“Pag-uusapan nating love ngayon ay ang newfound love ko na teatro.”
Mark Bautista narrated how he has evolved as a musician during his Here Sings Love concert at the Resorts World Manila last May 29.
After ending up as runner-up to Sarah Geronimo in Star for a Night in 2003, Mark Bautista became known as an OPM artist. He was one of the champions on ABS-CBN's Sunday variety show and in 2010, he became one of the performers of GMA-7 Sunday variety show.
In 2014, the Pinoy actor was tapped to portray the late President Ferdinand Marcos in the London run of the musical Here Lies Love.
“Never ko pa talaga naisip na magiging stage actor ako,” said the 31-year-old performer.
He then told audiences that he got theater experience when he was in high school.
“Hindi talaga siya bago para sa akin kasi noong high school ako, nagteatro ako sa isang community theater sa Cagayan de Oro,” recalled Mark.
He made the transition from being a ticket seller to being a opening prayer singer to being a propsman to being an understudy until he was finally given his very first lead role on stage.
The 31-year-old singer pointed out, “Nabigyan naman ako ng lead, pero matagal.”
Then, he immediately added in jest, “After no'n, hindi na nasundan so, nag-focus ako sa pagkanta.”
For years, Mark has been performing in concerts, variety shows, and he has already released six studio albums.
“Pero hindi ko akalain na susundan ako dito sa Manila,” Mark said.
“Nilapitan ako ni director Audie Gemora, and sinabihan niya ako na gawin ko ang Noli Me Tangere (2011). Sabi ko, talagang sinusundan ako ng teatro.
“Noong pinanood ko ang video, sabi ko, 'Hindi ko kaya. Hindi ko kaya.'
“Pero noong sinabi niya sa akin na, 'Mark, kaya mo.'
“'Tapos pinakinggan ko, music ni Mr. Ryan Cayabyab, nagustuhan ko ang music ni Mr. C.
“Na-in love ako sa theater, hindi dahil sa role o dahil sa stage, na-in love ako sa music ni Mr. Ryan Cayabyab.”
Mark played the role of Crisostomo Ibarra in this Ryan Cayabyab musical.
As an example, Mark sang Maestro's music, “Kahit Ika'y Panaginip Lang,” which was arranged for him by Basil Valdez.
THE FULL MONTY. After Noli, Mark was offered to do The Full Monty in 2013.
“My very first English musical,” stated Mark.
“Nang in-offer sa akin 'yan, medyo hesitant ako kasi kailangan ko raw maghubad.
“After Noli, na parang ang lalim, ito naman 'yong katawan ko.”
But he changed his mind because, “Sabi ko, okay iba ang crowd ng teatro, maiintindihan nila ito.
“Whatever happens inside the theater, stays in the theater. Walang pirated CDs na lalabas.
“Sabi ko, I'll go for it. Ayun, sa awa ng Diyos nalagpasan ko ang musical play na 'yon.”
BEING IN LONDON'S WEST END. In a little over a year, Mark got another musical offer, this time for a play to be staged in the United Kingdom: Here Lies Love.
It's a revolutionary musical that traces the astonishing journey of First Lady Imelda Marcos, which was staged in London's West End.
Mark remembered, “Akala ko noong nag-audition ako rito sa Manila, akala ko baka local production na dadalhin sa London kasi story about Imelda Marcos.
“Dumating lang siya at the right time sa akin kasi sabi ko, I wanna do something new.
“'Tapos noong nag-audition na ako. Sabi ko, kung matanggap, okay; kung hindi, at least na-try ko.”
Mark was surprised to see the foreign crew of the said musical when he auditioned. He realized it was a huge project so he really prepared for his audition.
“Sabi kasi nila dapat pop, malapit sa music ng Here Lies Love.
“So, naghanap ako ng song na bagay, pinakinggan ko ang soundtrack ng musical,” Mark said before performing a Tom Jones signature song, “Kiss,” which he used as his audition piece.
Towards the end of his concert, Mark told the concertgoers about his London experience, “What a trip. What an experience.
“Grabe, binago niya ang pag-iisip ko about theater.
“Dati noong na-meet ko ang mga artista sa Manila, starstruck na starstruck ako.
“Pagdating doon, super starstruck ako. Grabe, sabi ko, hindi pala imposible maabot ang pangarap.
“Ngayon, feeling ko nasa cloud nine ako.
“Doon feeling ko para akong nasa underwater, lumulutang na parang bubbles, parang slow-mo lahat.
“Napaka-surreal, ang sarap ng feeling.
“Dahil sa Here Lies Love na 'yan ang daming nangyari sa buhay ko.”
Mark's theatrical career doesn't stop at Here Lies Love since he's about to star another musical with Cris Villongco and newbie stage actress Monica Cuenco.
The musical adaptation of the Sharon Cuneta movie, Bituing Walang Ningning, will be staged at Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World starting this June.
SIDELIGHTS. During his Here Sings Love concert, Mark also had fun performing with one of his best friends in showbiz, Sarah Geronimo, with whom he sang “If I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars.
Anne Curtis entertained the audience by imitating Imelda Marcos while singing Sia's “Chandelier.”
A video posted by PEPalerts (@pepalerts) onMay 29, 2015 at 8:26am PDT
Anne Curtis also tried to hit the high notes when she and Mark sang “Endless Love.”
A video posted by PEPalerts (@pepalerts) onMay 29, 2015 at 8:22am PDT
Meanwhile, Jon Santos made everyone laugh with his stand up comedy act as Madam Imelda.
Concertgoers were also surprised when Regine Velasquez appeared on stage to perform a Basil Valdez classic “Sana'y Maghintay ang Walang Hanggan.”
Lastly, Mark performed with his soon-to-be leading ladies on Bituing Walang Ningning, Cris and Monica.
Before finally saying goodbye to his audience, Mark called on to Cris who introduced a guy from the audience.
Surprisingly, the guy stood up and told his girlfriend, “You know that I love you, right,” and popped the magic question, “Will you marry me?”
Of course, the girl said yes, and Mark Bautstista made the moment sweeter by singing Peabo Bryson's “Love Always Finds a Way.”