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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Metrobank Card Corporation Presents G Töngi in “The Baby Dance” at Century City Mall

June 19, 2014

Metrobank Card Corporation Presents G Töngi in “The Baby Dance” at Century City Mall

Media celebrity G Töngi, newly appointed Artistic Director of Upstart Productions, heads the cast of a dramatic reading of the powerful American play The Baby Dance, brought to you by Metrobank Card Corporation. This one-night-only performance is set for 7:00 pm on Sunday, June 15, 2014 at Century City Mall, and kicks off an entire series of dramatic readings called Upstart Soundstage. No props, no sets, no costumes—just a different play or musical every other Sunday until September 7.

Jane Anderson’s The Baby Dance, the performance of which also doubles as Ms. Töngi’s birthday celebration, is the story of a well-to-do suburban couple and their desire to adopt the unborn child of a poor couple living in a trailer park. Witty and deeply moving, the drama ex-plores the complications and consequences of surrogacy from the first meeting of the contrasting couples to the fateful day of the baby’s birth.

An actress turned playwright, screenwriter, and director, Jane Ander-son has won numerous awards, including an Emmy for writing the 1993 TV movie The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Tex-as Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. Her recent accolades include an Emmy nomination for writing and directing the movie version of The Baby Dance, the script of which she adapted from her own play; a Writer’s Guild of America nomination for her work as a writer on the enormously successful TV series Mad Men; and the screenplays for the 2005 film The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (which she also directed) and the 1994 Nicolas Cage romantic comedy It Could Hap-pen To You.

The Baby Dance was originally produced by The Pasadena Playhouse, State Theatre of California, and then subsequently produced at the Wil-liamstown Theatre Festival. The Manila cast features Ms. Töngi and some of her closest friends in theater, including Upstart founder Joel Trinidad, who also directs the dramatic reading.

“Readings like this are very popular in L.A and New York,” declares Töngi, who has timed her birthday celebration to coincide with the first play in the series. “We want to do the same thing over here.” To that end, Upstart has lined up an impressive array of actors for the project: noted stage and screen personalities Audie Gemora, Noel Trinidad (one of Upstart’s board members), and Töngi herself, along with renowned directors like Anton Juan and Bobby Garcia.

But will Manila audiences take to the concept of stage shows without any staging? Apparently, they already have: Töngi and her partners have conducted quite a few informal readings of this type, and they’ve all been very well-received. Upstart founder Joel Trinidad, Noel’s son, is not at all surprised. “I’ve always loved dramatic readings, “ he shares. “When you take away the sounds and lights and costumes, you force people to really pay attention.” Upstart Managing Director Onyl Torres, who doubles as the company’s Musical Director and Composer, likens the medium to a radio play. “You get the same emotions, the same human drama,” he says. “It’s very powerful.” Töngi concurs: “In our last few readings, people were in tears—the actors and the audi-ence.”

Upstart Soundstage kicks off with Töngi’s birthday celebration: a reading of Jane Anderson’s The Baby Dance, an emotionally charged drama about a suburban couple adopting the unborn baby of a poor couple. Other proposed shows in the series—which will run continuously, every two weeks, in three-month blocks—include Pippin by Stephen Schwartz, Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet, The Sea-gull by Anton Chekov, Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Christopher Hampton, and many others. “A different show every two weeks, at a fraction of the cost of a regular show,” notes Töngi. “Where else can you experience that?”

Metrobank Card Corporation in cooperation with Century City Mall presents Upstart Soundstage: The Dramatic Readings. Starting Sunday, June 15, at 7:00 pm at the Century Plaza Event Center, 5th floor, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati, and playing continuously every other Sunday from then on. Tickets at P300 for plays, P500 for musicals, available at the door. From Upstart Productions.



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