BWW Interview: Jason Fernandez to Make Musical Theater Debut in AMERICAN IDIOT
Manila, Philippines--Jason Fernandez, a 26-year-old former lead vocalist of pop rock band Rivermaya and former "The Voice" Philippine edition contestant, is set to make his musical theater debut in AMERICAN IDIOT.
Despite his initial hope to just land a minor role with less dancing required in the show, he clinched the lead role, Johnny, who is a skeptic, addicted to drugs, and obsessed over a lost love.
A Real Surprise
After learning the news that he got the lead role, he was really surprised.
"Ayaw kong mag-sink in na napunta sa akin kasi napi-pressure ako. Pero kilala ko ang sarili ko. Basta gusto ko at mahal ko ang ginagawa ko--at nasa linya ng singing--talagang ibibigay ko ang lahat. Ibubuhos ko ang energy ko para d'yan," said Jason.
"Happy ako at di naman aksidente ito, at ibinigay sa akin ng Diyos ang ganitong klaseng journey."
Like anyone else in the cast, he underwent a series of auditions and has high respect for theater people.
"Pinapasalamatan ko ang Globe at ang 9 Works [the show's producers] sa tiwalang ibinigay nila sa akin. Masaya ako."
Salutes His Coaches on "The Voice"
For landing his first break in musical theater, Jason gives credit to his former coach on "The Voice," Sarah Geronimo.
He recalled, "I learned a lot from Coach Sarah; inspirational coach s'ya. Naalala ko kung paano n'ya kami pinapangaralan at kung paano namin haharapin ang mga challenges na kagaya nito."
He also learned a lot from another "The Voice" coach Lea Salonga. "Kailangan kong maging believable na isa akong American sa show. S'yempre dito ako lumaki sa Pilipinas. Kailangan kong aralin ang aking diction, pronunciation at enunciation ng mga words."
"Though si Coach Lea, di ko s'ya naging coach pero backstage pag may napansin s'ya sa amin kahit ibang team nagbibigay s'ya ng tips. Siguro 'yung mga techniques--'yung how to sing properly."
Theater, New Challenge to Conquer
In the rehearsal room at AMERICAN IDIOT, apart from the respect he has for theater artists, he has not only learned new performing techniques but also how to build new friendships: "Ibang level ng pagmamahalan ang nararamdaman ko sa kanila."
He added, "Siguro bilang tao, 'yung pakikisama. My co-actors don't see us as rock and roll band members but as normal people."
In preparation for the limited run of AMERICAN IDIOT in Manila (June 24-July 10), Jason has made certain adjustments to his regular schedule: He has stopped accepting new projects and makes sure he has replacements in his TV and live shows while he's rehearsing for the musical.
"Kailangan kong bigyang hustisya ang sarili ko bilang artist ngayong nasa teatro na ako. 'Yan ang nararamdaman ko. Pinasok ko 'to. Kailangan kong panindigan. Kailangan kong maibigay sa audience kung ano ang dapat."
The Manila premiere of AMERICAN IDIOT is set on Friday, June 24, at the Globe Iconic Store in Bonifacio Global City. Besides Jason, AMERICAN IDIOT also stars Basti Artadi of Wolfgang band, Miggy Chavez of Chicosi band, Norby David, formerly with Rivermaya band, Nel Gomez, Yanah Laurel, Alex Godinez, Ela Lisondra, Kai Atienza, Ariel Reonal, Gian Gloria, Mako Alonso, Sarah Facuri, Chesko Rodriguez, Shalee Vicencio, Mark Tayag, and Kendrick Ibasco.
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Photos: Kathy Rivera, Paulo Ruiz