Monday, October 16, 2006

Verbatim: Calvin Millado

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!)


migs the manila gay guy, celebrity wannabe said...

hmmm... hmmm... hmmm... just snooping around. inggit ako. na-interview mo sina calvin and lea. ako kailan mo ako interview-hin? LOL!

gibbs cadiz said...

haha, i'll do that, migs, basta ba pakilala ka muna sa libo-libong fans mo sa :)

Toto said...

Do these interviews appear only here on your blog? Or have they been published somewhere else? I used to read your movie reviews in the Daily Inquirer.
Re. Babette's Feast which you recommend, I also highly recommend it. Its Oscar is highly deserved.

gibbs cadiz said...

yes, toto, these interviews are for the blog only and have not been published anywhere else. i usually do features for the paper, same topic or subject perhaps but different treatment, not Q&As like this one. i'd like to do a series of Q&As with artists/performers just for this blog alone. :) oh, whenever i do place a published piece here, i always note its publication date in the inquirer, so people would know it's being posted here for archival purposes only. otherwise, all other "clean" posts you see are exclusively for the blog. :)


Toto said...

Wow, that's awesome to have those interviews exclusively for your blog. You spoil your readers too much. Can I suggest some interview subjects? Hehehe
Thanks for visiting my blog. You may want to check it out again re. my response to your response to my earlier comemnt here.
One last thing, my family and I used to be loyal Repertory Philippines subscribers for many years (since the early 80s, although we used to watch the big musicals at Meralco Theatre way way back). We religiously watched all their shows every season since their Insular Life days to their Shangrila's Shaw Theatre, which I heard has been demolished (Is that correct?). Although I now get to watch these shows on Broadway, I still miss the intimacy of Insular Life Theatre and the great Filipino talents. Is the web page which appears somewhere in your blog the official Repertory website? I was surprised because it's almost bare. I'm wondering what plays they are presenting these days now that Bibot is gone. I'm always curious to know their line up every season.

gibbs cadiz said...

hi toto, thanks for the kind words. i really intended this blog not so much to be about me and my personal life, but as a complement to my work as a journalist/editor with a particular interest in the arts, especially theater and movies. so whatever good material i have left over from my official work (since not everything gets into the paper for lack of space) goes into this blog. hence the interviews, which are actually residual products of the main features i do for the paper. but as you can see, i still take them bloody seriously, haha. old journalistic instincts--can't bear shortchanging the few readers i have here. :) yep, that's the official rep site. they still have the regular seasons, with the sound of music as an upcoming production this december. i'll blog about it soon, since i got to interview monique wilson and menchu lauchengco-yulo, who will alternate as maria. rep's doing fine, their man of la mancha last year was terrific. it's the in-season filler plays, those stale drawing-room comedies and so-so dramas, that need fresher inspirations. :)

Toto said...

Hey Gibbs. Thanks for your reply. The revival of Man of La Mancha just closed here with Brian Stokes Mitchell and Mary Mastrantonio. I saw Rep's staging of it several years ago with Miguel Faustman. Miguel was great! He made me cry. Later, I saw Man of La Mancha in Toronto. The production was great (there was even a totally nude woman on stage) but it didn't move me. Rep's shows are really comparable to Broadway productions (sometimes even better). I really miss Rep.

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