THE YEAR’S about to draw to a close, and it’s but safe to assume that the Philippine theater scene has been vibrant and prolific. The theater lovers have welcomed international presentations as well as local productions. To keep the ball rolling this 2019, here are some of the shows we can all look forward to next year.
The Phantom of the Opera
Feb. 20 — March 17
First staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2012, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera will delight Filipino fans once more as it revisits the country in February. A partnership with Ticketworld and Concertus Manila, the same company that brought Les Miserable, Wicked, and Lion King in Manila, the longest Broadway musical on earth will be on view at the Solaire Theater.
Phantom tells the haunting love story of the young ballet dancer Christine Daae who becomes the Phantom’s object of affection. The romantic tragedy musical, and its iconic chandelier scene, includes hit songs such as “The Music of the Night,” “All I Ask of You,” “Think of Me,” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Set in the heart of the Paris Opera House, the musical is one of the most successful shows in history, with a worldwide combined gross of over $6.5 billion, and has been seen by more than 145 million people in 30 countries. The Phantom of the Opera celebrated its three decades on stage on Jan. 24.
For tickets,
Ang Huling El Bimbo Rerun
March 1 — April 6
Resorts World Manila’s successful original production will hit the stage once more time for a limited rerun. Ang Huling El Bimbo The Musical features Eraserhead’s iconic hit songs like “With a Smile,” “Pare Ko,” “Ligaya,” and of course, “Ang Huling El Bimbo,” which the narrative is anchored on. The original Pinoy production tells the story of four college friends who suddenly find themselves together again after 20 years without connection. Brought together by a problem, they are forced to reminisce and look back how their relationship was form, and how it was torn apart.
For more information,
Feb. 15 — March 10
Who wants to get to know the life story of Emilio Aguinaldo? Miong, a musical about his life, particularly about his youth, was part of Repertory Philippines lineup in 1998 in celebration of the 100th declaration of our independence. It was written and directed by REP’s artistic director Joy Virata, and the rerun is also her work.
Ms. Virata will re-direct the musical on view at Onstage in Greenbelt 1, with music by Ian Monsod and additional lyrics by Freddie Santos.
The musical will star Tim Pavino, Noel Rayos, Cara Barredo, Meynard Penalosa, and Elver Esquivel, and will span the president’s life birth on March 22, 1869 until our Independence on June 12, 1898.
The show, however, will only cover Aguinaldo’s youth. He was 29 years old when he declared independence in Kawit.
For more information,
Deux, Ballet Manila
March 2,3,9,10
A French word meaning two, Deux is a double-header production with rock and roll and romance. Who doesn’t love that? Ballet Manila’s Deux will feature Les Sylphides, a dreamy and romantic ballet set to the music of Frederic Chopin and an original ballet by Martin Lawrance set to the music of the Beatles.
Deux is part of Ballet Manila’s 23rd season, Tour de Force.
For more information,

Romeo and Juliet
Ballet Philippines presents Romeo and Juliet in February for its 49th season.

Romeo and Juliet
Feb. 15-25
Tales of Manuvu
March 22-31
Ballet Philippines’ 49th season, Towards the 50th, is a celebration of love and more. Choreographed by Alice Reyes to the music of Prokofiev and sets of National Artist Salvador Bernal, the Shakesperean classic Romeo and Juliet will surely be a great Valentines date. It tells the story of the star-crossed lovers caught in between their warring families.
Following the tragic story is another production called Tales of Manuvu. Also choreographed by National Artist for dance, Alice Reyes, the show retells the myths of Manuvu. The story revolves around heaven and earth, and the tugging forces between good and evil.
National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera wrote the script and lyrics for the music of Nonong Pedero while Broadway theater designer Loy Arcenas creates all-new sets.
For more information,
Dirty Old Musical
Feb 22 — March 23
A funny story on aging and legacy, Dirty Old Musical features an all-male band in the ‘80s who enjoyed popularity but had to disband later on because of their differences.
Starring Robert Seña, Nonie Buencamino, Bo Cerrudo, Jett Pangan, and Carlo Orosa, the men have a one-time concert come back for their ailing member. Now in their 50s, the men are showing DOM signs, or, andropause, diminishing sex life, erectile dysfunction, and different medical conditions men in their ripe age experience. Here soon unfolds the reality of their old age. Would the audience know them still? Would they get a support? Can they still do a concert?
Some of the songs in their reunion concert are OPM hits like “Kastilyong Buhangin”, “Mag Exercise Tayo Tuwing Umaga”, “Nais Ko”, “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika”, “Legs”, “Kung Liligaya Ka”, among others.
For more information,
Angels in America: Millennium Approaches
A heavy story on sex, homosexuality, and AIDS, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches will headline the Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group’s 20th anniversary next year.
The Atlantis’ show will feature some of the best theater actors and actresses in the country: Art Acuña, Pinky Amador, Angeli Bayani, Topper Fabregas, Cherie Gil, Nelsito Gomez, Andoy Ranay, and Markki Stroem. The cast will be playing many roles throughout the show.
The most Tony Award-nominated play in Broadway history, Angels is the first part of playwright and lyricist Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize, Tony, and Oliver award-winning magnum opus. Set in New York between 1985 and 1986, the story includes a gay man who contracted AIDS, a former drag queen who works as a nurse, and an angel.
Bobby Garcia will direct the show, while Faust Peneyra will do the set design, JonJon Villeareal will handle the lighting design, and Odelon Simpao will do the costume design.
For more information,
Sweeney Todd
While Atlantis’ will open with Angels in America and its dramatic story, the company’s 20th anniversary celebration will end with a thriller and a comedy: Sweeney Todd which won eight Tony Awards, including a Best Musical.
Book by Hugh Wheeler and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd will also be celebrating its 40th anniversary since it first opened on Broadway in 1979.
On view at The Theater at Solaire, the production will see Jett Pangan as Sweeney Todd and Leah Salonga as Mrs. Lovett.
The original Broadway cast had Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury playing respectively as Sweeney Todd and Nellie Lovett while in the 2007 movie version, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter played the leads.
Atlantis’ artistic director Bobby Garcia will also be directing Sweeney Todd. He said in a statement about the Atlantis’ 20th anniversary: “On behalf of everyone at Atlantis, we thank you for supporting us for 20 years. We have lined up a terrific 20th season that we are very excited about. We have a bit of something for everyone. We hope to see you at the theatre in 2019.” — NFPDG