By Nickie Wang
From a sold-out and a highly-critical concert in May this year, Filipino-American singer, actress and philanthropist Stephanie Reese is set to stage a pre-Carnegie Hall concert at the Music Museum on Oct. 12.
Entitled I Am Stephanie Reese, the concert is a one-of-a-kind musical experience that no less than a Standing Ovation Queen can deliver.
At La Fontana in Greenhills, San Juan City, Stephanie treated the entertainment press with samples of her performance. She sang a hair-raising version of a song from the Phantom of the Opera, a confident rendition of “This is My Life,” an OPM ballad “Ikaw,” and an original composition called “Chaka Laka Boom Boom,” which is one of her most requested songs. “It’s about the thing I did last night,” she said.
“I thought of bringing the show here. It’s a very similar show from the one I’m going to perform in New York. I’m performing a diverse selection of songs that reflects my exposure to music from around the world,” the petite singer shared.
Her solo debut in New York’s famed Carnegie Hall on Nov. 7 is yet another milestone in her luminous career, which began in the theater by starring as Kim in the German production of Miss Saigon, Esmeralda in the Disney World premiere of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Princess Tuptim in the King and I at the Palladium Theater in London’s West End.
Stephanie’s upcoming performance at the prestigious venue bestows honor on her as the first Filipino-American solo vocalist to be performing at the Carnegie Hall. It is the same venue where Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez and Broadway star Lea Salonga wowed both American and Filipino audience in 1991 and 2005, respectively.
“I was a small girl singing in a choir when I first performed at the Carnegie [Hall]. To be able to star in my own show on the very same stage has been my childhood dream,” recalled Stephanie.
Veteran stage performer Audie Gemora, who is going to be with Stephanie in the pre-Carnegie concert, admires the exceptional musical flair of the up-coming Fil-Am star. “You’ve never seen something like her,” he said. The press instantly agreed because we couldn’t even find any local artist comparable to the kind of talent she has nor find the exact words to depict her strong stage presence. “We call it cabaret singing,” Audie butted in instantly.
Stephanie’s diverse repertoire of Broadway, opera, ballads, pop, kundiman and even hip-hop allows her to stage such an entertaining show. She can belt coherent notes and still maintains the kind of emotion that makes her audience admire her stage presence. She sings so effortless that you wouldn’t mind standing on your feet after her every performance.
She has now performed solo concerts around the world including Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, China, US and Canada to her very loyal and diverse fan base.
“I have this vague look that allows me to catch the attention of people of different ethnicities, but most Filipino communities in the States prefer artists who established their career first in the Philippines before going abroad, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” she said.
Aside from her promising career, Stephanie is extremely passionate about her charitable works with Gawad Kalinga, an organization that builds homes and communities for the poorest of the poor in the country.
“I’m currently raising funds to build a village for 30 families in Bicol. They are going to call the village after my name. Being involved in this kind of effort opened my eyes for a higher purpose in singing. That’s why the proceeds of this concert, and the one I’m going to stage in New York will go to Gawad Kalinga,” she revealed.
According to the producer of the concert, part of the proceeds will also go to the victims of storm Ondoy.
She has so far released two albums—The Voice and Stephanie Reese at Her Best. She also released a new album, containing some original songs.