Longevity and the Filipino brand of versatility

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TESSA MAURICIO-ARRIOLA

If sheer talent in Hollywood has allowed the likes of Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson to transcend generations in moviemaking, another component is necessary to achieve longevity in Philippine show business. Versatility.

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Now versatility in this case goes beyond the kind that Hollywood’s icons possess—that which allows Streep to go from The Devil Wears Prada to Florence Foster Jenkins, or Nicholson to portray The Wolf in one movie and Batman’s Joker in the next. For Filipino singers and actors alike more often than not, versatility needs to go beyond one’s art into another whole medium.

Take for example the likes of Vilma Santos and Nora Aunor, who at some point in their careers had to juggle time on movie sets with the variety shows that required them to sing and dance. Inversely, singers Sharon Cuneta and more recently Sarah Geronimo, crossed over to movies to cement their stardom. Even OPM stalwarts Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera at one point or another also acted in a film or two to ensure they stay in the game.

And so, whether they had planned to or not, Filipino artists—at least those whose careers have persevered through the years—end up with multi-hyphenated titles like “singer-actor-host” or “dancer-turned-actor” among others. A mouthful to say, indeed, this hardly matters; because for producers, networks and the stars themselves, so long as this “Filipino versatility” keeps the fans happy, they are here to stay.

Here then are the new avenues Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez, GMA Network Prime Time King Dingdong Dantes, and Philippine Fashion Muse Janine Gutierrez are taking on as a new season on TV unfolds.

Regine Velasquez

Regine Velasquez as a standup comic
Regine Velasquez is still on a league of her own in the Philippine music scene no matter how many new belters come and go. She remains a standout whether she sings in variety show or any concert stage around the world.

Throughout her almost three-decade career in entertainment, however, the singer has also done movies and teleseryes, adding to her popularity, the most successful of which always had her in comedic roles.

Now 46-years-old and as visible in showbiz as ever, what else has Velasquez not done? The answer is to combine her talent for singing and penchant for comedy.

As such, her mother studio, GMA Network, has given Asia’s Songbird her very own comedy-musical show, titled Full House Tonight. Along with a bandwagon of stars from comedy gay bars in Philip Lazaro, Kim Idol, Terry Gian, Sarah Brakensiek, Tammy Brown, and Nar Cabico, she will showcase her lungs of steel as well as take on riotous roles and improvisation in skits.

“I’m of course very excited and very thankful that GMA has given me this kind of show kasi medyo na-miss ko na yung variety show. At least dito kumakanta ako ulit, pero hindi lang yun, nagku-comedy rin, at binibigyan din naman ako ng freedom to choose the songs,” the multi-awarded artist gamely shared.

“It’s actually harder to make people laugh than to make them cry, so medyo may kaba kaming lahat pero it’s mostly exciting for all of us,” she continued. “But I’m sure the viewers will love it and have fun watching every episode.”

Adding star power to the program is another multi-hyphenate artist in Solenn Heussaff, and teen idols Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix, and noted supporting actor Joross Gamboa.

Directed by Louie Ignacio, Full House Tonight airs weekly beginning Saturday, February 18 after Magpakailanman on GMA Network.

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Dingdong Dantes

Dingdong Dantes as docu host
Dingdong Dantes is about to round up three showbiz identities that begin with the letter “D.” As everyone knows, this A-List celebrity started out in the industry as a dancer in the all-male group Abztract, and became famous as a dramatic actor. This Saturday, February 18, he adds on another “D” to his many capabilities as documentary host in a new program called Case Solved on GMA Network.

Case Solved features sensational and controversial real-life cases ranging from nonaggressive to violent circumstances derived from Philippines’ Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) handled by the country’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), judicial agencies like the Department of Justice (DOJ), Supreme Court and Bureau of Corrections. More than presenting how the crime is committed, it further explains how the crime is solved.

Known to be a youth leader outside of showbiz as former commissioner-at-large of the National Youth Commission during the Aquino administration, Dantes is also recognized as an advocate for peace and justice, and therefore, excited to take on a show that allows him to help educate viewers on crime prevention.

“I like the concept of the show kasi it’s always good to have concrete stories as example. Also, it shows a positive ending wherein pinapakita ‘yung resolution ng problema. Yung combination of all these things inspires me. With this, gusto ko i-share ito sa mga manunuod. I want them to see a story of triumph dahil gusto nating makakita ng problemang naaayos,” he said.

Case Solved airs weekly beginning tomorrow after Eat Bulaga.

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Janine Gutierrez

A reality show for Janine
With the likes of Nora Aunor, Eddie Gutierrez, Pilita Corrales, Ramon Christopher Gutierrez and Lotlot de Leon in her family tree, 27-year-old beauty Janine Gutierrez has every right to be in show business.

Having found her niche in teleseryes [More Than Words, Dangwa, Legally Blind], as well as a regular spot on magazine covers and fashion pictorials, Gutierrez is slowly being inducted into the realm of Filipino versatility in showbiz with her newest assignment for GMA Network.

Come Saturday, February 18, the statuesque beauty will find herself taking on far from glamorous jobs of everyday Filipinos as she takes over the 12-year-old reality TV show Day Off with fellow young actor Ken Chan.

Revealing she has long been a fan of the show which makes its celebrity hosts substitute anyone from a housemaid to a famer, or even a gravedigger, who in turn are given the day off of their dreams, Gutierrez cannot hide her excitement for landing the gig.

“I’ve watched the show for many years, and because they now go far and wide—even outside the Philippines to reach out to OFWs—one of my dreams to do a travel program is coming true,” she enthused, a hundred percent up to the twist that comes along with it.

“Each episode is a new and exciting experience,” she added. “In the few episodes I’ve done, I’ve met so many amazing, hardworking Filipinos and I learned so much from them.”

Having established a young fan base, Gutierrez’s popularity will surely benefit from the show, which obviously has a different audience from her drama series.

“More than doing something meaningful too, I consider doing the show my own day off from all the crying I have to do on set,” she laughed. “I guarantee a fun time for everyone who watches it.”

Day Off airs every Saturday at 6:15 p.m. on GMA News TV.

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