PHILSTAGE announces winners of 2008 Gawad Buhay!


Jose Mari Avellana (left frame) of Tuesdays with Morrie bagged the award for Outstanding Male Lead Performance in a Play. The PETA production Batang Rizal (top right frame) was cited for its Outstanding Musical Direction. Tanghalang Pilipino's Kudeta earned citations for four categories: Outstanding translation or adaptation, Outstanding Lighting Design, Outstanding Set Design and Featured Male Performance in a Play.



With four major awards each, the Philippine Educational Theater Association's Skin Deep and Tanghalang Pilipino's Golden Child and Kudeta won the most number of production, technical and performance awards in the 2008 Gawad Buhay, the PHILSTAGE Awards for the Performing Arts, held last February 18 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines'
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino.

Ballet Philippines' La Revolucion Filipina, Repertory Philippines' Hamlet and Tanghalang Pilipino's Ang Kalungkutan ng mga Reyna figured in another three-way tie for the second most awarded production with three awards each.

Skin Deep, a musical comedy on ordinary people's search for beauty and happiness, got the jury's nod for outstanding musical production, original libretto (Vincent De Jesus), male and female lead performances in a musical play (Robert Seña and May Bayot, respectively) .

Golden Child—winner of the outstanding production of a full-length play, stage direction (Loy Arcenas), ensemble performance (the entire cast), and set design (Loy Arcenas)—depicts the conflicts of introducing modern changes to a 20th century traditional Chinese household.

Kudeta, a hilarious take on a coup that toppled a country's president, won for outstanding translation or adaptation (George De Jesus III), lighting design (Dennis Marasigan), set design (Tuqxs Rutaquio) and featured male performance in a play (Bong Cabrera).

Among the big winners for the individual awards categories are Floy Quintos' Ang Kalungkutan ng mga Reyna, which won the outstanding production of a one-act play and original play, and Vincent De Jesus whose work on Skin Deep and Batang Rizal won for outstanding original libretto and musical direction, respectively.

Dubbed as the first-ever industry awards exclusively for the performing arts, Gawad Buhay! was juried by an independent panel of critics, scholars, artists and theater enthusiasts who were deputized to watch all productions of PHILSTAGE member-companies for the entire year. Outstanding individual and group achievements in various artistic and technical aspects of play, musical and dance productions and performances are honored based on quarterly citations deliberated by the jury.

In his acceptance speech for outstanding original play for Ang Kalungkutan ng mga Reyna, playwright-director Floy Quintos expressed appreciation of the performing arts' unique quality as a form of creative expression. "We have become the source of talents of other industries like film and television."

CCP President Nestor Jardin, who was one of the awards presenters, praised the high quality of productions by PHILSTAGE member-companies. "There are many of these, and there can be no better proof of this than in the next category," referring to the thirteen nominees for the outstanding ensemble performance.

"I am very happy that we are having this award while I am still dancing," enthused Camille Ordinario-Joson who won the outstanding featured performer in a dance production for her work on Ballet Philippines' Latin Heat.

The mostly theater practitioner crowd cheered on approvingly as Jose Mari Avellana's name was announced by presenter Gary Lim as winner of the outstanding male lead performance for a play. Visibly touched and appreciative of the gesture, Avellana thanked the theater community and exhorted them to uphold quality works and continue the traditions of professionalism and family kinship in the profession.

PHILSTAGE President Fernando Josef, concurrent artistic director of Tanghalang Pilipino, expressed elation over the participation of a big number of nominees. "They came with friends and family. This is a historic event as we are witnessing the maturity of an industry that responds to audiences, artists and society."

Directed by Dennis Marasigan and produced by Elmar Beltran Ingles, the awards ceremonies featured moving performances by Ballet Philippines' Biag Gaongen, winner of the outstanding male lead performance in dance, and the cast of PETA's Batang Rizal.


Below is the complete list of proclaimed winners in various categories:


Outstanding Production of a Full-Length Play: Golden Child (Tanghalang Pilipino);

Outstanding Production of a One-Act Play: Ang Kalungkutan ng Mga Reyna (Tanghalang Pilipino);

Outstanding Musical Production: Skin Deep (PETA).

Outstanding Dance Production: Ballet Philippines' La Revolucion Filipina

Outstanding Stage Direction: Loy Arcenas (Golden Child)

Outstanding Original Choreography: Agnes Locsin (La Revolucion Filipina);

Outstanding Original Play: Floy Quintos' Ang Kalungkutan ng Mga Reyna;

Outstanding Ensemble Performance: The Cast of Golden Child (Tanghalang Pilipino);

Outstanding Male Lead Performance in a Play: Jose Mari Avellana (Tuesdays with Morrie)

Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a Play: Shamaine Centenera Buencamino (Ang Kalungkutan ng Mga Reyna);

Outstanding Male Lead Performance in a Musical: Robert Seña (Skin Deep);

Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a Musical: May Bayot (Skin Deep);

Outstanding Male Lead Performance in a Dance Production: Biag Gaongen (La Revolucion Filipina and Latin Heat).

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

Outstanding Male Featured Performance in a Play: Bong Cabrera (Kudeta);

Outstanding Female Featured Performance in a Play: 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 Musical Direction: Vincent De Jesus (Batang Rizal)

Outstanding Set Design: Loy Arcenas (Golden Child) and Tuxqs Rutaquio (Kudeta).

Outstanding Costume Design: Faust Peneyra (Hamlet)

Outstanding Lighting Design: Dennis Marasigan (Kudeta); and

Outstanding Sound Design: Jethro Joaquin (Hamlet).

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