Apr 20
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Teatrino: Little big theater rises in Greenhills

Author: The Manila Bulletin

Another interesting venue for entertainment opened last week in Greenhills. It's called Teatrino, a Kuh Ledesma creation (in partnership with Precy Florentino) which Freddie Santos described as "the biggest little theater there is."

To make the opening of the "little big theater auspacious," no less than four divas came for the launch: Pops Fernandez, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Regine Velasquez, and Kuh Ledesma of course. Their presence all at one time which rarely happens, thrilled and excited Precy no end. I couldn't thank them enough, she whispered to us.

In addition to the usual ribboncutting, the opening rites started with the unveiling of the Teatrino signage by the four divas. The ceremonial ribbon was cut by former Senator Loren Legarda, and San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito with the assistance of Precy Florentino. After the blessing, guests were ushered into the theater, with Donita Rose in an exquisite red gown welcoming everyone.

For the entertainment of the guests, a mixture of classical, retro and contemporary music was rendered by popular artists including tenor Jonathan Badon, soprano Rachelle Gerodias, jazz artist Mishka Adams, theater stalwart Michael Williams, Leah Navarro, Carla Martinez, Carlo Orosa and Kuh's daughter's Isabella.

All of the divas were in their best elements: Zsa Zsa, still basking in the glory of her winning the Best Actress trophy in the last Metro Manila Film Festival, was radiant and sultry in her sphagetti-strapped pink outfit; Pops in a black cocktail dress that outlined her sexy body; Regine in an elegant backless long dress; and Kuh in a metallic gold pantsuit.

The Teatrino is similar to the Music Museum, which Kuh and Precy established in the 80s and which helped define the live entertainment scene in the Greenhills area. Later, the place was gutted by fire but the legacy left by the Music Museum was such that Precy was eventually persuaded to rebuild it on its original site. Kuh, however, chose to move on and opened the Republic of Malate right in the heart of Manila's artsy district, with its quaint cafes and hostels, and classy restaurants standing side by side.

So now, with the opening of Teatrino (which is Italian for small theater), Kuh is back where she started - at the Promenade, Greenhills' newest shopping and dining destination.

The Teatrino is similar to the Music Museum, but is smaller, with a seating capacity of approximately 280 (which is less than half the capacity of Music Museum across the street) and more intimate, said Kuh, who is full partner in the venture. "It also has a bigger stage and a state-ofthe-art sound and lighting system. It's a really nice theater and is ideal for theatrical production, product launches and the like."

Also like the Music Museum, the Teatrino will be serving food and drinks to make it a total entertainment experience.

According to Kuh, what she and Precy aim to do is to create the Pinoy counterpart of New York's Great White Way and to expand the Filipino audience's range of entertainment options. "When people go to Broadway, they have a lot of shows and then they have all these restaurants, all in one place. That's what we're trying to do here. We want to draw the people back to Greenhills," explained the Pop Diva.

But what about competition? Won't opening the Teatrino threaten the existence of the Music Museum, and, in a way, even Kuh's own Republic of Malate?

She clearly doesn't think so. Artists are always looking for additional venues, she pointed out.."Besides, the Teatrino and the Music Museum, with its seating capacity of close to 800, are very different from each other. Each venue caters to a different market. The two are complementary and not competitive," Kuh said.

After the opening of Teatrino, Kuh went back to rehearsing for the repeat of her tribute concert to George Canseco entitled "Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan," slated on Jan. 27 at the PICC.

For reservations and booking inquiries for both the Teatrino and Kuh's concert, interested parties may call Headline Concept at 551-7253 ro 55.

Dulce retains diva stature

One of the most enduring singers we have is Dulce (Maria Teresa Llamedo in real life) whose powerful voice has not stopped impressing people ever since she began singing at the age of two in her native Cebu.

On Feb. 13, she joins other musical legends Janet Basco, Ivy Violan and Toti Fuentes as musical director in One Production House's Valentine concert "Hearts in Season" at the Rigodon Ballroom of Manila Peninsula. Also performing with them are painter-singer George Tagle as guest artist, and theater actor Miguel Castro who will be introduced in the concert.

This is the very first time that the three divas are performing together. Presented by Columbia's Chockquick, Bangko Pangasinan, Inc., St. Francis of Assisi College System, and Orlina Atelier, the concert is supported by Sunspring Printing, Universal Records, Bergamo, PCSO, Gold's Gym, Gerry's Grill, Herway Inc., Jesi Mendez Salon, Alma Roa, D'Sharp, and Infonet Computer Center.

Going back to Dulce, she got her stage name from her very first theme song for the Lorna Tolentino starrer "Dulce Amor, Inc," in l978. After this, Dulce started a virtual conquest of the theme song arena, earning for herself the monicker of "Theme Song Queen" after performing a total of 25 theme songs.

"I have sang the theme songs of practically all the big movie stars of that era, with the only exceptions of Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos," Dulce recalls.

When Dulce started competing in song festivals, she also garnered a series of wins beginning with the Grand Prize at the l979 Fourth Asian Songfest in Hong Kong, Top Ten Entertainers of the Year in l981 from Tinig Awards, 3rd Abu Golden Kite Song Festival in Malaysia, another Grand Prize from the l988 Asia-Pacific Singing Contest with the theme song "Memory," the Highest Achievement Award from the Salamat Music Summer Voice Workshop in l994, the 2nd Asean Song Festival in Thailand, the Australia Open Entertainment Championship in 2002, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Aliw in 2003.

Dulce also made a name in theater with such shows as "Cats," "Magsimula Ka," "Flower Drum Song," and her most recent, "Himala, the Musical" at the CCP.

But it was during his auditions for the Broadway version of "Miss Saigon" in l990 that Dulce got involved in a series of controversies that only served to underscore her outstanding world-class talent and ability. As a candidate for the role of Gigi, Dulce is said to have overwhelmed the entire artistic team at the auditions including producer Cameron MacKintosh, that they accorded her with a standing ovation and asked for another song - both never before experienced on a Broadway audition.

Dulce's Broadway stint, however, never materialized due to the normal theater intrigues and problems involving actor's equity in New York.

Dulce was once known as the artist who could sing "One Moment in Time" a note higher than Whitney Houston, and whose intensity is comparable to that of Barbra Streisand. Today, Dulce continues doing what she does best, with the same passion as when she first began, but even more emotional intensity than ever before.

Incidentally, Dulce can be reached through tel. 951-0493-94, or mobile 09189403832. For tickets to "Hearts in Season," call 776-9359/09179011333.

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Tidbits:Happy b-day greetings today, Jan. 22, go to Justice Manuel "Lolong" Lazaro, Pinky Marquez, Esperenciana Arcellana, Weena T. Sy, Vicente Singian, Marilyn Inocando, NiniJorge, Ligaya S. Fernandez, Besilda M. Mandapat of San Francisco, CA; Janet Relos, Neil Gaylor, Armando Bernabe, Purita P. Dagang of California; Prof. Wilhelmina Antonio of UP Los Baños, Dr. Toto Salgado, Rosalina Ellworth, Elisa Mañebo of Sitio Lucia, Sta. Maria, Bulacan; New Jersey-based Venny Yalong; Shirley M. Pizarro and son Alfonso Carlo...Happy wedding anniversary to Joey and Liny Sy...Why wait for the weekend to go out with friends? At Taste Buds, you'll find all the right ingredients for that laid back gimmick you are craving for - great food choices at reasonable prizes, cozy ambience and live acoustic music every Wednesday night. Catch the Unlabeled Band on Jan. 25, Industria on Feb. 1, and Liquid Apples on Feb. 8. Shows starts at 6:30 p.m. Taste Buds is located at the 2nd level Pedro Gil Wing of Robinsons Place Manila.

Source: The Manila Bulletin