Katy’s Got Moxy
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
Tatay (Tirso Cruz III): Aasa ka sa mga sinsilyong pinupukol ng mga manonood? E ikaw nga’y pinagkait ng Diyos ng na tatanging kagandahan! Pagkatapos kung kumilos ka masahol ka pa sa mga lalakeng kalaro mo sa labas? Sa araw araw na ginawa ka ng Diyos gumugulpi ka ng kalaro? Pagkatapos aasa kang kikita ka ng pera sa palakpak ng tao? Batang Katy (Yedda Lambujon): Di naman na dadaan sa ganda yan e. Ang panggulat ko ay ang aking (screams) boooseees!
Calling Katy precocious as an 8 year old is an understatement. If she were born these days she’d be diagnosed as a hyperactive kid. Instead she became known as the kid with a powerful voice and moxy, lots of moxy. Even at a very young age, Katy Dela Cruz knew she was destined to perform. KATY the Musical is the portrayal of her colorful, tragic and lyrical life. The era is from the heyday of bodabil, jazz, swing and bebop. The passion for music is what shines through in KATY that entices us to look and never forget. It runs from January 17-27, 2013 at the CCP.
Everyone who has seen it has universally praised Isay Alvarez in the lead role. Even those who caught the original version of the production have given Isay the thumbs up. Cinemalaya Competition Head Laurice Guillen said, “The cast did really great especially Isay. I know Mitch (Valdes) is really a great performer. Pero yung work ni Isay rito may pain, feel na feel ko siya. Mitch is known as full of humor and lightness.”
Mitch Valdes was in the title role in the original 1987 production of KATY. Director Nestor U. Torre is back to for this version as well. The music by Ryan Cayabyab and Librettist Jose Javier Reyes brings out the best in the cast today as it did then. There’s the vocals of Gian Magdangal. Epy Quizon exhibited dancing skills playing the role of his real life father Dolphy. Aicelle Santos was dazzling as the young Katy on the cusp of stardom.
Among recent productions KATY has a strong parallelism with STAGESHOW written by Mario O’Hara who passed away last year. KATY however, predates STAGESHOW by 2 decades or so. Both musicals honor the forgotten stars of the Philippine theater.
KATY’s advantage is Ryan Cayabyab’s music. STAGESHOW has the playful humor of Mario O’Hara. Although Joey Reyes dialogue also delivers laughs, O’Hara’s comedic wit is still funnier. It was O’Hara’s intention to make tragedy funny where, humor is just alternated from the heavy dramatic scenes in KATY. STAGESHOW will once again have a run on August in CCP.
Cayabyab’s music necessitated powerful vocals which Isay Alvarez (Senior KATY) and Aicelle Santos (Teen Katy) very capably delivered. The most poignant vocal performance and music was the duet of Aicelle and Dulce who was in the role of Olivia the Diva. The song is MINSAN ANG MINAHAL AY AKO, which expresses the pain of losing the adulation of an audience by a fading star.
Apart from the title role of Katy Dela Cruz the musical is a very intriguing look at some characters who are based on real life people. Most audiences today remember Mary Walter (CJ Mangahis) in a lot of grandmother roles, with her shock of white hair and raspy voice. She’s had countless film roles from horror to dramas and was a lifetime achievement awardee from both the FAMAS and the Urian. KATY reveals a young sexy starlet version of Mary. For most of us it’s hard to imagine Mary Walter in floozy roles and a sexy Hawaiian dancer in grass skirt.
KATY turns back the clock to when they were all young. While, Gloria Romero turns into Heart Evangelista to seduce Geoff Eigenman in Forever by GMA 7, KATY takes audience through one person’s life. Making them the time traveller.
Not a lot of people may be aware that Mary Walter, Mitch Valdes and KATY lyricist Joey Reyes were connected even before the musical. Considered as one of the best Filipino films of all time the Cinema One film fest recently screened the digitally restored version of ORO PLATA MATA by Peque Gallaga.
It was released in 1976 and even then Mary Walter already had her shock of white hair as the aging yaya of a nubile, barely out of her adolescence Cherie Gil. Incidentally, 1987 KATY lead star Mitch Valdes also figured prominently in ORO as the liberated doctor who came back from America. Before the screening, it was revealed by direk Peque that it was screenwriter Jose Javier Reyes who coined the name of the film.
The three friends of KATY apart from Mary were rounded out by Tricia Amper Jimenez as Hannah San and Celine Fabie as Patsy Patochay. Their performances were key as they had a lot of scenes with both male and female leads. Their number with Gian Magdangal was also memorable with the trio of Mary, Patsy and Hanna tries to seduce the dashing Peping with a sexy but playful song and dance.
Strong credit must be given to musical director Mel Villena and the Asosasyon Ng Pilipinong Musikero (AMP). They executed the music composed by Cayabyab not just with perfection but more of the enthusiasm and emotion that the story required.
KATY Producer Robert Seña acknowledged Fanny Serrano who designed the costumes as well as the hair and make up for the whole show. Katy Dela Cruz’ passion and love for music is evident not just in the performance but also in the artistry and generosity of everyone involved in the restaging of KATY the Musical.
SPONSORS include: Boardwalk, SM Supermalls, PLDT, Spotlight Artists Centre, Manila Bulletin, Business World, HerWord.com, Lyric Piano, McDonalds, Phil Charity Sweepstakes, Columbia’s Quality Sweets, AnakTV, Fanny Serrano, Century Pacific Group, ROTARY INTL District 3780, ARTWORK, Dance Theater Arts, TICKETWORLD, SINGRAY’S Advertising, FJ Sionson Florist, Lyfcenter, Ha Yuan Tsinoy Comfort food, PHIL STAR, DZRH, 96.3 EASY ROCK, MONSTER RADIO RX 93.1, DZMM, MYX, 702 DZAS, Carl E. Balita REVIEW CENTER, Cinema One, Lifestyle Network, MYLESWAYS BEAUTY SALON, CAMPSUKI COSTUMES, MJ Sudayan Photography, Celeste Legaspi and Girlie Rodis of ACTORS SUTDIO EAST PROD. , Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc.