Nikki as Sweet Charity

Dot Ramos Balasbas-Gancayco - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Listening to her crystal clear voice and watching her standout performance on stage, one will definitely get starstruck. But behind the curtains in plain T-shirt and jeans, she can been seen as the approachable, girl-next-door type. Then as your conversation goes along, wherein she shares with you the broad spectrum of her accomplishments at a very young age of 23, and what she does to achieve her dreams, you get awed once again. She is definitely a star but without the star complex.

Mediocrity and Nikki Gil can never mix. In school, she studied hard and graduated class valedictorian of her high school batch. Yes, she joined singing contests, debating competitions and the like, and won. At the Ateneo de Manila University, she took up A.B. Literature as preparatory course for further law studies.  Little did she know that a softdrink commercial would change the course of her life.

So, instead of burrowing her eyes into thick law books to get ready for the grinding recitation of cases (like what this writer did at the U.P. College of Law) as demanded by terror teachers, Nikki has become an accomplished singer with three albums to her name, her latest of which is Somebody to Love under PolyEast Records. She has also done international recordings for Disney Records. To date, she is one of the two longest-serving veejays at MYX and has had several hosting stints on TV (ASAP, Pinoy Dream Academy, Breakfast, Showtime and Entertainment Live). 

In the area of acting, she was nominated for Best Actress in an international film festival for her role in the movie, Red Shoes and nominated for Best Actress in a musical for playing Elle in Legally Blonde.

She pushes herself to be the best in whatever she does and never misses an opportunity to do what she enjoys most ó performing.  Despite her busy schedule, Nikki has taken on the challenge of giving justice to the role of the love-gullible, dancer-for-hire Charity Hope in Sweet Charity (the role essayed by the iconic Shirley MacLaine in the movie version of old). She easily snagged it, according to Toff de Venecia of 9 Works Theatrical, the showís local producer, and has been taking voice and more arduous dance lessons to make sure she will be able to live up to the level of singing and heavy dancing that the role demands. 

Nikki says that any woman can identify with the ever-trusting Charity in her journey of love and loss, and joy and pain. Admitting that she herself had experienced heartaches in the past with her already long-forgotten and short-lived liaisons, she is happily in a stable relationship with Billy Crawford. 

As Charity, she has three very supportive friends played by Ciara Sotto as Helene, Sheila Valderrama-Martinez as Nickie, and Sheree as Carmen ó Charity’s fellow dancers at the Fandango Ballroom with whom she shares her tales of adventures, and sometimes, misadventures. Also doing remarkable jobs as part of the cast are singer Kris Lawrence who plays Oscar, a tax accountant who becomes Charityís love interest; OJ Mariano as the Italian movie star Vittorio Vidal; Angela Padilla as Ursala March; and Miguel Faustmann as Herman. They are also joined by an assembly of veteran theater performers who will bring the story of Sweet Charity to life.

Sweet Charity is ably directed by Robbie Guevara. It opens on Aug. 5 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza Makati and will run until Aug. 27 with Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances.

For those into stage presentations, Sweet Charity is definitely worth watching and this is not just for the big spenders among us.

(For details, call 557-5860, 0917-5545560, Ticketworld at 891-9999 or visit www.9workstheatrical.com.  Donate medicines, old clothes, books and toiletries to the less fortunate through the Rotary District 3780 by calling Dr. Irene Santos at 0918-8378058 or Rencie Padernal at 0920-9115555).

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