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This June Maricel Soriano’s Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal turns 25. Aside from her breakthrough performance in Saan Darating ang Umaga?, this Carlitos Siguion-Reyna film is the most beloved of Soriano’s many big-screen triumphs.

In 1993 the then-new Young Critics Circle  (YCC) handed out its awards for films shown the previous year. Soriano won the YCC’s Best Performance Award, which covered all the other acting categories, be it lead, supporting or ensemble. Everyone was generally predicting that it was the start of  Soriano’s winning streak, but no such luck happened since in all the other award-giving ceremonies that followed that Soriano attended, she came away empty-handed.

That scene in the rain where Soriano delivered the unforgettable line “Mamahalin n’ya ako para sa inyong lahat na hindi nagmahal sa akin” remains fresh in the memory of both film buffs and movie fans up to this day, and we reckon her performance in the film gave A-listers at that time the big threat they weren’t expecting.

Maricel Soriano

In the years between Saan Darating ang Umaga? and Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal, Soriano also made her luminous screen presence felt in gems like Hinugot Sa Langit and The Graduates, both directed by the late great filmmaker Ishmael Bernal. Some rabid admirers of the actress at the time even felt Soriano could have decided to retire early and she’d be alright: she already had a solid body of work that would assure her of showbiz immortality and an exalted reputation.

But for someone who embraced her profession at a very young age, Soriano knew that acting is her heart. She carefully chose her project and scored more hits than misses with films like Inagaw Mo ang Lahat sa Akin and Inang Yaya, enjoying a merry mix of artistic ventures and commercial hits.

As younger actresses started to grab the limelight, not surprisingly, Soriano’s luster diminished. She quietly retreated from public view, returning to acting only when all the conditions seemed right.

Following her now-prolonged hiatus, there are unconfirmed reports that Soriano would soon stage a comeback. Her supporters fear she might be relegated to minor, decorative roles, which we feel she shouldn’t accept, since she’s one of the only four remaining movie queens we have. The meaner ones among us doubt she’s ready, physically and emotionally, to make a grand return.

While we wait for Soriano to emerge from her cocoon, we can only wish that the elements of the universe conspire to give her what she most deserves: that one role that will remind us of that young lady in the rainy scene of Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal, whose brilliance glittered like one precious diamond.

Happy 50, Repertory

More than a hundred artists gathered at The Theatre at Solaire in Solaire Resort and Casino to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Repertory Philippines, or simply Rep, still one of the most formidable theater companies this side of Asia.

It is the company’s 80th season, and Rep’s President and CEO Mindy Perez-Rubio shared that for the special night, eight directors, five stage managers, six choreographers and a cast of 135 backed up by a fabulous orchestra, collaborated for the company’s 444th production.

Billed as “Rep: 50 Years of Telling Stories”, the show will go down in local live-performance history as one that brought every member of the audience back in time to recall beautiful memories in theater. Excerpts from unforgettable shows like Pippin, West Side Story, Carousel, Jekyll and Hyde, Annie, A Chorus Line, The Sound of Music, Seussical and Les Miserables drew sustained ovations and shouts of “Bravo!” from the very elated audience.

There was this touching  tribute to Zeneida “Bibot” Amador and her cofounders Tony and Monina Mercado, the illustrious Baby Barredo and Leo Martinez. Amongs those who added glitter were Joy Virata, Audie Gemora, Menchu and Raymond Lauchengco, Monique Wilson, Mitch Valdes, Franco Laurel, Michael Williams, Sheila Francisco, Raul Montessa, Mio Infante, Carla Guevarra, Joaqui Valdes, JM Rodriguez, Bart Guingona, Cara Barredo and Cocoy Laurel.

Felicidades, Repertory Philippines!



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