#TheaterPH - REP gives CAROUSEL a radical post-modern contemporary spin!

The best musical of the 20th century, CAROUSEL, will be presented by Repertory Philippines (REP) when it debuts at the Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez within the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex on November 26, 2022. The renowned Broadway musical is reimagined with a daring vision by Toff De Venecia, a first-time director for the REP, underscoring the sublime force of love and hope.

After its initial opening in 1945, CAROUSEL received praise from both critics and audiences. It was written by the renowned partnership of Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics), who together reinvented musical theater and ushered in Broadway's golden age.This production won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical, and was ultimately hailed by Time Magazine as the greatest musical of the 20th century. Its subsequent revivals also won Tony, Olivier, and Drama Desk Awards, a testament to this R&H classic’s timeless and universal appeal. 

The plot of CAROUSEL centers on Billy Bigelow, a swaggering and carefree carnival barker, who marries Julie Jordan, a kind but innocent millworker, after falling in love with her. When Billy finds out Julie is expecting a baby, he is compelled to take part in a theft that goes horribly wrong. Then he is offered another opportunity to put things right. With songs like If I Loved You, June is Bustin' Out All Over, and You'll Never Walk Alone, CAROUSEL is an inspirational story of redemption.

Gian Magdangal, a coveted theatrical leading man, and Karylle Tatlonghari, a singer, actor, and OPM royalty, will lead REP's comeback production. This will be their first time working together on a REP production. The two leads are joined by REP mainstays Loy Martinez and Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante

“It is with great pride that Repertory Philippines is making its return to live theater with a production that is both renowned and beloved. We are all thrilled with how Toff has executed his bold, brave vision of CAROUSEL for the current generation of theatergoers,” says Mindy Perez Rubio, REP president and CEO. “Together with a superb cast, including our wonderful female lead Karylle, whom we are also working with for the first time, I think CAROUSEL will prove to be a fitting and triumphant return to the stage for Repertory Philippines.”

With the same director at the helm, the play was slated to be the highlight of the REP 2020 theatrical season, however CAROUSEL was postponed like all theatrical productions throughout the world. The break provided De Venecia with a welcome chance to reflect, which has further aided the renowned theater company's transformation to more forward-thinking, dynamic, and culturally relevant storytelling under the direction of Artistic Director Liesl Batucan-Del Rosario.

“I am in a liminal state - navigating the romanticism of the best musical of the 20th century and the landmines in the text, reading it from a contemporary 21st century perspective. We had a radical proposition during the 2020 staging, and possibly even a more radical proposition now which we're excited to explore further in rehearsals,” the director says. 

“What did our colleagues go through and experience in their own individual lives in the last two and a half years, and also communally with their families, friends, and the entire community that's just coming together again after being separated for so long. A lot of that will find its way into the show we're preparing for in November.” 

As the production now moves at full speed, the director emphasized that they are navigating new frontiers of theater and exploring the ways they can seamlessly push this Broadway masterpiece into post-pandemic realities and contexts.  

“While this R&H musical is closest to an opera which necessitates its own grandiosity as told through elaborate mise-en-scène or even how the music is orchestrated or how the songs are sung, we push against this idea and explore new ways forward in this post-modern contemporary CAROUSEL that the team is working on,”
De Venecia elaborates. “It's an alchemy of limitations that gives rise to contemporary possibilities.” 

Witness REP's much awaited return to live theater, which will feature no less than a fearless, audacious vision for one of Broadway's magnificent masterpieces. Catch CAROUSEL at the CCP Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez beginning November 26 through December 18.

The CCP Box Office, TicketWorld, and SM Tickets will all sell tickets. Rows 1 and 2 tickets cost 3,000, Rows 3 and 4 tickets cost 2,500, Row 5 tickets cost 1,500, and Row 6 tickets cost 1,000.

Visit www.repertoryphilippines.ph, follow Repertory Philippines on Facebook, and like the page on Instagram for updates. Kindly email sales@repphil.org if you are an educator or a school representative and are interested in the show.


Karylle Tatlonghari as JULIE JORDAN, a quiet young woman who is more complex than she might first appear. Despite warnings from others, she sees something good in Billy and marries him. After a tragedy, she courageously carries and raises their child without him.  

Gian Magdangal as BILLY BIGELOW, a strong and attractive carousel barker at a coastal carnival. Unemployed with a baby on the way, Billy takes an illicit opportunity to provide for his family that leads him to his death. Once in heaven, he gets a second chance to right his wrongs.

Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante as CARRIE PIPPERIDGE, a spirited and complacent young woman. She is sweet and direct, if a bit naïve. She lives at a boardinghouse with her close friend Julie, and is smitten by the ambitious but single-minded Enoch.  

Lorenz “Loy” Martinez as ENOCH SNOW, a warm-hearted, simple-minded fisherman who loves Carrie. His dreams of growing a sardine-canning business, being married, and having many children all come true.

Noel Rayos as JIGGER CRAIGIN, Billy’s seaman friend with an eye for danger and an attraction to Carrie. Often conning to get by, he has little patience and a quick temper, and always with a scheme.

Mia Bolaños as NETTIE FOWLER, a respected owner of a seaside business, she is Julie's cousin and trusted confidant. When Billy can't find work, Nettie gives them a place to stay. Ever supportive, especially when tragedy strikes Julie and her unborn baby.

Gia Gequinto as LOUISE, Billy and Julie’s inquisitive 15-year-old daughter, on the verge of becoming a woman.  

Roxy Aldiosa as MRS. MULLIN, the owner of Mullin's Carousel, which was left to her by her late husband. She likes to keep an eye – and perhaps more – on Billy, not trusting his relationships with anyone else.

Red Nuestro as DAVID BASCOMBE, a dignified man of earned wealth and the owner of the Bascombe Cotton Mill factory, where both Julie and Carrie work.

Paula Paguio, Cara Barredo, Steven Hotchkiss, Roby Malubay, Julio Laforteza, Kyla Rivera-Soong, and Czar Decena complete the cast. 

Toff De Venecia, Director

Former child actor-turned-acclaimed theater director, Toff had his first theater experience through Repertory Philippines’ REP's Theater for Young Audiences (RTYA) before eventually joining Ateneo Blue Repertory in college. He has directed successful theater productions like the musical Dani Girl and the millennial-focused prod No Filter: The Millennial Monologues. He is also now a member of the House of Representatives for the 4th district of Pangasinan, which allows him to create and support bills that will boost the local arts and culture scene. 

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