BWW Phils. Interview: Fredison Lo Talks SOUND OF MUSIC, RENT, Anne Curtis & More
Co-written by Jude Cartalaba
Manila, Philippines, January 11, 2012 – Perceived as a boy-next-door type by many young theater habitués and TV 5 viewers, Fredison Lo (Fred Lo to his theater colleagues and former schoolmates at De La Salle University-Manila), has started out a career niche in the theater by essaying lead roles in major musical productions of Rent (Mark Cohen) and Trumpets' N.O.A.H (Narrator/God); and has recently been exploring acting on mainstream television too via TV 5's remake of the '70s-'80s popular sitcom Iskul Bukol, where he played the role of the young professor Rude Valentino.
"[As to being typecast as a take-home-to-mama guy] Well, I try to be as nice as I can be whenever I deal with people. But, I don't exactly label myself like that because in every experience that I have, it changes me in some way, helping me grow as a person. And, I do admit to having a dark side," Lo told BroadwayWorld.com at Resorts World Manila's recent press conference for its extended run of the beloved Broadway musical The Sound of Music. Lo has been tapped to breathe life into the character of Rolf (with Marvin Ong as alternate actor), the young Nazi messenger whom Liesl von Trapp has fallen head over heels with, and who will eventually betray the von Trapp family in the play.
Among the characters he has played in the theater and on television so far, Lo finds playing the role of independent filmmaker, Mark, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical Rent as the most challenging.
"For me, acting on stage isn't about acting like someone but being the character itself. After figuring out what kind of person Mark was for me (his history, likes, dislikes, motivations, etc.), I tried incorporating who my image of Mark was into my own personality to create my version of him. In doing so, I was able to convey a character on stage that felt natural to me even though I wasn't exactly like him, because I put part of myself into the character."
Lo added, "[Iskul Bukol's] Rude was more of a fun character to play. Rude was nice, smart, and serious yet naïve. His character dealt with trivial problems and had less depth, while Mark was deep and involved in more complicated and serious situations that left a lot of inner dialogues and conflicts to be discovered in his [spoken and sung] lines."
He also stressed that his role as Rolf, as opposed to Mark, reveals that "Rolf's biggest conflict would be between his interest in Liesl von Trapp and his political views/inclinations. He technically has a clear and concise view of his path in life, and he follows it based on his instincts. Mark, on the one hand, is someone who's looking for purpose and meaning to his life, and what he's doing. As the story progresses, we slowly see Mark's growth and emotional battle through each experience he has in the play, while, Rolf's journey is left to the imagination."
During BroadwayWorld.com's interview, Lo was vocal about auditioning for or playing the part of Simba's nemesis, Scar, if ever Disney's The Lion King would make it to the Philippines.
"I've always been curious of how I'd do as a villain," he said.
"Frankly, I know that I don't exactly fit the peg of a villain, that's why I usually get protagonist roles. I guess, I just want to see what my other side is like on stage, just for a change. Also, I love The Lion King."
Interestingly enough, if he were given the opportunity to be a leading man in a mainstream movie, he would be picking television host-turned-recording/concert artist Anne Curtis as his leading lady.
"… I'd love to work with Anne Curtis (after I get past the initial starstruck moment I always get when I see her); I think she's one of those girls in showbiz who has grown in a lot of aspects and is very comfortable with who she is (and I find her hot, too!)," he burst into laughter.
Both local actresses and singers Sarah Geronimo, and Nikki Gil (who also does musicals, e.g. Legally Blonde, Sweet Charity) have surfaced as his choices to singing a duet, "I think it'd be cool to do a duet with the two ladies."
Lo may not be in the league of the most bankable local mainstream entertainment stars just yet, but he has certainly earned some fiercely loyal fans, and still remains humble amidst his newfound celebrity status.
"Well, I'm not exactly a big celebrity. I'm practically a 'baby' when it comes to the showbiz industry. But I've had some experiences when people recognize me in the malls or in the streets; some of them even ask to take pictures, and it's a really a good feeling to know that people hear or know of what you do after all the efforts you put into your work," he said. "I guess one disadvantage [of being a celebrity] is that your life matters to other people now; so, you have to be careful of the things you do because the bigger your name is, the more people pay attention to your life."
Lo knows what his passion is, and knows how and when to pursue that passion at the same time. BroadwayWorld.com wrapped up its interview with the theater and television actor by asking for his personal advice to young Filipino talents who have been trying to carve a niche for themselves in the same field of interest that he's in.
"I honestly believe that the things that have been happening to me are because of the decisions and risks that I made, which helped me get to the right place and right time; and, I know that there will be a lot more places and times to end up in," he said.
"But I'm not saying that you should wait for it and expect things to happen. Life still requires a lot of hard work and perseverance because disappointment is always the easiest and most common state to be in. Always ask yourself: 'What have I done lately to make it (your dreams, goals, etc.) happen?' As long as you keep preparing for it and never let rejection bring you down, you're bound to end up in your right place and time."
Catch theater heartthrob Fredison Lo as Rolf in Resorts World Manila's now long-running production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's "The Sound of Music" at Newport Performing Arts Theatre until February 12. For tickets, visit BroadwayWorld Philippines show listings' section [Click Here].
Photos by Stages Production Specialists Inc., Dale Bacar, and JR Sala
Fredison Lo as Rolf; photo c/o Resorts World Manila