Musical cruisin' with Reuben & Anna
Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - February 7, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The brilliance of a Pinoy performer is admired overseas. Reuben Laurente and Anna Fegi are never wanting in proving this aboard Brilliance of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean International ship. Night after night, the two take center stage as featured singers and make waves among the multi-racial, multi-cultural audience.

Reuben and Anna are in Manila for a six-week sojourn but they would love to share their success with their kababayan if given the chance.

“The joy of performing and entertaining before an international audience and being given the recognition and appreciation you deserve when you get to meet and mingle with them (is something else),” says Reuben of the high he gets as an international cruise artist.

“Somehow, it validates me as an artist that from the Philippines come two artists who can show that the talent and artistry of the Filipino performer is of world-standard.”

“It is not even work for me,” adds Anna. “Being able to sing and perform, get paid in doing so, and travel the world at the same time is more than a dream come true… but the real deal is to show the world how Filipinos perform, how passionate we are with music and performing. It is such a fulfillment when Filipinos are being acknowledged as talented and passionate people.”

These keep Reuben and Anna always on their toes. They are part of the 12-member cast from Australia, Italy, Albania, Argentina, England and the US in bringing cheer to a diverse audience of 50 nationalities. Reuben and Anna headline Now and Forever, Centerstage and Tango Buenos Aires. In Now and Forever, the two perform a string of Broadway excerpts from The Producers, Contact, Fosse, Full Monty and Mamma Mia. Then, they shift to the more accessible songs of the ‘60s to the ‘80s for Centerstage. Reuben and Anna pay a dance tribute and sing in Spanish in Tango.

Singing and performing on stage is what people see Reuben and Anna do. But the real work also happens off stage.

“We have so many fast costume changes — from the wigs, earrings, necklace, bracelets, gowns, stockings down to shoes,” shares Anna. “We only have seconds to do that. We don’t have (personal) assistants to help us out. We are trained to do everything.”

That’s just the icing on the cake. Reuben and Anna, however, know by heart why they are onboard Brilliance of the Seas: To perform to entertain.

“I believe He has put me here because He knows this is what I have desired in life,” says Reuben, “to earn a living and enjoy what I love doing which is performing. There is deep sense of fulfillment where I am at right now.”

“I always give my best shot when I perform in every show,” shares Anna. “I always try to make it better than the last… it is overwhelming to meet and talk to the audience who appreciates the effort and hard work you’ve done. But most especially they see the passion and fun we feel on stage.”

Asked about his and Anna’s chemistry on stage, Reuben replies, “The guests give us reviews every cruise. And they can prove that we have chemistry as performers. What we know is we do our best. She gives me energy — very positive performing energy. I give her back. I think she also gives the same thing to me. If you give a certain energy to a person, you also emanate that. It goes out to the people and it goes out to the whole venue. And you can feel that during performance.”

Since the two are true to their craft, Anna and Reuben are off again overseas for the next two years cruising and entertaining. Meantime, before we say bon voyage, let’s give Anna and Reuben the warm welcome they’re looking forward to.

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