Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)
Cultural Center of the Philippines
Pasay, Metro Manila
The steampunk aesthetic, a female actress portraying the male title role, the dashing Aguinaldo, and (although I hate to mention it) even a personal tragedy were just a few of the reasons why Mabining Mandirigma picked up steam during its initial run last July 2015. Now as Tanghalang Pilipino’s 29th season comes to a close, the wheels are set to turn once again as the musical about Filipino hero Apolinario Mabini gears up for another run this February 19-March 13, 2016 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Little Theater.
The upcoming run, still directed by Chris Millado, sees the entry of new faces in the cast led by Liesl Batucan playing the title role of Mabini. She takes over the reins from Delphine Buencamino who originated the role. This production marks Liesl’s return to Tanghalang Pilipino since Mario O’Hara’s Stageshow. Being part of this play, with lines in Filipino, written by Dr. Nicanor Tiongson, promises to stretch Liesl as an actress since her main body of work mostly consists of English speaking roles.
Also joining the cast is David Ezra as Aguinaldo. A classically trained tenor, David embarks on a career in musical theater, a path that had also been taken by his mother, the legendary singer Dulce. David alternates the role with tenor Arman Ferrer who was one of the breakout stars during the initial run.
The rest of the cast includes Carol Bello, Paw Castillo, Alfritz Blanche, Phillip Palmos, Kristofer Kliatchko, Sigrid Macarena Balbas, VJ Cortel, Merry Mia Sinaguinan, Karl Alexis Jingco, Renson Gacutana, Hazel Maranan, Arya Herrera, Francis Cruz, Arya Herrera, Francis Cruz, and Arion Sanchez, with Remus Villanueva, Ali Santos, and Erick Dizon.
Jonathan Tadioan, Marco Viana, Aldo Vencilao, JV Ibesate, Antonette Go, and Lhorvie Nuevo from the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company round up the cast.
Mabining Mandirigma is written by Dr. Nicanor Tiongson with music by Jed Balsamo. Set design is by Toym Imao, costume design by James Reyes, lighiting design by Katsch Catoy, choreography by Denisa Reyes, with video projections by GA Faliarme. A new exhibit by Toym Imao will be on view at the lobby for the duration of the theatrical run.
Lastly, as soon as the first run of Mabining Mandirigma wrapped up, that’s when the film biopic Heneral Luna snowballed into a critical and box office success. One interesting side note from the film was that it exposed a great deal of ignorance of Philippine history by the youth when they expressed their wonder as to why Mabini remained seated during the entire film. With renewed interest in history and with the presidential elections looming, the second run of Mabining Mandirigma is a much welcome return.
P1500 Orchestra Center
P1000 Orchestra Side
Tanghalang Pilipino 832-1125 local 1620/1621
CCP Box Office 832-3704