Theater's Finest: Rak of Aegis and more big winners at the Philstage Gawad Buhay 2014
A night of love for the performing arts
(SPOT.ph) The Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards jury should invent a category for Topper Fabregas and just hand him a trophy already. Keeping the audience roaring with laughter as a host for three hours is not an easy task (not even Neil Patrick Harris could do it for the Academy Awards), but the cutie from our Top 10 Hottest Theater Actors (2014 Edition) managed to keep the energy up on the night of June 11, when the best of the local performing arts scene was honored at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Topper Fabregas, in style
Although not without its goofs, the evening was a riot—especially with Fabregas giving everyone the longest audition ever made, for all the roles in everything (while in costume). He'll sing, he'll dance, he'll improvise, and he'll roast. Alongside him, new member of the guild Philippine Ballet Theater and the fresh new local group Dalanghita Productions gave everyone a glimpse of the future in intermissions between thank you speeches.
An excerpt from Dalanghita Productions' Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady
Philippine Ballet Theater
Jon Santos, Michael Williams, and Red Concepcion reprising "True Colors" from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Being so close on the heels of the Tony Awards, the Gawad Buhay Awards 2014 could've easily been just a mimicked pageantry. From the start of the show though, it became clear that celebrating local theater has become a must, as it seems poised to grow even bigger. Each nominated company (PETA, Repertory Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino, 9 Works Theatrical, Ballet Philippines, and everyone else!) continue to mature with distinct personalities, creating more diversity for both the audience and the actors, and shaping a stronger identity for Philippine theater.
Bituin Escalante, accepting the award for Female Featured Performance in a Musical (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert)
Carlo Pagunaling, accepting the award for Outstanding Costume Design (Rak of Aegis)
Richardson Yadao, accepting the award for Male Lead Performance in Modern Dance (La Revolucion Filipina)
Recepients of the Natatanging Gawad Buhay! for Lifetime Achievement, Onofre Pagsanghan (for Dulaang Sibol) and Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio (for Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas)
Still, despite differences in style, humility and gratitude became the common denominator during the ceremony. From the jury giving high praise to the pedagogical aspect of theater by honoring Onofre Pagsanghan and Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio to the at once touching and funny speeches by Pepe Herrera (Male Featured Performance in a Musical category) and Carlo Pagunaling (Oustanding Costume Design), the love for the performing arts could not have been any clearer.
Pagunaling, who works off the stage, tearfully said that he wanted to win with dignity, but was just absolutely overwhelmed by the recognition for his work. He had more feelings than he could handle, because he doesn't get the applause from the audience as much as the actors do. What he does is done out of passion for theater and all its little aspects. Frankly, everyone present in the Gawad Buhay Awards seemed to exhibit the same symptoms. We all win in that scenario, but here's a list of the folks who actually went home with a trophy:
Bibeth Orteza, Rafa Siguion-Reyna, and "Armida Siguion-Reyna" presenting the top awards of the night