All Roads Lead to Gleeorious! (Part 1)

Sep 28, 2011 by

Musicals come and go. Many of them turn out to be great successes with music that become immortal. But what will make a musical more meaningful, aside from all the success it can garner, is when it is done for a cause that would benefit the many for a long time.

Such is the kind that Gleeorious dreams of achieving. This musical is a brainchild of the collaboration between artist-advocates and the church. From Atty Jobert Peñaflorida’s intent to give back to the church and the bigger community, to the artistic aesthetics filled in by Kevin Piamonte and his team, to the support and encouragement of the Commission on Jaro Archdiocesan Youth Apostolate, GLEEORIOUS is born.

After weeks of daunting auditions and months of challenging rehearsals, Gleeorious opens to a huge number of audiences on the 16th of September. The musical is based on the characters of the hit TV series Glee, with some of show’s most popular musical numbers being adapted in the musical. The musical’s repertoire of 18 tracks to boot cuts across several musical genres: pop, country, r&b , ballad, rock and broadway which will surely appeal to a wide-ranging audience.

Behind the powerhouse team for this production are no greenhorns in the musical industry. Kevin Piamonte is the writer and director of Gleeorious. His achievements in the theatre arts scene in Iloilo are innumerable and Gleeorious is considered to be a playground that keeps him excited. Crista Sianson-Huyong is the Musical Director who has composed and directed musicals that have been staged in CCP. I happen to be the show’s choreographer, so there. Another veteran in the production design area is Roman Sanares. He will bring the Glee atmosphere to life with his sets and lighting design. Gleeorious is Produced by Fr. Richard Daulo and Atty Jobert Peñaflorida, with Associate Producers Sherlyn Samson, Rhea Peñaflorida & Bing Layao. The Marketing arm is being handled by the UPV Marketing Society headed by its president, Mabel Toledo. Assisting the director is John Raymund Macahilas.

While many of you are probably familiar with the characters of Glee on TV, you might be interested to meet the actors who will breathe life onstage to the roles you have been following on the show. Ladies and gentlemen, meet some of the cast of Gleeorious.

Babbeth F. Vargas as Sue Sylvester

Acting Credits:

SINDA – a short film by Robert Rodriguez (2009) & THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (2000). I was among the first set of performers of Teatro Amakan (1981) for Apik where I played an hysterical woman (my forte?! HAHAHA).

Inspiration as an Artist: like any true artist, I think I am inspired most by the process of creativity or of creating. The compliments, the applause, and the work of art itself are just icing on the cake. The moment an idea sparks in my mind up to the time when the object and/or role takes form–this is what inspires me.   In the case of GLEEorious, the idea of playing the role of Sue Sylvester inspired me to become like her.

Preparation: If I were not infected by my kids into following the GLEE series, perhaps preparing for the role of Sue Sylvester would involve viewing the TV series and studying her character. The bad guy character has always been my ideal. Once I turned down an offer to play the central character in one production because I cannot picture myself playing the underdog onstage.

My Favorite Scene: Where Sue Sylvester opens her heart to Wil (and the world) to show the tiny part of her that’s humane. I love this part of the play because she gets to redeem herself after  being so nasty the whole time.

My Favorite Song: excluding my own song (which I really find heartrending) I like Rachel’s Don’t Rain on my parade because it is the song that could leave the audience awestruck.

Francis Gerard A. Habana as Principal Figgins

Performance experience/s (shows, groups, roles played, competitions won, etc):

Journey To Forever, Rizal Is My President,  Death Of A Salesman, Iloilo Sarswela: Padayon Ang Istorya, Scrooge and the Christmas Ghost, Tag-araw, Ang Kapid, The Trees Die Standing, Ang Pilason, Variation Facsimiles, The King And I, etc.

Your inspiration for being an artist: All the artists I have worked with in the past and I am working with at present.

How did you prepare for the role you’re playing on Gleeorious: By reading the script and learning the songs.  Bought a dvd copy of the Glee Season 1 but did not watch it.

The most challenging part of being on the show: Performing with a bunch of very talented, energetic and young people.

Jillian L. Ita-as as Rachel Berry

Your inspiration for being an artist: I really enjoy Kristin Chenoweth as a musical theater performer. But nothing beats the applause & deafening cheers coming from your family & friends.

How did you prepare for the role you’re playing on Gleeorious: Watched the full season of Glee then made mental notes on my character, downloaded all her songs then played them on loop, took rehearsals seriously, practiced annoying everyone in our house & tortured the neighbors with my loud singing, took care of myself by drinking vitamins & even went jogging for lung endurance.

The most challenging part of being on the show: Balancing school work & other priorities with rehearsals without dying of exhaustion!

Your favorite scene on the show: The part where everyone auditions. I enjoy acting extremely irritating in that scene for some strange reason.

Your favorite song on the show: Defying Gravity.

Any rituals that you have when preparing before a performance? Praying for a good performance hugging everyone for support & not eating so much.

Do you have a dream role? What is it? Kim in Miss Saigon or anything comical would be lovely!

What similarities or differences do you have with the character you’re playing? It was kind of easy for me to play Rachel because I have the same tendency of a manic need for perfection in all that I do — and sweaters.

Iveca Cale Villalon Ignacio as Tina

Performance experiences: A member of a local girl pop group KIMSSHI. We cosplay and perform often in SM City or anywhere we are invited to. We also make music videos and song covers and upload them in youtube and in our facebook fanpage.

I’m also an indie film actress in the films I and Jose (Finn) produced with a friend, and join indie film competitions. Our biggest achievement is being part of the top 20 finalists of the Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival and going to Manila to be in the awards ceremony.

Your inspiration for being an artist: Eugene Domingo… she’s just so natural. I wanna be a comedian like her.

How did you prepare for the role you’re playing on Gleeorious: I pulled my wigs out of my closet!

The most challenging part of being on the show: Acting with two boyfriends… such a hard life! KIDDING!

Your favorite scene on the show: I love the girls number… EXPRESS YOURSELF!

Daphne Gupeteo Jontaciergo as Mercedes

Your inspirations for being an artist: Lea Salonga, Elaine Paige, Sarah Brightman

How did you prepare for the role you’re playing on Gleeorious: When I saw Bobby’s post in Facebook re Gleeorious audition, I was kinda excited, because I know Direk Kevin’s caliber in directing a musical show. Its is always on top! But on the other hand, I thought it was an exclusive play for the UP students. When I get to know that it was open for all, ang katawang lupa ko ay nabuhay muli! Ha ha ha! :D

Performing onstage is my first love. That’s why I started looking for Season 1 & 2 DVD copies for review. I even ask my sister working in Manila to buy me a copy of season 1 kay out of stock diri sa Iloilo.

When I got the role of Mercedes, I started researching…. Her looks, accessories, and dresses. It takes a lot of reading, researching and reviewing her role para mag sink-in sa akon ang iya ka ekekan… :D

    The most challenging part of being on the show: Playing the role of Mercedes – I need to study her belting belting etc. Dancing – folk dancing is my orientation, that’s why kinanlan ko mag extra effort to learn the dances.

    Robert Rodriguez as Will Schuster

    Most Challenging Part of Being Schuster: Getting curls and getting a dye and highlights.

    Best Part of the Show: Being on stage with Sue Sylvester and listening to her song, A House is Not A Home. I sing it in my head and it’s heartbreaking. Had to keep myself up, though.

    Why should people watch Gleeorious: They just have to. It has a very good cause and it has very high entertainment value – it is done with taste.

    Jose Federico Chiu as Finn

    Your favorite song on the show: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

    Any rituals that you have when preparing before a performance? Praying

    Do you have a dream role? What is it? Yes, being an assassin or a psychopath.

    What similarities or differences do you have with the character you’re playing? We’re both tall and athletic but we’re not into the same sports.

    Why should people come and watch Gleeorious? It’s for a cause and it’s the biggest musical in Iloilo.

    Jefrey Fernandez Estomata as Artie

    How did you prepare for the role you’re playing on Gleeorious: I watched all the episodes again and study my character. Practice to handle the wheelchair.

    The most challenging part of being on the show: At first, I have hard time handling the wheelchair as well as preventing my feet from going under or moving. I need to catch up with other members in every dance productions and be cautious not to cause accidents on stage. It’s challenging to use both hands in everything that I need to do. At the same time maintain teamwork with fellow glee members.

    Your favorite scene on the show: The Audition where we sing“Somewhereover the Rainbow” part because I always remember myself auditioning for this musical back then.

    Your favorite song on the show: Don’t Stop Me Now…favorite that I would like to stand from the wheelchair, just to groove on the floor.

    John Paul Mandario Jangit as Scott

    The most challenging part of being on the show: Except for the weight loss regimen, probably the most challenging part of this journey is time management. I have to make sure that I have ample time both for work and for GLEEorious. I need to accomplish my tasks as an accountant, at the same time, to bring down the house as a performer. It is definitely a challenge for me, but I’ve learned something from it: Not only does practicing work, but practicing at work also works! Another challenge is my adaptation to the character of Scott who, in so many ways, is different from me in real life.

    Do you have a dream role? What is it? Most of the roles that I dream of taking on are those of television characters which include: Will Truman (Will & Grace), Michael Novotny (Queer as Folk), Marc St. James (Ugly Betty), Stewie Griffin (Family Guy), and Blaine Anderson (Glee, since Kurt Hummel’s role already went to Brian and Jasper). But one role that I would really like to play is that of The Pilot (because I’m too old for the title role) in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince.

    What similarities or differences do you have with the character you’re playing? A major (and maybe the only) similarity between Scott and I is that we are both caught between two things – what we are doing and what we want to do. The character is based on Matt Rutherford, a football player who joined Glee Club because of his talent in singing and dancing; coincidentally, I, a Certified Public Accountant, joined GLEEorious because of my passion for theatre. The differences – ethnicity, skin color, fashion sense, hairstyle, manner of speaking, bodily movements and the list go on. But being a chameleon on stage is part of the game, so I really gave my all in learning and taking on the role of Scott.

    Ma.Paz Baes-Meso as Mercedes

    I’M PLAYING THE ROLE OF MERCEDES JONES AND SINCE THEN I REALLY LIKED HER CHARACTER AS WELL AS THE STORYLINE OF GLEE,FOR THE REASON THAT MOST OF THE SONGS THEY SING IS UPDATED, AND I REALLY LOVE HER, AS THE SCENE STEALER, THE DIVA, AND THE DRAG QUEEN OF THE GROUP SO WHEN I AUDITIONED FOR GLEEORIOUS I WAS AIMING FOR HER CHARACTER HEHE AND IM SO HAPPY THAT I GOT THE PART.

    Melanie B. Simborio as Brittany

    The most challenging part of being on the show: singing and acting like an absolute airhead

    Your favorite scene on the show: Sue Sylvester scolding the cheerios

    Your favorite song on the show: express yourself

    Do you have a dream role? What is it? Satine- Moulin Rouge (like her costumes)

    What similarities or differences do you have with the character you’re playing? she’s a great dancer while I am practicing very hard.

    Why should people come and watch Gleeorious? It’s going to be fun and full of energy. nobody says no to full-blown stage performances!

    Jezaniah Matunog-Reyna as Santana

    How did you prepare for the role you’re playing on Gleeorious: Aside from the tedious rehearsals I practice my songs before I sleep and practice the choreography when I wake up. I also drink a lot of fruits and water, take vitamins and exercise to have the endurance for the play. Sometimes I stare in a mirror and do Santana facial expressions to practice maintaining my character all throughout, pretty vain, but part of the preparation. I still have a hard time achieving that perfect cheek-lifted, lip-pouted Santana look, need more practice!

    The most challenging part of being on the show: Dancing would probably be the most challenging part of being in the show. I’m not a born dancer nor a dancer in public but this show really squeezed out the long hidden dancer in me. Thanks to Sir Bob, our choreographer, the dancing wasn’t as hard as I imagined it to be.

    Kristo Rey Quiñon as Mike


    Your favorite song on the show: Definitely “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

    Any rituals that you have when preparing before a performance? I secretly do this weird concentrating activity with my hands while making irritating dolphin sounds… NEXT QUESTION!!

    Do you have a dream role? What is it? Roger – Rent, Christian – Moulin Rouge, Phantom – Phantom of the Opera. Once again, I shall put an emphasis on the word “DREAM”.

    What similarities or differences do you have with the character you’re playing? An asian who loves to dance with a hidden dorky, confused, goofy side

    Why should people come and watch Gleeorious? ‘Cause “we got the moves”.

    Ordisi Peraro Osonio as Mike

    Performance experience/s: UP Teatro Amakan’s Baloy and Apik!, various singing competition from barangay fiestas to national level competition, and many more minor performances.

    Your inspiration for being an artist: Inspirations rather, i think… Generally its the innate-gravity towards recognition, the unconditional support from family, friends (seen and unseen), the passion to do art (visual, performing/musical, accounting(art din to uy)), and of course to GOD, to WHOM all of these I offer to.

    The most challenging part of being on the show: DanSing pare – DANCING while singing… Mostly due to the earlier.

    Your favorite scene on the show: The part where Rachael shows us how to do the “proper” stage walk-out… I love how the tension builds up in this part… The drama too..maybe. :p

    Maxinne Marie Belo Sentina as Quinn

    How did you prepare for the role you’re playing on Gleeorious: Watched some Glee season 1 episodes again and studied my character, got on my dancing shoes, had my hair colored ash blonde.

    The most challenging part of being on the show: In my case, it’s having to travel miles of poorly asphalted road to make time for rehearsals and performances and still be able to juggle my work schedule as a nurse. I love the performing arts so much so I see to it that I make time for it.

    Your favorite scene on the show: The audition scene. It reminds me of my own audition experiences.

    Your favorite song on the show: Don’t Rain on My Parade.

    Any rituals that you have when preparing before a performance? Nothing much, just beautifying myself – hair and makeup and stuff.

    Do you have a dream role? What is it? Kim (Miss Saigon), Eponine (Les Miserables), Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Amneris (Aida), to name a few. If the Disney film Pocahontas were staged, I want to have the title role. I really love the songs that these characters perform.

    Ron Trompeta as Puck

    The most challenging part of being in the show: Smooth Criminal

    Your favorite scene in the show: First part of the play

    Your Favorite song: Don’t Stop Me Now

    Any rituals that you have in preparing before performance: Eating and praying

    Do you have dream role? What is it?: To play Tom Cruise’s character

    What similarity or difference do you have with the character you’re playing? : handsome, masculine, good singer but not a good actor.

    Joan Guanzon Jaranilla as Brittany

    Do you have a dream role? What is it?: Being the main antagonist

    What similarities or differences do you have with the character you’re playing?: Both like dancing. :/

    Why should people come and watch Gleeorious? The cast’s amazing and interesting on how “well” they portray each character. Several genres from the 80’s to present are sang and danced to make viewing very entertaining that the crowd can get along. The “storyboard” is remarkable.

    Winston Bedia Lee as Principal Figgins

    Dream Role? What is it? It’s Dr. JEKYLL and HYDE, in JEKYLL and HYDE The Musical

    What similarities or differences do you have with the character you’re playing: I can relate to the role very much, truly our personality are almost alike. I can relate to being a kind hearted person who understands the situation, sometimes hot tempered but believes on being optomistic dealing on difficult situations. Our Difference is that he is an Bombay(Indian) and that im Chinese by Race.

    Why should people come and watch Gleeorious: It’s very popular all over the world but! It’s one of a kind production here in Iloilo compose of purely Ilonggo Talents, and doing it our own GLEE-oriuos way!

    Frank Michael Guileño Gamino as Scott

    Any rituals that you have when preparing before a performance? It should be a peaceful minute or two reading a book and a sharp snap at my legs reminding them to perform the dance as planned.

    Do you have a dream role? What is it? It should be taking the role of the Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera. It’s just that I like the song “Music of the Night” which under normal circumstances is very hard to get requested to be played by the band.

    What similarities or differences do you have with the character you’re playing? Aside from the physique, I think there is nothing else. My character does not really do much even in the series.

    Why should people come and watch Gleeorious? They shouldn’t miss this stage adaptation of Glee because it features very promising young talents   that will no doubt make it big in theatrical business in the future. It would be quite a boon to see how future talents really started. It is like being part of a history in  the making. Aside from that, the effort exerted to make this production is huge. Any   effort as huge as the one in Gleeorious is indeed worth watching. It’s satisfaction guaranteed for everyone!


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