I am set to meet with Tanghalang Pilipino (TP) to discuss the restaging of the Zaturnnah musical in February. If things go well, the month-long restaging will take place at the Little Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, with the old gang on board--Tuxqs Rutaquio, Joey Paras, Arnold Reyes, Eula Valdez, etc.--though there may be alternates. This is great news for those who may have missed the past 50+ shows of TP's major draw. It's too bad that the company's adaptation of Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon had to be shelved, due reportedly to budget limitations.
I sometimes feel that it's high time that local theater explored fresh material that had higher commercial potential--both in sales and sponsorhips. In a season of four productions, two could be the money-making crowd-pleasers, akin to Hollywood summer event movies--those that you simply must watch. This way, theater could accumulate enough funds to fuel the more artistic or classical projects.
Another advantage of having more commercial productions is audience-building for theater as a whole. If a production earns powerful positive word-of-mouth, those who haven't watched theater in years might be curious enough to check out the show. More viewers also mean more exposure for the company, the director, the playwright, the production designer, and the actors. An actor who gains "fans" can also fuel sales for the more artistic productions he or she appears in.
Someone in the industry once told me that local theater in general doesn't find "commercialization" too appealing. Like it was some kind of bastardization or prostitution of the art form. I don't know if this is true, but I've heard enough stories of theater productions suffering through miniscule budgets. (I was an actor in one such productions in 2001, with Wendy's gift certificates as payment.) Commercialization never meant selling out; it's just a way to ensure your longevity.