Gian Magdangal Brings Sexy Back To Theater

Casting this hot thespian as the bold, emo male lead in RENT: The Musical, the play about sex, drugs, and HIV, gives theater-goers more eye-candy on stage.

Even before his stint in Philippine Idol (wherein he made it as one of the runners-up), Gian Magdangal already had a love affair with music and theater. He was a member of Kundirana, La Salle Green Hills' famous glee club, in high school. He starred in a handful of plays while training in the Trumpets Musical Academy, and he was also part of the boyband 17:28, whose single "Sukob Na" became the theme of ABS-CBN's rainy season station ID.

He left the industry to give time for his family, but he came back through Philippine Idol. Now, he stars in 9 Works Theatrical's RENT: The Musical! as the emotionally tortured Roger Davis. His real-life partner Sheree also stars with him as Mimi Marquez, Roger's love interest.

Cosmo was able to catch his spectacular performance at the media preview of RENT. They also indulged us with a short media Q&A, so we took the opportunity to find out more about this hot, versatile, and undeniably talented actor.

How was it working with Sheree?

For me it was really... unforgettable. It's something I really looked forward to because... Siyempre we see each other all the time. She always watches the show, the video. And this time around, we'll be sharing the stage together. I didn't know what to feel. I was feeling excited [and] nervous at the same time. I want her to be really good [at her role] also. And, hanggang sa bahay talaga, I really... I'm proud of her.

How do you balance and juggle all your showbiz commitments?

Siyempre time management. Of course, ALV Talent Circuit really works their magic in fixing the schedules.

What was the most challenging part of doing RENT?

For me, the most challenging part was, RENT [started its run in] February [of 2010]--and I recently just finished doing The Wedding Singer. I [played] Robbie Hart. And Robbie Hart's [character] was really happy--talagang ano 'yun e--masaya, wedding, like that. And then, in the middle of being in Wedding Singer, I was also rehearsing for this other play for Resorts World called Kaos, in which [I played] a prince. So, in one day, I had three rehearsals playing a prince, Robbie Hart, and then Roger here. (Laughs.) So, parang schizo [na ako]. Talagang sabi ko, "Pa'no 'to? Ang hirap naman nito!" Tapos in two and a half weeks, I had to [recall] what Roger was, "Ano ba 'yan, ano ba'ng story ni Roger?" Parang ganun e.

And to top it all off, I was really tired. And I think that helped, being tired, because Roger was tired, he was really tired. (Laughs.) He was really tired [of] living. He has AIDS, he found out that his girlfriend committed suicide, and he just wants to write this one song--which I'm also in the process of doing for my album.

And I guess what you're seeing here, that's really what's happening now. (Laughs.) [I'm] just putting it into that character. It's difficult, but at the same time, I want this. I'm happy doing all of this. I feel that they're all blessings, and ngayon lang nangyari sa'kin 'to. Especially with Sheree here also. Nakita niya na [how it is] being in rehearsals. Kasi dati hindi niya alam e. Lagi na lang nasa rehearsal ako, nasa bahay siya. Ngayon 'yung baby namin kumakanta na ng mga kanta namin. So it's a family event na. That's really how I had to deal with being Roger, that's the journey.

Which character was more difficult to play--Roger or Robbie?

For me, they're really different roles. Iba 'yung level of difficulty nila. Here, vocally, this is more difficult. I would always lose my voice here if I don't pace myself. That's what happened in the first run. Kung gagawin kong performance level every time, mauubos 'yung boses ko talaga. As in sabi namin dati, Steroids: The Musical ['yung ginagawa namin]. (Laughs.) Kasi I had to take steroids, nawala na talaga 'yung boses ko. And that happened to me here, only in RENT, for the first time. Sabi ko, (in a throaty voice) "How the hell?" Pero in The Wedding Singer, kahit na kumanta ako all out, okay lang, kaya naman.

With such a hectic schedule, how do you stay fit?

I really try to pace myself because it's really difficult, doing RENT. Vocally it's... ang tataas lahat ng kanta e. And actually, kakagaling ko lang sa pagkakaroon ng sore throat. I just finished my medication today, [so I drink] water lang and I try not to talk too much. Walang gimik. I'll set a vacation after all this.

How do you plan to reward yourself for all your hard work?

I'm already rewarded by seeing you guys here! I mean, pumunta kayo dito and I'm thankful that you're here. Ang hirap talaga ng buhay teatro! (Laughs.) Talaga, I mean, it's hard-earned money. And we really wanna show people what we're trying to do here, how RENT changes lives, how it's very infectious, how it's universal, you know, how we share love, and that's what we need in this country. I'm really happy. Just doing this, and makasama 'yung family ko here, okay na 'ko. Simple joys lang, okay na 'ko. I don't wanna ask for anything [really] big naman, I just wanna do my job.

What is your dream role?

I've always wanted to play Tony in The West Side Story. I thought I had a chance before, I was part of West Side Story before, but I played Riff. Hopefully, maybe in the future, kung magkaroon pa ulit ng West Side Story, I just wanna do that role. Or Judas in Jesus Christ: Superstar. Kasi, it was one of the first plays I watched locally.

Launch the gallery to see Gian at the press preview of RENT. Click on this link to know more about RENT and their play dates.

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