What was originally meant to just be a one-act play and graphic novel, Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady is now a full-length production courtesy of playwright Carlo Vergara (whom we can also thank for giving us Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah). Add to that the brilliant direction of Cris Martinez (of Kimmy Dora and Here Comes the Bride) and the musical genius of Vince De Jesus (Himala the musical) and you've got the best possible maiden outing of Dalanghita Productions. The original storyline promised a love story, a family drama, and a general critique on Philippine society (mestizos versus the morenos) but during the press preview held last May 6 at the PETA Theater in Quezon City, it offered so much more.
Bituin Escalante does not disappoint as the central character Mely, a 35-year-old breadwinner who ends up becoming the housemaid of Fuerza Pilipinas, the fair-skinned superhero crime fighting squad of the country. Mely enters her employment choosing not to be star struck by her employers’ status and instead focus on the daunting tasks ahead for her. Escalante's vocal range is both expressive and powerful as it conveys varying emotions of conflict, anger, and love throughout the show.
Playing her leading man is Markki Stroem who is aptly named Leading Man as well. His character is a lonely man looking for friendship, but ends up discovering love in Mely. He is also the newest member of Fuerza Pilipinas. After having been consistently seen in stage productions like Carrie last year, Stroem seems to have built up a quiet confidence and stage presence which makes him one of the most endearing characters in this musical.
In the musical, Mely's dilemma starts when her younger sister Viva (Kim Molina) leaves home and crashes with her for the night at the headquarters. What Mely does not know is that Viva has been brainwashed by the Kayumanggilas, an underground group jealous of Fuerza Pilipinas's popularity and power. When Viva tries to steal secret documents, a whole lot of trouble ensues.
From start to finish, Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady, in it's own endearing way, aims to entertain then to impress. Not hard for it to achieve both with so much fun involved onstage. In a series of touching, humorous, and always witty song numbers, the audience finds itself losing track of the three hours it takes to watch this ambitious and entertaining production.
Catch Dalanghita Productions' Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady from May 7-June 7 at the PETA Theater Center in Quezon City. For ticket inquiries, please call Ticketworld at 891-9999.