Nora Aunor, ‘Katy!’ win big at 26th Aliw Awards

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FIVE Aliw trophies, all in a row, won by “Katy’s” exceptional artists attest to the hit musical’s unprecedented victory.

The gifted artists behind Spotlight’s “Katy!” were in a celebratory mood last Tuesday when the 26th Aliw Awards recognized the biggest and brightest achievers in the country’s live entertainment scene in a long and lavish ceremony—with good reason:

ACCLAIMED musical’s formidable team includes (from left) Dulce, Carl Balita, Aicelle Santos and Tirso Cruz III. photo: JAN ALEXANDER TORRE

Not only was its director, (and Saturday Special editor) NUT, conferred the prized Lifetime Achievement Award for his “exceptional contributions in multiple fields,” but the revival of “Katy!” was also triumphantly adjudged Best Musical Production, with its stars, Isay Alvarez, Tirso Cruz III and Dulce sweeping their respective acting categories, for Best Actress in a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical and Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Other “Katy!” leads were honored with nominations, including Aicelle Santos—who, for us, is local theater’s most exciting find this year.

Dulce was a three-time winner that night, also bagging awards for Best Performer in a Concert and the coveted Entertainer of the Year. The enduring diva sees the latter honor as the “fulfilment of a promise” because, 34 years ago, she was adjudged Most Promising Entertainer of the Year! So, co-producers Isay Alvarez, Robert Seña, Tricia Amper-Jimenez and Carl Balita, can we expect another “Katy!” rerun soon?

The Superstar’s contributions

Nut had great company in the Lifetime Achievement category: Nora Aunor was feted for her contributions to the movies, TV, recording, concerts and the theater (“DH,” “Minsa’y Isang Gamu-gamo”).

NUT (right), with fellow Lifetime Achievement awardee, Nora Aunor.

We asked the legendary actress if she ever gets tired of receiving awards. She shook her head, “Never—nakakataba ng puso ang magawaran ka ng parangal, hindi lamang sa paglabas sa pelikula at telebisyon, kundi maging sa pagkanta at pag-arte sa entablado!”

We were also happy to see the UP Repertory Company getting honored with a Lifetime Achievement award. The group was established by Behn Cervantes in 1972 as an answer to the institution’s need for a socially responsible performing troupe. The noted actor-director passed away in August at age 74.

Exceptional play

In the straight play category, Bart Guingona won Best Actor and Director for John Logan’s exceptional play about artist Mark Rothko, “Red”—one of the best plays we’ve seen this year. It is clever, provocative, whip-smart, and it entertains without “dumbing down” its audience. Bart’s co-actor in the play, nominee Joaquin Valdez, was equally impressive and award-worthy.

Other winners in the theater categories: “Hansel and Gretel” (Best Production for Children, Kids Act); “Penitensya Ni Tiyo Renato” (Best Non-Musical Production); Roeder Camañag (Actor in a Musical, “Stageshow”); Sherry Lara (Actress in a Non-Musical, “Kapit”); Jaime del Mundo (Director in a Musical, “Rivalry”), and Ed Gatchalian (Musical Director, “Rivalry”).

Hall of Fame awardees: Louie Ocampo, Freddie Santos and Bobby Garcia. Also feted with Lifetime Achievement Awards were Tito, Vic and Joey, Joe Gruta, Angie Ferro and the Leyte Dance Theater Company.

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