Category Archives: Musical

Mamma Mia: The Back Story

Judy Craymer talks of her enthusiasm and love for the theatrical music of  Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus

 A musical of the size and success of MAMMA MIA! doesn’t happen overnight.

As creative producer, my job began long before the script had been written. In fact, the story begins 22 years ago when I first met Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, the song-writing geniuses behind ABBA. I was working for Tim Rice who was collaborating with Benny and Björn on the musical Chess. I was immediately smitten. After all, these were the men who had written ‘Dancing Queen’, one of the greatest pop songs of all time – but it was another of their songs ‘The Winner Takes It All’ that first suggested to me the potential of an original musical using Benny and Björn’s classic compositions. The lyrics tell a roller-coaster story of love and loss: it is extraordinarily theatrical. Continue reading

MAMMA MIA: The World’s No.1 Musical is Coming to the Philippines


The World’s No.1 Musical, MAMMA MIA!, is coming here to the Philippines! Presented in Manila by Infinity, powered by Smart and Citibank, MAMMA MIA! is about real life and backed by a timeless soundtrack hence, appealing to all ages and crossing national boundaries. The story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship. ABBA’s original music composers, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, helped in the development of MAMMA MIA! from the very beginning using the band’s unforgettable chart-topping hits like “Dancing Queen,” “Take A Chance On Me,” and “The Winner Takes It All” in the musical.

With music & lyrics by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, MAMMA MIA! is written by Catherine Johnson, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The production is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce & Bobby Aitken and musical supervision, additional material & arrangements by Martin Koch.

Performances will start on January 24 2012.

Visit the MAMMA MIA! website for more information at: or at


Peter Pan opens September 30

Come and join us on a thrilling musical journey to “ Never Land ” as Sir James Barrie’s classic legend is magically brought to life in the spectacular Asian premiere of “Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure” set to open on September 30, 2011 at the Meralco Theater.

 The legend of Peter Pan has been delighting children for over 100 years. This faithful new version which will be first seen in Asia, promises to be a festive adventure with stunning scenery, show-stopping performances, swashbuckling sword fights, jaw dropping and breath-taking flying scenes.

 Produced by Repertory Philippines and Stages Production Specialists, “Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure” with book by the late Willis Hall and music and lyrics by award-winning duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Broadway’s “Mary Poppins” and “Honk!,” among other works) is a charm f a musical with its ability to generate a real sense of magic and wonder. Continue reading


“Do you wanna have fun? A few laughs ? And a good time ? “


Prepare yourselves as the spirit of the 60’s set in a night club in Manhattan will come to life this coming August as 9 Works Theatrical proudly presents Broadway’s most sensational spectacle and critically-acclaimed dance comedy musical  “SWEET CHARITY.”


Like vintage champagne, “SWEET CHARITY” shall pop its cork to become one of the bubbliest, frothiest and happiest musical treats Manila will experience.


“ SWEET CHARITY ” (book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, and conceived, staged and choreographed by Bob Fosse whose name is synonymous to “ All That Jazz,” and “ Chicago”) is about a taxi dancer’s adventures and misadventures in the ways of love and who always gives her heart, and her earnings, to the wrong man.


“ SWEET CHARITY ” was originally directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse when it premiered on Broadway in 1966. With over 600 performances, the production won the Tony Award for Best Choreography in the same year before opening in London a year later. A 1969 film version starred Shirley MacLaine. A Broadway revival in 2005 featured Christine Applegate.

Giving life to the different characters in “ SWEET CHARITY ” that promises a lot of zip, zest and real energy are a mix of the country’s well-seasoned actors and talented young artists in the field of entertainment and dance.

As the lead character, Charity Hope Valentine is a kooky, feisty, punchy and a bubbly dance hall hostess in New York who has been used and dumped by a succession of distinctly uncharitable men, but who hasn’t stopped hoping for a happy ending. With her “loveable childlike” persona, Charity embodies the hopelessly gullible and sentimental woman who will sing and dance with her dancehall posse.  Audiences can expect the unexpected as she unleashes her dynamite – legs, frills, lipstick, and a performance that will be full of vitality, pathos and verve.

Playing the role of Charity is Nikki Gil, who was an ingénue eight years ago when she first appeared in a soft drink commercial and rose to fame as she honed her talents in song and dance. As a mainstay host and artist of “ASAP Live ” on ABS-CBN, Nikki’s foray into theatre included a lead role as Elle Woods in the local production of the musical “ Legally Blonde ” produced in 2010.

Kris Lawrence plays Oscar Lindquist, a claustrophobic, wimpy nervous man who Charity befriends in a stalled elevator. A neurotic tax accountant by profession, hopefully, he shall give Sweet Charity the love she has longed for. From winning a local singing talent search a few years back, Kris has become one of the young breed of soul artists and has recently released his album “Moments of Love.”  His regular TV show is on GMA-7’s “Party Pilipinas.” Landing a role in “Sweet Charity” is a dream come true.


Shiela Valderrama-Martinez as Nickie, the well-worn dance hostess and Ciara Sotto-Oconer as Helene will play the roles of Sweet Charity’s  closest confidantes at the Fandango Ballroom, a seedy dance hall where they’re employed as unabashed hostesses.


Shiela Valderrama-Martinez, who is one of the leading ladies of Philippine theatre today has appeared in various productions here and abroad which include Hong Kong Disneyland’s “The Golden Mickeys,” “Cinderella”, and 9 Works Theatrical’s hit show, “The Wedding Singer” as Julia Guglia.












Ciara Sotto-Oconer is one of the country’s top-rated artists. Her recent role as Mimi in the 9 Works production of “ RENT ” last February marked her stamp as a stalwart both in acting and dancing.


Sheree Vidal-Bautista plays Carmen, one of Charity’s co-dancers. A TV personality who ventured into the musical theatre scene, her role as Mimi in the recently-concluded rock musical “ RENT ” has proven that indeed, her musical artistry was well-received by the press and audiences alike.


Miguel Faustmann plays Herman, the authoritarian owner of the Fandango Ballroom and Charity’s boss. As Philippine theatre’s well-respected ‘man for all seasons,’ Miguel’s roster of roles he has portrayed for over 20 years in Repertory Philippines’ various productions firmly attests his stature as the ‘consummate artist.’


OJ Mariano plays the dual role of Vittorio Vidal, the charming, egotistical and confident Italian film star Vittorio Vidal; and  Daddy Johann Sebastian Brubeck, the enigmatic leader of the Rhythm of Life Church. Originally a singer and concert performer, OJ’s luck came into a streak when he bagged the coveted role as Tom Collins in “RENT” last Febuary 2010. His highly-acclaimed moving performance prompted 9 Works Theatrical to cast him again for the same role in the re-runs of “RENT” last December 2010 and February 2011.


Tasy Garrucha plays Ursala March, the melodramatic actress and Vittorio’s girlfriend. She is one of the rising stars of Philippine theater with her star turn as Zafira in Dulaang UP’s Orosman at Zafira as well as being a performer in Resorts World’s KAOS.
















Joining the ensemble are a mix and match of seasoned talents as well as up and coming actors in the industry. Notable actresses include Caisa Borromeo who returns to 9 Works Theatrical for this production of Sweet Charity after her critically acclaimed performance in Little Women, singer-actress and Party Pilipinas blocking director Chinie Nepomuceno, and prima dancers Vinia Pamplona and Carmelle Ros as dancehall hostesses opposite Charity, as well as theater veteran Topper Fabregas, Job Bautista who was last seen as Angel in 9 Works Theatrical’s RENT, Francis Matheu, Anthony Tarrosa Ong, Peter Alcedo and Chai Relucio.


The artistic team of “ SWEET CHARITY ” is led by Director Robbie Guevara, Assistant Director Lorenz Martinez, Joseph Tolentino, Musical Director (Band), Mio Infante, Scenographer; Martin Esteva, Lighting Designer;  Mio Infante and Hanna de los Reyes as Costume Designers.


The “ SWEET CHARITY ” production team is composed of: Santi Santamaria, executive producer; Anna Santamaria, company manager; Toff de Venecia, Marketing & PR Director; Toots Tolentino, PR Consultant; Jonjon Martin, PR Manager; Sunshine Domine, Production Manager; and Aries Alcayaga, Stage Manager.


“ SWEET CHARITY ” will open on August 5 and will perform all weekends at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati. A limited number of performances are NOW available for fundraising and block-buying. Please call 557-5860, 586-7105 or 0917-5545560 or email for more info.


“ SWEET CHARITY” is presented by 9 Works Theatrical. Major Partners include The Rockwell Club; and Member’s Only Bar and Lounge as Participating Partner.


“ SWEET CHARITY ” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) 421 West 54th Street, New York, New York 10019 Tel.: (212) 541-4684 •