Int’l theater stars seek support for local showsBy Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
As the hit musical “The Phantom of the Opera” winds up its Philippine run this Sunday, theater stalwarts Isay Alvarez and Robert Seña appealed to theater enthusiasts and corporate sponsors to likewise support local productions.
The couple—both of whom have starred in theater productions abroad—called on the theatergoing public to equally patronize the revival staging of the local musical “Katy!” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in January 2013.
Alvarez and Seña lamented the lack of sponsorship for local shows and reiterated their support for local artists’ campaign to impose proper dues on foreign acts.
“I have no qualms about foreign acts coming here,” stressed Alvarez, lead star of “Katy.” “The problem lies Filipinos thinking that anything foreign is better than local shows.”
The sad truth is, Alvarez said, a big chunk of sponsorship money from local corporations would often go to foreign productions. “This is what pains me the most—they give P5-P10 million to a foreign show, but we can’t ask P100,000 or even P50,000 for a local project!”
She pleaded: “Just give us 10 percent of what you’re giving foreign shows and we’ll be happy.”
Alvarez said a Filipino production could afford only 12 to 15 shows at the most. “If we don’t support local works, they will no longer have second or third runs,” she added.
She further noted that producers of foreign musicals charge as much as P8,000 per ticket; VIP tickets for concerts featuring a foreign singer could sell for over P10,000.
Ticket prices for local productions are much lower, Alvarez said. “You could watch a good show by Peta (Philippine Educational Theater Association) or at the CCP for P500. There are also discounted tickets for students, from P150 to P200.”
“I have no trouble with [foreign artists] coming over,” said Seña. “There are those of us who even go abroad to learn something new from musicals produced elsewhere. I’m just scared that we might lose our identity because of what’s happening now.”
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