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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Red Turnip Theater Opens New Season With ‘Musical’ Play “33 Variations”

Wazzup Pilipinas!
33 Variations by Moises Kaufman is a musical play about the story of renowned musicologist Katherine Brandt. A mother coming to terms with her daughter. A composer coming to terms with his genius. It is a story of mothers and daughters and the legacies we long to leave behind.

The plot sets a fraught mother-daughter relationship to late music by Beethoven's “Diabelli” Variations, a piano work that riffs daringly and expansively on a seemingly pedestrian waltz written by the Viennese music publisher Anton Diabelli.

It is a sort of cultural-metaphysical detective story somewhere between a biographical psychodrama and a time-traveling, serious playfulness. The play moves between past and present, as Katherine pursues her sleuthing among a collection of manuscripts in the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany.

The play opens on July 24 and runs weekends until August 23 at Whitespace, Makati. Jenny Jamora, theater actress and Red Turnip's Theater co-founder,  also makes her directorial debut here.

Below is the official press release of Red Turnip Theater's new third season opener:

Red Turnip Theater is back for another season! Their splashy debut season gave us the much talked about hits CLOSER and COCK, which was followed up with the critically-acclaimed sophomore season of RABBIT HOLE and last February’s TIME STANDS STILL. All four productions have gone on to reap multiple awards and nominations from the Aliw and BroadwayWorld Philippine Awards, with COCK topping critics’ lists as the Best Play of 2014. True to form, this band of 5 actors (Ana Abad Santos, Topper Fabregas, Jenny Jamora, Cris Villonco, Rem Zamora) promises to push the envelope further as they show another facet to Red Turnip this year.

Opening the Third Season is 33 VARIATIONS by Moisés Kaufman.
33 VARIATIONS tells the story of a renowned musicologist, Katherine Brandt, who is on a mission to discover why Beethoven composed the Diabelli variations, considered as one of his greatest masterpieces. Her daughter, Clara, is on a mission to find her place in her mother's world. Together, they maneuver through Beethoven's colorful life, their own challenging relationship, and somehow find their answers within his music. Shifting between periods and places, 33 VARIATIONS is the story of mothers and daughters and the legacies we long to leave behind.

33 VARIATIONS made its Broadway premiere in 2009, famously marking Jane Fonda’s return to the theater after a 46-year absence in the role of Katherine. It went on to garner several Tony Award nominations, including Best Play and Best Actress for Fonda. It had previously won the Edgerton New American Play Award in 2007 and the Steinberg American Theatre Critics Association Best New Play Award in 2008.

Leading the Manila cast are theater icons Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino and Teroy Guzman. Fresh off her heralded turns in Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Juego de Peligro” and the CinemaOne Original indie “Lorna”, Shamaine steps into the role of Katherine. This is sure to add to her list of memorable performances that already include Queen Elizabeth (“Mary Stuart”), Elizabeth Proctor (“The Crucible”), Masha (“Three Sisters”) and Jocasta (“Oedipus Rex”) just to name a few. 

Teroy Guzman plays Ludwig Van Beethoven. He is most recently known for his King Lear in the PETA adaptation “Haring Lear”, Tiyoy Berning in Tanghalang Ateneo’s “Rite of Passage” and the title role in Anton Juan’s “Screen: Macbeth”. Notorious for shying away from the spotlight, Red Turnip is glad to give Guzman center stage in his return to the contemporary drama.

Theater stalwarts Paolo O’ Hara, Rem Zamora and Roselyn Perez make up the supporting cast. O’Hara (“Hedda Gabler”, “Titus Andronicus”, “Tatlong Mariya”) and Zamora (“The 39 Steps”, “Skin Deep”, “Glorious”), complete the Beethoven flashback scenes as Anton Diabelli and Anton Schindler respectively. Perez (“Equus”, “Frozen”, “The Normal Heart”) is Gertrude Ladenburger, Katherine’s stern and loyal confidante.

Rounding out the cast are fresh faces Ina Fabregas and Franco Chan. Fabregas is Clara, Katherine’s estranged daughter who slowly starts to fall in love with her mother’s male nurse, Mike Clark, played by Chan. 

33 VARIATIONS also marks Red Turnip’s first show to incorporate live music: critical moments in the play are underscored by the Diabelli Variations themselves, played live and on stage by Ejay Yatco (“Sa Wakas”, “Dani Girl”, “The Boy in the Bathroom”). Although he is mostly known as a composer and musical director, the 24 year-old has also competed at the 2013 World Championship of Performing Arts under the Classical Piano category, where he made it to the final 3 instrumentalists of the world and took home one gold and three silver medals. Yatco will be playing the Variations on a baby grand piano, provided by LYRIC.

Jenny Jamora makes her directorial debut.

“We had decided on this show almost two years ago, we knew it was what we had wanted to open the Third Season with. This play has been simmering in my head since then. ’33 Variations’ is such an elegant, intricate piece of work and I am excited by the challenge of bringing it to life. I’ve also surrounded myself with a powerhouse cast and a young, energetic production team. I cannot wait for everyone to see what they’ve all brought to the table. It’s going to be unlike anything you’ve seen from Red Turnip so far.”

33 VARIATIONS opens July 24 and runs weekends until August 23 at Whitespace, Makati.

Tickets are available through TicketWorld (891-9999 or or Red Turnip Theater ( or

Lighting Design / Technical Direction: John Batalla
Set Design: Ed Lacson, Jr.
Costume Design: Raven Ong
Sound Design: Teresa Barrozo
Choreography: PJ Rebullida
Dramaturgy: Mahar Mangahas

33 VARIATIONS is presented in cooperation with Whitespace, Lyric, FILA, and PLDT.

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