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GEAR-UP for a high-octane, adrenaline-pumping action-adventure for the whole family as Star Cinema releases Kung Fu Yoga starring legendary Asian action superstar Jackie Chan.

Directed by renowned Hong Kong film director, producer, action choreographer, screenwriter, and philanthropist Stanley Tong, who first directed Jackie Chan in Police Story 3: Super Cop in 1992, Kung Fu Yoga marks the much-awaited reunion between Chan and Tong since their mega-blockbuster collaboration in Chinese Zodiac 12 (CZ12) back in 2012.

Kung Fu Yoga is centered on the exploits of Chinese archeology professor Jack (Chan) who teams up with beautiful Indian professor Ashmita and assistant Kyra to locate lost Magadha treasure. The team travel across Asia, Europe and the Middle East as they dodge one obstacle after the other until they are ultimately led to a remote mountain temple in India where they will use a rare diamond as a key to unlock the real treasure that will culminate their quest.

During their Dubai press conference, director Stanley Tong revealed that they employed 70 super sports car during the car chase in the streets of Dubai, amounting to US $30M. The said scenes feature luxury brands including Bugatti Veyron, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Ferrari.

It is also director Tong who has always been interested to India’s culture. He integrated traditional Indian magic tricks, including the rope trick and the levitation into the action choreography.

A scene in Iceland made Jackie Chan dived into the water beneath the ice cave,he then stayed underwater for hours at a sub-zero temperature to achieve the best effect of the scene.

With an illustrious career that spans more than five decades, Chan was honored by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences an honorary Oscar for his extraordinary achievements in film at the 8th Annual Governors Awards ceremony last November 2016 and Kung Fu Yoga marks his very first full-length feature film this 2017.

The movie features an international cast that highlights some of Asia’s most talented and accomplished actors led by Hong Kong actor and singer Aarif Rahman, who was catapulted to stardom after winning Best New Performer and Best Original Song at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards in 2010, for his superb performance in the critically acclaimed drama Echoes Of The Rainbow; and three of Bollywood’s biggest stars: Amyra Dastur, who is considered today as the fresh face of Bollywood; former Indian beauty queen and now rising Bollywood star Disha Patani; and character actor Sonu Sood. Who is a household name in India who has done 70 movies, Chinese multi-media star and Korean pop band “EXO” member Zhang Yixing and China’s “Most Beautiful Yoga Instructor” Mu Qi Mi Ya are also featured in the movie in unforgettable supporting roles.

Follow the journey Jack and his incredible team and discover what dangers and treasures await them in this gargantuan action movie that will open 2017.

Kung Fu Yoga hits Philippine cinemas nationwide starting Feb. 1.

*Text and photos from Star Cinema PR

Kung Fu Yoga Hits Philippines Cinemas Feb. 1

Love enters the auspices of both unity and diversity as it circles around the Christian and Islamic faith where loyalty to one's family and way of life will be tested

Opens on January 25

Production Company: Gold Barn international

Genre: Action-Drama

Written and directed by: Baby R. Nebrida

Cast: Matteo Guidicelli, Christopher de Leon, Gabby Concepcion, Dina Bonnevie, Sandy Andolong, Joem Bascon, Ivan Carapiet, Jerico Estregan, and Alex Godinez


> Alex Godinez is the ex-girlfriend of Matteo and she's also a theater actress, having appeared last in 
Nineworks Theatrical's American Idiot as Heather, one of the leads' love interest.
> Jericho Rosales and Jasmine Curtis-Smith were originally announced to headline the movie.
> The film was shot in both Luzon and Mindanao, including Tawi-Tawi.


FILM IN FOCUS: Across the Crescent Moon

Text and Photos by Mark Anthony Cabrera

Every color is important. Every hue plays a role in turning the bland to beautiful. That’s the exact message of Artist Playground’s Ang Kinang ni Kahlim. Topbilled by Paul Jake Paule as Kahlim, the play tackles the journey of colors in making the world even more beautiful. White, yellow, red and blue were all tasked to color the world, but Kahlim, who represents black, was left with nothing to do because the other colors feel he’s not good enough in almost everything. The message of the play resonated not only to the kids but to adults as well. 

While the play centers on colors and caters to mostly kids (as this is a children’s play), it brings us a warm message that every color is vital and has an importance in this world. Directed by Roeder Camañag, Artist Playground’s Ang Kinang ni Kahlim was shown at the Globe Auditorium of the Maybank Performing Arts Theater last January 15, 2017 as part of the BGC Arts Festival. 


Ephesus Teatron Group, Inc.  is all set to transport all of us to a magical world of musical theater as it proudly kicks off its first production for 2017 with “ONCE UPON A MATTRESS” at the Tanghalang Yaman Lahi Theater, Emilio Aguinaldo College located at 1221 Gen. Luna St. Ermita, Manila.

The schedule of performances are as follows: Jan. 20 – 22 (Fri. – Sun.) at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm.

“Once Upon a Mattress” is from the Book by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer and Dean Fuller. Music by Mary Rodgers. Lyrics by Marshall Barer. (Based on the story The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen.)

The original 1959 Broadway production featured the debut of stage and TV personality Carol Burnett, and received two Tony Award nominations for Best Musical and Best Leading Actress. A 1960 London production was produced together with an originalcast album recording. In 1996, Sarah Jessica Parker stepped into the leading role in a Broadway revival production together with Jane Krakowski which was nominated for the 1997 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. An Off-Broadway production had a limited run last January 2016. Adaptations for television were aired in the US in 1964, 1972, and lastly in 2005.

Due to an unhappy curse, King Sextimus is unable to speak. Meanwhile, his terror-of-a-wife, Queen Aggravain, has taken over control of the kingdom. Most importantly, in an attempt to keep Prince Dauntless single, she has decreed that only the princess that can pass her test may marry her son. Further, no one else in the kingdom may marry until Prince Dauntless does. Lady Larken and Sir Harry are extremely disturbed by this fact since Lady Larken is now pregnant with Sir Harry's baby. Luckily, Sir Harry is able to find an amazing princess, Winnifred the Woebegone. She instantly catches the attention of Prince Dauntless, and in the end, is able to pass the Queen's supposedly impassable sensitivity test. When the Queen still tries to prevent the Prince Dauntless from marrying, he tells her to 'shut up' which ends up breaking the curse on the king. Now able to speak, King Sextimus regains his rightful position as leader of the kingdom, and all is well.

For the Manila production, “Once Upon a Mattress” will be directed by Steven Conde who recently megged critically-acclaimed plays “Suicidal, Incorporated” and “Dog Sees God” for Twin Bill Theater. 

“Once Upon a Mattress” is a silly, sassy, and a funny modern fairy tale musical with many amusing moments bursting at the seams featuring an assemblage of first-rate pros loaded with showbiz pizzazz and comic artistry from the Philippine theater industry.

Carla Guevara-Laforteza and Cara Barredo shall alternately play the role of Princess Winnifred the Woebegone. She is a feisty, outspoken, independent, strong, optimistic, and free-thinking princess from the swamp lands. She isn’t too good with manners. She wants to get married, but must go through the queen's unfair test as well. The Prince, naturally, falls madly in love with her.

Niño Alejandro will play the role of Prince Dauntless. A nice, not too smart, everyday type of young Prince who desperately wants to get married, but is prevented by his mother's strict tests that she gives to all potential candidates.  

Hans Eckstein and Chino Veguillas shall alternately play the role of Sir Harry. He is the Queen’s Champion-in-Arms - the Lancelot of Knights - the macho, slightly egotistical, brave, romantic knight who decides to leave the kingdom to search for a princess, and finds Princess Winnifred in the swamp.  Easily jealous, but loves Lady Larken with all his heart. Harry cannot marry Lady Larken until Prince Dauntless has found a suitable bride.

Milay Guinid will essay the role of Queen Aggravain. The loud, talkative woman who really rules the country.  She is an overprotective, stubborn, sly Mom who is trying to keep her son, Prince Dauntless, from getting married.

Raymund Concepcion will play the role of King Sextimus. A kind, expressive, playful, and comedic character who is silent due to a curse placed upon him by a witch before the birth of Dauntless. He likes to chase girls through the corridors of the castle.  

Arion Sanchez and Chino Veguillas will alternately play the role of Minstrel. The handsome narrator of the story, as well as in the musical story line. He becomes smitten with Lady Larken and tries to persuade her to flee to Normandy with him. He and the Jester join forces to stop the Queen's plans.

Steven Hotchkiss plays the role of the Jester. An energetic and peppy man who is the King's right-hand man and assists him with every endeavor. The Jester also plots with the Minstrel to spoil the Queen's plans.

Onyl Torres  and Alex Dagalea shall alternately play the role of the Wizard. The egotistical, ex-performer who directly serves the Queen.  He is the Queen’s Henchman and thinks of all the Princess’ tests. He prides himself in his position and basically obeys all of the Queen’s orders.

Yanah Laurel and Jill Ita-as alternately essays the role of Lady Larken. She is the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting but is put in charge of Princess Winnifred. She is madly in love with Sir Harry and desperately wants to marry him because she is pregnant with his baby. She tries to flee the Kingdom after having an argument with Sir Harry, but is convinced by Winnifred to reunite with him.

Sweet Samaniego- Buchanan plays the role of Princess No. 12. She is the first Princess that the audience sees who is performing the rounds of tests. Very eager, smart, thinks well on her feet – of course the Prince wants to marry her.  

The Ladies-in-Waiting and Knights and are all waiting for the Prince to get married so that theycan get married to each other.  These are character roles and are not just part of the chorus.

The Queen’s Ladies-in-waiting will be played by Sweet Samaniego- Buchanan, Ayam Eckstein, Tina Macaraeg, Jill Ita-as, Mica Fajardo, Meggy Katigbak, Nicole Herrera, and Ash Factor.        
The knightswill be played byVincent Kevin Pajara, Josh Cabiladas, Gry Gimena, Edrei Tan, Arion Sanchez, and Alex Dagalea.

The artistic team of “ONCE UPON A MATTRESS” are as follows: Steven Conde (Director); Sweet Samaniego – Buchanan (Artistic Director), Pipo Cifra (Musical Arranger); Joseph Matheu (Light Designer); Stephen Viñas (Choreographer); and Kayla Teodoro(Costume/Set Designer).

The production team is composed of the following: Sweet Samaniego – Buchanan, Danielle B. Eckstein, Vincent Kevin Pajara(Production Managers); Mary Joyce Tejero(Stage Manager); Toots Tolentino (Publicist); Roman Arambala(Assistant Stage Manager).

Ephesus Teatron Group, Inc. has Board of Directors composed of Gerry Buchanan (Chairman); Sweet Samaniego-Buchanan (President and Artistic Director), Emmanuel S. Martinez (Corporate Secretary and Company Manager).

For tickets and inquiries, call Ticketworld at 8919999; tel. nos.632-1330 and 646-9330 or visit http://ephesusteatron.com; email: sweetbutler@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ephesusteatrongroupinc.

Press release by: Toots Tolentino

Cherie Gil as Masha

Highly-acclaimed stage and television actress Cherie Gil leads the cast of Repertory Philippines, more popularly known as REP’s first offering for its 2017 season, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

REP starts off its 50th year line-up with a biting comedy which runs from January 20 to February 12 at the OnStage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati City.

Awarded as Best Play during the 2013 Tony Awards, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spikeis a witty piece of writing by Christopher Durang that cleverly mixes in Russian playwright Anton Chekov’s characters in what a New York Times reviewer called “a sunny play about gloomy people.” Fear not if you haven’t read a word from Chekov, because this quirky comedy of manners is meant to be relatable to any audience.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike tells the story of three siblings – named after Chekhov characters by their academic parents, and who are all living their namesakes’ unhappiness. The character of Vanya is played by REP veteran theater actor and director Michael Williams, while Philstage Gawad Buhay awardee Roselyn Perez takes on the role of Vanya’s sister Sonia.

Roselyn Perez as Sonia

These two siblings have never left the confines of their childhood home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Bitterly they complain about their uneventful lives, lost dreams and missed opportunities while they witness the glamorous escapades of their more successful movie star sister, Masha, played by Cherie Gil.

As the siblings’ fortune-telling maid, Cassandra (note the reference to the Greek princess who had the gift of prophecy, and a matching curse of no one believing in her), starts prophesying impending dangers, Masha arrives to visit one weekend while toting her new sexy boy toy Spike played by Joaquin Valdes.

The normally quiet household is thrown into one rollicking weekend full of lust, rivalry, regret, and the possibility of escape.

REP’s own version is definitely something to look forward to with veteran actor and director Bart Guingona directing the production. The cast also includes REP veterans Naths Everett as Cassandra and Mica Pineda as Nina. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will make you laugh out loud at the same time think about the toils and troubles of life.

Veteran actor and director Bart Guingona

Catch REP’s first offering for the season which runs from January 20 to February 12 at the OnStage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati City as the company opens the curtains for its 50th anniversary.

For inquiries, you may call REP at 843.3570, and Ticketworld at 891.999 or log on to www.ticketworld.com.ph.

For updates and show schedules, log on to www.repertoryphilippines.ph, like and follow repertoryphilippines on Facebook and Instagram, and follow @repphils on Twitter. 

Official poster

Cherie Gil headlines REP’s 2017 season opener Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Doy del Mundo's "PEPOT ARTISTA" and Florida Bautista's "SAAN NAGTATAGO SI HAPPINESS?" are the first two films to be screened this year at the CCP Arthouse Cinema! Watch them for free on January 12, Thursday, at Tanghalang Manuel Conde (CCP Dream Theater). See you there! 

Free Screenings of Pepot Artista and Saan Nagtatago si Happiness on January 12


     Twin Bill Theater (TBT) is staging Suicide, Incorporated, a well-reviewed dark comedy written by Andrew Hinderaker about a company that writes suicide letters for its clients. The group is tackling the morbid subject matter not just because it is challenging “the taboo that is attached to suicide in the Philippines”, but also to allow audiences to explore the related topics that surround it. The show’s directed by Steven Conde and stars Hans Eckstein and Jeremy Domingo. It had a regular run last July 2016 and it will have a special staging on Jan. 15, 2pm, at the Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Theater, as part of the BGC Arts Center Festival.

     Aliw Awards’ 2016 Best Non-Musical Production, Happiness is a Pearl, an original play penned by Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature Hall of Famer Rody Vera. It’s produced by Artist Playground, a new theater company like TBT. The play revolves around Kenji, Maria, and Mari, whose lives are intertwined because of their struggles in finding the true meaning of love and happiness. It features Ruth Alferez, Tomas Miranda and The Players, Artist Playground’s very own group of artists. This one-act piece directed by Paul Jake Paule ran last June 2016 and will go onstage for one show at the Zobel De Ayala Recital Hall, located at the second floor of the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, on Jan. 14, 1pm.

 The BGC Arts Center is the centerpiece of BGC’s Cultural District. A project of the non-profit, Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc., it is the first and only stand-alone theater established through private donations. It is dedicated to providing a cultural and educational experience that will inspire the public to explore their creative side and embrace Filipino artistry. A collaboration by award-winning architects and designers, the BGC Arts Center is composed of the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, the Alveo Central Plaza, and the Sun Life Amphitheater.

Aside from the abovementioned productions, there are other shows from different performing arts companies. Below is the full schedule:

Pinnochio - Kids Act Philippines Inc. - Jan. 14 - 9am - Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Center

Happiness is a Pearl - Artist Playground - Jan. 14 - 1pm -  Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, Maybank Performing Arts Center

STEPS Dance Studio Showcase - Jan. 14 - 2pm - Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Center

La Voix Humane - MusicArtes, Inc. - Jan. 14 - 6pm - - Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, Maybank Performing Arts Center

Kung Paano Maghiwalay & Entropy - Egg Theater Co.- Jan. 14 - 8pm -  Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, Maybank Performing Arts Center

Katips - Philippine Stagers Foundation - Jan. 14 - 8pm - Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Center

Ang Kinang ni Kahlim - Artist Playground - Jan. 15 - 9am and 10:30am - Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Center

Suicide Inc. - Twin Bill Theater - Jan. 15 - 2pm - Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Center

STEPS Dance Studio Showcase - Jan. 15 - 3pm - Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, Maybank Performing Arts Center

Opera Gala - Musicartes, Inc. - Jan. 15 - 5pm - Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Center

SPIT Señor! - Jan. 15 - 7pm - Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, Maybank Performing Arts Center

        For ticket inquiries, you may contact Ticketworld at 891-9999. Prices range from 200php up. You may visit the Facebook events page as well for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/340486346331539.

Suicide Inc. and Happiness is a Pearl Go Onstage Again This Jan. 14 and 15

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