‘La Cage aux Folles Manila’ Gears Up For The Perfect Storm

La Cage aux Folles photo 1 La Cage aux Folles photo 10 La Cage aux Folles photo 2 La Cage aux Folles photo 3 La Cage aux Folles photo 4 La Cage aux Folles photo 6 La Cage aux Folles photo 7 La Cage aux Folles photo 8 La Cage aux Folles rerun Poster



(from sssip*- “It’s high time to SHINE!, RISE AND SHINE, EVERYONE, via this rerun of a truly magnificent play!”)

‘La Cage aux Folles Manila’ Gears Up For The Perfect Storm


Earlier this year, Manila audiences were treated to a standing ovation-filled musical extravaganza in 9 Works Theatrical’s La Cage aux Folles – a critically-acclaimed musical comedy that had audiences laughing and crying faster than you could say ‘fabulous.’


A fun, frivolous romp through the streets of Saint Tropez and the French Riviera, the Tony Award-winning musical which returns to the RCBC stage from August 15 to September 6, 2015, follows the story of night club owner Georges, played by TV and film actor Michael de Mesa, and his life partner and the club’s star performer Albin, played by veteran stage actor and PHILSTAGE president Audie Gemora.


When the former’s biological son Jean-Michel (played by TV actor Steven Silva) brings home his fiancée Anne (played by Missy Macuja-Elizalde and Joni Galeste) and her ultra-conservative parents for a matrimonial téte-a-téte, pandemonium ensues, leaving no stone unturned, no feather unplucked, and no sequin unpolished.
Based on the 1973 French play by Jean Poiret, also the inspiration behind the Robin Williams’ starrer Birdcage, La Cage aux Folles was a musical that Manila audiences wholeheartedly embraced and called their own. “How everything came together,” recalls director Robbie Guevara, “the cast, the 9PO orchestra, the production team – it was like a perfect piece of pie that everyone just gobbled up!” The talent we assembled, executive producer Santi Santamaria adds, gave us constant tearjerkers, “a whirlwind of emotions and contagious enthusiasm from everyone onstage and off.” The amazing audience reception, Robbie recalls fondly, made the sacrifices and hard work well worth it.


Featuring tap-dancing, energetic musical numbers like We Are What We Are, The Best Of Times, and the anthemic I Am What I Am, and breathtaking costume changes courtesy of scenographer Mio Infante, Twinkle Zamora for costume execution, and the Fashion Designers Association of The Philippines (FDAP), the show promises to up the theatrical ante for its sophomore return, giving audiences both old and new, “a vivid, colorful celebration of theater magic” and a love story that is effervescent as it is timeless.


“For those who have seen and enjoyed the show, this is one musical you may want to consider watching again before it gets restaged after another 20 years,” says Santamaria. “Add that to the uncanny chemistry between acting juggernauts Audie Gemora and Michael de Mesa on stage,” he shares, and you’ve got time in the theater that is time well spent.


Appearing alongside Audie Gemora, Michael de Mesa,Steven Silva and ballerina Joni Galesteare some of today’s most respected and up-and-coming theater performers.Theater veterans Raul Montesa and Sheila Francisco star as Jean-Michel’s ultra conservative in-laws Monsieur and Mademoiselle Edouard and Marie Dindon. Miss Saigon alumnaAnalin Bantug returns to the stage as restaurant owner Jacqueline while Hong Kong Disneyland performer Noel Rayos plays Jacob the butler.


Joining them are the iconicLes Cagelles played by JP Basco, Mara Celine Javier, Randi de Guzman, Carlos Deriada, Chesko Rodriguez, Dindo Divinagracia, Cheeno Macaraig, James Stacey, Arnold Trinidad, PJ Rebullida, and TV and film star Rafa Siguion-Reyna.


La Cage aux Folles will be directed by Robbie Guevara, with scenic and costume design by Mio Infante, and special participation of the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines; choreography by Arnold Trinidad, PJ Rebullida, and Yek Barlongay; musical direction by Joseph Tolentino and Sweet Plantado-Tiongson; lighting design by Martin Esteva; technical direction by Dong Calingacion; hair and makeup design by Myrene Santos; and additional costume execution by Twinkle Zamora; photography by Leo Castillo and graphic design by Larry Palma.


Heading the production team is executive producer Santi Santamaria, with Anna Santamaria as company manager; Toff de Venecia as PR director; GM Hernandez as marketing manager; Jonjon Martin and Issa Tuason as PR managers; Randy Salvador as production manager; and Mikey Garcia as stage manager.

La Cage aux Folles will be shown at the RCBC Plaza, Makati on August 15, 16, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, September 4, 5 & 6, 2015, with Friday and Saturday galas at 8:00pm, selected Saturday matinees at 3:30pm, and Sunday matinees at 4:00pm.

A limited number of performances are available for fundraising and block-buying. For tickets and other inquiries, please call 586.7105 or 0917.554.5560, or email info@9workstheatrical.com. Facebook: 9workstheatrical. Twitter & Instagram: @9WTonline. Hashtag: #LaCageManila

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES is presented by 9 Works Theatrical and The Rockwell Club, with MAC Cosmetics as the Official Makeup Sponsor. Official photos by Photoworks Academy.

La Cage aux Folles” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.


“la cage aux folles”: it doesn’t matter whether you’re gay or not, or black or white… what matters is the heart that sees upon…


The very minute that lead actor Audie Gemora stood there alone, finally, in one of the most significant scenes in the musical play La Cage Aux Folles, and he sang the song “I Am What I Am”, we knew that what we saw was not simply ordinary but a thing that would last forever.

It was the most shining moment of all. And the real wonder at that. Looking at one great theater performer who transformed himself into an all-out transgender, was, indeed, awesome. Candid. Wonderful.

It was a revelation, that whether you are gay or not, black or white, straight or curved, one individual has got the right to be HIMSELF. And this is the real beauty of the play La Cage Aux Folles.

Gays, Transgenders, Bisexuals, Lesbians, or the likes, may look outrageous, abnormal and hilarious- but deep within them are hearts of gold and love, hearts of caring and sympathy, hearts of concern and guidance.

As we watched this truly unforgettable play together with a veteran female celebrity and radio icon in person of Ms. Tessie Lagman, we just assured ourselves that local theater productions are now “at par” with Broadway musical standards. Just minus the hi-tech efficiency of original Broadway productions, Filipino performing artists can compete- with greater angst and power, wonder and delivery.

Kudos for director Robbie Guevara, he finely crafted the direction of this delicate play that dealt with the lives of two gay couple with a dashing son who proved in the end that he was never ashamed of having gay parents. What a redemption.

As they were circled-in with odd characters of gay impersonators and performers of the La Cage Aux Folles club, every minute you’d laugh, every single second you’d feel breathless and every hour, you’d see the more happier side of life, alongside the complications, that everything went well in the end.

A very fine and unique adaptation of the classic film turned into a Broadway musical genre.

The costumes were fabulous, colorful and classy, designed by Mio Infante with the participation of the  the members of the FDAP (Filipino Designers Association of the Philippines) which helped a lot in putting more colors and life upon the musical play.

The musical direction of  Joseph Tolentino and Sweet Plantado-Tionson was surely fantastic!

In this play, we were amazed by the great transformation of GMA-7 young star in person of Steven Silva. He acted-out his scenes with precision, great timing and own originality. Steven, we can say by now, is one fine young theater actor.

Rafa Siguion-Reyna was amazing! Truly amazing! As one the “La Cagelettes”, he was so poised, graceful and flirty. Oh, my.

Noel Rayos as “the maid” was scene-stealing and so funny.

And all the rest of the supporting cast were truly WONDERFUL.

But in the end, two people made this play TRULY GREAT.

Mr. Michael de Mesa and Audie Gemora.

Real men as the are, they captured the sensitivity and the soul of being homosexuals. They didn’t over-act, they didn’t outshine each other- but rather, their harmony and chemistry as the gay couple in this play astounded everyone. Very, very powerful performances with the both. A standing ovation!

I kneel and put my hats-off to them. 

Because whether you are a straight guy or a gay, a white or a black…

What matters most is the heart that sees upon.

And both Michael and Audie had seen it, too…




(words by robert manuguid silverio)


la cagenew la cagenew2 michael by leo castillo direk audie audie



direk audie gemora on lea salonga and charice pempengco: “si lea, she got the perfect time and the perfect break- and anyone can be another lea salonga mabigyan lang ng ganu’ng katinding break…while si charice, hasang-hasa sa mga shows sa mga probinsya, at mas mahirap ang pinagdaanan niya!”


audie: the blood of a true filipino theater artist
audie: the blood of a true filipino theater artist

Kung sino ang tunay na “authority” when it comes to directing major stage and theater productions at mas may alam pagdating sa tunay na kagalingan ng mga Pinoy theater artists- walang iba kundi si direk Audie Gemora iyon. Tunay namang kapag galing ang isang theater artist mula sa training niya- ang mga ito ay nagiging “world class”.

Kaya naman may “mata” at “pandinig” si direk Audie pagdating sa kagalingan ng mga Pinoy pagdating sa larangan ng pag-awit at pag-arte sa teatro. Naging aktor din siya sa halos lahat ng major (at legitimate) theater companies. Pero mas pinili niyang mag-concentrate at i-focus ngayon ang all-out dedication niya sa kompanyang Trumpets Playshop, isa sa mga pinaka-sosyal at snobbish (pumapangalawa sa Repertory Philippines) na theater group ng bansang Pilipinas.

Sankaterba ngayon ang naka-line-up na major theater productions ng Trumpets Playshop. Bukod sa magbe-venture na rin sila sa pagma-manage ng mga in-house talents nila.

direk audie: his world is the stage
direk audie: his world is the stage

“Last year, more than 800 workshop participants ang sumali sa aming Trumpets Playshop Summer Workshop”, wika ni direk Audie sa ginanap na isang mini-conference kamakailan lang. “Kaya naman we expect more than that this year. They believe more kasi in our capacity to train new and promising theater artists and singers and models. We have proven our worth. Kaya naman, kinukuha ng channel 2 at channel 7 ang mga artists namin na loumabas sa kani-kanilang mga TV programs. And carlo Orosa will supervise in handling the careers of our artists.”

Naitanong namin kay direk Audie, ano nga ba ang tunay na masasabi niya sa kagalingan ni Lea Salonga na na-witness niya fully ang career nito (dahil ilang beses na niyang nakasama si Lea buhat nung bata pa ito), at pati na rin si Charice Pempengco na isa ring international celebrity na tulad ni Lea?

lea salonga
lea salonga


charice pempengco
charice pempengco

” Si Lea, she got the perfect time and the perfect break- and anyone can be another Lea Salonga mabigyan lang ng ganu’ng katinding break…while si Charice, hasang-hasa sa mga shows sa mga probinsya, at mas mahirap ang pinagdaanan niya!”, maagap na sagot ni direk Audie. “You see, bata pa lang si Lea, around 8 years old pa lamang siya, she’s already that good. She came at a perfect time and the great breaks came-in. Plus the fact na talagang napakagaling niya as a performer. Si Charice naman, grabe ang pinagdaanan niya sa buhay. Laman siya ng mga fiesta shows sa mga probinsya at doon siya mas nahasa ng husto! Kaya nagugulat ang mga tulad nina Oprah Winfrey at Ellen de Generes kung paano naging ganu’n kagaling si Charice!”

Iba daw talaga ang Pinoy sa kagalingan, ayon pa kay direk Audie. Lalo na sa panahon ngayon na gumagawa na talaga ng eksena ang Pinoy sa international scene.

“And that’s something we’re doing here now at Trumpets Playshop”, pagtatapos ni direk Audie. “So come and join us!”




(sinulat ni robert manuguid silverio)


direk audie with his son
direk audie with his son



TRUMPETS PLAYSHOP, this summer, is getting ready to RELOAD!



trumpets logo


TRUMPETS PLAYSHOP, the country’s leading summer workshop, is celebrating its 21st year in setting the stage for emerging talent with theme “RELOAD”. Since our humble beginnings in 1993, kids, teens, and even grown-ups come to us to have fun while discovering and exploring their talents through the performing arts: acting, singing, dancing, hosting and modelling (just to name a few).

For two solid decades, we have grown and provided a wholesome, productive and enjoyable experience to everyone who has come through our doors, not to mention graduates who have made their own marks on the industry both here and abroad – such as teen icons Sam Concepcion and Tippy delos Santos, Asian pop superstars Christian Bautista and Karylle, World Champion singer Reymond Sajor and Miss saigon West End’s “Kim”, Annalyn Bantug.



TRUMPETS Playshop will also be “reloading” on the summer goodness as we launch two new exciting endeavors: Playshop Talent Factory and Playshop Playhouse!

Since we are known for producing actors, singers, dancers, speakers and models of the highest caliber, Playshop decided to open Playshop Talent Factory – a talent agency for remarkable Playshop students. Through the Playshop talent factory, our young and newfound talents will get the chance to break in to the professional scene through shows, guestings and endorsements!

While the Playshop Talent Factory is for the young Playshoppers, the Playshop alumni will be given the chance to further enhance their talents and the skills they learned during their stay with us through the Playshop Playhouse, Playshop’s very own independent company. They will get to produce their own shows from the ground up and from all angles- writing, directing, choreographing, marketing their very own material!



TRUMPETS PLAYSHOP was established in 1993 by Asia’s first professional theatre company, TRUMPETS INCORPORATED, under the helm of acknowledged King of Philippine Theatre- Mr. Audie Gemora, together with business maverick Menardo “Butch” Jimenez of PLDT.

TRUMPETS PLAYSHOP was a trailblazer, a concept ahead of its time. Since then, it became the venue to discover and hone the talents of both beginners and professionals.

Now onits 21st year, PLAYSHOP has become synonymous to performance training and excellent graduates. Its impressive roster of alumni include Asian pop superstar Christian bautista and teen icon Sam Concepcion. A lot of PLAYSHOP graduates have been consistently playing starring roles and ensemble of major plays and musicals here and abroad.