‘Changing Partners’ gets even bigger as it goes full circle

After the successful run of its film adaptation, Changing Partners has returned to the stage with a bang. As expected, it has kept all its winning elements intact—from the interesting story to the impressive production and effective music.

Changing Partners: The Stage Musical started its two-weekend run on May 11 at the 400-seater PETA-Phinma Theater in Quezon City. It is set to complete it on May 20.

More than the stage play’s plot, its success story is something worth looking at. In just over two years, it has achieved what other plays usually take a decade to achieve.

Musical director Vince DeJesus and director Rem Zamora

The beginning
Changing Partners was first presented in a full-house, one-night-only Stage Reading during the Virgin Labfest—an annual festival of new plays annually held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines—in July 2016. It then featured theater actors Ricky Ibe, Giannina Ocampo, Patricia Ismael, and Sandino Martin under the direction of Rem Zamora.

In September and October of the same year, Zamora and the play’s musical director Vince DeJesus mounted the full production of Changing Partners: A Torch Musical. It was staged at the 115-seater PETA Theater Center’s Studios. Sandino Martin was retained in the cast and was joined by Agot Isidro, Jojit Lorenzo, and Anna Luna.

Agot Isidro and Jojit Lorenzo

Rocking the stage
About the same time, Changing Partners was also simultaneously produced as part of the Tagalog Theater Festival at The Bindlestiff Studio in California. That run featured Fil-American actors. Several weeks after, the play received a Best Full-Length Play award from the Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

As if those milestones were still not enough, Changing Partners went back on stage in November and December of the same year. It again rocked the PETA Theater Center Studios.

Sandino Martin and Anna Luna

Going to big screen
In November 2017, it transitioned from being a theater musical into a full-feature movie. As a film entry at the 2017 Cinema One Originals Film Festival, the film version had Martin, Isidro, Lorenzo, and Luna as the main cast. It was helmed by blockbuster movie director Dan Villegas. As expected, it bagged several awards from the festival—including Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Music, among four others.

Fresh from its festival success, Changing Partners was commercially released nationwide by Star Cinema, the country’s biggest film outfit, in January 2018. Star Records even came up with Changing Partners—The Movie Original Soundtrack, which is available on Spotify. In February 2018, it won big at the 34th Movie Press Club of the Philippines- Star Awards for Movies 2018.

In April 2018, the producers announced the big return of Changing Partners to the stage. According to well-placed sources, a much-anticipated sequel is in the works.