What better way to see and experience hope than through the eyes of children, as Marketing and PR Director Sab Jose mentioned before the show. Dani Girl is one such story, told through a little girl’s reimagining of her own struggles in reality into a whimsical fantasy. The Sandbox Collective staged it for the first time 5 years ago, and is now bringing it back, at a time where we need a little more hope in our world.
Dani is the titular girl, battling through The Big C (that’s cancer) by imagining a more fun, less bleak world. In her imaginary world, her parents are rulers of a fantasy kingdom, and her guardian angel, Raph, plays games and sings fun songs with her. Having been alone in the hospital for a long time, she meets new ward-neighbor Marty, who shares her depth of imagination. They embark on adventures to discover why they were befallen with the “curse,” and more profoundly why it even needed to exist in the first place. “Why is cancer?” is the question.
I watched the show on its first weekend, and as part of the production’s charity efforts, they matched every social media post with the hashtag #DaniGirlMNL with a financial donation to the show’s partners. That was a nice way to not only promote the show but also help save lives.
I watched Dani Girl’s premiere in Manila back in 2014. I was still a newbie with musicals when I watched it with my theater workshop classmates. Without any expectations or whatever, the show left me in tears. The show struck many heartstrings not only because it tackled cancer but for how it was told through the eyes of little innocent children. As young adults among all our responsibilities and the issues the world face today, we often forget to be like how we used to be as children: brave and hopeful.
In celebration of its fifth year, The Sandbox Collective is re-staging their maiden
production, Dani Girl: A Musical About Hope. Half a decade later, the show
underlines, among other things, the importance of friendship, and the family that can
blossom from it.
Dani is a precocious nine-year-old girl who has spent her childhood battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia (A.L.L). Years of semi-isolated existence led her to develop quite the imagination, and she spends her days in the pediatric ward spinning fanciful tales that mostly feature her “guardian angel,” Raph. In her mind, her mother is a kind-hearted queen, and her absentee father, a king on a faraway quest. On most days, she has no one but her guardian angel, Raph, to turn to, until one day, a boy named Marty moves into the pediatric ward. Together, they decide to find the answer to the question, “Why is cancer?”
The two-hour musical rarely looks at the two children’s prognosis through a dreary lens, and instead takes you through a whimsical ride through Dani’s fantastical imagination, one full of spaceships and sword fights. But amidst the fanciful settings, is a grounded core. Beyond the characters’ bleak reality, is a tale of friendship, and finding family in those you least expect. As audience members join Dani on her journey of self-realization, they will walk away with questions of their own. Who is my Raph? My Marty in life? Who do we turn to in times of turmoil, and whose shoulders do we know will always be there when we need them the most?
Dani Girl: A Musical About Hope will star Philstage Gawad Buhay awardee,
Rebecca Coates in the title role (Agnes of God, The Secret Garden). She is set to
alternate with Felicity Kyle Napuli in the role of Dani Lyons (The Lion King, Matilda).
Luigi Quesada will return as Dani’s best friend and fellow warrior, Marty (Hair,
Waitress). He will be sharing the role with new cast member, Daniel Drilon (The
Secret Garden, Fun Home). Returning cast members, Shiela Valderrama-Martinez
(Binondo, Guadalupe, Shrek) and Pam Imperial (RENT, The Sound of Music) will be
alternating as Katharine Lyons, Dani’s mother. Meanwhile, Lorenz Martinez (Miss
Saigon, Binondo) returns and alternates with new cast member Juliene Mendoza in
the role of Raph (Dekada ‘70, All Out of Love).
Toff de Venecia (No Filter, The Boy in the Bathroom) makes his much-awaited
directorial comeback in this re-staging of Dani Girl. He is at the helm once more as
director and executive producer. Joining him is Sab Jose as assistant director and
marketing and public relations director. Completing the artistic team are Ejay Yatco
as musical director, Stephen Viñas as choreographer, Faust Peneyra as
scenographer and costume designer, Miggy Panganiban as lighting designer, Joee
Mejias as projection & video designer and Myrene Santos as hair and makeup
Santi Santamaria leads the production team as co-executive producer (9 Works Theatrical). Rounding out the production team are Anna Santamaria as operations and finance director, Maine Manalansan as design director, Elliza Aurelio as associate producer, Pauline Gaerlan as production manager, Myka Cue as marketing and public relations associate, Jonjon Martin as public relations manager and Anissa Aguila as head stage manager.
Dani Girl: A Musical About Hope will open on August 10, 2019 and will have a limited engagement until September 1, 2019 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue, Makati City. Tickets are now available through Ticketworld online.
Dani Girl: A Musical About Hope is co-presented by The Sandbox Collective
and 9 Works Theatrical, together with our gold ribbon sponsor, Make-A-Wish
Philippines. Special thanks to our silver ribbon sponsors: Privato Hotel Group,
Toy Kingdom and St. Luke’s Medical Center; our institutional partners, Carewell
Community Foundation, Childhaus, Philippine Cancer Society, Inc., CanHOPE
and Cancervants; our community partners, Pineapple Lab, Classic Chef, K Best,
and DC Superheroes Cafe; and our official media partners: Crossover 105.1,
Pitchworks, Broadwayworld.com, Theater Fans Manila, Young Star, Uniquely
Pinoy, and Art+ Magazine.
Last year, 9 Works Theatrical and Globe Live! produced their first original Filipino musical based on the music of APO Hiking Society, Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!. The critically acclaimed feel-good musical made an audience of different generations laugh and cry while resisting the urge to sing along the greatest hits of APO.Answering everyone’s Panalangin (including mine), Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is back for a second run from February 2 to March 17.
Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is a heartwarming story of love and friendship. Set during the country’s turbulent 70’s, a college barkada decides to join a singing and songwriting contest. As talented as the young friends are, they find that like real life (especially during Martial Law), finding the right lyric to the perfect melody is not as easy as it seems.
Quezon City, PHILIPPINES – The Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) presents one of its landmark and iconic performances, Alan Glinoga’s critically acclaimed Filipino adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s Ang Buhay Ni Galileo this September 28 to October 7, 2018. After a limited three-day run in PETA’s original home at the Rajah Sulayman Theater for PETA’s 50th anniversary, Ang Buhay Ni Galileo now comes to the PETA Theater Center!
The production revolves around the life of the 17th
century scientist, Galileo Galilei whose discoveries changed our understanding
of the universe. The timelessness of this PETA classic shows the resistance
made by the authoritarian and conservative elements of the time against the
coming of a new age.
With climate change worsening, people growing more complacent
about their carbon footprint, and the death of the planet becoming
ever more imminent, one couple considers the unthinkable —
having a baby.
This September, The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical
bring you the Philippine premiere of Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs, a
two-person, one-act play about parenthood, making conscious
ecological decisions, and the complications that come with trying
to be good people. Over the course of ninety breathless minutes,
one couple engages with questions about babies, love, sex,
betrayal, and change in one unbroken conversation. Written to be
performed devoid of props, costume changes, or scene transitions,
Macmillan’s “carbon-neutral” piece reflects the anxieties of
potentially having children in an increasingly disastrous world.
A jukebox musical is always an exciting idea. To the regular theater-goer, it might seem like a simple formula: take a musician’s existing catalog and make a story out of it. But, in reality, it is very hard to execute. Jukebox musicals are either a hit or a miss. 9 Works Theatrical and Globe Live’s first original Filipino musical takes on APO Hiking Society’s greatest hits. And like APO’s songs, Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is definitely a big hit.
At the core of Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is a heartwarming story of love and friendship. Set during the country’s turbulent 70’s, a group of college friends decide to join a singing and songwriting contest. At a time when originality and creativity, especially in the music industry, was not particularly celebrated, they decide to submit an original composition.
Globe LIVE! and 9 Works Theatrical are back with Eto na! Musikal nAPO! an original Filipino musical based on the music of the APO Hiking Society, nonetheless. Globe and 9 Works’ first Pinoy musical centers on a barkada’s colorful college life in Manila 1975. It isn’t auto-biographical (let’s straighten that out) but it is inspired by the story of how APO started and came about.
Before you read this review, get your Himala, Isang Musikal tickets first before it’s too late. [Update: Tickets are all sold-out]. Believe me and all the reviews, just this once, this is a must-watch. You have to see this musical. It’s the best Filipino musical I’ve ever seen and it could very well become your favorite too.
The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical are re-staging Ricky Lee and Vincent DeJesus’ Himala: Isang Musikal based on the 1982 critically acclaimed classic by the late Ishmael Bernal.
After the presscon, I’ve never been more excited to see a musical. Especially that the root material was a film I’ve been watching in Cinema One (formely Pinoy Blockbuster Channel) when I was a child every lazy afternoon. In case you hadn’t already known, Himala‘s story centers on Elsa who claims to have the power of healing after the Blessed Virgin Mary appears to her. News of her miracles spread within and beyond her hometown Cupang attracting thousands of sick and curious followers. This causes an irreversible disturbance to the once sleepy town.
To end its 50th season, the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) is producing a Filipino adaptation of Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning
drama ‘night, Mother starring Eugene Domingo as Jessie, making her theatrical comeback, and Sherry Lara as Thelma.
In contrast to PETA’s previous productions, ‘night, Mother doesn’t present a grand narrative (or even a rousing musical number to conclude it). Rather, it is a more intimate performance, giving the audience a glimpse of a night with Jessie and her mother Thelma. Jessie who suffers from epilepsy casually tells her mother that she has long decided to end her life that evening. Thelma, of course, with all the arguments in the world tries to convince her daughter that life is still worth living. For one hour and 24 minutes, happening in real-time, the audience witnesses the struggle between the two, and within themselves, that will keep them on the edge of their seats until the end.