ZsaZsa Zaturnnah: gayest musical in town

by Nickie Wang

A mysterious stone falls from the heavens granting Ada, a quaint beauty salon owner, the ability to transform into ZsaZsa Zaturnnah, a superhuman warrior endowed with uncanny strength and remarkable beauty. As she fearlessly defends a small town from power-tripping planet women, a giant frog and rampaging zombies, she finds her true calling and concedes to destiny.

That’s the synopsis of the gayest musical show in town. Tanghalang Pilipino brings back this rousingly funny musical based on the graphic novel by Carlo Vergara, which is adapted for stage by Chris Martinez with Vincent de Jesus creating the words.

Dubbed as Tanghalang Pilipino’s longest-running, award-winning original musical comedy, ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal…Vack with a Vengeance! concludes the 24th season of the theater company. Now on its 7th run at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Little Theater, the production promises nothing but pure fun and great entertainment when curtains open on Feb. 18. It will run until March 13.

Actress Eula Valdez reprises her role as the red-haired hero[ine] and will be joined by new cast members Gabe Mercado as Didi (Zaturnnah’s frilly mouthed assistant), Pinky Amador as Queen Femina Suarestella Baroux (the lead character’s archnemesis), and Rocky Salumbides and Prince Stefan as Dodong (Zaturnnah’s object of affection).

“I promised CCP to be there anytime they need me, panata ko na ‘yon. Also, I’m lucky because I’m in good company with the cast,” said Eula.

In an interview with the Standard Today, Eula admitted that she had turndown a television series just to be part of the musical. She even said that she is willing to work for free just to help the CCP’s resident theater company. But when asked what big project she turned her back on, she just simply and safely replied that it’s better not to mention anything so it won’t create any buzz among the people who are already taping for the series.

The 42-year-old actress will be seen as ZsaZsa Zaturnnah for the 95th time. According to her, even after staging it for the nth time, every performance still appears to be different and the cast receives different reactions from the crowd as well.

“We haven’t had any formal rehearsals yet but I now maraming bago sa production. We have new cast members, new choreography and new set design [by Gino Gonzales],” Eula revealed.

Part of her preparation for the musical production is to keep her figure lean through the help of South beach diet, apart from that “I don’t have any other preparation. I asked them if I can have voice lessons but they told me that I don’t need them anymore. They want a ZsaZsa Zaturnnah na hindi pinag-aaralan ang tono, yung birit lang ng birit.”

Chris Millado, who directs the musical theater staging of Zaturnnah, said that the lead character is a heroine in her true form. Aside from saving her town from power-tripping aliens and marauding zombies, ZsaZsa Zarurnnah saves Tanghalang Pilipino from bankruptcy. The musical is intended to be staged to raise funds.

“It’s actually a fund-raising show,” quipped Tanghalang Pilipino director Fernando Josef.

“It’s so heartwarming because people from different walks of life watch the show and there are people who watch it for several times,” added Eula.

A FrancisM tribute

For the first time, Muziklaban pays tribute to Philippine music icon, Francis Magalona by not just raising a toast but for dedicating an entire event to celebrate the late King of Pinoy Rap’s contribution on the local music scene.

On Jan. 22, world-class Pinoy luminaries like Manny Pacquiao and Arnel Pineda, and some of the brightest names in Philippine music joined together to provide extra kick and head banging entertainment before thousands of fans that flocked to the Open Field on Roxas Boulevard.

Muziklaban old-timers like Pepe Smith, Slapshock, Greyhoundz, Kjwan, Pupil, and Brownman Revival were joined by new-comers to the annual event like Paolo Valenciano, Jericho Rosales, Duncan Ramos, and of course Elmo Magalona, who has been showing strong potential to replicate what his father did.

The annual gathering of music artists (the country’s answer to Woodstock) is a whole day event that does not just focus on music alone. Its doors opened as early as 8 a.m. for the Muziklaban Amateur Band Competition.

By 11 a.m., a skateboard deck art competition was held followed by extreme sport competition and exhibition. There were ramps especially built for BMX stunt riders and skateboarders. Afterwards, a tattoo competition took place earlier in the afternoon. Then it was followed by a seminar on tattooing conducted by holly-wood based tattoo artist Chris Garcia.

The program proper started at 5:30 p.m. with an audiovisual presentation signaling the start of Francis M tribute. The segment highlighted the life and works of “The Man from Manila” focusing more on his sense of nationalism, passion for excellence and ingenuity.

Magalona died two years ago on March 6 after losing his battle with leukemia.

Frencheska has come so far

Frencheska Farr had her first taste of the limelight when she won in a talent search and then when she was chosen to play lead character the in a full-length Filipino musical, Emir. From then on, the 18-year-old lass has begun making significant moves for her career earning the title GMA-7’s big bet for recording stardom.

For several weeks or over a month now, Frencheska’s “Today I’ll See the Sun” music video has been regularly seen after every commercial break of afternoon dramas on GMA-7. So those who tune in on Dramarama sa Hapon must have caught themselves singing the song inadvertently.

The music video was painstakingly put together by film student and actress Bianca King as director and Raymond Gutierrez as the creative consultant.

The original song penned by Rebel Magdangasan is part of the 10-track CD released by GMA Records. Two of the cuts in the album have been handpicked to be theme songs of Tween Heart and Temptation of a Wife. The album is called Inside My Heart.

“The album’s title is Inside my Heart because it is very appropriate. Somehow, at this stage in my life, I feel like I am doing that exactly, expressing different emotions through the different songs, “ Frencheska explained.

What is Asia Model Festival Awards?

You’ve heard that Aljur Abrenica and Frencheska Farr were among the Filipino awardees in the recently-concluded AMFA. Numerous reports said Aljur is named Best Asian model, but the truth is, the Machete star is named Best Asian Model for the Philippines and it is just a minor award.

Previous Filipinos who received the same recognition were Iza Calzado, Victor Aliwalas, and Rhian Ramos. Now, everybody is asking what the essence of AMFA is and why is that even our other Asian neighbors are not in the loop on the nomination process and winner selection?

I tried googling AMFA and all I got are pictures of those big Asian stars that appeared on popular television series. According to a website I stumbled upon, the Asia Model Festival Awards, hosted by Korea Model Association, is a cultural event that aims to discover new models and award outstanding models and stars who contributed in advancing culture and arts through various activities in Asia every year. It is staged in participation with the Korean Federation of Pop Culture and Arts Industry.

The AMFA was inaugurated in 2006 in Korea. Japan and China started to participate in 2007, followed by Philippines and Uzbekistan in 2008. Thailand, Mongolia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India followed suit in 2009.

Amid the inclusion of other Asian countries, each award is still shared by a Korean actor or model with another Asian star or model. Let us say for example, Korean actor Kwon Sangwoo (Stairway to Heaven) received the top honor (Asia Star Award) and shared it with Taiwanese actor and F4 member Jerry Yan (Meteor Garden and  Down with Love).

Is AMFA the same with the annual Asian TV Awards wherein nominees are required to nominate themselves and pay a fee to be part of the shortlist? There’s a high probability don’t you think?

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