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Food and Leisure

Cebu Zontians go Broadway

C‘EST CEBU - Honey Jarque Loop -
The continuous mushrooming of active civic clubs and dynamic organizations has given rise to busy business executives and dedicated professionals who join hands and work together for worthy causes.

One such admirable group of individuals ever close to my heart is the Zonta International Club, whose worldwide unselfish service is devoted to the advancement of the status of women in society.

When colleague and friend Mila Espina invited me for an evening of Broadway musicals, she had forewarned me that the singers and other entertainers, mostly amateurs, would be the Zontians themselves, their special friends and loyal supporters who were simply eager to share whatever little undiscovered talent they had and to volunteer their time and energy to raise funds for the repair of the Ermita Day Care Center.

Oblivious to the warning, I made up my mind and was set to go. Endure the unreachable high notes, survive the out-of-tune singers – all in the name of charity. But surprise, I was not prepared for what soon transpired.

A full 20-minute spoof on a chorus line unfolded with banker Michael Go and seven other multi-faceted performers sharing the center stage. He was excellent in his interpretation as the demanding versatile director. Baby Schaap, in the role of a loud-mouthed Mexican woman, was a natural. The others were Anna Marie Laborte, as the sexy Marilyn Monroe look-alike, Tess Chan, as the high-strung Celine Robertson, Jimmy Marques, who had everyone convinced he was truly gay, Melchor Castellano as the enticing gigolo, Rie Miyozoki portrayed herself as a Japanese lady, and Cebu local channel television host Carol Go, who had to portray a role totally in contrast to her real self, completed the cast.

The second part of the program, which was hosted by the celebrated and favorite emcee Bunny Pages, was the Broadway interlude.

The University of San Jose Recoletos Dramatics and Cultural Ensemble, led by Girlie Obaga, Lester de Guzman and Michiko Gutierrez, did a spirited medley of popular songs from Oklahoma.

Tenor Del Ordoñez as Lancelot, from the musical Camelot, sang "If ever I would leave you" like no one else did before, while martial arts enthusiast Herbert Buot captivated the audience with his own rendition of Begin the Beguine. Bernard Visitacion, as the star of Fiddler on the Roof, was brilliant.

The lady singers, banker Bessie Villamor with her own interpretation of The Lady is a Tramp, Jackie Garcia with her version of "On My Own" from Les Miserables and Emily Cunanan who sang When You Wish Upon a Star from the bottom of her heart, elicited thunderous cheers from the guests.

Mother and daughter Eva and Monique de los Santos who did Barbra Streisand’s People and "Tomorrow" from Annie, respectively, were easily among the crowd favorites.

For the finale, the entire cast appeared once more on stage this time to perform the classic songs from West Side Story, "Tonight" and "Somewhere."

Bravos and more bravos, encore upon encore led to more musical numbers from Rodgers and Hammerstein, that included South Pacific, The King and I, Carousel and The Sound of Music.

It was a most enchanting evening made more meaningful by the fact that the performers were not professionals. They all had one common goal, to lend a helping hand to a group of dedicated ladies who are committed to uplifting the conditions of the underprivileged, the abused and abandoned women in our society. This selfless giving Zontians are led by its president Mathea Baguia, ably assisted by vice president Lydia Medalle, secretary Teresa Chan, treasurer Pauline Deduque, press relations officer Virginia Vamenta, directors Anita Cabinan, Rufina Tanchan and Malu Mendez and immediate past president Tina Ebrada.

ANITA CABINAN

ANNA MARIE LABORTE

BABY SCHAAP

BARBRA STREISAND

BEGIN THE BEGUINE

BERNARD VISITACION

BESSIE VILLAMOR

BUNNY PAGES

CAROL GO

CELINE ROBERTSON

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