STEPPING OUT THE MUSICAL is Repertory Philippines’ latest production and it is about 8 disparate individuals with just as disparate motivations who decide to step out of their comfort zones and take a weekly tap dance class under a has-been professional dancer and a critical, crotchety pianist.
This funny and touching musical follows their flubs and failures as they develop their dance skills, form strong bonds of friendship and grow into confident performers. From April 1-24 at the Onstage in Greenbelt 1, discover this good-natured musical comedy, STEPPING OUT THE MUSICAL written by Richard Harris. It chronicles several months in the life of a “beginners” tap dance class in a dingy hall, featuring eight misfit students who have their own reason for joining. At first, treating the class as a “social occasion”, and showing little coordination, they somehow develop a level of skill and cohesiveness.
The play is not much different from what the cast of STEPPING OUT THE MUSICAL had to go through themselves. Each in his or her turn has had to step out of themselves to become the unique individuals and accomplished performers they are now.
Cara Barredo (Lynne) and David Shawn Delgado (Sylvia) grew up in the theater – watching their mothers, sisters, aunts and friends perform on stage. Actually getting up and performing on stage took some doing though. Cara “stepped out” when she was only seven years old to play a little boy, Tiny Tim, in Rep’s “Scrooge.” She admittedly agreed to do it so she could buy more Archie comic books then but Cara has since become one of the most gifted and dedicated young actresses around. David Shawn, or B, as she is fondly called, auditioned for a part only after seven years of workshops with Rep. She made the cut and has been doing theater ever since as a regular in Rep’s Children’s Theater, Theater Down South and Resorts World productions.
Bituin Escalante (Rose) is known for her powerful voice, her enigmatic stage presence and her ability to play anything from purple goblin to kangaroo to evil stepmother to a superhero’s love interest with ease. She never seems to be afraid to push her boundaries. Doing “Dreamgirls,” however, did stretch her limits. The songs were completely out of her range and she had no alternate or understudy but she did it and did it very well indeed.
Natalie Everett (Dorothy) claims that she lacks the confidence to speak in public and that doing theater is totally out of her comfort zone. That is hard to believe since she has racked up quite an impressive resume that includes 10 years in the London, Manila, Asian Tour, UK Nationals, and UK Tam Tour of “Miss Saigon.” That makes her a master at stepping out!
Sarah Facuri (Sylvia) was taking a summer acting workshop when her teacher encouraged her to audition for Resorts World’s “Sound of Music.” At this point, she had no plans of pursuing a career in professional theater but she went anyway mainly because many of her friends were also auditioning. She was cast in the show and the scared rookie is now slowly evolving into an actress to be reckoned with.
Christine Flores (Andy) steps out every time she has to audition, too. She finds them incredibly nerve wracking and they bring all her fears and insecurity to the forefront. Thankfully, Christine overcame those fears because she would otherwise not have been cast in Rep’s “Miong,” the musical that launched her career in theater. Despite taking a 5 year break to work abroad then raise a family, she has now returned to the stage full force.
Sheila Francisco (Mrs. Fraser) is now recognized for her many brilliant turns in musical theater including her much vaunted Bloody Mary in the Royal National Theater’s production of SOUTH PACIFIC. Once upon a time though, she was a high ranking executive at a production company who thankfully chucked her corporate persona and stepped out into a life in theater. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Angela Padilla (Mavis) always seems to be asked to step out as she has time and again been thrown into the deep end at very nearly the last minute – taking the lead role in New Voice Company’s “Aspects of Love” with only a day’s notice or as an 11th hour replacement for the role of the tap dance teacher in this production. Each time, she has not only taken everything in stride, she has reveled in “the thrill of the challenge.”
Though many years have passed since Rep last produced “A Chorus line,” EJ Villacorta (Maxine) is still known for her rendition of “Dance: 10; Looks: 3” more popularly known as “Tits and Ass.” To think she was a full time Psychometrician at the International School when she performed that role! After several other memorable parts, she went on a prolonged hiatus from theater – performing in lounges both here and abroad, teaching speed reading, doing charity work and playing golf! Now EJ steps out to keep up with the verve and energy of the younger cast members and struts her stuff on stage once again – the first time after 27 years!
Many moons ago, Joy Virata (Vera) stepped out of her cushy role as wife to a financial bigwig and mother to three adolescents to take a role in a Repertory Philippines production. Now loudly and proudly 80, she has an impressive acting resume including over 150 productions, is Artistic Director of Rep, is the brains behind its highly successful Children’s Theater arm and is hoofing it once again in this musical.
Raymund Concepcion (Geoffrey) had already been doing theater since the 1980’s – mostly Prime Ministers, distinguished gentlemen, mature romantic leads, father figures and wizards – when he stepped out in a big way. He shed more than ten kilos, learned to walk in high heels and wear shapely women’s clothing to play the classy but feisty transsexual Bernadette Bassinger in “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.” Raymund nailed the part and is now confident he can face any and all acting challenges set before him.
Regardless of how each of these actors has stepped out in the past, all the cast members of STEPPING OUT THE MUSICAL have risen to the biggest challenge of all — to do what some of them had not done in a long time and most of them had never done at all – tap dancing! Like the characters in the play, they each give their all as they learn and/or relearn the dance form, going from diffident to confident as they step out in style!
Although Director Jaime del Mundo and Musical Director E.J. Yatco do not leave their comfort zones for this production, they use their combined experience and expertise to ensure that STEPPING OUT THE MUSICAL is truly spectacular!
STEPPING OUT THE MUSICAL plays at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1 on Paseo de Roxas from April 1 to 24 on Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 3:30 pm and 8:00 pm and Sundays at 3:30 pm. For this delightful season, on a Saturday Matinee, bring a friend who has never been to the theater before, and your friend comes in at 50% off!
Tickets are available at TicketWorld at 891-9999 or by calling the REP office at 843-3570 during office hours. For more information visit the REP website at www.repertoryphiippines.ph. #RepPhilsSteppingOut #SteppingOutInStyle #BringAFriendToTheTheater #MakeTheaterAHabit.