Doing the hustle | Inquirer Entertainment

Doing the hustle

By: - Columnist
/ 12:35 AM August 22, 2019
Doing the hustle

The author (left) with Jett Pangan

Yeah, that title sounds akin to that smooth ’70s dance step [and] to that even smoother song with the flute solo and the violins. However, the reality of someone who does theater as a profession is a little less smooth and somewhat more hectic.

Perusing the Facebook pages of many of my friends who are actors makes me feel like I’m not busy enough.


A few are pulling “double duty,” rehearsing for a musical in the afternoon and doing a show at night. Another couple might be acting in a TV soap, then rehearsing for something else later on. In my case, I’ve got a few duties of my own, but not two in one day.

My hustle these days looks something like this: For a few days, I am exclusively tied to “The Voice Kids,” either in a rehearsal room with my artists and the show’s musicians, or in a large studio, coaching stage rehearsals and watching performances.


On another day, I’ll be looking through music for an upcoming concert (in this case, it’s “Perfect Ten” at the end of this month), and then finally, going through my “Sweeney Todd” script to prepare for dialect coaching (the show is set in mid-19th century London, hence the need for help).

My brain works in a strange way; I cannot do two things at the same time. Much in the way [my brother] Gerard does when he works on music, I tend to hyperfocus on whatever it is I happen to be doing.

If I have to coach a Battle Round, I’ll be thinking about each child and what he or she will need to perform at his or her best. If it’s dialect, then it’s about the sound of my vowels and which consonants to hit.

If it’s a duet with one of my guests, I’ll be figuring out harmonies and backup notes, depending on what’s needed.

And by some miracle, I’ll have time to play video games, to help my brain shut off. Because, shutting off is not always the easiest thing to do.

Yeah, from the outside, it only looks like I have multiple plates spinning at the same time, but I actually don’t.

Sure, I’m busy, but I shift focus to where it’s required, and it gives the other parts of my working brain time to recharge. If I’m coaching, my mind doesn’t allow me to think of “Sweeney,” for example. My Cockney accent will refuse to activate.


I do see the light at the end of two of these tunnels though, and will be left with just the one thing in which to place my whole self. But until then, I’ll be hustling, happily.

My late father once used the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Perhaps if someone was doing two or three things simultaneously, that would apply. However, I focus on one thing at the time. They just happen to be happening in the same time period!

My mother knows, though, how happy it makes me to keep working on all these things I love to do. And at the end of the day, though it might be exhausting, it’s also fulfilling.

So, why the hustle? Because of … love. Always love. That’s the greatest force there is.

Punching one’s fist in the air because an artist you’re coaching applies what he or she has just learned, and doing it better than you thought he/she could. Or hearing a brand new vowel coming out of my mouth, or stringing together words pronounced in a different way. Or, making beautiful music with a good friend.

That’s all from love. And, like many of my friends doing the same, we’ll keep hustling for as long as we can.


To the family and friends of Ms Gina Lopez, we send our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences. Thank you for your life of service, and for standing up for our most valuable of resources. You will not be forgotten.

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TAGS: Backstory, Lea Salonga, Sweeney Todd, The Voice Kids
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