“Bea Alonzo Takes the Stage: Actress Explores Musical Territory in ‘Contra Mundum’ Cameo Appearance”

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Film and TV actress Bea Alonzo made her “cameo appearance” in the musical “Contra Mundum” on May 6 at the Metropolitan Theater. The concert version of “Ang Larawan,” based on Nick Joaquin’s original play, was staged by Culturtain Musicat Productions and the Met. The setting of “Contra Mundum: Ang All-Star Concert ng ‘Ang Larawan'” is Intramuros, just before World War II. Bea took on the role of fashionable socialite Elsa Montes, marking her first-ever musical gig. Despite feeling nervous, she embraced the opportunity to step out of her comfort zone.

Bea expressed her desire for something different to refresh her soul and reignite her passion for the industry. She approached her manager, Shirley Kuan, who informed her about a role in a musical production scheduled for May. With only a few weeks to prepare, Bea hesitated but was assured that it was just a cameo appearance. As she learned more about her character, Bea discovered the fun and relatively easy songs Elsa Montes had to perform. Although she was not ready to take on a major role at that time, she expressed hope for future opportunities to expand her musical endeavors.

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Despite being a minor role, Bea took her portrayal seriously and created a full character background for Elsa Montes. She imagined that Elsa had been sent to the United States by her affluent parents during her youth and returned to the Philippines just as the country was on the brink of war. Bea believed that Elsa’s sheltered upbringing made her oblivious to the reality around her, causing her to perceive the controversial Marasigan painting as something superficial, like fashion. To hide her childhood pains, Elsa feigned shallowness as a defense mechanism.

During the performance, Jericho Rosales, who played Tony Javier in Act 2, shared his excitement and nerves about the project. Being backed up by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and performing in front of a large audience at the Met added to the pressure. Jericho’s dedication to rehearsals and voice lessons helped him overcome his anxieties. He expressed his desire for more theater projects in the future, although his schedule was already booked with two action series.

Paulo Avelino, known for his role as Tony in “Ang Larawan,” was also part of “Contra Mundum.” He found the experience valuable because the songs and lines he performed as Tony in Act 3 were not included in the film adaptation. Paulo expressed his openness to future stage projects and acknowledged that theater work enhanced his acting skills. He admired actors like Nonie Buencamino who successfully balanced film, TV, and theater performances.

Musical director Ryan Cayabyab was surprised and impressed by the participation of big-name stars in the show, acknowledging that they wouldn’t earn much from it. However, their commitment to rehearsals and voice lessons showed their dedication to the production. Ryan believed that the material attracted the actors to the gig, recognizing its importance.

“Contra Mundum” follows the story of unmarried sisters Candida and Paula Marasigan, daughters of painter Don Lorenzo Marasigan. The production was produced by Celeste Legaspi, Girlie Rodis, and Aaron Veloso, and directed by Chris Millado. Joaquin’s play “A Portrait of an Artist as a Filipino” was translated into Filipino by Rolando Tinio, and the original costume design was by Salvador Bernal. The cast included renowned performers such as Rachel and Hajji Alejandro, Kakai Bautista, Roeder Camañag, Ricky Davao, Dulce, Bituin Escalante, Jaime Fabregas, Nonoy Froilan, Audie Gemora, Nanette Inventor, Agot Isidro, Karylle

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