Singer-actor Gian Magdangal stumbled by accident on perhaps the most ambitious musical theater piece conceptualized locally.
The 28-year-old Philippine Idol runner-up recalled wandering inside a mall in Makati City with his mother when he bumped into a friend, who informed him casually about an audition for an upcoming musical play being conducted inside the mall.
"I was actually buying hopia with my mom that day," smiled Gian in an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during a press conference last September 29 at Passion restaurant, Resorts World in Pasay City.
"Sabi ko, 'Sige, there's no harm in auditioning,' and theater naman 'yon and mahilig din naman talaga akong mag-audition. Madami ding nag-audition, pero nung pumunta ko dun patapos na, siguro mga sixteen na lang ang nandun. So pumila ako then kumuha ako ng number and I waited for my turn," continued Gian.
The people in charge of the audition refrained from divulging any information about the theater production at the time, making the entire try-out a guessing game for all the aspirants.
Gian rendered an acapella version of a "typical theater song" as audition piece.
The production team gave Gian a phone call a few days after the mall audition and asked him to drop by at the posh Resorts World Manila for a second screening.
"They said they want to see me again. I sang a Frank Sinatra song titled 'Can't Take That Away From Me' and that's how the story went. My manager, Arnold [Vegafria] talked with them and they discussed my schedule, because I'm already committed to two stage plays. I'll be doing The Wedding Singer and Rent on December and February. Hindi naman nagkaroon ng conflict so walang naging problema."
LOVING THE THEATER. Gian only learned about the nature of the project a day before the actual press conference.
The theater play, titled Kaos, was described by Resorts World Manila Vice President for Entertainment Colin Kerr as "a visual and musical spectacle unlike anything the country has ever seen."
Kaos will run from November 26, 2010 until the end of May 2011, and will feature foreign and local talents. Internationally renowned artistic director and choreographer Sviatlana Burkun will be on board to lend her expertise to the project.
The state-of-the-art Newport Performing Arts Theater inside Resorts World Manila will house the production throughout its entire run.
Said Gian, "I'll be very honest, I didn't know what I was getting into until Arnold called a meeting the other day. Sabi ko, 'Ano ba 'yan? Wala naman silang sinabi about it during the audition.' Ang sabi lang nila may malaking palabas.
"I've done some musicals in the past and I thought that it would be just like that. This turned out to be an international project pala na dito sa atin ipapanganak, an original production. Hindi pala biro 'to and I'm really excited. Honestly, it's not yet sinking in—maybe when I see the first day of rehearsal and pag binasa ko na ulit 'yong kontrata. But I'm excited nonetheless."
Gian's passion for stage acting has always been evident especially after he graduated from college in 2003. Joining Trumpets Music Academy as a fresh graduate exposed Gian to the complexities and joys of being a thespian.
Some of the musicals he participated in during his startup years were The Little Mermaid, Footloose, and Once On This Island.
"Theater is always fulfilling and inspiring," mentioned Gian, who cited stage luminaries Audie Gemora and Freddie Santos as two of his admired mentors.
"It changed my life because it really made me want to become a better artist. I wanted to continue what my mentors had taught me. It's just unfortunate that theater doesn't pay well here in our country. But maybe something like this [Kaos] would help change that."