March 30, 2009


by: Mr. Toots O. Tolentino

9 Works Theatrical, Manila’s newest theatre company proudly presents “Songs for a New World ”, the smash hit Off-Broadway musical at the Carlos P. Romulo Theatre, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue cor. Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City.

The schedule of shows are on May 1, 2, 8, and 9 ( 8:00 p.m. ) and May 10 ( 3:30 p.m. ).

“Songs For A New World” presents life as the way we regroup and figure out how to survive in a new set of circumstances – a new world – even against seemingly overwhelming odds. These are songs about that new world, a world in which the definitions of family, distance, money, technology, the very nature of human contact is changing everyday, a world in which the rules don’t apply as often as they do, a world in which the solutions our parents found don’t work for us, and a world in which today’s answers probably won’t apply tomorrow.

“Songs For A New World” is a brainchild of Tony-Award winning American Musical Theater lyricist and composer Jason Robert Brown. He has been hailed as “one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim” (Philadelphia Inquirer); and The New York Times actually refers to Jason as "a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical”.

Jason Robert Brown’s musical theater hits include “Parade” (1998 Tony Awards - Best Score; Drama Desk Award - Best Music); “The Last Five Years” (2002 Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics, and nominated for Outstanding Orchestrations); “Urban Cowboy” (2003 Tony-Award Nominee for Best Original Score); “Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes” (2005), Brown’s solo debut album; and the latest, “13”, which opened in Broadway in 2008.

Robbie Guevara, a noted theatre actor and director; co-founder, and Artistic Director of 9 Works Theatrical will direct anew this musical after a successful one-night run last August 24, 2008. While originally written as a musical with a montage of songs or a ‘musical revue’, Robbie will have a different take on this material by weaving the songs together in order to come up with a story.

“Songs For A New World” features a handful of the country’s most talented theater actors, who have been practicing and sharing their talents with primary Philippine theater companies such as Repertory Philippines, Trumpets, Stages, Philippine Opera Company, and Atlantis Productions. The cast consists of Felix Rivera, Caisa Borromeo, Anna Santamaria, Harold Cruz, Carla Guevara – Laforteza and Ms. Pinky Marquez.

Felix Rivera (as “Murray” / Sam “Steam Train” Torres) is known to be the “Golden Boy” of the current Philippine Theater industry. From Tanghalang Ateneo’s “Lam-Ang The Musical”, Felix has appeared in “Footloose The Musical”, “Joseph The Dreamer”, “Basilia ng Malolos”, “Orosman at Zafira”, “High School Musical” and “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (as Musical Director), “Avenue Q”, “Fiddler On The Roof”, “Hamlet”, “Altar Boyz” (as vocal coach), “Mulan”, and “A Christmas Carol”. As lyricist, he co-wrote the theme songs for MMFF entries “Aishite Imasu 1942” (Hanggang Wakas, Aishite Imasu) and “Exodus” (Love that Never Fades sung by Sarah Geronimo and Erik Santos).

Carla Guevara-Laforteza (as “Veronica”) has done countless productions under Repertory Philippines such as “Fiddler On The Roof”, “Cinderella”, “Song and Dance”, “Alice In Wonderland”, “Once On This Island”, “Aladdin”, “Company”, and many more. Carla’s other theatre credits include “The Little Mermaid”, “The King and I”, “Avenue Q”, “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Miss Saigon” (London Production) as Kim. On TV, she has been a host and performer in “ASAP”, “Millenium Countdown”, “Munting Paraiso”, “Maalala Mo Kaya”, “Star Drama Presents”, “Star Studio Presents”, “Flames”, “ABS-CBN Christmas Specials”, “S.O.P.”, “Walang Tulugan”, “Dina”, “Keep On Dancing” and “Hiwaga Sa Bundok”. Carla won an award for “Best New Artist For Television” from the Philippine Movie Press Club’s Star Awards 2000.

Caisa Borromeo (as “Lisa”) is a Voice Performance Major at the St. Scholastica’s College of Music. Her theatre credits include “I Love You Because”, “Hairspray”, “West Side Story”, “Footloose”, “Fiddler On The Roof”, “Love’s Labor’s Lost”, “Cinderella”, “Mulan”, “Aladdin”, “Snow White And The Seven Dwarves”, “Merrily We Roll Along” and “Company Call”.

Anna Santamaria (as “Amy”) has appeared in theater productions which include “I Love You Because”, “Mulan”, “Cinderella”, “Fiddler On The Roof” and “A Christmas Carol”. She also starred in Philippine Opera Company’s “Heart and Music”, “The Rhythm of Life”, “Opera Lite: Bar Tour” and “La Boheme”.

Harold Cruz (as “David”) has appeared in various theatre productions like “I Love You Because”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Mulan”, “Cinderella”, “Fiddler On The Roof”, “Aladdin”, “Man of La Mancha”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “Disney’s High School Musical”, “Bat Boy the Musical” and with Philippine Opera Company’s “La Boheme”, “Rhythm of Life”, and “Heart and Music”.

Pinky Marquez (as “Mrs. Claus”) has a successful career in entertainment and the performing arts that is so impressive for its remarkable variety. As a singer, she has one of the best voices around - a strong, clear soprano that is most aurally thrilling when she's hitting the highest notes. This has enabled her to join show bands, perform as one of the most popular "Angfourgettables", do many lounge acts and corporate shows, concerts and star in numerous unforgettable musicals. To name a few, they are “Katy”, “The Sound Of Music”, “Flower Drum Song”, “By George!”, “Beauty And The Beast”, “Little Mermaid”, “Mulan”, “Fiddler On The Roof”, “Cinderella”, “Glorious”, “Romance In D”, and original Filipino musicals like “Noli Me Tangere”, “Balkhita”, “El Filibusterismo”, and “Magnificat”. As a comedienne, she has done a lot of sitcoms, plus a number of movies. Refusing to be limited to making people laugh, Pinky has also acted with distinction in stage dramas like “The Diary Of Anne Frank”, and “Oedipus Rex”. On TV, she had her own cooking show for quite a number of years, aside from many guest stints on musical-variety and drama programs.

The production team of “Songs For A New World” is as follows:
Robbie Guevara (director, set design, projections design), Peachy Atilano (production manager), Dax Carnay (stage manager), Mio Infante (design consultant), Martin Esteva (lighting design), Ceejay Javier (musical director), Felix Rivera (vocal coach), Francis Matheu (choreography), Shelyn Tayanes (marketing), Santi Santamaria (sales), Anna Santamaria (finance), Joselito Tolentino (PR consultant), Jonjon Martin and Carlos Canlas (publicity).

“Songs For A New World” is presented by 9 Works Theatrical and its media partners: Manila Bulletin, Focus Media, Lifestyle Network, SIP Magazine, Circuit Magazine, 24/7 Magazine, ClickTheCity and

For tickets and inquiries, call 9 Works Theatrical at 557-5860 / 0906-331-5961 or visit, or call TicketWorld at tel. 891-9999 or visit


a special press conference was held at the Via Veneto, A.Venue Hotel Suites. i came up so early as i thought that the call time was 11AM. i caught the staff still doing their dry run on the conference and able to meet ms. peachy. but being an early bird isn't so bad. i was able to talk with mr. santi santamaria and robbie guevara, the managing director and artistic director of 9Works Theatrical respectively. mr. santi gave an overview about 9Works in a more intimate and detailed info about his new business venture and we were able to convene more personally.

later on, mr. robbie guevara handed me this brown bag filled with Hershey bags (yipee), chocolates and more chocolates! the treat is so good! thanks too to Hersheys for bringing Songs for a New World. as lunch is served, other guests start to arrive. i saw lhar santiago, as one whom i really familiar with. and i'm able to meet writers and reporters from Woman Today and UNTV. too bad i didn't bring my cards for this. :(

the whole cast was introduced and they sang excerpts from the play. their voices are so good so expect to be really drawn into the performances. and when i had the chance to ask them what song will they offer to the new world, they simply answered the final song. and that's what you're about to know and hear.

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