Have passion and use arts to stop violence, urge two Philippine theater icons

May 16, 2017 - 10:18 PM
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Baby Barredo, Repertory Philippines co-founder, and Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, PETA founder, receive honors at the 9th Gawad Buhay Awards, May 10, 2017. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.
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Two icons in Philippine theater were honored at the yearly Gawad Buhay Awards staged on May 10 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in Pasay City.

Actor and director Baby Barredo, Repertory Philippines co-founder, and cultural and environmental activist Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) founder, were honored for their invaluable contributions in uplifting Philippine theater arts.

In line with their honors, the respective companies they founded were also given special tributes especially since both organizations are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

Gawad Buhay, now on its ninth edition and mounted by the Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group (Philstage), the special event recognized outstanding performers and productions of theater companies for 2016.

Barredo and Alvarez gave their advice to the theater professionals gathered at the event, especially to the young ones in the crowd.

Barredo, who was in a wheelchair, spoke affectionately about what one should have to make it in the business, “Theater and passion walk together hand in hand so whether you’re on stage, whether you’re (at the) back stage, whether you’re a stage manager, lighting, there has to be that passion because it is passion that keeps theater alive.”

Guidote-Alvarez passionately gave her thoughts on the meaning of theater and the arts society, “Theater is really a mirror of our identity, an armor to face our social ills, a memory bank because it is important to protect the integrity of history, as well as an anchor to where we are rooted in the appreciation of our traditions.

“But most of all, it must be in our conscience to really promote human rights, at the same time, it is also an engine for promoting creative industries. Most of all, I think it is a light house—a light house to guide our action to know our past, appreciate it know, what is necessary for the now, and to take care of the future.

“Now, we are facing the global challenge of survival with the climate change disasters and armed conflict. I hope that till the diamond anniversary of PETA, they will really think of a dynamic application of the arts to stop violence against mankind and mother earth,” she added, and as she challenged the professionals working in the industry.

Besides honoring the two women and their companies, the event also celebrated the 30th anniversary of Tanghalang Pilipino, and the 10th year anniversary of Philstage’s founding.

Lifestyle Achievement Awards
Gawad Buhay also bestowed honors to two other notable figures who have played important roles in the advancement of the the industry. The Natatanging Gawad Buhay for Lifetime Achievement  award was shared by actor-directors Joy Virata and Soxie Topacio.

Virata was recognized for her contribution in children’s theater. She founded Children’s Theater, which is now called the Repertory Theater for Young Audiences.

Topacio on the other hand, was recognized for his numerous plays in Filipino, all of which were “dedicated for the country,”

Awardees of the 9th Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards pose for members of the press after the awarding night, May 10, 2017. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Considered as the local version of Tony Awards, Gawad Buhay is known as “the first-ever industry awards exclusively for the performing arts. It is mounted by Philstage, an alliance of professional performing arts organizations in the Philippines.

This year’s Gawad Buhay awardees include both emerging names and respected ones in the industry. Moreover, theater Productions “Firebird and Other Ballets” of Ballet Philippines, “Tribes” of Red Turnip Theater, and “Annie” of Full House Theater Company bagged most of the recognition during the awards night.

The cast of Full House Theater Company’s ‘Annie’ receive the Outstanding Production of Existing Material for Musical award during the 9th Gawad Buhay Awards held May 10, 2017 at the CCP. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Firebird and Other Ballets took home seven awards, while Tribes and Annie bagged five awards.

Meanwhile, other productions that won awards were 3 Stars and a Sun; Pangarap sa Isang Gabi ng Gitnang Tag-araw, Opera; American Idiot; Almost, Maine; Constellations; Tick, Tick…Boom; Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko; Simoun; and Cinderella.

Here are the full list of winners:

Female Featured Performance in a Play
Angela Padilla, Tribes (Red Turnip Theater)

Male Featured Performance in a Play
Teroy Guzman, Tribes (Red Turnip Theater)

Female Featured Performance in a Musical
Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Annie (Full House Theater Company)

Male Featured Performance in a Musical
Ariel Reonal, Tick, Tick…Boom (9 Works Theatrical)

Female Featured Performance in a Modern Dance
Edna Vida, Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko (Ballet Philippines)

Male Featured Performance in Modern Dance
Erl Sorilla, Simoun (Ballet Philippines)

Female Featured Performance in Classical Dance
Denise Parungao, Firebird/From Firebird and Other Ballet (Ballet Philippines)

Male Featured Performance in Classical Dance
Cyril Fallar, Firebird/From Firebird and Other Ballet (Ballet Philippines)

Outstanding Original Libretto
Mixkaella Villalon and Rody Vera, 3 Stars and a Sun (PETA)

Outstanding Translation or Adaptation
Rolando Tinio, Pangarap sa Isang Gabi ng Gitnang Tag-araw (Tanghalang Pilipino)

Outstanding Original Musical Composition
Malek Lopez, Opera (Ballet Philippines)

Outstanding Choreography for a Play or Musical
PJ Rebullida, American Idiot (9 WorksTheatrical)

Outstanding Musical Direction
Myke Salomon, 3 Stars and a Sun (PETA)

Outstanding Costume Design
Gino Gonzales, 3 Stars and a Sun (PETA)

Outstanding Sound Design
Teresa Barrozo, Tribes (Red Turnip Theater)

Outstanding Lighting Design
John Batalla, Almost, Maine (Repertory Philippines)

Outstanding Set Design
Mio Infante, American Idiot (9 Works Theatrical)

Outstanding Ensemble for a Play
Tribes (Red Turnip Theater)

Outstanding Ensemble for Modern Dance
Weighted Whispers/ from Firebird and Other Ballets (Ballet Philippines)

Outstanding Ensemble for a Musical
Annie (Full House Theater Company)

Female Lead Performance in Modern Dance
Rita Winder, Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko (Ballet Philippines)

Male Lead Performance in Modern Dance
JM Cordero, Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko (Ballet Philippines)

Female Lead Performance in Classical Dance
Rita Winder, Firebird/ from Firebird and Other Ballets (Ballet Philippines)

Male Lead Performance in Classical Dance
Rudy de Dios, Cinderella (Ballet Manila)

Male Lead Performance in a Play
JC Santos, Constellations (Red Turnip Theater)

Male Lead Performance in a Musical
Jef Flores, Tick, Tick…Boom (9 Works Theatrical)

Female Lead Performance in a Play
Cris Villonco, Constellations (Red Turnip Theater)

Female Lead Performance in a Musical
Krystal Brimner, Annie (Full House Theater Company)

Outstanding Stage Direction for a Musical
Michael Williams, Annie (Full House Theater Company)

Outstanding Choreography for a Dance Production
Carlo Pacis, “Weighted Whispers”/ from Firebird and Other Ballets (Ballet Philippines)

Outstanding Stage Direction for a Play
Topper Fabregas, Tribes (Red Turnip Theater)

Outstanding Classical Dance Production
“Firebird”/ from Firebird and Other Ballets (Ballet Philippines)

Outstanding Musical—Original or Translation/Adaptation
3 Stars and a Sun (PETA)

Outstanding Modern Dance Production
“Weighted Whispers”/from Firebird and Other Ballets (Ballet Philippines)

Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Musical
Annie (Full House Theater Company)

Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Play
Constellations (Red Turnip Theater)