Darren’s dream to join ‘The Singer’ dashed

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    RHEA ANICOCHE-TAN and DARREN ESPANTO
    RHEA ANICOCHE-TAN and DARREN ESPANTO

    MYLENE Dizon was absent at the grand launch of “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit” so GMA hosted a special press visit just for her. “Isinugod ko kasi ang panganay ko sa ER that day dahil sobrang taas ng lagnat at hindi ko maiwan kaya hindi ako nakapunta sa press con,” she says.

    She wants to take a rest from soaps after doing “Sahaya” so she can devote more time to her two sons, but when “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit” was offered to her and she learned she’d get to act with Nora Aunor, she grabbed it right away.

    “Paano mo naman tatanggihan ang chance na makatrabaho ang isang aktres na hinahangaan ng lahat?” says Mylene. “My own mother is a Noranian. I remember seeing all those fan magazines my mom bought then and she’s on the front cover, so when they offered me this project, no questions asked, yes ako agad. She’s one of the country’s greatest actresses and I want to see the magic for myself, happening right before my eyes.”

    So how is it acting with Ate Guy so far?

    “It’s just amazing. When we shot our first scene together, hindi ako agad nakasagot sa kanya. I just couldn’t believe that I’m now really doing a scene with her. It’s such a great experience. Totoo ‘yung sabing may baon siyang ilaw sa mga mata niya and when she delivers her lines, the power comes out and it’s surreal. In between takes, kinukuwentuhan niya ako at ni Ricky Davao about their experiences in the past. Nakakatuwa.”

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    Darren Espanto was just the first runner-up to Lyca Gairanod in “The Voice Kids” 2012 when he was just 12 years old. Now, at 18, there’s no denying, he’s more successful than the winner. He’s the newest endorser of Rei Tan Anicoche’s Beautederm. She calls him her “Millennial Endorser.”

    “’Darrenatic’ kasi ako and he’ll help us reach the young market of millennials like him,” she adds. “Grabe dami ng followers niya. When he does shows, nagkakagulo talaga ang fans, kaya pinahanap ko talaga siya. And now that he’s with us, nire-request na agad siya to be part of the Beautederm team that performs in various cities all over the country.”

    “I’m happy and proud to be part of the Beautederm Family,” says Darren. “I’m excited to do shows with their other brand ambassadors. I really use their Spruce & Dash products for my personal hygiene and good grooming, especially Brawn Anti-perspirant that I use pati for my feet, and Beau Charcoal Soap na nakakaganda talaga ng skin.”

    Darren’s supposed to go to China for the singing competition, “The Singer,” where he performed last year, but he had to forego it because of the coronavirus scare and the travel ban. “It’s disappointing, but it’s for our own safety. I’m happy that I was able to guest in their show last year. But kung sakaling ma-lift na ang ban, hopefully, baka matuloy rin po.

    We’ll just see what happens.”

    He’s currently being linked to Cassy Legaspi, the daughter of Carmina Villaroel and Zoren Legaspi. “We are just very good friends. We’re just enjoying being friends now. Hindi naman ako naghahanap ng girlfriend. Kusang darating ‘yan. But right now, aside from my career, I just graduated from senior high school and I’m about to go to college. I might take up business with AMA open university since I can use it later on, or since both my parents are nurses in Canada, I might take up something related to the medical field. I’m not sure yet as to what exactly I’ll take up.”

    ***
    Mark Bautista is still mourning the recent death of his father but he’s now back to work playing the role of Haled, a young musician who’s a big fan of jazz artist Chet Baker, in the Tony Award-winning musical, “The Band’s Visit.” This is Mark’s second musical with them after “The Full Monty” and the first offering of Atlantis Theatrical for 2020. It runs from March 13 to 29.

    “After my dad’s funeral in Cagayan de Oro, I reported right away for our Valentine show nina Aicelle Santos and Christian Bautista at Solaire,” he says at the press con of “The Band’s Visit.” “At the finale, as I was singing a John Denver song na favorite ng father ko, bumigay ako. His was the first death in our family and I was really so affected up to now.

    Kaya nga I’m happy that I have work in ‘All Out Sundays’ every weekend and now, I’m also busy with our rehearsals for ‘The Band’s Visit’ as it takes my mind off from grieving.”

    Recently, he missed an invitation from the US to play the lead role of “Aladdin” on Broadway. “When I opened my email, the schedule was for the day before. I auditioned kasi last year and they must have kept it and it’s only now that they got in touch with me.

    Akala nila siguro, I’m based in the US at makakapunta ako agad doon. Sayang nga, but may commitments na rin ako rito dahil nag-yes na ako sa ‘The Band’s Visit’.”

    But he has a problem now because of “The Band’s Visit.” It has two shows on Sunday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The matinee show will be in conflict with his regular performance in “All Out Sundays” that starts at 12 noon. “I was asking GMA kung puede mag-tape na lang ako ng numbers ko, but ayaw nila. Nagpapaalam naman ako kay Direk Bobby Garcia to allow me to do ‘All Out Sundays’ then I will just rush from Quezon City to Makati to make it to our show at RCBC Auditorium. I don’t know if he’d allow me, so right now, I don’t know yet kung ano mangyayari. I love doing ‘All Out Sundays.’ Enjoy ako having fun with the other Kapuso stars who I do numbers with. Pero mahal ko rin ang ‘The Band’s Visit’ so it’s really a dilemma for me.”

    Tickets for the critically-acclaimed “The Band’s Visit” are now available online at TicketWorld starting at P2,000. For details, contact Atlantis Theatrical at 02-650-5144/0917-838-1534 or email them at [email protected]

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    Ogie Alcasid now produces concerts for his own company, A Team, and one of the concerts he produced last year was that of Ian Veneracion’s “Ian in Color.”

    “It was held at the Music Museum for two nights and it’s a hit,” said Ogie. “I enjoyed producing it for him, so now, magkasama na kami in ‘Kilabotitos.’ The title is a play on words, pareho raw kasi kaming kilabot, may asim pa kami, at pareho na rin kaming titos ng younger stars. Sa rehearsals nga, maraming nagugulat that we have this winning chemistry on stage pala.”

    This is for him a unique collaboration. Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus scare, they’ve decided to postpone the concert. “We’ll just announce later kung kelan na,” he said.