction for Charri Arrespacochaga, ensemble performance, male lead performance in a musical for Red Concepcion, choreography for Jason Zamora, musical direction for Jojo Malferrari, and sound design for Gidget Tolentino.


PHILSTAGE groups together the country's leading and established performing arts companies—Actors Actors, Inc., Ballet Manila, Ballet Philippines, Gantimpala Theater Foundation, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit, Philippine Educational Theater Association, Repertory Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino, and the Triumphant Peoples' Evangelical Theater Society, more popularly known as TRUMPETS.

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For more information about the upcoming Gawad BUHAY! Awards and its nominees, please contact PHILSTAGE via email at philstage@tri-isys.com.


Here is the complete list of Gawad Buhay! citations for the first half of 2008:

Outstanding Play: Hamlet (Repertory Philippines); Kudeta (Tanghalang Pilipino);

Outstanding Musical: Altar Boyz (Repertory Philippines). Skin Deep (PETA)

Outstanding Dance Production: Latin Heat (Ballet Philippines)

Outstanding Stage Direction: Chari Arrespacochaga (Altar Boyz); Nor Domingo (Skin Deep); Floy Quintos (Kudeta);

Outstanding Ensemble Performance: Altar Boyz (Repertory Philippines), Hamlet (Repertory

Philippines); Kudeta (Tanghalang Pilipino); Latin Heat (Ballet Philippines); Skin Deep (PETA)

Outstanding Male Lead Performance in a Play: Jose Mari Avellana (Tuesdays with Morrie); Mario O'Hara (Kudeta);

Outstanding Male Lead Performance in a Musical: Red Concepcion (Altar Boyz), Jett Pangan and Juliene Mendoza (EJ: Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Evelio Javier at Edgar Jopson); (Robert Seña (Skin Deep)

Outstanding Male Lead Performance in a Dance Production: Biag Gaongen (Latin Heat)

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Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a Musical: May Bayot, Gail Guanlao Billones and Isay Alvarez (Skin Deep);

Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a Dance Production: Lisa Macuja Elizalde (Le Corsaire)

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play: Bong Cabrera and Riki Benedicto (Kudeta); Cris Villonco (Hamlet);

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Dance Production: Camille Ordinario-Joson (Latin Heat)

Outstanding Original Libretto: Vincent De Jesus (Skin Deep)

Outstanding Translation/Adaptation: George de Jesus III (Kudeta);

Outstanding Original Choreography: Bam Damian and Alden Lugnasin (Latin Heat); Jason Zamora (Altar Boyz)

Outstanding Musical Direction: Jojo Malferrari (Altar Boyz)

Outstanding Set Design: Tuxqs Rutaquio (Kudeta)

Outstanding Costume Design: Faust Peneyra (Hamlet)

Outstanding Lighting Design: Martin Esteva (Hamlet); Dennis Marasigan (Kudeta)

Outstanding Sound Design: Janice Dee (Kudeta); Jethro Joaquin (EJ: Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Evelio Javier at Edgar Jopson); Jethro Joaquin (Hamlet); Gidget Tolentino (Altar Boyz)

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Tanghalang Pilipino's Kudeta starring Mario O' Hara (seated) and Bong Cabrera (standing) garnered nine citations by the Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group for the first half of the year.
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