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Joseph Gelito: Chasing the American dream

Gelito (with Nora Aunor during one of his concerts) will stage the musical-comedy The Star for all Genders: Embracing America, a showcase of American and Filipino cultures, in Los Angeles on all Sundays of September except on the 19th.

There are so many good stories to tell about the so-called American dream. It is the dream commonly shared by those who wish to live a life of freedom and prosperity. To most Filipinos, it is the reason why they choose to leave their motherland and bravely restart a life so foreign but full of endless promise.

And yet there are also those who chase it for the sake of just finding themselves — their true calling, if you will. Joseph Gelito was one of those.

Joseph moved to the US in 1995, leaving behind a thriving TV career in the Philippines and a lucrative job as a cruise director for a popular cruise line in Asia. He had what one would consider a successful career and yet he still decided to move to the US and get his own share of the dream.

But in America, like most immigrants, he had to struggle and weather rough times when he began reestablishing his performing career. His natural knack for comedy plus his legitimate theater training proved to be his biggest advantage and he eventually managed to penetrate the Fil-Am entertainment scene. Before stand-up comedy became a hit among Filipinos in L.A., he was already wowing many corporate events with his comic flair and comedic antics. And when sing-along became the craze he was among the very first to blaze the trail.

Not only is Joseph a brilliant comedian he is also one of the most sought-after L.A.-based concert performers. With his fabulous soaring voice, he has been featured in concerts alongside Nora Aunor, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Aiza Seguerra and Keempee de Leon, among others.

For all his talents and accomplishments, Joseph has earned the title “Star for all genders.”

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This summer, the comedian will unveil a month-long series of shows called The Star for all Genders: Embracing America. The shows will be held on all Sundays of September except on the 19th. It is scheduled to coincide with Joseph’s celebration of his first year as an American citizen.

“I consider this as my major one-man show for this year as I celebrate my birthday and my first year as an American citizen,” he states. Embracing America is a musical-comedy show that will showcase a fusion of American and Filipino cultures through skits, spoofs and character sketches. It will feature artists both established and unknown and try to shed light on the “Americanization” of Filipino transplants in the US. “I will do some sketches on the lives of nurses,” adds Joseph who is, not surprisingly, also an activity director for a nursing chain. He promises to fill his script with touches of his own experiences, and those of others he knows, while chasing the proverbial American Dream.

“I have discovered so many things since becoming an American citizen,” he says. “I noticed the difference in how people talk and think; how their philosophies have evolved. Can you imagine our Filipino doctors choosing to become nurses, or our teachers becoming caregivers? It’s not funny but, you know how Pinoys are, we just laugh it off. Compared to others who commit suicide when faced with problems, I think Filipinos are better off with our innate sense of humor.”

It is this sense of humor Joseph will be celebrating in his shows. “There will be a lot of medleys I commissioned specially for these shows in the Philippines. I will have character sketches that will spoof familiar personalities like Madonna, Elvis, Sharon Cuneta, Manny Pacquiao, or even Charice!,” he declares. Most of the segments will be musical-like that he promises the audience will enjoy.

Former 14K singer Jonard Yanzon and Seafood City singing competition winner John Alcera will join Joseph in his series of shows on Sept. 6, 13 and 27 at the California Wok Restaurant in Los Alamitos. Talented performers Ate Sya and Lawrence will join the comedian along with Kambayoka Arts dancers Lilet and Marlyn Batino.

California Wok roster of talented comics Kasia, Maui, and Justine completes the show’s cast.

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