Special concert gathers exceptional performers for a ‘Loving’ cause
What do Celeste Legaspi, Mitch Valdes, Isay Alvarez and Dulce have in common? Aside from being four of the country’s finest performers, they all essayed two of Philippine musical theater’s most iconic roles: Katy dela Cruz (played by Mitch and Isay) and her bitter rival Olivia (Celeste, Dulce) from the stage production, “Katy! The Musical.”
The groundbreaking original Filipino musical features some of the most gorgeous showtunes by National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab and was helmed by four-time Palanca-winning playwright, Aliw Awards Hall of Fame recipient, media critic and Inquirer Entertainment columnist Nestor U. Torre (NUT)—first in the ’80s, then in the show’s 2013 revival.
On Dec. 4 at 8 p.m., theater, concert and music aficionados will get a rare chance to see all four singer-actresses, each as exceptional and exciting as the next, perform in “Loving the N.U.T.,” a benefit concert that I will be directing at the CCP Main Theater Lobby. (Script is by Cinemalaya and Palanca-winning writer-director Rica Arevalo.)
The show, a brainchild of Isay, aims to raise funds for the medical expenses of NUT, a former member of the CCP board of trustees, who suffered a stroke in February.
But, “Loving the N.U.T.” wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of Chris Millado, artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
If you think seeing—and hearing—these glorious divas in one music-filled production is a great reason to watch the special concert on Dec. 4, the participation of other gifted singer-actors, who were at one time or another mentored by Nestor, will make the show even more musically delectable.
Also set to dazzle “Loving The N.U.T.’s” audience are West End star and top tenor Robert Seña, award-winning actor-director Ricky Davao, versatile singer-actress Pinky Marquez, actor-balladeer Bo Cerrudo, theater heartthrob Gian Magdangal, “Magsimula Ka” alumnus Bobby Martino and singer-comedienne Beverly Salviejo, along with some very special guests.
Nestor directed Robert in, among others, “Magsimula Ka” and “Cory, the Musical,” where he played Ferdinand Marcos.
Robert played The Engineer in “Miss Saigon” and Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar” in London and on those musicals’ various touring productions in Europe.
Ricky played Padre Pio in one of the religious production’s three runs. (I portrayed the beloved saint in the play’s original version in 2000, while Padre Pio “look-alike” Leo Rialp played him in the recent revival of the touring production—how disparate can you get?)
Pinky essayed the Blessed Virgin Mary in many of “Magnificat’s” 180 performances all over the country.
Bo was a crowd-pleasing fixture in some of Nestor’s comedy-musical revues and long-running stage shows, like “Nasaan si Hesus?”
Gian played Peping, a coveted role originated by Marco Sison, in the 2013 “Katy!” revival.
Before he joined the original cast of “Miss Saigon” in London, Bobby was already one of Nestor’s most reliable actor-singers.
And Beverly’s singing and comedic chops were honed by her participation in NUT’s theater productions.
Celeste, Dulce, Mitch, Isay, Robert and company have all decided to come together not only to give back to a dear friend and mentor and root for his quick recovery, but also to celebrate Nestor’s vast and far-reaching contributions to Philippine performing arts.
NUT, a former actor and TV host (“Two for the Road,” with Elvira Manahan), is one of the founding members of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, which hands out the annual Urian awards.
For more details, e-mail [email protected], or call 0919-9114444 or 3550195.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.