Repertory Philippines has produced some of the most talented actors in Philippine theater today such as Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson, Pinky Amador, Cocoy Laurel, Subas Herrero, Cris Villonco, and co-founder Leo Martinez. The theater company has staged well renowned shows like Les Miserables, The King and I, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Wizard of Oz, and The Sound of Music, among many more plays.
It was founded in 1967 by five Filipino theater actors who wanted to create an avenue for fellow actors to earn a living in the industry they enjoy working in. The late Zeneida “Bibot” Amador, Carmen “Baby” Barredo, Leo Martinez with Tony Mercado and wife Monina opened their first play with only an audience of seven.
“It’s funny when you think about our beginning because when we did our first show Miss Julie, we only had seven members in the audience. And only three were paying customers,” shares Barredo, the company’s co-founder and current artistic director. “Repertory Philippines began as a dream by Zeneida Amador,” she adds. “She wanted to make theatergoing a social habit and to give opportunities for actors to showcase their talents.”
Repertory then staged the Broadway comedy, Luv, in the same year after they first opened, followed by Sophocles’ Antigone, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? After a series of plays, they were then heralded as the country’s leading English-language drama company. Today, Repertory Philippines Foundation Incorporated consistently produces at least seven productions a year, having done so for the last 40 years with an average of 200 performances annually, with over 400 straight plays and musicals under its belt.
“What fuels us to continue despite the many challenges is passion,” says Barredo. “Because of our longevity, we have witnessed the increasing interest of the public towards theater.” For its 79th season, Repertory is sustaining the public’s interest in theater by producing a mix of comedy, drama, and musicals for young children.
From January 15 to February 7, experience yet another unforgettable stage performance by Repertory for Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot. The play follows William Gillette, a Broadway star known for his portrayal of detective Sherlock Holmes, both in the play and in real life. The story follows as the character invites his cast mates to his Connecticut castle for a weekend, where someone ends up dead. Gillette now must channel his inner Holmes to track the killer and stop the next death.
For the Valentine season, February 19 to March 13, catch Almost, Maine, with the play set in the town of Almost where the residents fall in and out of love in unusual ways. The stage play is the perfect Valentine’s date for you and your loved one for the season of hearts.
Repertory is also geared up for the summer with the staging of Stepping Out from April 1 to 24. It is Richard Harris’ Broadway comedy about former chorus girl Mavis who teaches a dance class while dealing with the drama cooking up in the studio. Stepping Out was awarded Best Comedy at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards which is organized by notable British critics and editors.
For the latter part of the year, Repertory will be staging Hansel and Gretel – the Brothers Grimm classic about siblings that eat a witch’s candy house – as part of the theater company’s commitment in providing avenues for children to enjoy theater. This will run from August 20 to December 15.
The classic and Pinoy favorite A Little Princess, will also run from November 18 to December 18. It tells the story of the famous Sarah, whom many Filipinos have gotten used to calling Ang Munting Prinsesa following the TV show that kids of all ages watched on a local channel. Bring your kids, your younger siblings and relive the tale of the little princess who suffers at the hands of Miss Minchin at a boarding school in London.
Today, more and more people are heading out to the theaters to watch live plays. This year, Repertory is hopeful that once again, the seats will be full and thunderous claps will reverberate from the corners of the theater. Catch the plays they have lined up for the year and celebrate the 79th year of Repertory Philippines.
For more details, inquiries on ticket or show buying, call Repertory Philippines at 843-3570 or visit the website at http://www.repertoryphilippines.ph/.
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