Vina Morales returns with Korean movie remake after Broadway stint

Earl D.C. Bracamonte - Philstar.com
Vina Morales returns with Korean movie remake after Broadway stint
Singer-actress Vina Morales
ABS-CBN, Star Magic

MANILA, Philippines — She can sing, act and dance — and with her recent Broadway stint via "Here Lies Love" — Vina Morales can give any performer a run for her money. Taking on the role of Aurora Aquino, which was originally essayed by Lea Salonga, is no mean feat!

"This is my first theater outing after performing in the 'Rak of Aegis' musical 11 years ago. I love the theater because of the discipline. It humbles you as everyone is on equal footing," shared Vina during an intimate media huddle at the Limbaga 77 in Quezon City.

She flew back to the country after her Broadway debut in "Here Lies Love," which recently ended its run. 

"My 'Atlantis' training also helped me in my Broadway debut. We have weekly vocal warmups as a company, something not done here in the Philippines. It's a DJ disco party every Thursday where I get to sing duets with Apl.de.Ap, while he does the spinning. One of the songs I sang with him was 'Time of My Life,' from the movie 'Dirty Dancing.' I remembered doing this as a song-and-dance piece way back with 'That's Entertainment.' To update it, I did a TikTok recording of this song, too!" the singer-actress added. 

"I must confess, though, that I got the jitters after just a single day of rehearsal before performance night. I think I even walked absent-mindedly to Manhattan to shake off the nerves. But deep inside, I knew that when I'm kabado (jittery), I can give my all because then I'm very focused," said the proud mom of 14-year-old daughter Ceana, who also inherited her pipes.

Living the New York dream

Vina relished playing the role of Aurora Aquino, the mother of Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., in the musical that was inspired by Imelda Marcos. She played the role for eight shows a week. 

"Living alone in New York was a good experience though I felt the cold in the air. So, I didn't go out that much so as not to affect my voice, and stay away from any flu problems. I walked to Broadway each day, except on Mondays, which was my free day.

"I wanted to be early and ready myself. On stage, precise movements in your blocking/space is a must so you don't mess up the lighting design. The right attitude will propel an actor in his theater career. What you do is repetitive and there are no ad libs. What you rehearsed is what you're going to perform," she continued.

Vina won the top prize in the female category at the 1st IKON ASEAN (2007) where she performed "Pangako Sa 'Yo," the theme song for a telenovela of the same title. This made the song a truly Vina Morales piece! But she won her first top prize at the 6th Cebu Pop Music Festival with her entry "Paglaum" (Hope) when she was still nine years old.

"If you have a dream, work hard for it and never stop learning. 'Here Lies Love' is a full circle moment for me. Ten years ago, I auditioned for the role in its West End production. I may be doing more auditions, if and when I'll be granted my green card. Me and Shaina are just waiting for our interview schedule. My mom is already a US (United States) citizen and now lives in San Jose, California.

"The song 'Just as the Flowers' is my only solo in 'Here Lies Love.' As Ninoy's mother, I had to explain my emotions with each line of the song to the production team during our brainstorming. I sing this song after Ninoy's assassination in the story, so it's a transition piece from all the dancing to the more serious stuff," Vina said. 

Busier than ever

For the longest time, Vina has been involved in her and her siblings' salon franchise named Ystilo. She said that their popular salon brand, which can be found in many malls, are bouncing back from the pandemic. She will also be busy with her singing career. 

"I'll be recording soon with Star Records, to celebrate my 20th year with Star Magic. I'll also be doing a movie again with Viva. It's titled 'Sunny,' a film originally in Korean about high school life. It will have adaptations all over Asia, and I get to star in the Philippine remake/version. My 2023 is almost complete, almost perfect, full of love, kindness and opportunities," said Vina. 

The remake will feature some of Viva's young stars, which include Bea Binene and Heaven Peralejo, and her fellow '90s stars, Angelu de Leon, Katya Santos, Candy Pangilinan, Tanya Garcia, Ana Roces and Sunshine Dizon.  

After performing with David Pomeranz in his San Francisco show, Vina will once again be Pomeranz's special guest in his "Coming Home: The 40th Anniversary Concert" at the Resorts World Newport Performing Arts Theater in Pasay City on December 8.

RELATED: 'I will do my best': Vina Morales on replacing Lea Salonga in 'Here Lies Love'

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