Nikki Gil will imbibe the spirit of the ’60s as she leads the cast of the dance comedy musical Sweet Charity. Set in a night club in Manhattan, this Broadway play focuses on a dancer who always gives her heart—and her earnings—to the wrong man.
During the June 28 presscon held at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) got the chance to interview Nikki Gil about playing the title role in Sweet Charity.
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"Ako po si Charity. I play Charity Hope Valentine. She’s a taxi dancer or a dance hall hostess or whatever you wanna call her. Basta anyone who’s in the rent-a-body business," Nikki shared.
How does she feel about playing the title role?
"Thank you so much. Actually, I wouldn’t say that dahil hindi mabubuo ang Sweet Charity kung kahit isa sa mga members ay hindi nag-e-exist.
"It just so happens na ’yan ang title but really the highlight is the fantastic dancers—that fantastic roster of dancers that we have for this production."
Nikki also shared what Sweet Charity is all about.
"Sweet Charity ay tungkol sa buhay ni Charity. Once again, she’s a dance hall hostess. She’s in the, what you might call a, rent-a-body business."
"Isa siyang mabait na nilalang. Masyadong mabait, na people take advantage of her kindness—so Sweet Charity is a story of her journey, her adventures and misadventures sa usaping pag-ibig," Nikki explained.
If Charity’s role is a dance hall hostess, would the play be somewhat sexy?
"The whole play, I mean, when you say Bob Fosse—it’s sexy," she answered.
American musical theater choreographer Bob Fosse is best known for his work in the movies All That Jazz and Chicago. He also conceptualized Sweet Charity.
"You know, it’s sexy, it’s sensual, especially because it’s a dance comedy. So most of the story will be told via body movements, dahil nga dance musical siya."
"So, yeah, I guess you can say that it’s sexy coz she’s a dance hostess," Nikki added.
DANCE LESSONS. Nikki Gil is a natural-born singer, but since Sweet Charity is primarily a dance musical, would she be good at dancing as well?
"Bilang baguhan ako sa mundo ng theater, at bilang yung mga kasama ko ay talagang beterano na—we have award-winning performers as part of the cast—you know, I have some catching up to do, still working on it," Nikki said.
"I had to take dance lessons because this is primarily a dance musical and I really had to take mga one-on-one sessions—bilang talagang pangarap kong maging isang ganap na dancer," she said.
GOING THE SEXY ROUTE. Would Nikki start accepting sexy acts in theater or even in TV?
"Hindi naman, I mean if you’ve seen Legally Blonde…Sa Legally Blonde I walked around in a Playboy bunny suit, you know. Feeling ko hindi naman yun ang dapat abangan for this one," Nikki stated.
"It’s a very heart-warming story. I’m sure marami sa ating mga Kapamilya, Kapuso, Kapatid ang makaka-relate sa kuwento ni Charity."
Her first lead role in theater was in the play Legally Blonde wherein she portrayed the role of Elle Woods. (CLICK HERE to read related article)
Does she feel any pressure about matching the success of her previous play?
"Well of course there’s always that pressure," Nikki said.
"But, you know, I really want to keep in mind... you know, you do theater for the love. You do theater because you love it.
"You do theater because you love the art—you respect the art, you have passion for the art.
"So, you know, I would like to jump into this thinking that Legally Blonde did not happen. You know, I don’t wanna see it as ’Ooh, Legally Blonde."
LEA SALONGA AS HER INSPIRATION. Lea Salonga is known for her world-class performances in theater. For this reason, Nikki Gil considers Ms. Lea as her role model when it comes to her own career on stage.
"Marami pa akong bigas na kakainin—hindi lang isang sako, hindi lang dalawang sakong bigas ang kakainin ko para maabot ang kahit kalahati ng naabot ni Ms. Lea Salonga," Nikki gushed.
"Ahm…nako, malayong-malayo. Ni hindi ko nga pinangarap dahil talagang masyado siyang malayong abutin but you know I use it as an inspiration.
"I use her story as inspiration, her talent as inspiration and it’s something that I only hope to become someday."
DREAM ROLE. When asked if she is open to the possibility of portraying Kim in Miss Saigon, Nikki admitted that she also dreamed of being part of this Broadway play.
"Wow. It has always been a very prestigious role," she exclaimed.
"Many theater actresses dream—especially Filipinas—dream of doing anything that Miss Lea Salonga has done."
"So yeah, definitely—that would be a dream come true! It would be hard work that’s for sure but yun na nga bilang konting sipag at tiyaga," she added.
BALANCING TV & THEATER. Nikki manages to balance TV and theater simultaneously, thanks to her discipline and ability to manage her schedules.
"Intense discipline talaga ang kailangan," Nikki said.
There are some upcoming projects that Nikki’s thinking about but she hasn’t decided yet if she’ll do it.
"I’m thinking pahinga naman muna," she said.
"I think one play for this year should be enough. I also wanna give time for all of the other things that I’ve been doing—you know I sing, I host, and…let’s see," she added.
Nikki Gil will act opposite GMA-7 singer Kris Lawrence in this dance musical.
Sweet Charity will be staged at the RCBC Plaza starting August 5.