Review Roundup: Spotlight Artists Centre Presents KATY

Cruz III, who has not appeared in a musical on legitimate stage for about 15 years, was a genuine revelation in this production. He has not lost his enviable talents for singing and acting, which made him popular in the 1970s opposite Nora Aunor, despite the passage of time which has been very kind to him.

Magdangal, Jimenez, Fabie, Mangahis, Lambuhon, Tabunar, and Salazar did a highly commendable job of supporting the lead actors and actresses. The 13-member chorus cum supporting talents acting in various roles must also be acclaimed.

Francine Marquez, At Friday night's (Jan. 18) performance, an appreciative audience kept applauding after each scene, even whistling, as the lead actors-from the very young and pint-sized Yedda Lambujon who plays Katy as a child to divine Dulce and her expected striking vocal cords-delivered their performance-level best.

Also turning in noteworthy performances were multi-awarded actor and singer Tirso Cruz III and Epy Quizon. Rendering perfect timing in his repartees with Isay and other actors like Gian Magdangal, Tirso (also known as Pip to his fans) gave an endearing performance as Katy's overprotective but nurturing father. Epy, on the other hand, was an enigmatic presence when he first showed up on stage as Dolphy, his late dad who was a colleague of Katy dela Cruz during the vaudeville days. Katy even appeared in Dolphy's films. Epy's resemblance to Dolphy, even the way he portrayed his father, was uncanny and struck wistful moments among some theater goers.

But of course, Isay Alvarez delivers a deliciously spunky portrayal of the uncompromising yet passionate artist Katy. It was palpable that Isay's singing and acting was beyond technique but that she could feel for the Bodabil Queen herself, an iconic figure in Philippine theater. Like Katy and her peers at the time, even up to this day, local theater still has its creative and financial challenges that continue to affect the theater scene. Not to mention, the demands of being an artist can also take its toll on one's personal life.

Juan Antonio Lanuza, Business World: The librettist of the play was Jose Javier Reyes, while Ryan Cayabyab composed the music (among his best show compositions since the music had a Philippine flavor). Nestor Torre, Jr. directed the play with Cecille Martinez, Tin Limjap and Liza Martinez as choreographers. The functional and simple sets were by Bobot Lota, while the musical direction was by Mel Villena. The book was composed of a set of vignettes depicting the life of Katy, from early childhood to her adulthood. This created a disjointed effect that would affect some in the audience. Set changes did not go without glitches.

However, the redeeming factor and definitely the reason I enjoyed the show was the excellent performances and singing of the main roles: Isay Alvarez as Katy was excellently cast, Dulce as Olivia was fabulous, Epy Quizon as Dolphy, Yedda Lambujon as the child Katy, Aicelle Santos as the young Katy. Gian Magdangal looked the part and did good singing and acting as Pepino the pianist who eventually marries Katy, and Tirso Cruz III did a credible job as Katy's father. Lou Veloso as the theater director at times would get carried away and overact...

Dulce's two duets with Isay during Act I were a dream come true for me. I finally heard Dulce perform in a show. She is terrific. What a voice she has and what a delivery she has! In the Second Act she had her big solo wherein the audience gave her prolonged and loud applause.

The period music Cayabyab composed sounded very authentic. I really enjoyed the music, choreography and costumes.

My only wish would be to try to shorten the play and try to consolidate some of the short scenes.

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Oliver Oliveros Oliver Oliveros recently received a master's degree in public relations and corporate communication from New York University while serving as regional director for, where he accepted an Award for Excellence in 2013.

For nearly 20 years, Oliver has been handling public relations, corporate communication, and integrated marketing communications for numerous brands (including Pepsi), Broadway shows, Broadway stars, non-profit organizations, and mainstream celebrities.

He is also the editor-in-chief for FIL-AM WHO'S WHO, a monthly magazine that tells the real-life success stories of Filipino Americans from the New York Tri-State area.

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