Tirso plays pivotal role in ‘Katy!’
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ASIDE from acclaimed international musical theater luminary, Isay Alvarez, in its title role, Spotlight Artists Centre’s much-awaited revival production of the iconic Filipino musical, “Katy!” showcases the exceptional talents of other popular stars—Tirso Cruz III, Dulce, Gian Magdangal, Tricia Amper-Jimenez and Epi Quizon—in very special roles.
Their presence in the glittering musical revival production at the CCP Little Theater in January 2013 has raised theater lovers’ excitement level and prompted early queries from performance buyers (call 899-8089 or 0922 898-6644, or visit www.spotlightartistscentre.com).
Tirso Cruz III began his show biz career in a big way, as the favored screen partner of no less than the country’s original Superstar, Nora Aunor. From a frisky teen idol, he has matured into one of the best dramatic actors in the country, a level of excellence that has prompted the creative team of “Katy!” to think “out of the box” and tap him to play the key role of Katy’s strict but loving father, with whom she shared a deep bond up to the day he died.
In his first reading for the musical, Tirso impressed everyone with his deep understanding of the iconic part, for which other acclaimed actors had also auditioned—and the prized role was his!
For her part, Dulce has been acclaimed for decades as one of the country’s most powerful singers. In “Katy!,” however, she displays not just her amazing vocal range, but also her depth as an actress.
Director Nestor Torre has mentored her before in a number of other productions, so he felt that she could do full justice to the pivotal role of the fading bodabil star, Olivia, with her own take on the famous role.
In particular, “Katy!” aficionados are looking forward to hearing Isay and Dulce essaying their version of the acclaimed duet number in the show, “Minsan Ang Minahal Ay Ako.”
For the role of Katy’s husband, Peping, the production has chosen Gian Magdangal over other contenders, due to his ability to capture, not just the debonair pianist’s cool charisma, but also his corroded and even tragic side, as he ages and falls ill.
Raising a family
After working with Tricia Amper-Jimenez in the famous musical, “Magsimula Ka,” Torre was impressed with her rare combination of beauty, singing and acting talent, and versatility—but, she chose to focus on raising a family, so he had to bide his time for years.
Happily, Tricia has finally gone back to musical theater performing, so the director has tapped her to play a key role in the show, as Katy’s bosom buddy and confidante, Hanna.
Finally, in the original production of “Katy!,” the role of the young Dolphy was played to great acclaim by Robert Seña, long before his triumphs in Europe in “Miss Saigon,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and other hit productions. This time around, Robert heads Spotlight and is a coproducer of its “Katy!” revival, so he was closely involved in the search for the musical’s new Dolphy.
A number of fine actor-singer-comedians tried out, but they weren’t a perfect fit for the plum role—until Torre and Seña had the bright idea of asking the late Comedy King’s own son, Epi Quizon, if he would be interested in portraying his dad. Epi was—and the rest is history, a casting coup that has been cheered not just here, but also in Fil-Am circles overseas via the social network!
With these and other outstanding musical theater talents on board, the “Katy!” revival early next year at the CCP (with songs by Ryan Cayabyab, libretto and lyrics by Joey Reyes, and musical direction by Mel Villena) should be quite a show!
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