Cherie Gil will play Hannah Pitt, a rigid Mormon mother of a son who comes out as gay, in Angels in America: Millennium Approaches
Cherie back on stage
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2019 - 12:00am

This March, Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group is excited to have Cherie Gil return to the stage in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, which kicks off the company’s 20th anniversary season. It’s been almost seven years since Cherie’s last show with Atlantis Theatrical, which was Nine.

Although people are probably more familiar with Cherie’s acclaimed and awarded film and TV work, she says she is more drawn to theater because of the challenge. “Theater, to me, is the most challenging and even the scariest adventure of a lifetime for an actor.” She adds, “It makes my heart pump, it makes me feel every part of my anatomy, it awakens all my senses, and it forces my mind to stay sharp and focused.” For her, no other medium in the performing arts has done all of that. “I like to scare myself from time to time,” she exclaims.

And her role as Hannah Pitt, a rigid Mormon mother of a son who comes out as gay, is definitely a challenging role for her even with very little stage time. Cherie says, “In this first part Millennium Approaches, Hannah Pitt appears in about three scenes. Her story grows more in the second part, which hopefully, we, too, will stage sometime soon after this.” Cherie will also play Rabbi Isidor Chemelwitz, Henry and Ethel Rosenberg in Millennium Approaches.

The star-studded cast of eight in Kushner’s modern classic includes Art Acuña, Pinky Amador, Angeli Bayani, Topper Fabregas, Nelsito Gomez, Andoy Ranay and Markki Stroem. Director Bobby Garcia is thrilled that he was able to cast every single actor he originally envisioned. It was really important to him that Cherie played Hannah because “Hannah is an extremely complex and multi-layered role. There’s so much going on with her. Because of the demands of the acting track (the actor needs to play four different roles including two men in Millennium Approaches), you need an actress of prodigious versatility,” Bobby explains. “Cherie Gil is one of the most skilled actresses the world has. I wouldn’t have done this without her.”

It’s easy to see why Cherie is so good at what she does. She always diligently prepares for her roles, she researches and analyzes the character. “I think it’s important, for me, to tackle her physical requirements first for me to be able to step into her shoes. She’s a Mormon from Utah. Now, tell me if that isn’t challenging enough. Aside from her physicality, there’s the voice and even perhaps a slight accent change that I may need to study and imbibe. Once and if I can hit those two very necessary elements close to bull’s-eye at least, then the inner work can hopefully flow more effortlessly.” She adds that somehow, she seems to already know this woman’s heart. “I, too, am a mother. Living alone.”

Of playwright Tony Kushner’s writing, Cherie describes it as “Amazing! Metaphorically amazing and humanly precise!” The play, which debuted in 1991 and opened on Broadway in 1993, has won awards including the Tony Awards for Best Play (1993) and Best Revival of a Play (2018), just to name a few.

Set in New York during the 1980s at the height of the AIDS outbreak, the play deals with love, life and death. Even if Angels was first performed almost 30 years ago, it still remains very relevant, and is something that Cherie believes is important for a new generation to experience the power of this theatrical experience. Cherie goes on to say, “It is during trying times like these, when human beings face the uncontrollable unknown, that their awareness is suddenly awakened to what truly is most important to them and to their own spirituality. Not only from a religious point of view but also from one’s deepest core.” And that is something really powerful we can all reflect on, no matter how different or similar the challenges are that we each face.

Tickets to Angels in America are now available at www.ticketworld.com.ph. For group bookings, call Ten Bridges at 650-5144 or e-mail angelsinamerica@atlantistheatrical.com.

ANGELS IN AMERICA: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES CHERIE GIL
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