THEATER is booming in the metropolis — performance groups are sprouting like mushrooms, many good venues have opened, and theater is finally being looked at as a proper profession and not just a hobby indulged in after work.

Through it all has stood Repertory Philippines, now on its 49th year and 79th season.

“Repertory Philippines began as a dream by Zeneida Amador,” said Carmen “Baby” Barredo, the company’s cofounder and current artistic director, in a release from the company. “She wanted to make theatergoing a social habit and to give opportunities for actors to showcase their talents.

“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,” she added.

Despite this less than auspicious start, the company continued, staging everything from farces to dramas, straight plays to full-on Broadway extravaganzas. It has performed over 400 straight plays and musicals.

As it staged everything from Antigone to Les Miserables, Repertory discovered and trained notable actors like Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson, Pinky Amador, Cocoy Laurel, Subas Herrero, Cris Villonco, and Leo Martinez (a cofounder).

For its 79th season, Repertory is producing a mix of comedy, drama, and musicals for young children.

Opening this season is Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot, which goes onstage from Jan. 15 to Feb. 7. The story follows William Gillette, a Broadway star known for his portrayal of detective Sherlock Holmes, both in the play and in real life. He invites his castmates to his Connecticut castle for a weekend, where someone ends up dead. Gillette must channel his inner Holmes to track the killer and stop the next death.

This will be followed by Almost, Maine, from Feb. 19 to March 13. The play is set in the little town of Almost, where the residents fall in and out of love in unusual ways. The New York Times has described it as a “higher-concept and more clever version of Hollywood [love stories]” with a “beautiful structure.”

Next comes Stepping Out from April 1 to 24, Richard Harris’s Broadway comedy about a former chorus girl 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.

The company’s children’s theater arm will be staging Hansel and Gretel, the Brothers Grimm classic about siblings that eat a witch’s candy house, from Aug. 20 to Dec. 15.

Meanwhile, another children’s play, A Little Princess, based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, will be staged from Nov. 18 to Dec. 18. The play tells the story of Princess Sarah, who suffers at the hands of Miss Minchin at a boarding school in London. Things turn for the worse when her father dies and she becomes a pauper.

For more details, inquiries on ticket or show buying, call Repertory Philippines at 843-3570 or visit