Sweet Playbill

Congratulations to the cast and crew of 9 Works Theatrical’s Sweet Charity for a successful Manila run! I watched the show on Friday at the RCBC Plaza and it was a two-hour delight. Nikki Gil has proven her mettle in the theater industry and newbie Kris Lawrence is off to a good start with his comic performance.

Promotional poster from 9 Works Theatrical

I’ll leave the profound reviews to more credible stage critics and focus instead on one aspect of the production that impressed my journalistic side: the playbill.

The playbill is often a neglected part of a production. Whenever I browse through a playbill, it usually feels like it was put together last minute, with plain layouts and blurry cast photos. The playbills from shows I’ve seen in the past few months look similar to the playbills I’ve collected from the ’90s. Nothing much has improved and they remind me of high school pamphlets.

What’s worse, Manila productions always charge a price for it. In Broadway or The West End, the playbill comes free with your ticket purchase. But who am I to complain? Tickets in Manila are relatively cheaper than in New York, so I guess I should understand why we have to pay for a playbill.

Imagine my delight when my friend Carlos Canlas of 9 Works Theatrical handed me Sweet Charity’s playbill before the show started and told me that it’s free with the ticket purchase.

Scanned playbill cover

And sweet it was. 9 Works has upped the game of playbill publishing with this glossy mini magazine. They hired a team of journalists, stylists, makeup artists, and photographers to put together this impressive playbill-magazine for the viewers of Sweet Charity. The colorful layout is similar to your favorite lifestyle and fashion titles, and the ads weren’t as hard sell or in-your-face as your usual playbills. The articles were informative and interesting, and not the copy-paste type lifted from the internet.

A peek inside the playbill-magazine of “Sweet Charity”

My favorite part is a page called, “Tweet Charity,” which shows fictional tweets from the cast of characters had they lived in this era of social networking. How clever!

You know I’ll be comparing future playbills with this one.

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