A night of moving stories at Rep Philippines’ 50th anniversary show

June 12, 2017 - 3:49 PM
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Alumni and young members of Repertory Philippines (REP) performed on one stage in a grand musical fete on Sunday night, June 11, to celebrate the theater company’s golden anniversary.

Held at the The Theatre of Solaire resort and casino in Parañaque City, the musical took the audience down memory lane—starting from the humble beginnings of REP, when there were only a handful of people in the audience, to present times when the company has staged hundreds of plays and produced actors who are now making their mark in the international theater scene.

Dubbed as “REP: 50 Years of Telling Stories,” the musical featured the theater company’s past productions such as “A Chorus Line,” “West Side Story,” “Carousel,” “Camp Rock,” “Pippin,” “Annie,” “Sound of Music,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” “Seussical,” and “Les Miserables.”

Co-founder Leo Martinez shares the vision of Repertory Philippines when it was founded together with Zeneida ‘Bibot’ Amador, Baby Barredo, and Tony and Monina Mercado. Photo courtesy of Repertory Philippines.

Highlights of the production, which featured seven segments include the tribute to Zeneida “Bibot” Amador and all the founders of REP; the coming home of “Reppers” including Monique Wilson, Franco Laurel, Sheila Francisco, Markki Stroem, Morisette Amon, Pinky Amador, Mitch Valdes, and many more; and the passing of baton from theater veterans to the younger generation of actors.

REP’s President and CEO Mindy Perez-Rubio shared, “This is our 80th season, and tonight’s production is our 444th.. We have eight directors, five stage managers, six choreographers, and a cast and crew of a 135, and not to mention, our nice orchestra.”

Theater veterans including JM Rodriguez, Franco Laurel, Mitch Valdes, Red Nuestro, and Jack Salud perform at the 50th anniversary show of Repertory Philippines. The concert was held at The Theatre at Solaire, June 11, 2017 Photo courtesy of Repertory Philippines.

Looking back at five decades of the artistic excellence practiced by the theater company, Baby Barredo, co-founder of REP shared that never in her dreams did she realize that the theater company would reach 50 years.

“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 said, reminiscing.

Leo Martinez, another REP co-founder, 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.”

Monique Wilson performs at the 50th anniversary show of Repertory Philippines. The event was held at the Theatre at Solaire, June 11, 2017. Photo courtesy of Repertory Philippines.

Recognizing that reaching 50th anniversary is no easy feat, Barredo told InterAksyon their secret: “Resilience and temerity to stick it out no matter what people would say as long as we follow our vision to do good shows, and also, discipline.”

Barredo added that the REP repertoire will continue to be a balanced mix of the classics as well as new productions tackling relevant social issues. She said, “By doing the classics, they are still relevant to train out actors. You have to make them come out in good plays like Shakespeare, Noel Coward because if you just make them do any plays, they will never develop their talents.”

Repertory Philippines’ actors share the stage at the company’s 50th anniversary show held at The Theatre at Solaire, June 11, 2017. Photo courtesy of Repertory Philippines.

Barredo added that since the new breed of Reppers will eventually become the “guards of Philippine theater,” she hopes for them to have the same burning passion as their older colleagues: “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.”