Rak of Aegis, a Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) production set in a flooded community and with the songs of pop-rock group Aegis as highlights, leads the nominees in the 7th Gawad Buhay! awards for the performing arts to be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino or CCP Little Theater on June 11.
PETA’s musical-comedy production is nominated in 17 categories – Outstanding Stage Direction for a Musical (Maribel Legarda), Outstanding Original Libretto (Liza Magtoto), Outstanding Musical Direction (Myke Salomon), Outstanding Sound Design (Salomon and Happy Constantino), Male Featured Performance in a Musical (a nod each for Pepe Herrera, Jerald Napoles, Juliene Mendoza, and Salomon), Female Lead Performance in a Musical (a nomination each for Aicelle Santos, Joan Bugcat, and Kim Molina), Female Featured Performance in a Musical (Kalila Aguilos), Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Musical, Outstanding Choreography for a Play or Musical (Gio Gahol), Outstanding Costume Design (Carlo Pagunaling), Outstanding Set Design (Mio Infante), and Outstanding Original Musical. Prior to the event, Rak of Aegis has already won the Outstanding Original Musical and Outstanding Original Libretto awards, having no other nominees in both categories.
August: Osage County, a Repertory Philippines production based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play, has 12 nominations, namely Outstanding Stage Direction for a Play (Chris Millado), Outstanding Lighting Design (Katsch Catoy), Outstanding Set Design (Miguel Faustmann), Male Featured Performance in a Play (a nomination each for Richard Cunanan and Hans Eckstein), Female Lead Performance in a Play (Baby Barredo), Female Featured Performance in a Play (a nod each for Pinky Amador, Liesl Batucan, Sheila Francisco, and Tami Monsod), Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Play, and Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Play.
Ballet Philippines’ restaging of Agnes Locsin’s La Revolucion Filipina and Tanghalang Pilipino’s Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente, which is based on Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, both have nine nominations each.
La Revolucion Filipina, which tells the story of the sublime paralytic Apolinario Mabini and his role in the Philippine Revolution, is nominated for Outstanding Modern Dance Production, Outstanding Choreography for a Dance Production (Locsin), Outstanding Lighting Design (Catoy), Outstanding Set Design (Infante), Outstanding Costume Design (Victor Gamosa Ursabia), Outstanding Sound Design (Ryan Cayabyab, remastered by David Theo), Male Lead Performance in Modern Dance (a nod each for Jean Marc Cordero and Richardson Yadao), and Outstanding Ensemble Performance for Modern Dance.
On the other hand, Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente garnered nods for Outstanding Stage Direction for a Play (Millado), Outstanding Translation or Adaptation (the late Rolando Tinio), Female Lead Performance in a Play (Gina Pareño), Male Lead Performance in a Play (Jonathan Tadioan), Male Featured Performance in a Play (a nomination each for Yul Servo, Dido dela Paz, and Marco Viaña), Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Play, and Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Play.
Organized by the Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group or PHILSTAGE, the only alliance of professional performing arts companies in the Philippines, Gawad Buhay! honors outstanding individual and group achievements in various artistic and technical aspects of play, musical and dance productions and performances based on citations deliberated upon by an independent panel of jurors. Members of the jury, which are made up of critics, scholars, artists and theater enthusiasts, are required to watch all productions of member-companies for the year and select the final nominees qualified to win by the end of the performance season.
PHILSTAGE is made up of 9 Works Theatrical (9WT), Actor’s Actors, Inc. (AAI), Ballet Manila (BM), BP, Gantimpala Theater Foundation, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), PETA, Philippine Opera Company, Rep, Resorts World Manila’s Full House Theater Company, TP, Trumpets, and newest member Red Turnip Theater.
This year, the organization also awards the Natatanging Gawad Buhay! for lifetime achievement to Dr. Onofre Pangsanghan, founder of Ateneo de Manila’s high school theater company Dulaang Sibol, and UP Professor Emeritus Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio, founder of children’s puppet theatre company Teatrong Mulat, the first of its kind in the Philippines.
Other productions vying for awards are Wait Until Dark, Noises Off, and Scrooge (Rep), Cinderella, Blue Moon Series, and The Art of Dance (BP), Mga Ama, Mga Anak and Kleptomaniacs (TP), Full Gallop (My Own Mann Productions / AAI’s The Necessary Theatre), Venus in Fur (AAI’s The Necessary Theatre), The Last 5 Years and Grease (9WT), Heart 2 Heart: Ballet & Ballads, Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika: An OPM Festival, and Nutkraker: Pasko na Naman Muli (BM), and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert the Musical (Full House).
There are no nominees for Outstanding Original Script, Original Musical Composition, Female Featured Performance in Modern Dance, Male Featured Performance in Modern Dance, Male Featured Performance in Classical Dance, Outstanding Classical Dance Production, Outstanding Ensemble Performance for Classical Dance, Outstanding Original Play, and Outstanding Production for Children.
Topper Fabregas will host the event. Just like last year, sculptor and CCP Thirteen Artists awardee Reg Yuson also designed the trophy for this year.