Gerald still ‘possessed’ by Thuy

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
Gerald still �possessed� by Thuy
Gerald Santos beside a ‘welcome home’ cake by Pinky Fernando during his presscon last Wednesday.

Gerald Santos as Thuy, often overlooked part, really rips at the heart and makes him part human where in lesser hands, Thuy can seem a little more than a plot-point.— Emily Garside, Reviews Performing Arts

Gerald Santos as Thuy, Kim’s intended husband, has a rich, powerful voice and brings an intense dignity to his efforts to win her back. — West End Wilma, Sunderland Empire

I much preferred Thuy in this production than to previous. Played by Gerald Santos, Thuy was much more stubborn and villain-like, he demonstrated much more dominance and gave much more impact on audience and to the performance. —bubblebethblog, Mayflower Theater, Southampton

With these glowing reviews in mind, Gerald Santos for sure flew home feeling “possessed by Thuy” Tuesday night with Miss Saigon cast-mates Leo Tavarro Valdez (as The Engineer), Joreen Bautista (as Kim alternate) and Aicelle Santos (as Gigi) from Cologne, Germany, where the nearly two-year UK/international tour of the Cameron Mackintosh megahit musical ended amidst several standing ovations by an SRO audience.

The tour was kicked off in the UK and proceeded to Switzerland (where Leo joined for the finale presentation) and then to Cologne.

With Leo Tavarro Valdez who reprised The Engineer role in the finale of the UK presentation of the Miss Saigon UK/International Tour that ended in Cologne, Germany, first week of March.

You can’t blame Gerald because since he joined the tour in May 2017 after passing a series of auditions and beating hundreds of aspirants from different countries, he played the young Vietcong more than 553 times until the character became like second skin to him.

Said Gerald in two exclusive interviews with The STAR during his brief homecomings, “For almost two years, I was Thuy, and that’s how I immersed myself in the character even after being him in eight shows that I did every week. Did I feel burned out? Hmmm, not really…oops!, maybe once but I didn’t let it distract from my focus.”

Through all those 553 performances, Gerald could recall only one “embarrassing” moment when, in one scene where he was supposed to shoot the little boy who was shielded by Kim and then…well, I guess most of you know what happened. In that crucial scene, the gun didn’t fire but did the audience notice it?

“I’m not sure,” laughed Gerald who was nursing a terrible jetlag when he faced select members of the movie press last Wednesday, but didn’t show it. “I felt at home during the tour because I was with kababayan in the cast. To preserve my voice, I would stop talking as soon as I reached home and hours before the show the next day.” (Trivia: In 2006, Gerald and Aicelle competed in the GMA talent search Pinoy Pop Superstar. Gerald placed first and Aicelle second.)

During Gerald’s May 4 homecoming concert at Solaire, he and other Filipino Saigon stars will do an excerpt from the musical with the permission of producer Cameron Mackintosh.

The good news is that Gerald will have some kind of a reunion with the Saigon stars (Leo, Aicelle and Joreen) during his The Homecoming concert on May 4 at The Theatre of Solaire, produced by Mediabiz Entertainment Production, Echjo Jam and Twin M Productions International, in cooperation with Solaire Casino & Resort, Star Events and Globaltronics. (For tickets, call TicketWorld at 891-9999.)

With the permission of Mackintosh, the Saigon team will present a generous slice of the musical, with Jake Zyrus as special guest.

Aside from learning how to live independently (doing the laundry and the grocery, cleaning the apartment that he shared with other Saigon stars and cooking meals so he could save by not eating out, etc.), Gerald said that he has matured as an artist.

Incidentally, Gerald admitted that he did audition for other musicals but he’s not (yet) in a position to disclose more information until everything shall have been finalized. (Spoiler alert: He auditioned for the Lun Ta role in The King & I and he’s keeping his fingers crossed, hoping and praying…) 

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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