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Gerald’s long and winding road to ‘Miss Saigon’

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JUST A THOUGHT: ‘Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.’– Brian Dyson

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LONG WAIT IS OVER: They also serve those who stand and wait.

Gerald Santos

Gerald Santos

It’s an old saying that holds water in this new age of high technology and super power. It is all the more apparent in show business where actors often wait long and hard before their big break comes along, often marred beforehand by a series of unfortunate events.

A modern example is 2006 “Pinoy Pop Superstar” champion Gerald Santos, who fell from grace from his former network, languished in limbo between then and now, only to bounce back with a vengeance just last week.

Cameron Mackintosh, producer of award-winning musical “Miss Saigon” announced that Gerald Santos will play the role of Thuy in a revival of the 28–year old musical set to tour England, Wales and Ireland.

Gerald is one of three Filipinos cast in key roles in the musical. The other is Red Concepcion, who will portray The Engineer. Joreen Bautista, a new discovery from Pampanga, will be Kim’s alternate. Two other Pinoys are in ensemble roles.

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EPIC LOVE STORY: “Miss Saigon” is an epic love story which tells the tragic tale of young bar girl Kim, orphaned by war, who falls in love with an American G.I. called Chris – but their lives are torn apart by the fall of Saigon.

The musical, which premiered in London’s West End in 1989 with Lea Salonga as the original Kim, has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg with lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and Alain Boublil.

The show went on to play for nearly 10 years, logging 4,063 performances in 28 countries.

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THUY IS A STAR: Gerald auditioned for Miss Saigon in March 2016, slightly more than a year ago. Towards the last quarter of last year, he felt the signs of acceptance into the project.

The producers sent him a video copy of the 25th anniversary edition of Miss Saigon for him to study. The focus, per instruction, was on the part of Thuy.

As Thuy, Gerald will perform eight times a week with no alternate. Two days a week, he will play it twice, one matinee, the other gala. He signed a one-year contract with Mackintosh.

He has been rehearsing Thuy’s songs daily. There are four of them, either in solo, duet or ensemble. These scenes include Thuy’s Intervention, Back in Town, Thuy’s Death, and Kim’s Nightmare.

Lea Salonga and Simon Bowman (Miss Saigon Official Facebook Page)

Lea Salonga and Simon Bowman (Miss Saigon Official Facebook Page)

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TOURING COMPANY: Gerald will be part of Miss Saigon’s touring company that will bring the musical to different cities in England, Wales and Ireland. The 25-year-old expressed excitement at having to travel parts of Europe for free on a business-pleasure trip.

The Thuy role, as explained by tour director Jean-Pierre Van Der Spuy, is not a villain. He represented, in the life of Kim, “love from the roots.” He was a symbol of longing and happiness in a world gone mad with war.

Gerald is leaving for London on May 6 where a two-month rehearsal schedule awaits him. For two weeks starting on July 3, “Miss Saigon” shall hold preview nights in preparation for an actual July opening in Leicester.

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A LONG SHOT: Aiming for a slot on “Miss Saigon” had been far detached from Gerald’s game plan. He considers himself basically a pop singer, whose specialty includes love songs, mostly ballads and standards.

Although he has acted on a few TV drama series, he never really considered himself a good actor.

It wasn’t until he played the title role in stage musical “Pedro Calungsod” that intimations to doing more theater work dawned on him. Upon the advice of well-meaning friends who had faith in him and trusted his abilities, he gave “Miss Saigon” a shot.

It turned out to be a good one. He was an instant favorite in the early rounds of auditions. He was told to come back a few more times after the initial encounter.

By then, his confidence had been building up, so that he was able to render even more impressive audition pieces.

Gerald has released five studio albums and has won numerous awards, including winning twice Best Male Concert performer at the prestigious Aliw Awards.

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