“He is my new Rene Requiestas!” Regal Matriarch Lily Monteverde was eyeing Pepe Herrera from the sidelines during the recent presscon that formally introduced Pepe as the newest Regal Baby, paired with Ritz Azul in The Hopeful Romantic, his first starring movie directed by Topel Lee. Mother Lily was referring to the late comedian whom Regal recruited from theater and cast in a wacky comedy called Pido Dida that had a sequel before Rene hit it big(ger) as Joey de Leon’s sidekick in a series of Tarzan-inspired flicks. That was more than 25 years ago when perhaps Pepe was just a baby. “I have a feeling that Pepe will make it,” Mother Lily told movie writers standing beside her. With his bushy moustache and a bit more, Pepe does look like Rene, dubbed at that time as an “unlikely leading man,” the same tag attached to Empoy Marquez when he was paired with Alessandra de Rossi in Kita Kita that stunned the industry when it became a huge hit (grossing … [Read more...] about Is Pepe Herrera the millennial Rene Requiestas?
Second city conservatory
By Carly Maga Theatre Critic Tues., April 24, 2018 When Dennis Garnhum began his new job as artistic director of the Grand Theatre in London, Ont., he looked at the staff bulletin board in the administration offices and stripped it down. Once a mosaic of union notices and facility schedules and out-of-date baby photos, the board — about 6 metres wide and 2.5 metres tall — is now dedicated to one unified message. In red and white, the colours of the Grand’s logo, it reads “World Curious, London Proud.” The phrase is the new leader’s motto, one he mentions again and again in conversation, both with intention and seemingly by accident — evidently a charming salesman who can stay on message, Garnhum’s enthusiasm is endearingly genuine. After 11 years running Theatre Calgary, leaving a legacy of national and international partnerships and world premieres (like the musical of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The … [Read more...] about Grand Theatre artistic director Dennis Garnhum keeps going bigger and better
By Christopher Hume Star Columnist Mon., April 23, 2018 In Toronto, where many confuse public space with empty space, the temptation is to fill it. Whether that’s with objects or programs doesn’t matter, just as long as there’s lots to do and money-making opportunities are maximized. North York’s Mel Lastman Square is a good example. This busy little place takes a one-of-everything approach to space. It includes a mini-amphitheatre, a wedding chapel, a waterfall, a skating rink/reflecting pool and a garden court, as well as a ceremonial entry to the former North York City Hall. The result is a facility that feels hopelessly cluttered and confused. Yonge-Dundas Square is another instance. Since it opened in 2002, the would-be piazza has been crammed so full of stuff that one of its designers, Toronto architect Kim Storey, recently declared it “extraordinarily ugly.” Yonge-Dundas, conceived by the pre-amalgamation City of … [Read more...] about ROM takes community engagement to the street
By John Terauds Special to the Star Thu., March 15, 2018 Concerts focus on the music. That observation seemed ridiculously obvious until an encounter on Wednesday night with Tafelmusik Orchestra’s J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation, which included the means of making the music happen within its charmed mandate. This is the second Toronto outing for this multimedia program conceived by longtime Tafelmusik bassist Alison Mackay three years ago. Like several of the pieces in its growing roster of themed concerts, The Circle of Creation includes a large video projection behind the musicians, who play from memory, as well as a limited amount of movement around the stage. There is a narrator, also working off-book. Freed from the constraints of music stands and enlivened by the need to tell a broader story, Tafelmusik’s period-instrument-playing string, woodwind and harpsichord-playing musicians delivered lively, engaging performances. Having a full, … [Read more...] about Tafelmusik completes Bach’s charmed circle
By John Terauds Special to the Star Tues., Feb. 27, 2018 The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is playing it safe with its 2018-19 season. It would be unrealistic to expect anything different from an organization that is in search of both a new music director and CEO. Former CEO Jeff Melanson promised a radical transformation of the now 96-year-old TSO. But that went out the door with Melanson two years ago. Instead, longtime music director emeritus Sir Andrew Davis, in his new capacity as interim artistic director, has presented a traditional season of classical concerts interspersed with all-ages programming and pops offerings curated by principal pops conductor Steven Reineke. This sort of symphonic concert mix has changed little over at least three generations. The classical concert highlights at Roy Thomson Hall include return engagements by Canadians who are international stars. This includes pianists Jan Lisiecki (June 5, 6 and 8, 2019) and Louis Lortie … [Read more...] about Toronto Symphony plays safe as it unveils its 2018/19 season