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Culture, Inspiration, Life, Literature, Theater

Repertory Philippines celebrates its 45th Year


MAKATI CITY, Philippines – On its second day-run of Repertory Philippines’ latest offering ‘Jekyll and Hyde’, people flocked to Greenbelt One’s Onstage on Saturday, March 17, 8pm to witness the gala show, which featured Michael Williams as the Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde.

Prior to opening the show, familiar faces who have been part or who have been part of Rep’s previous productions were all in queue to witness the much-awaited and talk-of-the-town musical that the company’s executive producer and associate artistic director have laboriously put together and directed.

The mounting of ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ have stirred the interest of many and have perhaps convinced that the production is worth watching and supporting—as the company’s second stage presentation lined-up for the current season. Despite the risks that the director took, that evening, Michael Williams gave a rousing performance of dual personas of ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.

Menchu Lauchengco also shares, “I took many risk in this production. I totally deconstructed the script. The risk to doing is always high because it can just backfire and audiences will hate it. Luckily for me, the audiences totally get it.”

Basing on the response of the people who watched the evening show that almost filled the 800-seating capacity of Onstage—Williams along with his co-stars Cris Villonco (Emma Carew), and the long-time London-based theater actor since his stint in Miss Saigon—Junix Inocian (Gabriel John Utterson).

Curtain Call Surprise

Stars from the Past and the Present. Repertory Philippines' alumni posed for a photograph with the company's artistic director Baby Barredo seated in the middle of the stage. The surprise reunion took place after the gala show of 'Jekyll & Hyde' musical. Photograph courtesy of Oliver Usison.

After the curtain call, Joy Virata, appeared onstage and introduced Repertory Philippines’ artistic director Baby Barredo, who was beaming when she was ushered up to the stage. She extended her heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped the company since its founding in 1967, 45 years ago to be exact. She was teary-eyes when she slightly mentioned Repertory’s founder, the late Zenaida Amador. However, to shorten the momentary drama, Barredo’s speech was cut when Junix Inocian interrupted her and asked her a question via a singing tone—‘Do you love me?’

Inocian’s appearance was already the cue to the ‘surprise’ tribute to Barredo, who appeared in many of Rep’s best loved productions. Virata joined onstage and did a duet with Inocian. What followed were the past actors’ of Repertory’s productions serenading Barredo sitting on a chair at the center stage.

Among the many familiar faces who serenaded Barredo was the brother of Menchu Lauchengo, Raymond, who was only 12-years-old when he joined the company and he sang ‘Getting to Know You’ from ‘The King and I’ presented back in 1977, while Audie Gemora sang ‘Dulcinea’ from ‘Man of La Mancha’ mounted in 1987, which was staged ten years later. Miguel Faustmann, a long-time Repertory regular sang also ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face’ from the production of ‘My Fair Lady’ mounted in 1974 and 1994 and in a surprise appearance, Leo Martinez sang the classic ‘South Pacific’ love song titled ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, which was then presented in 1981.

Another big surprise was three actors in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’: Inocian, Faustmann and director Freddie Santos as they performed ‘Sunrise, Sunset.’

Grand Reunion of Sorts

To further give tribute to Barredo, it was capped with Jett Pangan leading the cast in the song, ‘What I did for Love’ as he was joined onstage by all the Repertory alumni who were in attendance during the gala show in and posed for a rare photo opportunity.

Leo Valdez, Noel Trinidad, Bart Guingona, Juno Henares, Robbie Guevarra, JM Rodriguez and even fashion designer Rajo Laurel, who was cast as one of the Von Trapp children in a Rep production of ‘The Sound of Music’ were among the many known names who appeared in Repertory productions attended the night’s tribute.

Friends, supporters and selected members of the press were treated to a heart-warming evening as they witnessed all the past and present actors, production crew members and all.

To date, Repertory Philippines has a total of 413 productions in all till the end of its 75th Season. To know more about the theater company, log on to its official website.

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