Friday, June 6, 2014

Recap of GAWAD BUHAY: 2013 Philstage Awards for the Performing Arts

June 7, 2014

Last night, I was witness to the sixth edition of Gawad Buhay awards.  This local version of the Tony Awards as PHILSTAGE honors the best performances of the previous theater season among its members. Philstage is an umbrella organization of professional performing arts companies in the Philippines, including Ballet Manila, Ballet Philippines, Gantimpala Theater Foundation, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit, Peta, Repertory Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino, Trumpets, Actor’s Actors, 9 Works Theatrical and Philippine Opera Company. 

The show started "promptly" at 8 pm, though the ticket said 7:30 pm.  Christian Bautista and Karylle, dressed in their "Cinderella" finery performed the first musical number and delivered the first introductory spiels. Karylle would also be the first to crack a joke about not being nominated, which would be a running gag among several other presenters through the night.  Sculptor Reg Yuson was acknowledged for his work on the Gawad trophies this year.

Emcees Christian Bautista and Karylle

The first awards presenter was Ricci Chan, dressed in his sparkly Care Divas garb.  He enumerated a list of rules for winners on how to receive their awards, essentially to keep their speeches short.  He handed the first award to REGINA DE VERA who was unopposed in the category Female Lead Performance in a Play for her work in “Der Kaufmann” (TP). Ms. de Vera broke every rule on Ricci's list to everyone's delight.  The other awards presented by Chan were:

Outstanding Translation or Adaptation
• RODY VERA, “Der Kaufmann” (TP)

Female Featured Performance in a Play
• Carla Dunareanu, “Boeing, Boeing” (Rep)
• RAQUEL PARENO, “Der Kaufmann” (TP)

Male Featured Performance in a Play
• Joe Gruta, “Kanser” (Gantimpala Theater Foundation)
• Lou Veloso, “Der Kaufmann” (TP)
• Marco Viaña, “Der Kaufmann” (TP)

Male Lead Performance in a Play
• Reb Atadero, “The Graduate” (Rep)
• Jonathan Tadioan, “Der Kaufmann” (TP)

Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Play
• “Red” (AAI)

There was a speech by CCP President Chris Millado, calling the Gawads a celebration of the theater community, rather than a competition.  

This was followed by the conferment of the first of two lifetime achievement awards. To intorduce the first awardee, there was a staging of a scene from "Portrait of an Artist as a Filipino" with Liesl Batucan as Paula.  This segued to the same scene in the film version of this play, with the awardee Ms. NATY CRAME-ROGERS as Paula. Jaime del Mundo cited her achievements and presented the award. Ms. Crame-Rogers appeared onstage on her wheelchair.  She may look frail, but her mind was sharp in her acceptance speech, which she delivered with no notes.

Ms. Naty Crame-Rogers

There was a medley of songs from the 9Works production of "Grease".  I did not recognize any of the actors who performed, even the wan girl who played Sandy.  The girl who played Rizzo though clearly stood out.

The next set of awards, which were for Classical Dance, were handed out by Nicolo Magno.

Female Featured Performance in Classical Dance
• Jan Erika Basilio, “Le Corsaire” (BM)
• Dawna Mangahas “Le Corsaire” (BM)
• Jessa Balote, “The Nutcracker” (BM)
• Missy Macuja Elizalde, “The Nutcracker” (BM)
• RITA WINDER, “Giselle” (BP)

Male Featured Performance in Classical Dance
• Francis Cascaño, “Le Corsaire” (BM)

Female Lead Performance in Classical Dance
• Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, “Le Corsaire” (BM)
• LISA MACUJA-ELIZALDE, The “Nutcracker” (BM)
• Dawna Mangahas in “The Nutcracker” (BM)
• Denise Parungao, “Giselle” (BP)
• Katherine Trofeo, “Giselle” (BP)

Male Lead Performance in Classical Dance
• Mikhail Martinyuk, “La Bayadere” (BM)
• Rudy de Dios, “The Nutcracker” (BM)
• Earl John Arisola, “Giselle” (BP)

Outstanding Classical Dance Production
• “Le Corsaire” (BM)

There was a performance by the Philippine Opera Company with a medley of opera classics.  Aside from Karla Gutierrez, I did not recognize the other singers. The final soprano who was dressed in fiery red was a standout, but sadly I do not know her to cite her performance properly. I wish they could introduce the performers, but I guess that would take more time.

Sir Toots Tolentino and Amiel Mendoza 

The technical awards were handed out next by Publicity gurus Toots Tolentino and Amiel Mendoza.

Outstanding Sound Design
• Jeff Hernandez, “D’Wonder Twins of Boac” (Peta)
• Dodo Lim, “Red” (AAI)
• Rards Corpus, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)
• TJ RAMOS, “Der Kaufmann” (TP)
• TJ Ramos, “Ibalong” (TP)

Outstanding Costume Design
• Raven Ong, “Alice in Wonderland” (Rep)
• Raven Ong, “Boeing, Boeing” (Rep)
• Mio Infante, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)
• Tuxqs Rutaquio, “Der Kaufmann” (TP)
• LEEROY NEW, “Ibalong” (TP)

Outstanding Lighting Design
• John Batalla, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)
• John Batalla, “Der Kaufmann” (TP)
• Jay Aranda, “San Andres B” (TP)
• JOLU ESCANO, “Red” (Actor’s Actors, Inc.)
• John Batalla, “The Graduate” (Rep)

Outstanding Set Design
• Mio Infante, “The Graduate” (Rep)
• Gino Gonzales, “Alice in Wonderland” (Rep)
• Damien Anne and Baby Imperial-Anne, “Red” (AAI)
• Lex Marcos, “D’Wonder Twins of Boac” (Peta)
• MIO INFANTE, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)

Outstanding Ensemble Performance for Classical Dance
• “Le Corsaire” (BM)
• “The Nutcracker” (BM)

Janine Desiderio came out to introduce an excerpt from TP's "Ibalong".  They performed an energetic and colorful dance number of the title song, featuring the award-winning costumes of Leeroy New.  

The cast of Ibalong sing and dance in their awesome costumes

"Metro Manila" buddies Jake Macapagal and John Arcilla came out to present the next set of awards, which were for Modern Dance. 

Female Featured Performance in Modern Dance
• GUIA GEQUINTO, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (BP)
• Monica Gana, “Rock Supremo” (BP)
• Jan Erika Basilio, “Tatlo Pang Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” (BM)
• Missy Macuja Elizalde, “Tatlo Pang Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” (BM)

Male Featured Performance in Modern Dance
• Jean Marc Cordero, “A Christmas Carol” (BP)
• Richardson Yadao, “A Christmas Carol” (BP)
• EARL JOHN ARISOLA, “Rock Supremo” (BP)
• Jean Marc Cordero, “Rock Supremo” (BP)
• Victor Maguad, “Rock Supremo” (BP)

Female Lead Performance in Modern Dance
• Katherine Trofeo, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (BP)
• Kris-Belle Paclibar, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (BP)
• CARISSA ADEA, “Rock Supremo” (BP)
• Joan Emery Sia, “Tatlo Pang Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” (BM)
• Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, “Tatlo Pang Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” (BM)

Male Lead Performance in Modern Dance
• Nonoy Froilan, “A Christmas Carol” (BP)
• CYRIL FALLAR, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (BP)
• Richardson Yadao, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (BP)
• Richardson Yadao, “Rock Supremo” (BP)
• Michael Divinagracia, “Tatlo Pang Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” (BM)

Outstanding Modern Dance Production
• “A Christmas Carol” (BP)
• “Tatlo Pang Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” (BM)

A trio of young dancers from Ballet Manila danced an excerpt from "The Nutcracker."

The second Natatanging Gawad Buhay award was presented by Nonoy Froilan.  The lifetime achievement awardee is BASILIO ESTEBAN VILLARUZ, a choreographer, choreologist, performing and visual arts critic and educator.  He was also a member of the Gawad jury for 2013.

Basilio Esteban Villaruz

Franco Laurel came out to present the next set of awards.

Outstanding Choreography for a Dance Production
• Edna Vida Froilan, “A Christmas Carol” (BP)
• CARLO PACIS, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (BP)
• Gerard Francisco (“Ang Palasyo ng Mga Duwende”) and Osias Barroso and Michael Divinagracia (“Anting-Anting”), “Tatlo Pang Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” (BM)

Outstanding Choreography for a Play or Musical
• Arnold Trinidad and Francis Matheu, “Grease” (9WT)
• Carlon Matobato, “D’Wonder Twins of Boac” (Peta)
• Nancy Crowe, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)
• ALDEN LUGNASIN, “Ibalong” (TP)

Outstanding Stage Direction for a Play or Musical
• Robbie Guevarra, “Grease” (9WT)
• Bart Guingona, “Red” (AAI)
• Maribel Legarda, “D’Wonder Twins of Boac” (Peta)
• Jaime del Mundo, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)

Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Play
• “Red” (AAI)

The winning cast of Der Kaufmann

A couple of young lady singers dressed in blue went onstage to sing "For Good" from "Wicked".  This turned out to be the "In Memoriam" segment, paying respects to theater luminaries who passed away in the past year.  Cited were actors Amable Quiambao, Bong Embile, Behn Cervantes, theater benefactor Juan Lanuza, Philstage executive director Elmar Ingles and a couple of National Artists Daisy Avellana and Andrea Veneracion. I wished they also introduced the ladies who sang so well.  My seatmate whispered that they were Kakki Teodoro and K-La Rivera. (VIDEO)

An excerpt from PETA's "Wonder Twins of Boac" followed, which was the hilarious part where a stuntman was practicing action moves with his mentor, but his mentor had other "moves" in mind.

Karylle and Christian changed into their Rama Hari costumes to introduce an excerpt from Ballet Philippines "Rock Supremo." This energetic number featuring Jean Marc Cordero and a couple more dancers doing some difficult contemporary dance moves.

Ejay Yatco and Vince de Jesus

Ejay Yatco and Vincent de Jesus presented the next set of awards.

Outstanding Original Libretto
• Nicolas Pichay, “Rock Supremo” (BP)
• Layeta Bucoy, “Sandosenang Sapatos” (TP)
• Jaime del Mundo, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)
• RODY VERA, “D’Wonder Twins of Boac” (Peta)
• Rody Vera, “Ibalong” (TP)

Outstanding Musical Direction
• Sweet Plantado-Tiongson and Joseph Tolentino, “Grease” (9 Works Theatrical)
• Only Torres, “The Producers” (Rep)
• Rony Fortich, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)
• Carol Bello, “Ibalong” (TP)
• JOSEFINO (CHINO) TOLEDO, “San Andres B” (Tanghalang Pilipino)

Outstanding Original Musical Composition
• Carol Bello, “Ibalong” (TP)
• Noel Cabangon and Jed Balsamo, “Sandosenang Sapatos” (TP)
• Rony Fortich, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)
• Jeff Hernandez, “D’Wonder Twins of Boac” (Peta)

Outstanding Ensemble Performance for Modern Dance
• “A Christmas Carol” (BP)
• “Tatlo Pang Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” (BM)

The next number was a solo spot for sweet little Trixie Esteban who sang her plaintive song "Sa Panaginip" from "Sandosenang Sapatos". (VIDEO)

The next set of awards were presented by Garry Lim and Anna Luna.

Female Featured Performance in a Musical
• SHAMAINE CENTENERA BUENCAMINO, “D’Wonder Twins of Boac” (Peta)
• Pinky Marquez, “No Way to Treat a Lady” (Rep)
• Bituin Escalante, “Alice in Wonderland” (Rep)
• Lynn Sherman, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)
• G Töngi-Walters, “The Producers” (Rep)

Male Featured Performance in a Musical
• AUDIE GEMORA, “The Producers” (Rep)
• Noel Rayos, “The Producers” (Rep)
• Joel Trinidad, “The Producers” (Rep)
• Joel Trinidad, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)
• Cheeno Macaraig, “Ibalong” (TP)

Outstanding Production for Children—Play, Musical or Dance
• “Tatlo Pang Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” (BM)
• “A Christmas Carol” (BP)
• “Alice in Wonderland” (Rep)
• “Sandosenang Sapatos” (TP)

An excerpt from "Bluebird of Happiness" was introduced and performed by Robbie Zialcita, playing his dog character with little children dancing around him.

Robbie Zialcita and kids sing and dance

The members of the hardworking Gawad jury, who are required to watch all productions of Philstage member-companies for the entire year, were acknowledged. For 2013, they were Vlad Bunoan, Gibbs Cadiz, Ralph Semino Galan, Glenn Mas, Elka Requienta, Carlo Rivera and Steve Basilio Villaruz.  The 2014 jurors were also announced: Rome Jorge, Jazmin Llana, Martin Lopez, Tats Manahan, Clarissa Mijares, Chantall Primero, Ricky Toledo, and Chito Vijandre.

Carla Guevara- Laforteza presented the next set of awards with Sandino Martin.  

Female Lead Performance in a Musical
• Jenine Disederio, “Ibalong” (TP)
• Trixie Esteban, “Sandosenang Sapatos” (TP)
• Nikki Gil, “They’re Playing Our Song” (9WT)
• Chimmi Kohchet-Chua, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)
• CRIS VILLONCO, “D’Wonder Twins of Boac” (Peta)

Male Lead Performance in a Musical
• Gian Magdangal, “Grease” (9WT)
• ROBBIE ZIALCITA, “The Producers” (Rep)
• Audie Gemora, “No Way to Treat a Lady” (Rep)
• Lawrence Martinez, “They’re Playing Our Song” (9WT)
• Anton Posadas, “The Bluebird of Happiness” (Trumpets)

Topper Fabregas gamely (he was the only cast member of that show NOT nominated) introduced an excerpt from Rep's "The Producers" which was the riotous "Keep It Gay" number with Audie Gemora in full sparkly drag, looking like the Chrysler Building.  Joel Trinidad covered for the absent Noel Rayos.  This number really brought the house down! (VIDEO)

Just after that crazy number, Sir Audie Gemora had to deliver his speech as Philstage president breathless, AND in his Roger DeBris regalia, which was very funny.  He extolled the sense of Community among theater people.  This very awards show had been a labor of love alone, as it had been staged tonight despite having a ZERO budget.

The final set of awards were presented by Ms. Joy Virata and Ms. CB Garrucho.

Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Musical
• “GREASE” (9WT)
• “They’re Playing Our Song” (9WT)
• “The Producers” (Rep)

The winning cast of Grease

Outstanding Original Musical
• “D’Wonder Twins of Boac” (Peta)
• “Sandosenang Sapatos” (TP)
• “Ibalong” (TP)

Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Musical
• “Grease” (9WT)
• “D’Wonder Twins of Boac” (Peta)
• “Ibalong” (TP)
• “The Producers” (Rep)

The winning cast of Bluebird

No winner was announced for Outstanding Original Play and Outstanding Original Script.  I was thinking a lot of the original plays and scripts, or other worthy stage performances were not eligible tor awards because they were not staged by Philstage member theater organizations.  Hope time will come when university productions, like Dulaang UP, as well as other professional theater groups like Atlantis, will also be included in the Philstage roster.

I felt bad that I was not able to watch the most awarded production of the night (winning 7 Gawads), "Der Kaufmann" by TP.  I was able to watch all the other TP productions of the season except this one!  I hope they re-stage this multiple winner one day.  The other big winner of the night is "The Bluebird of Happiness" by Trumpets.  I knew this show was on its way to multiple awards that very night when I saw it.  I extolled its world-class merits in my review which was posted HERE.

Mabuhay ang Teatrong Pilipino!


  1. The videos are PRIVATE.

    1. Thank you for informing me. I have made them public now!

  2. Hello just a correction: the awards for Classical dance were handed out by "Nicolo Magno" not Nicco Manalo. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for catching this error. I have corrected it already.