th images menu user export search eye clock list list2 arrow-left untitled twitter facebook googleplus instagram cross photos entrep-logo-svg

Why PH’s Top Concert Promoter Is Now Also Doing Stage Musicals

’We need to be continuously open to opportunities,â? says Ovation Productions President Renen De Guia
By Paul John Caña |

Ovation Productions is bringing in the stage musical Sister Act to Manila this June



Renen De Guia has been a concert promoter for over 35 years. As the president and CEO of Ovation Productions, he and his team have made it possible for dozens of international artists to come and perform in Manila and various other cities in the Philippines. It’s only recently, however, that the company has brought in Broadway-style musical productions, too.


The opportunity came in 2013, when representatives of the London-based Broadway Entertainment Group (BEG) led by CEO Liz Koops were in Manila to look for the ideal local promoter to mount the organization’s lineup of musical productions. Ariel Yonzon, production and exhibitions manager of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, suggested De Guia.


“Liz then called me, we had a good talk, and we agreed to meet at the Sofitel where she asked if I would be interested to do Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for starters,” says De Guia. “I immediately said yes.”


According to De Guia, Koops actually had a short list of other people to meet about possible partnerships but felt no need to search further after talking to him.


“I think it had something to do with my singing to her Broadway style songs from My Fair Lady!” he reminisces. “She was utterly amused, and to this day tells people why she chose me. So that’s how I got started doing musicals: I auditioned! There was no initial small production leading to bigger productions. My baptism of fire was a major musical, Beauty and the Beast, and I’m glad that we did fairly well on our first try.”


Ovation Productions is the country’s biggest concert promoter by revenue. It is responsible for the Manila appearances of music superstars like Sting, Boyz II Men, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga and many others. The company’s foray into stage musicals was a natural extension not just because of the opportunity presented by BEG, but also because of De Guia’s own love for theater.


Renen De Guia (center) almost pursued a career in theater in UST



“I almost pursued a career in theater,” says the onetime DJ and record label executive. “I won best actor in the 1972 UST Inter-Collegiate dramafest where I represented College of Engineering during my freshman year.”


Unlike local theater groups that mount productions with a local cast and crew, companies like Ovation buy the rights of international touring productions, mostly of big Broadway-style musicals, in order to stage them in Manila. Ovation, in turn, generates revenue through ticket-selling and corporate sponsorships, just like in concerts.



But unlike concerts, which are typically a one or two-night production, stage musicals last for weeks, involve more people and are a lot more complicated logistics-wise. This is perhaps one reason why Ovation took its time after mounting Beauty and the Beast and focused on its core business of live concerts, producing a total of 19 shows in 2013, the most so far in its history.


Next month, however, the company is bringing in its second stage production, an adaptation of the movie Sister Act, which first came out in 1992 and starred Whoopi Goldberg.


Identifying the challenges in this relatively new venture, De Guia says audiences for concerts and musicals are markedly different, and that corporate sponsors are not as easy to come by.


Renen De Guia and his wife Cel pose with stage actress Dene Hill (center), who plays the lead role of Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act



"The market for Broadway musicals wants to be constantly reminded and persuaded through EDM or electronic direct mail,” he says. “Credit card companies were great sponsors as they can tap their huge customer base for this. Unfortunately, they don’t sponsor as much these days. Also, these productions generally require bigger capitalization, more extensive and sustained advertising and publicity, and more work relating to the gala night, souvenir programs, etc. The ticketing company plays a much bigger and very important role in the overall marketing effort.”


Despite all these, more stage musicals—and concerts—are in the pipeline for Ovation in the coming months and years.


But as he is a serial entrepreneur, De Guia is also currently exploring other avenues of growth for the business. “What I can see is doing something additional on the side, just like in the 1980s,” he says.


Back then, De Guia was also into garment manufacturing, screen printing and retailing of T-shirts. “We had a very popular brand called TOP40 T-Shirts which basically started as concert merchandise,” he says. “We also had 20 stores of Pop Station Records where we sold CDs, cassettes, headphones and accessories such as CD display racks.” He says the business was okay for a good number of years, but the market steadily disappeared.


“Even brick-and-mortar type retailing are now declining in other countries due to the internet,” he adds. “Soon there will be deliveries by drone. We need to be continuously open to opportunities.”



The cast of the musical Sister Act, which will open in Manila next month



Today, De Guia is also branching out into the supplier side of the business, providing other event companies with products and services like generator units and some crash barricades. “My son Bogie is getting to be known as a good production manager for big events which are not necessarily Ovation’s,” he says. “It would be good that when people think live events, they think Ovation.”






Paul John Caña is the managing editor of Entrepreneur PH

Latest Articles

This Tiny Detail Might Just Double The Value Of Your Home

Properties within a block or two of this famous cafe is shaking up the real estate game

byReal Living Team for | December 13, 2017 00:00:00

Financial Adviser: 5 Reasons Why DoubleDragon Will Be the Next Blue Chip Stock to Own from Founder Injap Sia

The founder of Mang Inasal shares his gameplan for his company DoubleDragon Properties

byHenry Ong | December 12, 2017 14:00:00

How Facebook Is Helping Pinoys Grow Their Business Internationally

Even SMEs can now connect with consumers abroad

byNicai de Guzman | December 12, 2017 14:00:00

PH Cryptocurrency Startups Swamped as Bitcoin Transactions Soar Amid Surging Price warns clients cash-out times may take longer while Satoshi Citadel tries to keep up with...

byLorenzo Kyle Subido | December 12, 2017 08:00:00

8 Reasons Why Millennials Are More Productive than Any Other Generation

If you harness the strengths of Gen Y employees, you'll see they're productivity powerhouses

bySerenity Gibbons | December 12, 2017 08:00:00

4 Tips for Managing Cash Flow in a Seasonal Business

Large swings in revenue leaves you open to mismanagement

byLisa Stevens | December 12, 2017 06:00:00

Why Your Done List is Just as Important as Your To-Do List

Refinery29's Christene Barberich says you need to take time to celebrate your accomplishments

byNina Zipkin | December 12, 2017 02:00:00

Growing Up Poor in Forbes Park Inspired This Harvard Graduate to Help Create an Equal Future For All

Wonder Woman Analisa Balares hopes to use her skills to help solve some of our country's problems

byHannah Lazatin for | December 12, 2017 00:00:00

Will China Telecom Be PH’s 3rd Telco Player? Here’s What You to Need to Know About the Chinese State-Owned Company

It still needs to find a local partner and acquire a franchise from Congress

byPauline Macaraeg | December 11, 2017 18:00:00

PH Blockchain Startup Appsolutely Launches Initial Coin Offering to Sell Over $34-M Worth of Digital Tokens

Appsolutely's token launch is second ICO by a PH firm--a sign of the growing importance of virtual...

byLorenzo Kyle Subido | December 11, 2017 17:00:00

Tech Startups Win Big in First Season of PH’s First TV Business Reality Show

Final Pitch extends search for business founders looking for fame and funding for Season 2 until...

byElyssa Christine Lopez | December 11, 2017 11:00:00

Have You Seen the New Php1,000, Php200 and Php50 Currency Banknotes?

Check out the infographic so you’ll know what they look like in case you get them this Christmas

byElyssa Christine Lopez | December 11, 2017 11:00:00