Juan Carlos Galano Rekindles His Love for the Theater

Juan Carlos plays Dodong in ‘Zsazsa Zaturnnah: The Musical…’Yun Lang’ on April 1-2.

Video: JC Santos, Bart Guingona Perform an Excerpt from RED

Manila, Philippines-- Despite Juan Carlos Galano's previous exposure to stage plays when he was still in Saipan, the clothing brand Bench hunk model-turned-actor still considers his stint in Ateneo Blue Repertory's "Zsazsa Zaturnnah: The Musical... 'Yun Lang" as his theater debut. He plays the auto mechanic Dodong, the lead character Ada's love interest.

"I've always wanted to try Philippine theater, even before I got exposed to mainstream entertainment," Galano said.

His acting background was [mostly] doing commercials, and he thought it would even help him land more projects. He got offered to play the Modelo role in Floy Quintos's "Laro," but he felt he didn't deserve the job yet and feared he couldn't give much justice back then.

Through the years, acting has been familiar to him. The showbiz hunk has already appeared in TV shows like "Daddy's Gurl" (2018), "Raya Sirena" (2022), and Regal Studio Presents episodes: "My Third Wish" and "Mother of the Groom" (2022).

Video: JC Santos, Bart Guingona Perform an Excerpt from REDHow did he ignite his fire for theater acting again?

"During college [in UST], my barkada had a go-to place along Kamuning [in Quezon City] called Taumbayan (now called Gener Café). It's a known hangout place for actors and artists.

"I've met some people from the theater, and they eventually piqued my interest to try it out someday. Special mentions, of course, would be Sir Vincent DeJesus, Paul Cedrick Juan, Karen Toyoshima, and Bryan Sy. The foundation of theater remains with them."

He pointed out that film and theater are two different animals. He confessed it was challenging for him to step onstage and make some adjustments in his acting.

"Ang daming concepts you need to be mindful of, like exploring the negative spaces, whereas in films, you are boxed in the limits of your frame."

He mainly thanks De Jesus ["Zsazsa Zaturnnah's" composer and lyricist] for bringing him to the restaging of the iconic original Filipino musical and his director Missy Maramara for guiding and nurturing him throughout his journey.

"I love everyone in the cast. It has been a lovely time doing this, and I feel like we've built a family over the months we worked together."

What kind of Dodong is he channeling in this musical restaging?

"My Dodong is truthful and strong in conviction.

"Hindi porke't ginagawang katatawanan at laman ng tsismis ang mga bakla sa Barangay San Isidro ay makikisabay na lang siya sa kung anong takbo ng utak ng taumbayan.

"My Dodong is an ally; you will see it throughout the story. Many people can relate to how we should fight for the people who are being oppressed, not just with LGBTQIA+ issues but in general. Speak up and stand strong for the people in need of support."

He added, "Dodong is earnest. Hindi niya alam na guwapo siya. Kahit na sanay na siya sa routine niya, there's that journey na kailangan niyang tahakin. He's seeking for something meaningful."

He alternates with two other Dodongs: Jude Mathew Servilla and Elian Dominguez.

"As for my onstage love interests: Kim Molina, Phi Palmos, and Adrian Lindayag, it was very challenging to act alongside them, especially how quick-witted they are on stage and how they are naturally funny.

"I've learned a lot during our run of this production. It feels good to be a student again."

Video: JC Santos, Bart Guingona Perform an Excerpt from REDHis medical background comes in handy!

As an occupational therapist, his background and discipline help him to venture into the theater world.

"It helped me understand people more, not just in theater but in life.

"I realized you discover more about yourself once you dive into the theater, and it's a beautiful process. I'm fortunate to join a fantastic team of actors and an artistic team behind this production.

Occupational therapists help with barriers that affect a person's emotional, social, and physical needs. They use everyday activities, exercises, and other therapies, which is somehow why Galano finds it comfortable to do his scenes.

"You have to affect your scene partner and serve your objective during the scene, which helps me out of that insecurity of not being funny enough. I've learned a lot during our run of this production.

"The entire cast has good dynamics on stage. Paying attention to the sub-plots around the stage will make you realize everything is connected. I commend the ensemble in this musical because they also bring life to the story. I love how they make brave choices to support the humor and entertainment value of the musical."

Besides TVCs and TV shows, he was part of a Metro Manila Film Festival 2021 entry, "Nelia." Also, he concluded filming with Julia Barretto and Diego Loyzaga via Firestarter Production and Viva. And he has another project coming with OctoArts Films.

In his foray into theater, he shares his thoughts from his experience, "I encourage any actor to try and do theater even once in a lifetime.

"Your fears and reservations are valid, but I believe the only loss you'll ever experience is if you never try and dive into the opportunity."

Today, he's more confident, and would like to do more onstage acting for the foreseeable future for as long as his schedule permits him.

Catch him in his remaining shows with "Zsazsa Zaturnnah: The Musical...'Yun Lang" on April 1 to 2, 2023, at the Doreen Fernandez Black Box Theater, Areté, Ateneo de Manila University.

Photos: Marr Medel, Kyle Venturillo


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