Monique Wilson’s love affair with theater started when she was a mere three years old, after seeing a performance of The Diary of Anne Frank.
Thirty-two years later, we see Monique as British governess Anna Leonowens, at the press conference for The King And I, last July 28, at the Newport Performing Arts Theater.
The King and I is a Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical classic being presented by Resorts World Manila.
In her long and applauded theater career, Monique has portrayed major characters in such productions as: The Sound of Music, The South Pacific, A Little Night Music, A Chorus Line, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Fiddler On The Roof...
Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Zorba, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Nunsense, Les Laisons Dangereuses, The Real Thing, Little Shop of Horrors, and Lion In Winter, among many others.
By the age of 19, Monique had landed on the international scene, when she was chosen to play Kim in the original London production of Miss Saigon.
Three years later, she would come back to the Philippines to do films, recording, television shows, and concerts, for which she earned praise from critics and audiences.
To pursue her dream of completing her drama training, she returned to London to study classical acting at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts [LAMDA].
Roles she essayed while at LAMDA include: Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Anne in Richard III, Cleopatra in Anthony and Cleopatra, Marjorie in The Country Wife, and Vittoria in The White Devil.
Monique has performed in several straight and musical plays and has portrayed many big and small roles, but she admits that, today, she connects well with her Anna Leonowens’ character.
“Anna in the King and I is a very interesting character because she’s like an early feminist, because she's kind of awakening to women’s role in society. So, in that aspect I connect very much to her," says Monique.
THE KING AND I. This Rodgers and Hammerstein musical deals with the experiences of a British schoolteacher who is hired to become governess to the children of the King of Siam, as part of the monarchy's move to modernize the country.
The relationship between the King and Anna is marked by personal disagreements and cultural differences through much of the play, as well as by a love that neither one recognizes at first nor expresses for some time.
100-PERCENT FILIPINO CAST. The King and I production in Manila is composed of a 100-percent Filipino cast, which makes it quite exciting for Monique.
With gusto, the actress—who has many times shared the stage with a multi-racial cast—talks about how it feels to be working with an all-Filipino cast in a foreign musical.
“It’s amazing! The Filipinos talaga, they have heart.
"You don’t need to teach them to act with their emotions because they are emotionally available.
"They are open, and they have an innate understanding of how the heart works—and I think that’s what makes Filipino artists and Filipino shows unique.
"Because you just go along with that emotional journey, and that’s why you go to the theater—so you can get lost in that.”
Monique, who first honed her talents with Repertory Philippines, says up front that Filipino talent is "natural" and has "heart."
“We have good impulses. Very instinctive.
"One of our traits is we are beyond instinctive, we listen to our hearts.