THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG's Joseph Tolentino, musical director/conductor, and Gemini Quintos, choreographer (photo by Dale Bacar)
By Jude Cartalaba
Manila, Philippines, February 13, 2013 -- Apart from the first pairing up of actors Nikki Gil and Lorenz Martinez, another interesting aspect of 9 Works Theatrical's (9WT) latest stage production, the classic Broadway musical "They're Playing Our Song," is the artistic contribution of Joseph Tolentino, musical director, and Gemini Quintos, choreographer.
Tolentino, who is also the conductor of 9 Works Pit/Pop/Philharmonic Orchestra (9PO), started his music education at the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts in New York City (NYC), where he received high honors. He is also one of the recipients of the Presidential Music Awards given by President Bill Clinton.
As a musical director/conductor, Tolentino first worked with 9WT in "Sweet Charity," which earned him praise from critics, peers, and audiences. Prior to "They're Playing Our Song," he has also worked on 9WT's "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."
Last year, he was one of the deputy keyboardists in the international touring production of "The Phantom of the Opera" in Manila; he was also one the audition pianists at the much talked about "Miss Saigon" London revival auditions held here.
Upon his high school graduation, Manila was the farthest place he could think to move to; besides the heavy traffic jams and the hot, humid climate in the Philippines (PH), he is just happy being here.
In an exclusive interview with BroadwayWorld, Tolentino shared with us his tip for anyone who wants to break into a music director career, "One has to have a strong foundation in music. Playing and reading notes aren't enough."
"Musicians like him should learn to listen, listen, listen to the literature, and be familiar with it," he added.
When he works with the actors at 9WT, he makes it a point to understand the actors' performances to complement with what they want to convey to the audience.
Quintos, a member of the Actors' Equity Association, graduated from Fordham University in NYC. In the U.S., she has been part of Broadway, Off-Broadway, national tours, and regional productions as a performer and as a production staff member. Her theater credits include "Annie," and "A Christmas Carol."
Quintos loves working in the theater because there are no big or small roles whether you are in NYC or in the PH.
For aspiring theater professionals, she shared her insight, "When one gets into theater, one has to know all its aspects. Theater is something one must love, and must have joy in doing it."
When she is not doing theater, Quintos works as associate features editor at ABS-CBN Publishing.
9WT's production of Marvin Hamlisch and and Carol Bayer Sager's "They're Playing Our Song," directed by Robbie Guevara, runs until Sunday, March 3 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza in Makati City.
For tickets, call TicketWorld at (632) 891-9999 or visit ticketworld.com.ph.
Photos by Dale Bacar