Repertory Philippines’ Arsenic and Old Lace starts out innocent enough: we are introduced to Abby and Martha Brewster, two elderly sisters who live in a quaint and cozy home. On the outside, they look like the sweetest of sisters, always looking out for other people and joining their local church’s charities. But what people don’t know is that they have a taste for death. What follows is a rip-roaring black comedy about madness, mayhem, and murder.
Many of us grew up watching The Lion King, the Disney classic set in the Pride Lands, where the cub Simba flees into exile after he thinks he is responsible for the death of his father, the king Mufasa. The film achieved box office and critical success but for us, we remember it for its story and its songs, like “Circle of Life” and “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.”
So imagine everyone’s surprise when it was announced that the musical adaptation, which is the highest-grossing Broadway production of all time, will be visiting Manila. I watched during the gala night and was blown away by the set, the costumes, and the song numbers. Suddenly I was five years old again, watching the animated film on VHS.
Here’s a secret: whenever I feel down, I watch the Helpmann Awards performance of The Lion King‘s “Circle of Life.” It’s one of my favorite renditions of the songs and I get a little teary-eyed everytime I watch it. Here’s what I’m talking about:
When it comes to large egos, it has been said that you can find the largest in the entertainment industry, where divas abound. It’s a concept that Repertory Philippines explores in A Comedy of Tenors, an operatic farce that pokes fun at massive egos in massive proportions.
The year 2017 was all about mental health, from people openly declaring their status to others grappling with the complexity and validity of it. That’s why it’s such a pleasant surprise that the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) produced ‘night, Mother, a thought-provoking play about what happens before a suicide attempt.
We’re all familiar with the story of Snow White, the Disney princess and heroine of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. This year, the timeless story is brought to life by Ballet Manila in a charming and sweet watch that’s perfect for kids and kids at heart.
Any conversation on ballet will inevitably touch on Swan Lake, one of the form’s most timeless pieces. I was lucky enough to have seen it again, this time from Ballet Manila, and I was spellbound by the magic I saw on stage.
Swan Lake tells the story of Odette, a beautiful young princess who is turned into a white swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse. The only way to break the spell is for a virgin to fall in love with her and promise eternal fidelity. Siegfried, a young prince who needs to find a bride, meets her and falls in love, but the sorcerer has other plans, using the black swan.
The Sound of Music is one of those musicals where you know, and can even sing along to, the songs even if you haven’t seen the musical or the film. That’s certainly what happened when I watched it onstage, where I quietly sang along to “Do Re Mi” and “My Favorite Things.”