SHOWBIZ NEWS THIS PAST WEEK

FAIRY-TALE WEDDING FOR DINGDONG AND MARIAN 

WEDDING KISS – Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera kiss at the end of their wedding ceremony at Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City. (Photo courtesy of Nice Print) MANILA, JANUARY 5, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN)  by Jojo Panaligan - The groom, in an elegant white tuxedo, arrived in church on a Ducati motorbike; the bride in a white wedding gown, came on board the groom’s first car, a restored 1976 Mercedes Benz sedan. The personal touch to the grand entrance of the “Prime time king and queen” of GMA7 – Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera –added a charming touch to their wedding ceremony held yesterday, Dec. 30, at the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City. The church was chosen because it was where Dantes was baptized and where the couple had frequently visited. It was a grand fairytale wedding which gathered some of the biggest names in show business, fashion, business, and politics, with several Catholic bishops and priests concelebrating the mass. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Dingdong, Marian tie knot in lavish ceremony

PHOTO: Witness of honor’ President Aquino shares a light moment with newlyweds Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera yesterday. MANILA, Philippines - Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera sealed their reel-to-real romance in a lavish but “very traditional” wedding ceremony held yesterday at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao after months of well-documented preparation. President Aquino led a high-profile wedding entourage in a special role as “witness of honor” while his sister Kris stood as one of the principal sponsors. Some roads were reportedly closed off to motorists with the security strict and tight as an estimated crowd of over 4,000, mostly fans of the showbiz power couple, descended on the venue in Quezon City. A special area outside the church was designated for the fans, where a giant screen aired the goings-on of what has been touted as the wedding of the year. Unlike most showbiz couples who make this occasion off-limits to fans and even media, Dingdong, 34, and Marian, 30, wanted to share the excitement of the moment. When interviewed by some reporters shortly before the wedding ceremony, Dingdong appeared overwhelmed and simply said, “Hindi ko maintindihan (I cannot understand how I feel).”  READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Celebs at Marian-Dingdong wedding

The couple, who exchanged I do’s at the Immaculate Concepcion Church in Cubao, Quezon City, had Aquino as one of the wedding’s principal sponsors. Dingdong was among the celebrities who campaigned for Aquino during the 2010 elections. "PNoy w/ the newlyweds. Our family will forever be grateful for the support Dingdong and Marian gave us (during the) 2009-2010 Presidential Campaign. #friendsforlife Among the several guests of the wedding include Kris Aquino, KC Concepcion, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, and Vilma Santos. LOOK @ PHOTOS OF CELEBS.....

ALSO: Kris and Ai-Ai are friends again!

PHOTO: Kris Aquino (rightmost) and Ai-Ai delas Alas (second from right) with co-sponsors Helen Gamboa (leftmost) and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos at the DongYan wedding. A necklace with three Mama Mary pendants bridged the year-long gap between Kris Aquino and Ai-Ai delas Alas. End of December in 2013, Ai-Ai’s adoptive mother died and she was hurt when Kris, who was abroad at that time, failed to sympathize with her.Between BFF’s, little things could mean a lot, couldn’t they? Ai-Ai let loose quite a mouthful against Kris who, since she turned positive, kept mum. Kris has made peace with ex-husband James Yap and befriended James’ girlfriend Michela Cazzola. Peace becomes Kris, bless her! READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: FPJ docu vividly captures screen icon’s well-rounded persona

POE. The soul of self-effacement, despite his superstar status After A pre-Christmas dinner last Dec. 21 for relatives and “mga kapatid sa labas,” we were so full that we just wanted to sleep the sleep of the just. —But, not so fast, we forced ourselves to stay awake to catch ABS-CBN’s docu on FPJ, on the 10th anniversary of his death. We’re glad we did, because the full-length docu and tribute to “Da King” was full of movie clips, interviews and reminiscences from his friends, colleagues and loved ones that gave viewers a well-rounded estimation of the iconic personage and star, as the people who really knew and experienced him. His wife, Susan Roces, set the frank and uninhibited tone when she forthrightly declared, “People believe that Ronnie’s best friend was Erap—but, correction please, I was my husband’s best friend!”  Chiming in, daughter Grace also candidly shared anecdotes about Ronnie as a father. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Our prayers for 2015

The old has gone, the new has come – so they say. For 2015, it is my personal prayer that we will all be better at what we do.

Here’s a random list of prayers:

 
(From left) SARAH GERONIMO, PIOLO PASCUAL, LOVI POE, JENNYLYN MERCADO, and KIM CHIU


(From left) JOHN LLOYD CRUZ, MARIAN RIVERA, DINGDONG DANTES, ANGEL LOCSIN, and KRIS AQUINO

READ OUR PRAYERS IN FULL REPORT ...

Eddie Garcia’s starrer could be a tough act to follow  

PHOTO: GARCIA. Topbilled moving tale about the importance of family above all else ABS-CBN’S first “Christmaserye,” “The Gift Giver,” with Eddie Garcia, started off slowly, but effectively picked up pace and ended up as a moving tale about the importance of family above all else in our lives, both in and after the Yuletide season. We hope that the same happy outcome will happen to the studio’s second “seasonal” series, “The Gift of Life,” topbilling Gerald Anderson and Maja Salvador. In the new show, Gerald portrays a young man who has to undergo dialysis thrice a week due to injured kidneys. For her part, Maja plays a cash-strapped, street-smart girl who is forced by financial problems to sell one of her kidneys to Gerald—and then changes her mind before the organ transplant can be effected! —Not the best way to start and develop a loving relationship, right?  READ FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Fairy-tale wedding for Dingdong and Marian,


WEDDING KISS – Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera kiss at the end of their wedding ceremony at Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City. (Photo courtesy of Nice Print)

MANILA, JANUARY 5, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN)  by Jojo Panaligan - The groom, in an elegant white tuxedo, arrived in church on a Ducati motorbike; the bride in a white wedding gown, came on board the groom’s first car, a restored 1976 Mercedes Benz sedan.

The personal touch to the grand entrance of the “Prime time king and queen” of GMA7 – Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera –added a charming touch to their wedding ceremony held yesterday, Dec. 30, at the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City. The church was chosen because it was where Dantes was baptized and where the couple had frequently visited.

It was a grand fairytale wedding which gathered some of the biggest names in show business, fashion, business, and politics, with several Catholic bishops and priests concelebrating the mass.

The witness of honor was President Aquino. The principal sponsors included Governor Vilma Santos Recto, German Moreno, Kris Aquino, Lily Monteverde, Celia Rodriguez, Randy Ortiz, Wilson Tieng, Wilma Galvante, Regine Velasquez, and Dr. Vicki Belo. Among the secondary sponsors were Ai Ai delas Alas, Richard Gomez, KC Concepcion, and Ryzza Mae Dizon.

Dantes’ tuxedo was created by Randy Ortiz, his long-time friend.

Rivera wore a Michael Cinco lace gown studded with crystals, and a mother-of-pearl crown made in the Middle East.

Even the music played during the wedding ceremony seemed like personal choices –from Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” to Eraserheads’ “Ang Huling el Bimbo” rendered by an orchestra and at times, sung by combined chorale groups.

The guests came in red and black; the women with roses in their hair, and coin bearers dressed like Spanish matadors. The Spanish motif was a reminder of Rivera’s roots in Madrid. Her father had flown in from Madrid days before the wedding.

The mass went solemnly with the couple exchanging meaningful, happy glances, and beaming at each other during the homily and throughout the proceedings.

The reception –a sit-down Italian banquet reportedly for 1,000 guests –was held at The Arena of The SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

In lieu of gifts, well-wishers were encouraged to make donations to YesPinoy, an organization of the National Youth Commission where Dantes is Commissioner-at-Large.

Dantes and Rivera were in a relationship for years before he proposed to her first, in Macau’s Butterfly Garden, then on national TV a few years later.

They shot several pre-nuptial photos and videos in Pampanga and Dubai after the wedding announcement. Rivera had at least eight bridal showers tendered for her by family, friends and fans.

Dubbed as the “Royal Wedding” or the “Wedding of the Decade,” the official wedding website of the couple openedweeks prior to the big day. An area in front of the church was allotted to viewers, and several streets around the church were closed and manned by police officers yesterday.


FROM PHILSTAR

Dingdong, Marian tie knot in lavish ceremony By Salve Asis (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 31, 2014 - 12:00am 1 5 googleplus0 0


‘Witness of honor’ President Aquino shares a light moment with newlyweds Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera yesterday.

 MANILA, Philippines - Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera sealed their reel-to-real romance in a lavish but “very traditional” wedding ceremony held yesterday at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao after months of well-documented preparation.

President Aquino led a high-profile wedding entourage in a special role as “witness of honor” while his sister Kris stood as one of the principal sponsors.

Some roads were reportedly closed off to motorists with the security strict and tight as an estimated crowd of over 4,000, mostly fans of the showbiz power couple, descended on the venue in Quezon City.

A special area outside the church was designated for the fans, where a giant screen aired the goings-on of what has been touted as the wedding of the year.

Unlike most showbiz couples who make this occasion off-limits to fans and even media, Dingdong, 34, and Marian, 30, wanted to share the excitement of the moment.

When interviewed by some reporters shortly before the wedding ceremony, Dingdong appeared overwhelmed and simply said, “Hindi ko maintindihan (I cannot understand how I feel).”

The nuptials capped the perennial onscreen partners’ more than five-year relationship, which blossomed on the set of a GMA 7 soap opera and was marked by two marriage proposals – first in a private gathering in Macau 2012 and the second last August on national television.

According to GMA 7 reports, the groom, wearing a cream-colored tuxedo, arrived on a Ducati motorcycle.

Meanwhile, the stunning Madrid-born bride walked down the aisle dressed in an intricately detailed off-shoulder gown with a long train by Dubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco.

Guests said that even as it was the union of two of the country’s biggest stars, the ceremony – held in the church community the groom grew up in – was very traditional and solemn, officiated by nine bishops and seven priests, and attended by an equal mix of showbiz and non-showbiz friends and family.

There were no personalized vows as is the trend of many celebrity weddings, with the overall mood not emotional but rather celebratory as the couple held hands the whole time.

A Spanish-themed reception followed at the Mall of Asia Arena for roughly a thousand expected guests – including members of their fan clubs – who were encouraged to make a donation to the groom’s Yes Pinoy Foundation in lieu of wedding gifts.

The newlyweds are planning a honeymoon in Europe, courtesy of principal sponsor and celebrity doctor Vicki Belo. Among the other 20 pairs of principal sponsors were GMA Network boss Felipe Gozon and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos.


FROM PHILSTAR

Celebs at Marian-Dingdong wedding (philstar.com) | Updated December 30, 2014 - 9:37pm 3 870 googleplus0 0


President Aquino, one of the principal sponsors at the wedding, shares a light moment with Dingdong Dantes. Malacańang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III was one of the many guests of the star-studded wedding of Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes on Tuesday.


Marian Rivera is a stunning bride as she walks down the aisle for her wedding with Dingdong Dantes today. Marian Rivera is wearing a white Michael Cinco gown and the Dubai-based Cinco is in Manila for the wedding.

The couple, who exchanged I do’s at the Immaculate Concepcion Church in Cubao, Quezon City, had Aquino as one of the wedding’s principal sponsors.

Dingdong was among the celebrities who campaigned for Aquino during the 2010 elections.

"PNoy w/ the newlyweds. Our family will forever be grateful for the support Dingdong and Marian gave us (during the) 2009-2010 Presidential Campaign. #friendsforlife

Among the several guests of the wedding include Kris Aquino, KC Concepcion, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, and Vilma Santos.

Here are photos of the celebrity guests of Marian and Dingdong’s wedding:


The father and the Lola of the bride @therealmarian @philippinestar


Thank you @avelbacudio for my gown and @marusotto for Vic's tie. Lol


Super wonderful friends


NINONG & NINANG: Photo by GMA-7/Lendl Fabella


BEST MAN, NAID OF HONOR --Photo by GMA-7/Lendl Fabella


KRIS AQINO --Photo by GMA-7/Lendl Fabella


AI-AI DE LAS ALAS ---Photo by GMA-7/Lendl Fabella


FROM PHILSTAR

Kris and Ai-Ai are friends again! FUNFARE By Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 3, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Kris Aquino (rightmost) and Ai-Ai delas Alas (second from right) with co-sponsors Helen Gamboa (leftmost) and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos at the DongYan wedding.

A necklace with three Mama Mary pendants bridged the year-long gap between Kris Aquino and Ai-Ai delas Alas.

End of December in 2013, Ai-Ai’s adoptive mother died and she was hurt when Kris, who was abroad at that time, failed to sympathize with her.

Between BFF’s, little things could mean a lot, couldn’t they?

Ai-Ai let loose quite a mouthful against Kris who, since she turned positive, kept mum.

Kris has made peace with ex-husband James Yap and befriended James’ girlfriend Michela Cazzola. Peace becomes Kris, bless her!

The two ladies inevitably met at the wedding of Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes last Tuesday, Dec. 30, where Ai-Ai stood as secondary sponsor and Kris as principal sponsor.

It was Kris who initiated the reconciliation with a hug and a necklace as peace offering. With that, they buried the hatchet not, luckily, on each other’s back.

Ai-Ai is a Marian devotee and the three Mama Mary pendants could be read as “I love you!” It melted the heart of Ai-Ai who is actually pusong mamon.

Good thing Ai-Ai ended 2014 on a happy note. She also realized her dream of spending Christmas with all her children after four years.

Her US-based children Sophia and Nicholo (who are staying with their father Miguel Vera) came home to join brother Sancho (the new Kapuso) and their mom’s boyfriend Gerald Sibayan in an outing in Boracay.

Nicholo flew back to resume work in L.A. on Dec. 26 but only after he did a family pictorial for a perfume which is Ai-Ai’s new business venture to be launched anytime soon, called Fruits & Blooms with four different scents — Fruits & Blooms by Martina (Ai-Ai’s real name), Fruits & Blooms by Sancho, Fruits & Blooms by Nicholo, and Fruits & Blooms by Sophia.

Incidentally, Ai-Ai has deleted her social-media accounts (Instagram and Facebook) after she and Gerald (who is half her age) were subjected to bashing. Good move.

Now, the lovers can enjoy their togetherness without the public eavesdropping or monitoring them.

Krista and Nińo’s New Year’s Eve nightmare

Got a text message from Krista Ranillo and husband Nińo Lim yesterday greeting me a Happy New Year and at the same time directing me to Krista’s Instagram for what was the family’s nightmarish experience.

Here it is, direct from Krista:

The day before New Year’s Eve while we were driving from L.A. to Las Vegas, our son Nate woke up from his nap staring blankly into space. I tried shaking him and calling his name but he was unresponsive. Even when I poured water over his head, nothing. He was turning blue and was ice cold.

We got off the freeway in the middle of nowhere and I called 911. Good thing Yaya Remie knew CPR and performed CPR on Nate. He was still turning bluer and his breathing was shallow. I was starting to lose hope and was begging God to please save my son.

Five minutes later (but it felt like forever), the paramedics, firemen, police and ambulance came. They were all over Nate, giving him oxygen and checking him. I couldn’t bear to look and just kept on praying and was crying uncontrollably. He was rushed to the hospital and we spent a few hours there.

This 2015, I pray for good health and the safety of everyone reading this. It was the scariest, most heart-breaking thing I had to go through and I am thankful to the men and women who responded so quickly and the grace of God and Mama Mary who, I believe, saved my son. To my family who never left my side (all 20 of you that night), thank you. My husband Nińo, I couldn’t have survived that night without you. My BFFs in Manila Lala, Diane, Nikki and Ginny who were my prayer warriors and kept me sane, thank you.

Nate, Nolan and Natalie mean the world to me and I love them with all of my mommy heart. Blessed 2015 to all.


FROM THE INQUIRER

FPJ docu vividly captures screen icon’s well-rounded persona Nestor U. Torre @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:04 AM | Saturday, January 3rd, 2015


POE. The soul of self-effacement, despite his superstar status

After A pre-Christmas dinner last Dec. 21 for relatives and “mga kapatid sa labas,” we were so full that we just wanted to sleep the sleep of the just.

—But, not so fast, we forced ourselves to stay awake to catch ABS-CBN’s docu on FPJ, on the 10th anniversary of his death. We’re glad we did, because the full-length docu and tribute to “Da King” was full of movie clips, interviews and reminiscences from his friends, colleagues and loved ones that gave viewers a well-rounded estimation of the iconic personage and star, as the people who really knew and experienced him.

His wife, Susan Roces, set the frank and uninhibited tone when she forthrightly declared, “People believe that Ronnie’s best friend was Erap—but, correction please, I was my husband’s best friend!”

Chiming in, daughter Grace also candidly shared anecdotes about Ronnie as a father.

The docu recalled that he ran for, and some people believe, won as president but was prevented from assuming office by “tactical” cheating at the polls—“Hello, Garci,” and all that.

That controversial recollection has been made all the more ironic of late by daughter Grace’s own spurt in the VP and presidential “straw vote” count. —Which in turn could end up in her becoming president, and thus vindicating his foiled attempt, more than a decade later!

Less portentous but with similar emotive impact were the anecdotes and vignettes contributed by FPJ’s coworkers and employees, who vouched for his scrupulously “hidden” generosity, his insistence that crew and extras be treated as well as everybody else on shoots, and his being the soul of self-effacement, despite his superstar status.

We paid particular attention to the reminiscences of Susan Tagle, FPJ’s right hand at his film studio, because he trusted her implicitly and she knew most everything about him from first-hand experience and intimate sharing.

It was Susan who was charged with the tragic task of reporting her personal hero’s death to the world, and she broke viewers’ hearts when she shared that the burden was made all the more onerous for her by the fact that she didn’t even have the time to weep and grieve, because “there were so many details related to his wake and burial to immediately attend to!”

Breadwinner

The documentary was a most helpful viewing experience for younger film buffs, who know very little about FPJ’s early days—the fact that his father had died from rabies after being bitten by a puppy in the 1950s, which forced FPJ to become the family’s breadwinner by assuming his dad’s thespic mantle when he was only 16 years old (in the introductory film starrer, “Anak ni Palaris”).

Also helpfully recalled was how FPJ and Joseph Estrada waged “war” against the Big Four syndicate that harassed movie stars in the ’60s, and how Erap and FPJ were among the first stars to turn producers, thus helping to pave the way for the local movie industry’s first “indie” revolution.

Due to these and other important recollections and reminders, the FPJ docu should be telecast again, perhaps at an earlier hour, so more people can benefit from it. Even better, ABS-CBN should put it on DVD, so FPJ buffs can add it to their video libraries.


FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Our prayers for 2015 by Shirley Pizarro January 2, 2015 Share this:

The old has gone, the new has come – so they say. For 2015, it is my personal prayer that we will all be better at what we do.

Here’s a random list of prayers:

*For Sarah Geronimo’s image to remain untainted. May her romantic relationship with Matteo Guidicelli be an avenue for her to glorify the Lord’s name. We pray that she remains a strong Christian no matter what.

*For unmarried showbiz couples to refrain from posting on social media their unchaperoned vacations and holidays. It shouldn’t be a norm. To flaunt it on social media is highly undesirable.

*More movies for Sarah and John Lloyd Cruz.


(From left) SARAH GERONIMO, PIOLO PASCUAL, LOVI POE, JENNYLYN MERCADO, and KIM CHIU (From left) SARAH GERONIMO, PIOLO PASCUAL, LOVI POE, JENNYLYN MERCADO, and KIM CHIU

*For warring married couples to smoke the peace pipe for the sake of their children. May they forget about their hurts and respective agendas and project real selflessness by focusing on their children.

*For Dr. Hayden Kho to continue growing in the service of the Lord. May his love life be one that pleases the Lord always.

*For Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera’s marriage to remain centered on God.

*For Mother Lily Monteverde to be more healthy and cheerful in 2015.


(From left) JOHN LLOYD CRUZ, MARIAN RIVERA, DINGDONG DANTES, ANGEL LOCSIN, and KRIS AQUINO (From left) JOHN LLOYD CRUZ, MARIAN RIVERA, DINGDONG DANTES, ANGEL LOCSIN, and KRIS AQUINO

*More movies and shows for Ryzza Mae Dizon, whom we believe has improved a lot as an actress as best exemplified in “My Big Bossing.”

*For GMA-7 to bounce back and give ABS-CBN a healthy dose of competition once more.

*For stars to learn the value of accepting the wisdom behind the saying, “There is a time and season for everything.” They should know how fickle show business is and that popularity is fleeting.

*For Ai Ai Delas Alas and Kris Aquino to be friends again.

*For Jessica Soho to be one of GMA’s main anchors on its nightly primetime news program. She remains to be the best and the most credible broadcast journalist around.

*For Piolo Pascual to get married. We want to see this beautiful person end up with an equally beautiful woman and show God’s glory in his marriage. This will be his ultimate vindication.

*More challenging projects for Jennylyn Mercado, Bea Alonzo, Angel Aquino, Alex Gonzaga, Lovi Poe, and Kim Chiu.

*For Julia Barretto to realize this early that disrespecting a parent will lead her nowhere.

*For Sen. Bong Revilla to be able to turn the “tragedy” of his political career into a great victory for his soul. Sometimes, God allows bad things to happen for a purpose. May his reinvigorated faith show him God’s purpose for his life.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Eddie Garcia’s starrer could be a tough act to follow Nestor U. Torre @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:10 AM | Saturday, January 3rd, 2015


GARCIA. Topbilled moving tale about the importance of family above all else

ABS-CBN’S first “Christmaserye,” “The Gift Giver,” with Eddie Garcia, started off slowly, but effectively picked up pace and ended up as a moving tale about the importance of family above all else in our lives, both in and after the Yuletide season.

We hope that the same happy outcome will happen to the studio’s second “seasonal” series, “The Gift of Life,” topbilling Gerald Anderson and Maja Salvador.

In the new show, Gerald portrays a young man who has to undergo dialysis thrice a week due to injured kidneys. For her part, Maja plays a cash-strapped, street-smart girl who is forced by financial problems to sell one of her kidneys to Gerald—and then changes her mind before the organ transplant can be effected! —Not the best way to start and develop a loving relationship, right?

Still, since this is apparently a medical and romantic drama series, a happy ending must be in its telecasting stars—so, hope springs!

After several weeks of late-morning telecasting, the show’s plus points have emerged: They include its two stars’ obvious “chemistry” and its relatively realistic depiction of Gerald’s grave illness and Maja’s dire financial straits.

Other considerations

But, it soon becomes apparent that stellar “chemistry” isn’t enough to keep a series vital and involving. For that to happen, more attention should be paid to these other considerations:

After an edgy start, the series has become much too passive and talky, with one dialogue-oriented scene following another—until we wish that everyone would hush up for a spell and becomes more dynamic and active!

It would also be great if the stars’ away-bati relationship arc would take a less predictable turn. Yes, fans love the traditional alternation between squabbling and then kiss-and-make-up scenes— but, a less predictable approach would be more than welcome, for a change!

To balance the picture, we should express our appreciation for the series’ occasional use of realistic details, like Maja’s having to repair her only pair of shoes for an important meeting with Gerald’s parents.

These may be seemingly inconsequential details, but they’re significant to us, because they reveal that the people behind the camera are trying to keep things believable and real—unlike many other TV storytellers who keep playing the light fantastic and escapist, over and over again!

Unusual gambits

Most show biz denizens are all too easy to categorize, but a few unexpected and thus exciting or controversial exceptions to the rule have surfaced this season, thus inviting our special attention and scrutiny.

First off, viewers of the Italian edition of “The Voice” were thrown for a loop last year, when a young “singing nun” named Sr. Cristina Scuccia performed Alicia Keys’ “No One” during the tilt’s “blind” auditions.

Millions viewed the video of her stop-the-band performance—and Sr. Cristina went on to romp off with the competition’s top plum. She’s now a recording artist, and her debut album has been uploaded gazillion of times!

The formerly recondite nun now threatens to surpass the amazing success story of “Britain’s Got Talent” discovery, Susan Boyle. What about her religious vocation? —No contradiction there—music sings to and enhances the spirit, not just the hit parade.

Next on our list of unusual acts is the “color-blind” casting of the lead players in the new “Annie” film musical. The first movie was as W.A.S.P.-ish as you can get, with the lead roles of Annie and her super-wealthy adoptive dad essayed by European-American stars.

This time around, however, Annie is portrayed by black child (now adolescent) sensation, Quvenzhané Wallis, one of the youngest Oscar nominees ever. For good measure, her wealthy surrogate pater is another African-American star and Oscar awardee, Jamie Foxx!

The production isn’t making that big a deal about its “color-blind” casting ploy, because it really doesn’t have to—it’s sure to be talked about for weeks on end after the new film starts its theater run.

Orientation

Fact is, “Annie’s” now black orientation is only the latest salvo in terms of “freer” casting that has been “exploded” in the entertainment world for some years now.

If memory serves, one of the earliest innovations was a black “Hamlet”—followed by a “Hamlet” staging in which the title character was portrayed— by a woman!

In addition, there are any number of “straight” plays in which the gender attribution has been reversed, like all-male versions of famous romances.

—No surprises there, actually, since even lolo William Shakespeare himself puckishly went in for role reversal in some of his plays!


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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