Sandbox marks 10th year with Star Magic partnership 2
The cast of musical comedy 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' at the press launch on Tuesday. Reyma Buan-Deveza, ABS-CBN News

Sandbox Collective celebrates 10th anniversary with Star Magic partnership

The Sandbox Collective has kicked off its 2024 season with a special partnership with Star Magic, the talent management arm of ABS-CBN.
Ganiel Krishnan, ABS-CBN News | Jan 31 2024

The Sandbox Collective, a theater company celebrating its first decade in the industry, kicks off its 2024 season with a special partnership with Star Magic, the talent management arm of ABS-CBN.

The season begins in February with the highly acclaimed musical, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." This interactive production takes audience participation to a whole new level, with each show featuring four guest spellers from the audience. 

The cast's improvisational skills play a crucial role in the success of the show. The musical tackles true to life relatable experiences of the characters, with twists and surprise for the audience who are watching.

Actress, educator, and director Missy Maramara has been entrusted with the directorial responsibilities for this production. Joining her as the musical's assistant director is Dingdong Rosales, a founding member of SPIT Manila.

Taking their professional theatrical debuts in the role of Marcy Park are two Star Magic talents, AC Bonifacio and Shanaia Gomez. 

Bonifacio was emotional when she thanked the production for saying yes to her. “These guys have helped me through so much. We rehearse every day and come home late night knowing that I won’t have enough sleep because I know I have to work the next day and rehearse. And you know, I just want to be with them, I just want to learn. I'm so grateful to every single one of them, I learned so much," she said. 

Diego Aranda and Luis Marcelo will alternate in the role of the eager beaver boy scout Chip Tolentino. 

Krystal Brimner -- who gained recognition for her performance in "Annie" and recently wowed audiences in "Silver Lining" -- returns to the theater scene as Olive Ostrovsky, a bright and humble word lover. Joining her in alternating performances is Angela Ken, a singer and content creator.

Elian Dominguez makes his professional stage debut as the awkward homeschooled student Leaf Coneybear. He will alternate with Shaun Ocrisma. 

Returning to Sandbox Collective after her critically-acclaimed role as Dani Lyons in the musical "Dani Girl" is Becca Coates. She will be playing the precocious and civically-engaged Logainne Schwartzandgrubennierre.

Taking on the role of William Barfee, the oddball speller with a unique spelling technique, will be theater actors Joshy Ramirez and Ron Balgos.

"Spelling Bee" also marks the return of theater veteran Liesl Batucan-Del Rosario to the stage. With three decades of professional theater experience under her belt, she is an Aliw Awards Best Actress Hall of Famer and Philstage Gawad Buhay Awardee for her performances in "Wait Until Dark," "A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino," "Sweeney Todd," and "August: Osage County."

Multi-awarded and current president of Philstage Audie Gemora will take on vice principal Douglas Panch. Alternating for the role is director, actor, producer, editor, and writer Robbie Guevara.

Rounding out the cast is "King of Acoustic Pop" and multi-awarded singer-songwriter Nyoy Volante playing Mitch Mahoney. 

This musical is also in partnership with ABS-CBN Foundation, and some show dates will be dedicated for bidding to help our fellowmen with their daily grind. 

"It's so great because they found theater and have a deeper goal. And it's such an amazing experience, just being honest, to be there and finding out it's for a good cause. It's really heartwarming," Gomez shared.

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" will run from February 24 to March 17 at the Power Mac Center Spotlight Black Box Theater, Circuit Makati.