Lea Salonga performs in her first concert after giving birth in "Tomorrow: A Concert for the Future" at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Main Theater on October 20-21, 8pm. Guests include Calvin Millado, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Hail Mary the Queen Children's Choir, Kilyawan Boys' Choir, and child singer Julia Abueva. Musical director is Gerard Salonga and director is Chris Millado. Call CCP 8323704 or 8321125 loc. 1405-1406.
Tall, well-built and blessed with a velvety baritone, Calvin Millado was launched as a romantic balladeer in the mode of Martin Nievera before he found his niche in musical theater. Subverting his clean-cut image for the chance to expand his range, Mr. Millado got down and dirty and deliberately roughened his voice to play raw, offbeat characters in Atlantis Productions' "Rent," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "The Rocky Horror Show," among others, to generally felicitous results.
Two weeks before he guests in Lea Salonga's "Tomorrow" concert at the CCP, he sits down for this brief interview.
What’s playing on your iPod? Right now it’s Josh Groban, because I’m studying the songs that I’ll be doing for the concert.
What kind of music do you listen to mostly? Broadway musicals. Lately, I’ve been listening to [Cy Coleman and Ira Gasman's] “The Life.”
In the musical “The Rocky Horror Show,” playing Frank n’ Furter, you wore high heels, fishnet stockings and a corset. How was that like? (Laughter) I had a lot of fun doing it. It was quite difficult to get used to a lot of things, though.
Did you get to see Tim Curry in the film version? Yes, I did, when we were rehearsing already. The thing I learned from the film was, in playing my role, I should really think like a woman, believe that I was a woman, and not only that I was dressed like one. That helped me a lot.
A lot of people said that of all the Broadway musicals you did, that was your best performance. Do you agree? Well, because of the degree of difficulty in getting into that character, and actually wearing all those costumes and going through the transformation, I would say yes. I really worked hard in that show.
Did [director] Bobby Garcia have a hard time convincing you to do the role? No, Bobby has never had a hard time telling me that I was part of any of his musicals. I couldn’t refuse whatever Bobby offered me, because I trusted him enough.
Do you remember what I wrote about you in my review of “Beauty and the Beast?” (Read the review here.) Did it make you mad? Should I take cover now? (Laughter) I think I read it once, and my brother [theater director Chris Millado] also told me about it. No, I didn’t get angry. It happens naman all the time. That’s one thing I’ve learned. If there’s a negative or contrary view, you just have to work on it. My brother is even more straightforward about my performances. So I didn’t take it personally.
You did all three local runs of “Rent.” How was that experience like compared to “The Rocky Horror Show?” “Rent” was really difficult in terms of vocals, because it was in the rock genre, and I’m a baritone.
Did you get voice lessons for it? I had some vocal enhancements lang to get a feel of the role, to have a bit more edge to my voice. But it didn’t help, because after doing the three productions of “Rent,” I developed nodes, and I actually had an operation. Compared to “Rent,” “Rocky Horror” wasn’t so demanding vocally, and after a while you were already having fun doing it. (Laughter)
What’s the last musical you've seen? “Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah.” Really fun!
Which living performers do you look up to, local or foreign? I’ve had a few old favorites--James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald. Those are the guys I listen to. For theater, it’s Heather Headley [“Aida” and “The Lion King”].
What’s your pet peeve? I have quite a few, but… okay, people stretching after eating, in public places. (Laughter)
What are you reading now? My God! (Laughter). It’s funny, magazines actually, on parenting. I have a two-year-old boy.
How has parenting changed your life? It has humbled me.
Would you say that you’re slowing down a bit in your career right now? Well, I’m not the matinee idol type of performer anymore. I mean, if I did entertain that thought, that was probably 10 years ago. It’s a very dynamic industry, so you have to know where to place yourself. I don’t have the illusion of making it big. If I could stay within my level, I’d be very happy.
(Up next: Lea Salonga!)