‘Gee-Gee at Waterina’ proudly waves the rainbow flag

Pride month concluded last June 30, with a rainbow-colored shindig that transpired in the heart of Marikina. Many members of the pink community were in attendance, out, proud, and happy of course.

The cast of the musical 'Gee-Gee at Waterina
Sebastian Castro, model turned vlogger and musician performed his latest song. Iza Calzado graced the occasion. She stars in Distance, a Cinemalaya Film Festival entry wherein she plays a wife, a mother of two daughters and a closeted lesbian.

It was an auspicious month for anything and everything that is pink that is why Artists Playground made sure to add more exclamation to the celebration by announcing that Gee-gee at Waterina, the much loved first Virgin Labfest baby written by J. Dennis Teodosio and directed by Roobak Valle, now sashays and struts as a musical.

Book and libretto were written by Teodosio himself, he collaborated anew with Maestro Jesse Lucas, who acts as the composer and musical director. Andrew de Real serves as its stage director.

Gee-Gee at Waterina, the play has a special place in this columnist’s heart. It was part of a trio of gay-themed plays I reviewed for another broadsheet.

Because of my review, Dennis sought me out because it somehow “unsettled” him. We initially met in the house of theater icon, Tony Espejo, and after the exchanges, we became friends.

This new musical’s inspiration were two real-larger than life gays, former entertainment writer turned Pasay City councilor Justo “JJ” Justo and Japanese era victim and war survivor, Walterina Markova.

Teodosio says, “The play was a big ‘what if’’ initially. I wondered what Markova and JJ did with the money that Dolphy paid to them, how much was given to them and what are their plans. In their conversation and the musical numbers, people will get to witness what they have gone through and the friendship that they developed. I hope to show them as real people and not just as gays. I hope the people will learn a lesson from their stories.”

He carries on, “I was very happy because I have worked with Jesse who did the music for some of the plays that I did in the past. What I gave him are poems, and hearing them as songs, ang sarap sa pakiramdam.”

Norman Peñaflorida gives life to Geegee. Roeder Camanag, of course, is Wateerina. During the press conference, the two performed musical numbers, with Camanag’s song entitled “Minsan Siyang Naging Akin,” pulling all the heartstrings of the people in attendance.

No exaggeration here, this song, without a doubt, will be a national gay anthem. And why so? Every word, every line, and the story behind each lyric. Camanag interpreted with an emotional commitment that was so truthful, it hits you, bull’s eye, in your heart.

Any gay man or woman, who have loved and lost, who went for broke, took the gamble in the name of romance, will surely relate and become teary eyed when you experience the manner Roeder breathed life to it. 

He performed the Jesse Lucas ditty with a great amount of vulnerability, plus, he added a wonderful mix of defiance and even flippancy, from someone who believes in the power of love and all its splendor and the acceptance of a reality that some dreams just cannot be.

All gay men went through ups and downs in the name of love, but in the end, a gay man accepts that scared people are the most beautiful.

Other cast members include Bench Ortiz, Joseph Dela Cruz, Nel Gumalog, Romeo Palma, Jr., and Sean Nolasco.

Providing the much needed artistic support to De Real, Lucas and Teodosio are Leslie Dailisan (Choreographer), Luis Galang (Lighting Designer) and Reynoso Mercado (Production Designer).

Playdates are on Aug. 18 to 19, and 25 to 26 at Arts Above at 112 West Avenue, Quezon City.

Tickets may be availed by calling Kimberly Somoza at 0975-919-3179.

Topics: pride month , Sebastian Castro , Iza Calzado , Distance , Gee-Gee at Waterina
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