Local theater is alive and well, what with stage plays being mounted regularly by companies big and small—and audiences coming in droves to see them. If you like the thrill of live performances and the creative use of a stage, then you’ll enjoy what Philippine theater groups have in store for 2020.
For those who love a good period piece:
Imagine appearing in a 1930s melodrama where you star opposite your ex. Missy Maramara and Tarek El Tayech are the leads of Stage Kiss, from February 7 to March 1 at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1. Carlitos Siguion-Reyna directs.
In another circa-1930s drama, Anna in the Tropics finds a group of Cuban immigrants working in a cigar-making factory in Florida affected by a reading of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. March 13 to April 15 at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1.
For fans of stage musicals:
Dekada ’70 as a musical with rap, ballad, and electronic music? That’s Pat Valera’s unique adaptation of Lualhati Bautista’s novel about a middle-class family in the time of the Marcos era. From February 21 to March 8 at Doreen Black Box, Arete, Ateneo de Manila University.
The Royal Shakespeare Company gives a rousing rendition of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical. The international tour takes its act to the Philippines on March 5 at The Theatre at Solaire.
Director Bobby Garcia helms The Band’s Visit, a musical about an orchestra that arrives in Israel for a concert—only no one’s there to welcome them. The show must go on, as they say, and the band finds an unlikely audience in a deserted town. Menchu Lauchengo Yulo leads the cast with performances from March 13 to 28 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza.
Repertory Philippines’ Carousel features Nikki Gil and Gian Magdangal in the Rodgers and Hammerstein II musical staged at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1, from May 1 to 25. Toff de Venecia directs.
Be sure to catch Oliver in June, the classic tale about an orphan boy who discovers a family in a band of thieves and pickpockets. Atlantis Theatrical mounts the play by Charles Dickens.
If you loved the coming-of-age indie film Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, then you must catch its stage version, Maxie the Musical. Directed by Dexter M. Santos, the play is scheduled for July 3 at Hyundai Hall, Arete, University Road, Ateneo de Manila University.
August 2020 sees the return of Lam-ang, Eljay Castro Deldoc and Jen Darlene Torres’ ethno-epic musical starring JC Santos as the Ilocano hero. At the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Fans of Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (“Conga,” “Anything for You,” “Rhythm is Gonna Get You”) will be singing and dancing to On Your Feet!, a musical about the lead singer and her husband Emilio. Atlantis Theatrical brings it to the stage in November.