BWW Exclusive: Gerald Santos Is Back Home
Manila, Philippines--Balladeer-musical theater actor Gerald Santos discloses, "I'm silly. I'm crazy as well. I'm human," although his fans who have been following his career--from his first appearance on GMA's "Pinoy Pop Superstar" Season Two (2006) to his final bow as one of the principal actors in the recent "Miss Saigon" UK-Ireland-International tour (2017-2019)--perceive him otherwise.
This is probably because his fans only see his hard work and dedication to his craft, which shines through his eyes, especially when he's singing. "This is the only thing that I could do for now. That passion for singing is the thing that's pushing me to work harder--that's the driving force," Gerald tells BroadwayWorld.com. "When I joined 'Pinoy Pop Superstar,' at that time, all I wanted to do was to sing, to express myself, and to share my talent with the audience, with my family."
Nevertheless, in his upcoming major solo concert at The Theatre at Solaire on May 4, he'd like to show a different side of him, also, an improved version of him as a performer, especially after playing the vocally-demanding role of Thuy, sans an alternate, across multiple European cities for two straight years.
"In my homecoming concert, we've prepared a surprise lineup of songs--it's not the usual [some may call it crazy]--and some explosive numbers with my guests," he says. A reunion of sorts, Gerald will be joined on stage by his co-actors on the road Joreen Bautista (Kim), Aicelle Santos (Gigi), and Leo Valdez (Engineer), whom he closed with the "Miss Saigon" tour only last March. Billboard chart-topping artist Jake Zyrus will also share the stage with Gerald, who is a self-confessed fortuitous musical theater star.
"To be honest, I was not into musical theater before Gantimpala Theater's 'Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal?' [his professional theater debut in 2011]. I was really more into ballads, even the singers I idolized--Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Ogie Alcasid, and Wency Cornejo, among others--were from the pop and ballad side," the 27-year-old singer admits.
"But I also remember when I was a kid, I attended a theater workshop. That brief experience was really fun! After winning in 'Pinoy Pop Superstar,' after a few years, I told myself, "Why not try theater again because it's fun. So, when I was given the opportunity to play Dr. Jose Rizal, I was really thankful. If not for Gantimpala Theater, probably, I wouldn't find my way back to musical theater, and eventually to 'Miss Saigon'."
Looking back to the "Miss Saigon" tour, he would remember the happy moments with the cast: the "mandatory" city tours because they only had a few days out in each city; the movie nights; the wine-and-cheese nights, and the bondings. Beyond the blissful memories, he would always remember all the things he learned, whether personal or professional. "Hindi 'yun mababayaran ng kahit anong halaga (the whole experience was priceless)," he says.
"On tour, my two most favorite destinations were Scotland and Switzerland. Scotland because I love history. I'm always fascinated with Medieval structures. When I was there, I felt like it was the 1500s, the Medieval times. Its countryside is so beautiful, too, especially Loch Ness. We even found ourselves in a boat on a lake and waited for the Loch Ness monster to come out," he laughs heartily.
"[Additionally] I love the memories we made with the cast, during our days out, in Switzerland, which is also picture perfect, especially in Zermatt, where the Matterhorn (Toblerone's famous alpine peak) is found," he recalls. "It's also where I had a 'proper' snow experience, where the snow was up to your knees and I got to taste the snowflakes!"
"But I need to rest for now," Gerald says. "I need to get out of Thuy's character because the role is quite stiff and depressing. He's a guerilla soldier--who is a totally different person from me. Playing Thuy for two years, you could become more and more like him!"
Moving forward, he's been raring to go back on stage for his next theatrical project. "Doing theater gives me a different kind of fulfillment, discipline, and work ethic. There are no second takes. You need to memorize all your lines. You have to sing perfectly. It's much more challenging. You work with a cast, you work with a team--it's not just you. These are the things that made me pursue musical theater.
"If 'Miss Saigon' is going to have another tour or will go back to London, and they still want me, I would gladly do it again," he says.
At age 15, Gerald, a native of Navotas City in Manila, Philippines, was the grand champion of "Pinoy Pop Superstar" Season Two. He earned his moniker, the "Prince of Ballad," from his third studio album titled "Gerald Santos: The Prince of Ballad," which was distributed by Ivory Records in 2013 and won the Revival Album of the Year at the 5th PMPC Star Awards for Music.
He's currently signed with Star Music, which recently released his first single with the label, "I Am Yours." His theater credits include "Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal?," "San Pedro Calungsod," and "Miss Saigon" UK-Ireland-International tour. His other achievements include waxing five studio albums, holding six sold-out major concerts, which were nominated for five consecutive years and winning Best Male Concert Performer thrice for Gerald at the Aliw Awards, and starring in films such as "Memory Channel" and a still-untitled film on Emilio Jacinto.
Catch up with Gerald in "Gerald Santos: The Homecoming Concert" on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at The Theatre at Solaire. Get your tickets (P1,500-P5,000) from TicketWorld.com.ph.
Bonus: Fast-Talk With Gerald Santos
BWW: What's on your mind when you're alone in your dressing room?
GS: My family.
BWW: If you were to meet a real Viet Cong, what would you tell him?
GS: I admire their principles and how they fought for their country.
BWW: What's the best opening night gift you've received?
GS: An envelope with a letter from Sir Cameron Mackintosh, saying "Good luck and congratulations!"
BWW: What was the funniest thing that happened in "Miss Saigon"?
GS: After my short vacation in the Philippines, I had to be back to the show--right away. I was too jetlagged. My face, my body, and my emotions were there but my tongue would not cooperate! (Nagkabulol-bulol ako!)
BWW: What do you do during intermissions?
GS: I didn't have intermissions! I usually changed into my "Thuy's Death" costume and had my makeup done.
BWW: If you were to trade roles in "Miss Saigon," what role would it be?
GS: It would be awesome to play Chris! I love his songs. It'd be nice to play the American character's perspective for a change.
BWW: Who are your musical theater idols?
BWW: How would you rate your memory skills when memorizing lyrics or lines?
GS: Not be cocky or anything, I'm good at memorizing lines--both spoken and sung.
BWW: You also write songs, what type of songs you love composing?
GS: Sad songs about heartbreak or being hopelessly romantic.
BWW: If you didn't have a music career, what is your job today?
GS: I'd probably be a dentist.
BWW: How important are your fans to you?
GS: I won't be here without their support. My fans are part of my support system, who will always defend me when I have online haters and bashers.
BWW: What are things your fans, or the public, don't know yet about GS?
GS: (1) I'm into pop-rock music like Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and (2) I'm into sports such as swimming, boxing, and weightlifting. I'm a big fan of contact sports!
BWW: What can your fans look forward to after "Miss Saigon"?
GS: They can look forward to more shows in the UK, hopefully, to play my dream roles such as Marius, Fiyero, and Aladdin. Also, more recordings with Star Music after this concert.
Photos: MISS SAIGON, Gerald Padua Santos, Wilson Fernandez, Star Music