Siddhartha Musical at the Cultural Center of the Philippines

December 3, 2007.

After the recent successful world premier at the Pacific Ballroom of Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City, SIDDHARTHA, A Musical Journey to Enlightenment, written by multi-awarded songwriter JUDE GITAMONDOC and directed by Out of the Box Training & Productions Artistic Director, DAISY BA-AD, is scheduled to have a restaging at the Cultural Center of The Philippines (CCP) Main Theater, Manila on November 3 and 4, 2007 made possible through the recommendation and approval of the Fo Guang Shan head quarters, and through the collective efforts of the devotees with the Intl. Buddhist Progress Society (IBPS) and the Buddha Light International Association, (BLIA) Manila Chapter as producers of the restaging.

The all Cebuano creative team, cast and BLIA Cebu producers take pride and joy in bringing the play to Manila and look forward to bringing it to the world as there are currently invitations to bring the musical to Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and even New York after having seen the video of the Cebu production and witnessing an excerpt brought live in Taiwan as BLIA Cebu’s birthday gift to Venerable Master Hsing Yun, whose poetry formed a large part of the musical play.

Rehearsals are now in full blast under the helm of Production Manager Michelle Simtoco, Dance Director Marijo Cypril Japora, Dance Masters Micheal Lowel Dohig and Ian Ed Jamilarin, and Technical Director Bob Urpiana, as production numbers are improved, scenes made more intense, audio-video material enhanced, production design adjusted to the CCP Main Theater facilities, to prepare for the restaging which the group is dedicating to Sir Eden Tantiansu, as a way of paying tribute to him who envisioned the musical to be created --- husband of BLIA Cebu incumbent President Susan Tantiansu.

The project is led by BLIA Adviser Ven. Master Chueh Lin, and ably supported by BLIA Vice Presidents Ernesto Chua, Erwin Go, and Gino Yongco, and Treasurer Susan Yap-Tan, who will be accompanying the troupe composed of nearly over 70 young professionals and students coming from different schools, colleges and universities in Cebu all currently undergoing rigorous training for the CCP performance.

Tribute to Sir Eden

September 19,2007, the Out of the Box production team and the cast of Siddhartha joined the mass and gathering ending the nine-day novena for the man who conceived of the idea to produce a musical about Prince Siddhartha, Sir Eden Tantiansu. He's passing may have been sudden but he left a legacy benefiting many particularly, the artists who are part of the production and the audience who have seen the play and will still see the play in Manila come November.

During the gathering at Casino Espanol family and friends spoke about how he pushed to make the musical a reality through Buddha's Light Intl. Association where Eden's wife, Susan, serves as president and Master Chueh Lin as chapter head . Jude Gitamondoc, the playwright and composer of Siddhartha revealed how Sir Eden helped him become involved in BLIA's other projects specifically, the songwrting contest regularly done by the group. It was this contest that paved the way for the creation of the musical where Jude's winning pieces were compiled together with other creations of local composers which were all based in the poetry of Venerable Master Hsing Yun. To complete the musical Jude had to compose new songs and work with Out of The Box artistic director Daisy Ba-ad to bring life to the musicale and the rest, as they say, is history.

The highlights of the gathering included the performance of the song interpreters of this year's winning pieces of Joseph Abella and Jude in the persons of Wendy Prado and Levin Inez who are both members of the Siddhartha cast. Ba-ad, who spontaneously became the emcee of the night, gave some insights on how the play came to be before introducing each number. The audience was thrilled and supportive of the group who represented the musicale in Taiwan composed of BLIA members Ben Chua, Susan Tan and Susan Tantiansu (wife of Eden who did not join the performance for obvious reasons) together with Levin's mother and aunt, Jude and the orignial cast members Wendy, Levin and Benjie Layos. The group was acknowledged for their efforts as their performance in Taiwan was such a success that the scheduled single performance multiplied to 7 performances in 3 different cities and 7 different audiences including the worldwide convention of Buddhist monks.

Joy Benedicto, sir Eden's niece, later revealed in her speech that because of the Taiwan excerpt BLIA Cebu received intvitations for the play to be brought to New York, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan and that the family is indeed overwhelmed by how one man's vision two years ago has now become a legacy touching the lives of people around the world.

The tribute ended with Eden's daughters Edisa and Mysue leading the heartfelt singing of The Noble Path (sir Eden's favorite song in the musicale) where cast members slowly joined in and then segued to the song We are One which summarizes one basic truth that no race, nor culture, nor tradition, nor religion, not even death can deny --- "Let there be “us” We belong and co-exist together No matter where we’re coming from Like sister moon and brother sun We’ll stop the gloom as long as we are one" ---- lines made real during the tribute to the jolly big man who knew how to make dreams come true -- Sir Eden Tantiansu.

Siddhartha Excerpt in Taiwan

Sept. 06, 2007

An excerpt of the Cebu hit musical, Siddhartha, A Musical Journey to Enlightment, was brought to Fo Guang Shan, Taiwan, the main head quarters of Buddha's Light Intl. Association (BLIA), as the Philippine chapter's special gift to venerable master Hsing Yun in celebration of his birthday, who's poetry composed the lyrics of the musical.

Artistic director, Daisy Ba-ad from Out of the Box Training and Productions , accompanied the group who performed before thousands of Buddhist monks and devotees on the 3rd of September. The performance drew the admiration of various cultures and races and paved the way for an additional performance conducted on the same day for a special audience. Another performance was scheduled on the 6th of September during a worlwide conference of Buddhist monks held at the Fo Guang Shan 100 hectar land.

The nine performers of the excerpt composed of three original cast members, the musical director-composer, BLIA Cebu officers and cast relatives effectively carried out the task of sending out the beautiful message of the excerpt. Their exceptional attitude towards work has motivated Ba-ad to decide that the new performers be given a chance to perform at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on November 3 & 4, 2007, much to the delight of the concerned performers with the exception of the musical director, Jude Gitamondoc, who would rather be doing his work backtage. It seemed he was not comfortable with his costume which the group thought made him look more like a member of the seven dwarfs rather than a citizen of India -- a running joke which lessened the tension of the performance

Meantime in Cebu, polishing of the musical's difficult production numbers are being done to prepare for the CCP version of the musical. Adjustments have to be made to adapt to the size of the theater and the modified set design.