Sexy singer Sheree says her inspiration for Latina role in Sweet Charity is Colombian actress Sofia Vergara

Former Viva Hot Babes’ member Sheree plays Carmen, the Latina singer-dancer of a 1960s Manhattan club, in the stage musical Sweet Charity, now playing at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium of the RCBC Plaza in Makati City. Lead performers include Nikki Gil, Kris Lawrence and Ciara Sotto.


Much applauded ang buong cast ng bagong stage musical na Sweet Charity, na kasalukuyang itinatanghal sa Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium ng RCBC Plaza, sa Makati City.


Kabilang sa lead performers sina Nikki Gil, na gumanap sa papel ni Charity Hope Valentine, isang taxi dancer, at ang kapareha niyang si Kris Lawrence, in his debut stage performance, as Oscar Linguist.


Sa major female support, pantay ang mga papel na ginampanan nina Ciara Sotto, as Helene; Sheila Valderrama-Martinez, as Nickie; at Sheree, as Carmen, the Latina singer-dancer of a 1960s Manhattan club, called Fandango Ballroom.


Tuwang-tuwa si Sheree sa naging pagtanggap sa kanya ng manonood, matapos ang isa sa mga nauna nilang performance, na nasaksihan ng mga taga-media, kabilang ang PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal).


Overwhelming ang praises na natanggap ng buong cast at production team ng 9 Works Theatrical, producer of Sweet Charity, which included director Robbie Guevarra and executive producer Santi Santamaria.

"When Robbie told me that I was gonna be a Latina, nag-research din ako. I pegged myself with Sofia Vergara [a Colombian actress-TV host]."


When asked how it feels to be working with seasoned performers, Sheree shared co-star Ciara Sotto’s overwhelming appreciation for such an honor, but also said that she and the rest of the cast have a lot to learn.


"Actually, medyo I had to level up with them and learn... when it came to dancing, I really worked very hard. All of them [her co-actors] were really good, so I’d like to thank everyone, especially direk Robbie.


"We’ve been blessed to work with brilliant and talented people and I think with [God’s] blessing, I was able to do Sweet Charity," added Sheree.


IN A RELATIONSHIP. Incidentally, Sheree’s live-in boyfriend, singer-actor Gian Magdangal, is also into singing and musical theater.


In fact, Gian has a major role in a new musical production, Tanghalang Pilipino’s Noli Me Tangere (The Musical), an adaptation of Jose Rizal’s classic novel, na kasabay ang pagtatanghal nito (at the CCP Little Theater), at ng Sweet Charity.


At sa unang pagkakataon, Gian, who previously did lead parts in English musicals like The Wedding Singer, Rent and the recently-staged Kaos, sings in Tagalog, in the TP production of Noli Me Tangere.


Meanwhile, Sheree, (whose real name is Sheree Vidal Bautista), is doing her second straight English musical production. First was Rent, which she did with Gian, and now, Sweet Charity.


"In fairness... sabi ko nga, baligtad kami. Siya (Gian) yung kailangang mag-Tagalog naman, tapos, ako yung nasa English. Para naman matuto akong mag-English," sabi ni Sheree, sa natural niyang pagpapahayag ng saloobin.


PEP told Sheree that she looks classy enough, at bagay siya sa "pang-sosyal" na stage musicals.


"Trying... trying maging sosyal; social climber!" birong sagot niya, na sinundan ng pagtatawa. "Joke lang! ’Wag lang magsalita, ano? Poise na lang, poise! ’Wa na talk!"


Onstage, Sheree is in her element—she sings, acts and projects well.


But she’s more lovable as a person; at imbes na mailang, katutuwaan siya ng sinumang makakausap, for her candidness and charm.


"Hindi lang nila alam," tawa uli ni Sheree. "Buti na lang, talagang balanced si Lord, ano?


"Bina-balance Niya kaming dalawa ni Gian: Isang luka-luka at isang..." natawa uli si Sheree.


"Si Gian kasi, medyo ano talaga, e... tame, gano’n. Sa aming dalawa, ako talaga yung makulit, e.


"Hindi naman ako ganu’ng klase, na nang-a-under; ano lang, barkada. [Parang] barkada yung ano namin... relationship. Naglolokohan kami, mga gano’n."


Sheree also said she and Gian get along very well.


"Oo, I’m very thankful na, at least, nagkasundo kami talaga," sabi pa ni Sheree.


"We’re very okay! Actually, siguro habang tumatagal, mas lalo kaming nagiging [okay]; siyempre, kasi mas nakakapag-adjust na kami sa isa’t isa.


"Mabait talaga si Gian," pagtuturing pa ni Sheree kay Gian.


FAMILY LIFE. Sheree shared more about Gian Magdangal.


"Matagal na kami—four years na kami," she said.


May love child na rin sina Sheree at Gian.


"Oo, his name is Gian Haley, 3 years old na," sambit pa ng young mom.


Sheree described Gian’s family as "Very nice, very wonderful! Isa rin yun sa mga bagay na talagang very thankful ako, kasi kasundo ko talaga yung parents niya.


"And they’re really, really nice and very understanding," she said, adding: "As in, super! Binibigyan nila ako ng advice, kasi ang parents ko, wala dito, nasa States yung mom ko.


"So, parang nagkaroon din ako ng mga magulang, na gina-guide din nila ako. So I’m really very thankful. I’m super lucky talaga!"



VIVA HOT BABES. Looking back, mas naunang nakilala ng publiko si Sheree, simula noong 2002, bilang miyembro ng sumikat na grupong Viva Hot Babes.


Then, the all-female group, consisting of would-be sex movie sirens, like Maui Taylor and Katya Santos, dabbled in recording novelty songs, na tinangkilik nang husto hanggang ma-achieve ang "Platinum" status.


"Yun nga yung mga [ginawa] namin nu’n. [Mga danceable tunes]... mga ’Bulaklak,’ ’Kikay.’


"First batch kami nina Maui, Katya... pareho. So, nakakatuwa.


"Bukod kina Maui at Katya, nakabilang din sa grupo sina Jennifer Lee, Gwen Garci, Myles Hernandez, Hazel Cabrera, Vanessa Khan, Carla Samonte, Sachie Sanders, Mara Daniega, at Maricar dela Fuente.


"Active pa rin si Maui, pero more on hosting-hosting naman siya. Ako naman, I really started out as a singer, ever since," ang sabi ni Sheree.


"And very thankful din naman ako, na I was part of the Viva Hot Babes.


"Pero, siyempre, iniisip ko lang na parang, at least man lang, I will have my own identity outside of Viva Hot Babes.


"Gusto ko rin iangat yung bandera ng mga Hot Babes [members], na hindi lang hanggang du’n yung mga nagagawa namin. Si Katya, si Maui... there are other things na kaya naming gawin.


"In fairness to them, ha, they watched [Sheree onstage]. Si Katya at saka si Sarah Lopez, magkasama, nanood sila."


At kaya nagsikap si Sheree na mapasok din ang mundo ng pag-arte sa entablado, o stage musicals.


"Oo, itinatayo ko nga lang yung bandera ng mga Viva Hot Babes noon, e.


"Yun. Oo, ibang level talaga, ’te! Nu’ng nag-audition ako... tumbling! Mahirap talaga siya!" kuwela pang saad ng seksing performer, na consistent ding nakakabilang sa listahan ng FHM (male magazine) Sexiest List.


THEATER WORK. "Iba talaga yung theater, e," pagtukoy rin ni Sheree. "You really have to work hard.


"As in, nag-audition talaga ako nang bonggang-bongga! Talagang nag-aral ako ng voice lessons, para maipasa ko yung character na gusto ko, like sa Rent [as the lead female character, Mimi, an HIV patient], yun kasi yung first...


This is a quantum leap for the erstwhile sexy starlet, who did minor parts in mainstream and indie movies like Lupe (with co-Viva Hot Babes Jennifer Lee and directed by Elwood Perez) and Puntod (with lead teen actress Barbie Forteza and directed by Cesar Apolinario).

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She was the lead actress in the indie film Roxxxanne with Janvier Daily and Jay Aquitania.


Nauna rito, nabalitang gagawin sana ni Sheree ang Scorpio Nights 3, para sa Viva Films, pero hindi natuloy ang project. Kaya tinanggap niya ang offer na magbida sa Roxxxanne, directed by Jun Lana.


"I really wanted to sing and dance, and act. Hindi mo makukuha ’yan sa ibang [medium], e. Only in theater," aniya.


"So I really worked hard for it, especially yung English ko," biro uli ni Sheree.


"Talagang... in fairness, kaya siguro ibinigay din sa akin si Gian, kasi magaling siya do’n, e.


"So, medyo ano... nag-improve talaga ang... [pagsasalita ko ng English]... ’you know, yeah, okay!’ Ay, hanggang du’n lang pala yun, ano!" natatawang sabi pa ng singer-aktres.


Kidding aside, "Yes, tamang-tama lang [ang relationship]. I’ll definitely watch [Gian’s performance in] Noli...


"Tama. Magta-Tagalog siya, ako naman mag-i-English, di ba? In fairness to me," sambit pa ni Sheree.


PLANS. After her stint in Sweet Charity, Sheree will work on her self-titled debut album.


"Yun po yung next na ilu-launch namin," banggit pa ni Sheree, na isa sa mga bagong talent ng ALV outfit ni Mr. Arnold L. Vegafria.


"Then, mga out-of-town shows. Wala pang TV [stints], kasi medyo mahirap isabay yung theater ’tsaka TV. Sa theater, medyo ’kain’ yung oras, e.


"After na siguro. Hopefully, may offer. I’m looking forward to it din, na sana magkaroon ng offer sa TV, magkaroon ng soap. Isa rin ’yon sa mga bagay na sobrang na-miss ko talaga.


"At least, this time, ’pag lumabas ako [sa TV and movies], it’s a different Sheree, ’di ba?


"Sosyal na! Ibang level na!" biro pa niya.


MAKING IT ON HER OWN. "Yes, I’m making it on my own," Sheree declared.


"Pero, siyempre, sa puso ko naman, palagi yung... sa Viva Hot Babes. Hindi naman na ako magbabago, e.


"Pag tinanong mo [ang tao], ’Ah, si Sheree, yung sa Viva Hot Babes!’ Yun pa rin naman yung ’label’ sa akin, e.


"And I’m very, very thankful," she said, beaming.


Hindi rin isinasara ni Sheree ang pinto sa muling pagpapa-sexy sa pelikula.


"Meron ding offers, pero kasi I choose na. So, sana, magkaroon ulit," sambit pa niya.

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