The season for witches, monsters and the strange

Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

After the success of their first local run in January 2014, Wicked, one of the most beloved Broadway musicals will fly back to Manila on February 2017.

For the uninitiated, Wicked, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin) is based on the 1995 book by Gregory Maguire—Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of West, it is also inspired by the 1939 film classic, The Wizard of Oz and of course the source of it all, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum published in 1900. It is one of the longest running shows on Broadway and has won Tony, Drama Desk and Grammy awards.

I finally got to catch the show at the Gershwin Theater last week, it is entertaining and delightfully subversive—it has elements of girl power and does talk about standing up to fascism. Amidst the outstanding music, set design, costumes, make up and is the story about courage, friendship and staying true to yourself.

Tickets have been on sale via Ticketworld since July.

Ongoing as well in New York City is the 8th Annual H.P. Lovecraft Festival presented by Radiotheater with performances at the Kraineon the Lower East Side. For three weeks—Thursday to Sundays—actors and sound designers stage a “reading” (like hearing a radio drama live) of the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

I attended the performance of The Horror in The Museum and the classic The Call of Cthulu. A chap named Frank Zilinyi (who reminded me of Vincent D’ Onofrio) was absolutely wonderful in both.

There’s so much thriving in art and performance in Manila, I’m wondering if anyone will attempt anything like this. I would love to hear more H.P. Lovecraft readings, I would love for Guillermo del Toro to achieve his dream of making Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness into a movie.

For those of you who want to read Lovecraft, local bookstores should have: H.P. Lovecraft Goes to the Movies: The Classic Stories That Inspired the Classic Horror Films. A five part radio drama entitled At the Mountains of Madness drama is also available at the BBC website.

I’d also love readings of the work of Edgar Allan Poe—it would be perfect for this time of year but for the likes of me, I would enjoy it all year ‘round. For those who want to hear Iggy Pop, Christopher Walken, the late Jeff Buckley, Gabriel Bryne, etc. read from and perform the works of Poe, check out Closed on Account of Rabies.

Finally, Marvel’s latest film Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch opens in Manila next Thursday—eight days ahead of the United States. With all the special effects (some reminiscent of Inception), it looks like it should be best enjoyed on the IMAX.


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