As the only daughter of the country's most prominent ballerina, Missy Macuja-Elizalde admitted she felt like she had big shoes to fill. “Well in the beginning I'll tell you the pressure was sky high. I would come home from dance school crying. I didn't love it in the beginning. I was a late starter since I started ballet at 11,” she admitted.
But ballet will have to take a backseat for now because the 16-year-old high school student from International School Manila is now part of the cast of the Tony award-winning play La Cage Aux Folles which is 9Works Theatrical's 2015 season opener production. “I've loved theater ever since I was a little girl and so I took it. I know the entire Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera by heart. We watch plays abroad as well when we do vacations and stuff with my family. Generally we watch it all together,” she told Push during the La Cage Aux Folles presscon held last February 10 at The Loft in Rockwell.
Missy said she thought she almost wouldn't get the role of Steven Silva's fiancee Anne. “About August of last year, my mom tells me, 'You know the people from 9Works Theatrical called and were asking if you wanted to play Anne in their production of La Cage Aux Folles.' In the story I'm the one with the conservative parents and basically I took the job because I thought to myself, 'This is never going to happen to me again! This is amazing!' And that's how I got here and now it's a dream come true. I never thought I'd be doing what I am right now. I do a lot of dancing here,” she admitted.
Missy said it was very exciting for her to meet her co-actors for the first time. “Well when we first had our meeting with director Robbie Guevarra, one of the first things I asked was, 'Who am I marrying?' (laughs) and they said this guy Steven Silva. And when we actually met each other, I thought it's amazing working with him. We're really close, we're really good friends. We're very close off-stage and on stage we have to be really romantic and really into each other. That's why all of this happens (in the story) obviously. I wasn't familiar with local celebrities so I didn't even realize who Michael De Mesa was until after a couple of rehearsals and I was like, 'Oh my God, I'm working with Michael De Mesa!' and Steven too,” she explained.
Being a minor, the La Cage Aux Folles actress said her mom was supportive of her decision but still had some restrictions. “The first thing my mom said was, 'Missy, you’re not kissing him!' (laughs). She made sure when she saw our director. Because Robbie and my family are old friends, she said, 'Robbie ha, you’re not making her kiss anyone!' And he said, 'Yes Lisa, don't worry we're not going to do that.' So my mom's very supportive of it,” she admitted.
With her pretty mestiza features, it's not hard to imagine why she gets mistaken for Coleen Garcia by the public. Missy said if given the chance, she would also be interested to try showbiz. “I think I'd definitely consider it. I'd like to go into it. Of course I'd like to keep dancing because that's where my roots are and that's what I love to do. But I wouldn't say no. I mean, people already talk to me about that when we did a tour with Bryan Termulo as Ballet Manila and he was asking me if I wanted to do it and I said, 'Yeah I'm totally up for that. I'd love to do that,'” she recalled.
When asked for an update regarding her mom Lisa Macuja who had hip surgery earlier this month, the talented teen said that retirement is definitely not in her mom's plans. “I grew up watching my mom and the thought of her hanging up her pointe shoes for the last time, I still haven't come to terms with that. I definitely think that right now she's injured. Once she gets over that injury she'll be back on stage. You know the stage loves her too much. I don't think she'll ever really let go and teach completely full-time,” she said.
Watch Missy Macuja-Elizalde along with Steven Silva, Audie Gemora, and Michael De Mesa in the comedy musical La Cage Aux Folles under 9Works Theatrical. The show will open on February 28 and will run all weekends of March at the RCBC Plaza in Makati City. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.