Laurice: Anytime for Mama Mary

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
Laurice: Anytime for Mama Mary
During the presscon for Magnificat, from left: Sherwin Sozon (of Lyric Opera of the Philippines [LyrOpera, producer], with director Laurice Guillen (third from left) and stars Ana Feleo, Al Gatmaitan and Alyssa Evangelista

When Laurice Guillen was tapped to direct Magnificat, she said yes right away.

“No questions,” Laurice told The STAR. “Basta for Mama Mary, anytime!”

A Marian devotee, Laurice admitted that the offer was unexpected, but it came at the right time when she wasn’t directing any TV series or a movie.

Recalled Sherwin Sozon of LyrOpera (Lyric Opera of the Philippines), the premier non-profit opera company in the Philippines which is presenting Magnificat as its first musical for its eighth season, “After getting the composer and the playwright’s permission, Laurice’s name immediately cropped up as the director. She’s a Marian devotee and the ideal director for this new staging of the musical. Laurice’s answer was, ‘How can I say no to Mama Mary?’ We were relieved.”

Alyssa as the young Mary and Al as Jesus in a scene from the musical…

Written and directed in its original version by Nestor Torre Jr. in 1996, with now National Artist and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Ryan Cayabyab as musical scorer, Magnificat is a sung-through religious musical about the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Mother Mary. It will be staged at the Music Museum starting tomorrow, Sept. 27 (and on Sept. 28 and Oct. 4, 5, 11 and 12). The young Mary is played by Alyssa Evangelista and the older Mary alternately by Pinky Marquez-Cancio (who originated the role) and Ana Feleo (who was also in the original cast, on certain days).

Tenor Al Gatmaitan plays Jesus. He has received vocal training in the Philippines as well as in Italy and the US, and has appeared in some local movies and TV series (Probinsyano, Pasion de Amor, Tadhana, etc.). Al is an Aliw Hall of Fame awardee in Best Classical Performance and was nominated at Broadway Philippines and Gawad Buhay for his theater roles.

…with Ana Feleo...

Alyssa was probably not yet born (or was an infant) when Magnificat was first staged, with follow-up staging at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Meralco Theater and Cuneta Astrodome. 

“Alyssa is a good find, maganda ang boses,” said Laurice of Alyssa who graduated magna cum laude from the UST Conservatory of Music with a bachelor’s degree major in Musical Theater and who hails from Iloilo where she attended the Colegio de las Hijas de Jesus (primary grades) and St. Mary’s Academy in Dipolog City (intermediate and high school). Magnificat is her first audition and first professional theater production.

...and Pinky Marquez-Cancio alternating as the old Mary.

“Magnificat is about the greatest story ever told staged like a Greek play,” added Laurice. “There are only 17 actors who act as chorus and narrator and at the same time participants in the musical. It’s very interesting.”

Developed as a traveling theater piece, Magnificat in its more than 200 staging has been warmly received in a wide range of venues including theater halls, churches, gymnasiums, gardens, hospitals and living rooms of homes.

(For tickets to Magnificat, call TicketWorld at 891-9999. Or check out www.LyrOperaPH.com or Facebook page: Lyric Opera of the Philippines.)

Catriona Gray honored as ‘Woman of the Year’

Miss Universe Catriona Gray at the Xpedition Annual Gala Awards with (from left) Xpedition Magazine founder/ CEO Josh Yugen, Philippine Ambassador to UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana and Dubai Tourism senior VP Sheik Hamad Bin Mujren

2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray was honored as “Woman of the Year” by Dubai-based Xpedition Magazine for her exemplary and exceptional dedication to charitable institutions, community development and her unparalleled passion for equality.

The award was handed by Xpedition founder/CEO Josh Yugen and witnessed by Philippine Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Hjayceelyn Quintana and senior vice-president of Dubai Tourism Sheik Hamad Bin Mujren during the Xpedition Annual Gala Awards at the Grand Millennium Dubai last Sept. 20.

Photos courtesy of Xpedition Magazine

Catriona was one of the 21 honorees which included Dubai-based Filipino designers Michael Cinco and Furne One who were hailed as Fashion Designers of the Year.  The gala also raised funds for Smile Train, a cleft charity providing free cleft surgery and care to children in the world including the Philippines. — Reported by Celso De Guzman Caparas

Oliver’s creations at Venice, Toronto, Emmys and ABS-CBN Ball

All in Oliver Tolentino: Max Eigenmann, Trace Lysette...

Oliver Tolentino was busy last month dressing Filipina and Hollywood celebrities at major events in four different countries: Italy, Canada, Philippines, and the US.

First, Oliver dressed Max Eigenmann for the 76th Venice Film Festival opening night in a black and white, hand-beaded couture cocktail dress with asymmetrical layered skirt and cabbage swirled sleeves. Max was in Italy to attend the premiere of Raymund Gutierrez’s film Verdict, produced by Brillante Mendoza, which won Special Jury Prize in the Horizons (Orizzonti) category. Verdict has been selected as the Philippines’ entry in next year’s Oscars (Foreign Language Film category).

At the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Hollywood actress Trace Lysette (Transparent, Pose) stunned in Oliver’s custom copper chainmail gown with high slit at the Hustlers movie world premiere. Lysette, who appeared alongside Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu, made it to many best-dressed lists.

...Jayda Avanzado, and Gia and Anthony Carrigan
Photos courtesy of Oliver Tolentino

In Manila, Jayda Avanzado sparkled on the 2019 ABS-CBN Ball red carpet in Oliver’s custom rhinestone metal chainmail modern terno with high slit and larger rhinestone accents. Dingdong Avanzado and Jessa Zaragoza’s 16-year-old daughter sang a duet with Erik Santos. 

At the Emmy Awards last weekend, Gia Carrigan wore a body-hugging vibrant red mermaid gown on the red carpet to escort her husband, Emmy nominee Anthony Carrigan who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for Barry, also nominated for Best Comedy. 

*   *   *

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







  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with