MANILA, Philippines—Performing artists Sheila Francisco, Michael Williams and Bituin Escalante headline in “Triple Threats: Leading Men and Women of Philippine Musical Theater” from August to October 2014 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater) at 7:30 pm. This event comes after the successful series run in 2013 that featured Nonie Buencamino, Audie Gemora and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo.
“Triple Threats: Leading Men and Women of Philippine Musical Theater” is a series of solo concerts featuring the stalwarts of Philippine Musical Theater. Each concert is an intimate evening of beautiful music, personally selected by the artists themselves, from their vast repertoire of favorite songs from Broadway, West End, original Filipino musicals and the movies.
Dubbed as a series of “concept concerts”, the narrative of the performance is dictated by the song choices. It is a rare opportunity for the audience to see a different facet of the acclaimed theater, television and film artist being featured. The definition of a “triple threat” is someone in a particular field who exhibits the three skills that are necessary to excel—can act, can sing and can dance.
Opening the series on August 21, 2014 is acclaimed stage actress Sheila Francisco in her first solo concert entitled “Once in a Lifetime”. She was handpicked by no less than Sir Trevor Nunn to play Bloody Mary in the Royal National Theatre’s production of “South Pacific” in 2002.
She is the first Filipino to perform in the prestigious Olivier Theatre to rave reviews. After five years, Sheila reprised her role as Bloody Mary in UK Productions’ “South Pacific” (UK tour). In the last four years, she starred in Singapore’s most successful musicals: “Forbidden City – Portrait of an Empress”, “Twist of Fate” and “Snow Queen”. Sheila has performed in Japan, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Malaysia and Brunei.
Back in Manila she did Mother Abbess in “Sound of Music”, Dolores in “Rivalry” and the wacky Flora in “No Way to Treat a Lady”. In 2013, she played the role of The Queen in Resorts World’s production of “Cinderella”. She also starred in Repertory Philippines’s production of “August: Osage County” under the direction of Chris Millado.
Not to be missed on September 18 is the second concert of the series featuring Michael Williams. Michael is a veteran actor of Repertory Philippines and has performed in its productions for the past ten years. He started in the chorus of “Woman of the Year”, 1984, then played a supporting role in “The French Have A Word For It”. Since then, he has played lead roles in such productions as “La Cage Aux Folles”, “Pirates of Penzance”, “Broadway Bound”, and “Yankee Pankee ‘98”. In 1989, he landed a part in “Miss Saigon”, playing the role of Lun Tha in the London revival of “The King and I”.
He performed in the Repertory Production of “Les Miserables”, where he alternated between the roles of Javert and Marius, as well as in other theater productions including “Zorba”, “Moose Murders”, “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Man of La Mancha”, “Gigi”, “I Hate Hamlet”, “The Lion Winter”, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”, “Fool’s Mandrogola”, “A Doll’s House”, “Florante at Laura”, and “Once on This Island”. Recently, he was cast in one of the lead roles in Resorts World’s production of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”.
Capping the series on October 9 is “Everything in Bituin” with singer-actress Bituin Escalante. She first gained popularity during the 2000 Metropop Song Festival with her interpretation of the song “Paano Na” written by Arnold Reyes making the song the festival’s second prize winner.
With a wowed audience on her first singing appearance, Bituin rose to diva stardom and secured her spot as one of the Philippines’ best female vocals during the 2002 Himig Handog Music Love Song Festival with her interpretation of “Kung Ako na Lang Sana”, the grand prize winner.
As a theater artist, she has performed in “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Columbia), “Seussical” (Sour Kangaroo), “Death and The Maiden” (Paulina Salas Escobar), “ThreePennyOpera” (Jenny Diver ), “Once On This Island” (Asaka), “RENT” (Seasons of Love Soloist, Joanne Jefferson, Mimi Marquez) and “Dreamgirls” (Effie White) to name a few. She just finished the theatrical run of Resorts World’s production of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”.
She has also shared the stage with world renowned artists Spiral Staircase, Jim Brickman, David Benoit and the legendary Michel Legrand.
“Triple Treats: Leading Men and Women in Philippine Musical Theater” is presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Subscriptions to the three concerts are available at P2,500 and P2,000. Individual concert tickets are P1,000 and P800. The following standard discounts apply: 50% for students (only for the P2,000 subscription and P800 individual tickets), 20% for Senior Citizen, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Military and Government Officials. All performances begin at 7:30pm at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater).