A celebration of life & passion

Shirley Matias Pizarro - The Philippine Star
A celebration of life & passion
Ayen and Franco Laurel celebrate milestones in their first-ever full-length concert together

Ayen & Franco’s CCP show Kitang Dalawa

MANILA, Philippines — The Triple Treat series of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) successfully concluded last Thursday night with a grand show billed Kitang Dalawa headlined by musical theater’s husband-and-wife tandem of Ayen and Franco Laurel.

The overwhelming passion, talent and enthusiasm of Ayen and Franco in their first-ever full-length concert together manifested right at the onset of their performance. The full-packed Little Theater of CCP got easily infected with wonder and delight that for the duration of the two-hour show, everyone in the audience seemed to be smiling, joyfully partaking the music and the love felt all around.

Kitang Dalawa, the concert title, was a song penned by Von de Guzman (also the show’s musical director) from the musical, Atang, the life story of vaudeville artist Honorata “Atang” Dela Rama which Ayen did in 2008. Ayen said they knew that it was the perfect title for their show right away. They went on to render an intimate and heartfelt version of Kitang Dalawa that night.

The repertoire was thoughtfully lined-up, reminiscent of the many milestones in both their careers. Ayen sang Kung Mahawi Man Ang Ulap, which was her standard audition piece in all the productions she joined. She also did a song from Rama at Sita, the musical where they first met in 1999 which Ayen produced and consequently launched Franco’s career as singer and actor.

For his part, Franco did memorable renditions of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Unexpected Song, which he recorded for his wife in 1999. He also sang Corner of the Sky from the musical Pippin and A Fire in the Soul, both very significant songs for him.

Children Angia and Mariella (right) also perform in the show

Others that struck a chord in the hearts of the audience were Ayen’s Can You Read My Mind (a song she said that reminds her of Franco), a Celeste Legaspi medley — Tuliro, Saranggola ni Pepe, Mamang Sorbetero. Together, they did a medley of Apo Hiking Society songs, too. The couple also showed their terpsichorean skills when Ayen sang They Can’t Take That Away, as an ode to her jazz background. Franco joined in Ayen’s fun with the Whiplash and concluded that number with a duet of the inspirational tune, Could You Be Messiah.

Franco said, “The songs were all very personal to us. We really had to stop ourselves from crying when we were rehearsing for it because it brought back beautiful memories of the times we began our respective careers and how we have grown in the industry we love.”

The couple has been married for 17 years now and is blessed with four daughters, two of whom were also part of the show — Mariella and Angia. Mariella’s beautiful voice was showcased in her rendition of Araw Gabi while Angia’s power-packed Rolling in the Deep brought the audience clapping and swaying. Ayen’s son Hassan Bolkiah played the guitar accompaniment to Angia’s song.

Angia’s energy, talent and confidence are evident and we will not be surprised if one of these days, the country will yet again be seeing another Laurel talent come out of the shell and share her musicality with the public.

The night wouldn’t have been complete without Ayen and Franco giving back the honor to the one true source and inspiration — God. Both are devoted Christians and have been raising their children in the same love and fear of the Lord.

They said, “To be honest with you, this show is a testament of God’s faithfulness and goodness in our lives. From the very beginning, we dedicated everything to Him and since then He has poured out His favor upon us. Friends were all willing to help and support us and even some offered their support without us asking. God’s grace truly abounds in our lives and in this show.”

Kitang Dalawa is from the direction and script of Floy Quintos and the musical direction of Von de Guzman.





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