IN PHOTOS: Repertory Philippines celebrates 50 years
On June 11, 2017, hundreds of past and present Reppers performed, celebrated, and reunited for Rep: 50 Years of Telling Stories at The Theatre at Solaire. It was a night of beautiful, heartwarming storytelling through song, dance, and the spoken word. It was a once in a lifetime event that featured so much talent on one stage. They have all touched the lives of many Filipinos through their art.
Mindy B. Perez-Rubio, president and CEO of Repertory Philippines, said: “Tonight, we tell our story. When Rep started 50 years ago, theater did not exist. Most theatrical productions were performed in schools. This evening, we share with you how Rep has managed to stay strong for 50 years. This is all thanks to the passion and hard work of the Amador-Barredo team who started it all."
She added: "Despite a multitude of challenges, Rep went on. Tenacity was our strength. We never missed a season, we never cut a performance. We followed Amador’s cry – the show must go on! Yes, Rep is a part of Philippine history.”
In Suite 1, two of Rep’s most powerful voices, Audie Gemora and Michael Williams, sang “Impossible Dream” from the musical, Man of La Mancha. There was also a performance of “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof.
During their first production in 1967 of Bb Julie, there were only 7 people in the audience. For the next several years, the Rep actors/talents never received a paycheck. It was truly a love for the theater that kept the company going. According to Rep founding member Leo Martinez, they only got paid for their performances starting 1973.
We're going all the way back to the beginning. Here is a photo of REP's first ever production in 1967. BB. JULIE was a Filipino adaptation of the play Miss Julie. Celebrate 50 Years with Repertory Philippines this June 11 at The Theater at Solaire where Philippine theater greats will be coming together to relive some of REP's finest moments! #REP50 #REP50Memories
Martinez shared, “The mission was to professionalize theater by bringing in and producing the best contemporary drama originating from the West End and Broadway; by creating a core of actors who could and would deliver first rate performances who would hold high quality productions.”
Rep’s founding members – Zeneida Amador, Baby Barredo, Martinez, Tony and Monina Mercado, and Buddy Paez – turned a theater dream into reality in 1967. Repertory now boasts of 50 years of existence with 443 productions in 80 seasons and over 10,000 performances. Its alumni have gone on to start their own successful theater companies, among them, 9 Works Theatrical, Red Turnip Theater, Trumpets, Actor’s Actors Incorporated, and New Voice Company.
With an immense talent pool and a story spanning 5 decades, it took 8 extraordinary directors to stage this event. Bart Guingona, Audie Gemora, Freddie Santos, Michael Williams, Jaime del Mundo, Miguel Faustmann, Raymong Lauchengco, and Menchue Lauchengco-Yulo each directed a suite that told a different story intergral to the success and longevity of Repertory Philippines. The show was written by Luna Inocian while Ejay Yatco took care of musical direction.
One of the memorable performaces of the evening were “I Hope I Get It” and “One” from the musical A Chorus Line. Rep actors are typically touted to be triple threats since many of the most loved productions of Rep are its musicals. Audie Gemora fondly recalled what Zenaida Amador told Reppers who weren’t as confident in song and dance: “You’re actors. Act like you can sing and dance!”
Repertory’s most loved musical productions include such titles as Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables, Evita, The King and I, Jekyll and Hyde, South Pacific, Carousel, Man of La Mancha, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Pirates of Penzance, A Little Night of Music, A Christmas Carol, My Fair Lady, La Cage Aux Folles, Kiss of the Spide Woman, Olive, Ain’t Misbehavin, Annie and many others.
The performance of “Comedy Tonight” from the Stephen Sondheim musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was one of the night’s funniest moments. It was a joy to see Mitch Valdes with her impeccable comedic timing and loveable personality. Franco Laurel’s voice was amazing along with Jack Salud, JM Rodriguez, and Red Nuestro.
What a magical night it truly was. I am extremely honored to have been a part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of @repertoryphilippines at The Theatre at Solaire. I had the privilege of working with a true icon of Philippine Theatre and showbiz, Mitch Valdes and my fellow #thespians @jm_ro @jacksalud @rednuestro76 in the "A Comedy Tonight" suite directed by Freddie Santos with Musical Direction by the brilliant Ejay Yatco. #ComeHomeToRep #rep50 #thespian #actor #artist #theatre #actorslife Photo by Toots Tolentino
When Filipinos talk about theater, it is almost impossible not to mention Repertory Philippines. For the past 50 years, Repertory has provided a stage for many outstanding Filipino talents to perform, had given a very solid foundation to the Philippine threater industry, and inspired many children to dream. Many of Repertory’s alumni have gone on to national and international success.
Founding member Baby Barredo said: “All the hardships, the crying, the tears, the laughter, I’m telling you, it was all worth it, and we will do it all over again just for all of you. Our vision was to start an acting company that will carry all the tradition of telling stories here in the Philippines.”
Barredo hopes that the young Reppers will continue the legacy and carry with them the passion of those that have come before them. "That they will also have the passion. You have to have passion in whatever you do because if you have passion, then you will exceed and excel," she said.
When I was 10 and had just moved to the Philippines, I saw Rep's Camelot with Menchu, Michael, Cocoy and my aunt Dawn. I knew right away that THAT was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Rep gave me my first professional role-Snow White- back in the Shangri La, William J. Shaw Theater days! I got my training on that Rep stage. Rep is where I learned true discipline. Where I learned to be brave and to make bold choices without hesitation or doubt. Where I sang, danced, laughed, cried, sweated and cried some more. Where I learned to NEVER quit or give up. Where I learned the true meaning of teamwork. Where I made true friendships and families. Last night as I stood on that stage, it hit me and I realized how lucky I am to be sharing the stage with the people who inspired me to be here, and to be surrounded by hundreds of amazing talent. I am humbled and truly honored. Rep is home and I am a proud Rep baby. Thank you Rep for raising me and teaching me. Happy 50th! #ComeHomeToRep #Rep50
In the penultimate number, the original cast of Les Miserables (Cocoy Laurel, Audie Gemora, Michael Williams, Karla Gutierrez, Monique Wilson, Rem Zamora, Miguel Faustmannm and Joy Virata) led the entire cast in singing “One Day More.” Then in a symbolic passing of the torch, younger Reppers (Red Nuestro, Steven Hotchkiss, Joaquin Valdez, Becca Coates, Caisa Borromeo, Myke Salomon, Hans Eckstein and Abi Sulit) came forward and stood next to their veteran counterparts.
For the final bow and curtain call, all Reppers were invited to go on stage to sing Rep anthem “Come Home to Rep” written by Ejay Yatco.
Voltaire has 10 years experience in the fashion industry. He previously worked with a luxury clothing and accessories brand in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated Magna cum laude from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, major in Fashion Design. He also holds a BS in Applied Economics and BS in Marketing from DLSU. He is now doing real estate but finds time to pursue his passions in his spare time.