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Gary Valenciano Says Yes to Play Jacob: 'It's Time'

JOSEPH THE DREAMER runs from July 22 to August 7, 2022, at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater

By: Jul. 21, 2022
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Gary Valenciano Says Yes to Play Jacob: 'It's Time'  ImageTaguig City, Philippines--The musical "Joseph The Dreamer" began in 1989 and has had numerous re-stagings before Mr. Pure Energy, Gary Valenciano, took on the role of Joseph in 1999. In this current production, which opens on Friday, July 22, the 57-year-old multi-media performer takes on Jacob's character, Joseph's father.

In a one-on-one virtual interview with Mr. Valenciano, he was asked if it ever crossed his mind he'd be playing the role of Jacob while he was portraying Joseph back then?

"Yeah, I did. It did cross my mind. I said, 'Maybe one day since I've learned already, I know of not just the musical, but the background of Jacob. Yeah, maybe I can play that. It would [really] be different," he quickly replied.

When Paolo Valenciano (his son) and Nelsito Gomez, the directors of the latest iteration of JTD, told him to put what is to be a father.

"I need to be able to portray who I [really] am as a dad. Not who I am as Mr. Pure Energy, and all that, and put that into the character of Jacob."

"Paolo said, 'Dad, I want people to see the real dad on stage. That's you. You come up there, and you'd be you. Let's tone down to entertain too much. And let's focus more on the reality of it. And learn how to balance being who you are as a dad, and who you are as Jacob.'"

"I think the message before [previous JTD productions]--the objective was to carry the message through entertaining, excellent music, and all that."

"Now, it's [really] trying to go into real scenarios and be more relevant with what's happening with the times. That's the only way to do it--to [really] be a dad."

In the Scriptures (Genesis 37: 34), it said, "Then Jacob tore his garments, put a sackcloth on his loins, and mourned his son for many days."

The Filipino-Puerto Rican-Italian Mr. Valenciano exclaimed, "That's challenging."

"And because I have children, it helps that I do them."

But what sort of rhema did he come to hear when he finally took on the role of a father.

Mr. Valenciano said, "Two words: It's time."

God spoke to him that this is the area he's moving into. It aligns with everything he's been doing recently: mentoring and judging different [talent] contests [on television].

Although those are competitions, he doesn't just judge or say, "Yeah, you're good, and you're bad. You made it."

"No, there are things that the camera misses, where I speak to the people I'm judging, telling them, 'This is what you can do; this is where you're good, and this is how you can approach not just with the song or singing but with life itself."

"And I'm glad people appreciate me for that."

"When I got this role, Jacob, with my son directing, together with Direk Nel--it was like--'Okay, Gary, 'It's time.'"

Despite the pandemic, he wasn't confined to watching productions online.

"I wasn't watching concerts. I was [actually] doing concerts. I was doing a lot of fundraising concerts. It was all online, and I continued my advocacy, called 'Face to Face,' where I speak to students and share my life journey with them."

These are students from different schools and universities--from Ateneo de Manila all the way to Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. That started in 2018, pre-pandemic, and then, during the pandemic, he said, there's a need to meet the students--so that happened. And he also went further by meeting with the teachers."

"It was good because... I could have watched concerts. I could have watched musicals. But that would be all pre-pandemic performances. That has all changed, eh."

"The whole perspective when I come out onstage has changed because of the pandemic and my health issues. All of that has changed now. In a way, that's the good that came out of the pandemic. It allowed me to focus more on the importance of meeting people at the point of their needs."

During our interview, he shared something about what God has inspired him on his way to the United States during his prayer time.

During the 11-hour trip to Los Angeles, he prayed and said, "'Lord, I'm already 57, what will I do? I can't keep dancing, you know, on my foot the way I'm doing now.' So I prayed, give me what you wanted me to do for the following years."

"The word 'legacy' has been a part of my blood for the past five years. So, when I hit my 30th year [in show business], I was already thinking, okay, what can I start leaving behind?"

Gary Valenciano Says Yes to Play Jacob: 'It's Time'  Image(L-R) Two Josephs, Two Jacobs: Audie Gemora, Neo Rivera, Gary Valenciano, and Sam Concepcion

Due to health challenges, he said to himself: "Wait, and thought he couldn't work on his legacy if it were already too late to work on it. So, when he started thinking of his legacy, he prayed for ideas (Though blurred, he flashed his mobile phone on the computer screen with listed ideas that came out).

"These are the ideas that came up. It's all there. It just kept on going and going. And that's for me--that I'll be working on in the years to come."

"It's everything from online to smaller concerts, and it doesn't have to be always big at the Araneta Coliseum or the Mall of Asia Arena--it doesn't have to be like that."

"It's bringing it down to the basics. Not simple, but the basic needs of the people. And that is not so much to be entertained because that will always be part of what I do, but to be spoken to. Hopefully, give a little hope and something that can drive faith a little more."

"That's the biggest legacy I will leave behind when the time comes."

With his hectic schedule, he still makes himself available where the Lord God would lead him.

To date, he is part of "Idol Philippines," does US concert tours, and there are so many things he's still preparing for, and then there's ASAP, the musical variety show on Sundays.

All he could muster to say now is: This is where he's moving now. Age is going to be part of everybody's life, but he's going to age the way God is going to guide him.

"You know, you're not going to have people say, 'Ah di na niya kaya, siguro dapat he should slow down na.'

"This one is 'Wow, there are still new things he can do. And that maybe it's time for him to do.' No questions. It's time. Okay, I'll do it."

In JTD, Mr. Valenciano shares the role of Jacob with Audie Gemora. Sam Concepcion and Neo Rivera play the titular role, while Kayla Rivera (Asenath), Carlo Orosa (Pharaoh), and Bituin Escalante and Carla Guevara-Laforteza (Rachel, Joseph's mother) reprise the roles they portrayed in the previous run.

JTD plays at the Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Theater, in BGC from July 22 to August 7, 2022.

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Photos: Trumpets


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