8 pm … February 26, 2006 … CCP Studio Theater … my friends (Madz, Alz (Madz’ friend), Nudge, Silverhakai, Dekya, and Maigaray, and I watched that AWESOME musical play ZSAZSA ZATURNNAH (Ze Muzikal). I’m actually having some difficulty writing this review because, so far, everything about it is not just good, it’s great! The set, the costumes, the actors, the lines, the music … everything!
In any case, I will try my best to break it down into coherent components … for the benefit of those who may want to see this play. By the way, as far as I know, the tickets are sold out already and they may not extend the show ’cause of the schedule of the actors. Info taken from Carlo Vergara’s blogsite.
Carlo Vergara‘s Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah is considered by many readers and critics alike as a tour de force among the recent crop of Filipino comic books. Combining irreverent humor, pop culture sensibilities, and nuanced writing, Zsazsa Zaturnnah has been postively received by readers of various age groups and economic backgrounds.
Zsazsa Zaturnnah tells the story of Ada, a cynical resident of a small provincial town, who gains superhuman abilities through a stone that falls from the heavens. With the ability to transform into the voluptuous and powerful Zaturnnah, Ada defends his hometown from dangerous otherworldly threats.
Adding color to this simple tale is the fact that Ada is a homosexual, proprietor of his own quaint beauty salon. Joining him in his extraordinary adventure is his frilly-mouthed assistant Didi and his secret love Dodong. Because of strong language and suggestive imagery, the comic book is strictly for mature readers.
Zsazsa Zaturnnah was first released in December 2002 as a two-part limited series, and since then has been prominently featured in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Businessworld, Manila Standard, Art Quarterly Manila, Culture Crash, etc. as well as the television show Knowledge Power.
After winning a much-coveted National Book Award, given out by the discriminating Manila Critics Circle, the two part Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah has been compiled into a single trade paperback by Visual Print Enterprises, and should hit the shelves of major bookstores within the first half of 2004.
For more information on the Collected Edition of Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah , please email Visual Print Enterprises through bo**********@vi******.net
Carlo Vergara — I have a funny feeling he is not only a Trekkie but also a lurker member of Via Astris. Trek references are all over the place! We are Amazonistas (a.k.a Borg).
The Story and The Play
Very funny, very entertaining, and beautifully adapted from a comic book to the stage by Chris Martinez. I don’t normally watch anything in the vernacular, but this is DEFINITELY a show to watch.
The Songs/Original Soundtrack
I LOVE the songs and the arrangements! This is superior work by Vincent de Jesus, folks! I loved the songs so much that I bought the soundtrack.
Eula Valdez in the title role as Zsazsa Zaturnnah
Eula will always be remembered by me as that lovely girl in Bagets. I was frankly surprised that she sings so well. And she plays gay so well. I knew she could sing, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t know she had those pipes! Excellent acting as ZsaZsa Zaturnnah. If there is any downside, all I can think of is that she doesn’t quite fit the top of the costume so well. ZsaZsa Zaturnnah is supposed to be top-heavy and Eula is supposedly well-endowed also, but I guess the skin suit she was wearing must have suppressed her “endowments”. But that is a minor detail. I’m sure that in succeeding shows they will fix that inconsistency with the character. Overall, fantastic performance!
Tuxqs Rutaquio as Ada, the gay parlorista and secret identity of Zsazsa Zaturnnah
Tuxqs’ (on the right) rendition of Ada is very soulful and moving and at times quite saucy. He was not the greatest singer in the group but he sang very well. He was able to project Ada’s emotions so well that I felt as if I was going through them with him. The pain of rejection, the anxious hope of love, and the fear of disappointment. He was just fantastic! I would love to catch him again. I can imagine that life has not been kind to Ada. He was lucky to have such a class act of a friend like Didi (played by Ricci Chan).
Ricci Chan as the irreverent Didi
Ricci, Ricci, Ricci (on the left in the picture above with Ada). All I can say is … I love you, I adore you. The first time I ever saw you perform was in Rent (by New Voice) as Angel. In my opinion, your star was born on that day. If I could I will watch every play you are in. Ricci as Didi is the SCENE STEALER of the show. In just about every scene he is in, he steals … but you forgive him for it. He is just too adorable. In my opinion, the best singer in the show … and the best actor in the show. At the same time, Ricci’s acting reminded me so much of Miao. It was actually eerie, ’cause Miao was sitting in front of me but I was seeing and hearing him on stage as well. If Miao were to audition for the part he wouldn’t be acting at all … he would be himself.
Arnold Reyes as Dodong, the hunky boy-next-door
Sigh … sigh … sigh ulit. I word to describe him Y-U-M-M-Y! I realize it doesn’t seem like it in the picture (he does not photograph well) but believe me, under those clothes, is your favorite dessert dripping in honey. He isn’t as beefy as the other guy who plays Dodong (see picture above. He is between Ada and Didi), but that is immaterial. What he has is good enough for me! When I saw him by the (fireman’s) pole making sexy poses I was thinking — cheesy but sexy still. And then he takes his shirt off and I almost lunged out of my seat. WHOA! Especially later when his shirt got ripped to pieces right by our (VA peeps) feet. Singing was not stupendous but I can forgive him for it. Pretty good acting. I really loved the part towards the end when he was declaring his intentions to Ada. He looked unsure and nervous — exactly how Dodong would be in that situation. There is speculation in the group if he is straight or not. Truth is … I don’t really care. I just think he is great! It’s not like I have any chance of intimacy with him, right?
Agot Isidro as Queen Femina Suarestellar Baroux, the antagonist
Agot is an established singer and I was curious to see how she would fare on the stage. I am happy to say she plays the role of Queen Femina magnificently! She was able to maintain the accent even when she sings. Actually, her acting and singing really reminded me of another actor (and friend of mine) — Lynn Shermann. On a side note: she looked really good in the “battle gown”.
There are only 3 performance days left and from what I hear all shows are sold out. I hope I can watch it again. I’m still trying to score tickets from Vince.
The remaining playdates are:
- March 3 – 8 pm
- March 4 – 3 pm
- March 4 – 8 pm
- March 5 – 3 pm