x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 November 2017

Focus on the Philippines: Nine-year-old Angelica Hale stuns on America’s Got Talent

Plus: Lea Salonga to present at 2017 Tony Awards; Sarah Geronimo headlines remake of South Korean film; Filipino films selected for international festivals in New York and Taipei. 

Angelica Hale on America's Got Talent. Courtesy NBC
Angelica Hale on America's Got Talent. Courtesy NBC

Angelica Hale, a nine-year-old Filipino-American, impressed the judges and audience of the reality talent show America’s Got Talent during her audition that aired on American television on Tuesday.

Hale covered Andra Day’s hit song Rise Up and earned a standing ovation from the judging panel comprised of Mel B, Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel.

“This shouldn’t happen — you’re tiny,” quipped Cowell. “You’re voice is huge. You are absolutely brilliant. I have a feeling we’re looking at a future star.”

Addressing the judges, Hale said, “I want to be the next Whitney Houston. I want to be a superstar.”

Mandel told her: “I predict that all of your dreams are going to come true.”

Prior to Hale’s performance, her parents told Tyra Banks, the show’s presenter, the family’s poignant backstory: the child needed a kidney transplant when she was four years old and Hale’s mother donated her kidney to save her daughter’s life.

The video of Hale’s audition has gone viral online, with over a million views garnered on YouTube less than 24 hours after the show’s broadcast. She has advanced to the next stage of America’s Got Talent, which is now on its 12th edition.

“I just can’t believe this happened,” Hale posted on social media. “Thank you for believing in me and my dreams.”

Lea Salonga to present at 2017 Tony Awards

Filipino singer and Broadway sensation Lea Salonga, who will debut at the Dubai Opera this September, will be one of the presenters at the 71st Annual Tony Awards. The Tonys, which recognises achievement in Broadway productions, will be held on Sunday at the Radio Music Hall in New York City.

Salonga revealed the news on Wednesday, posting on social media: “I’m leaving on a jet plane tonight… for this! It’s official, I’ll be presenting at the Tony Awards this Sunday, June 11! It’s theatre’s biggest night, and I am thrilled to be heading there!”

Kevin Spacey will host this year’s ceremony. Other presenters include Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey, Glenn Close, Stephen Colbert and Orlando Bloom.

Salonga’s career started in London’s West End in 1989, when the 18-year-old played the lead role in Miss Saigon. Salonga headlined the same musical when it moved to Broadway in 1991. Her performance won her the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical, becoming the first Asian woman to win the award.

She then returned to Broadway in 1993, 1996 and 2001 to reprise her role in Miss Saigon. Salonga also supplied the singing voices of two Disney princesses, Jasmine and Mulan, and starred in the Broadway productions of Les Miserables, Flower Drum Song and, most recently, Allegiance.

Salonga, 46, is currently a judge on the Philippine edition of the reality singing programme The Voice.

Her debut at the Dubai Opera is scheduled on September 22 and 23. Tickets are available at www.dubaiopera.com.

Sarah Geronimo headlines remake of South Korean film

Filipino pop sensation and film actress Sarah Geronimo has signed on to play the lead role in the forthcoming Filipino adaptation of the 2014 hit Miss Granny. A South Korean comedy feature directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, the original film starred Na Moon-hee as a 70-year-old woman who magically finds herself in the body of her 20-year-old self.

Geronimo, 28, is currently one of the biggest stars in the Philippine entertainment industry. She is the country’s best-selling artist of all time and has headlined multiple blockbuster films including 2015’s The Breakup Playlist and 2008’s A Very Special Love.

The Filipino remake of Miss Granny will be produced by local film studio Viva Films. It is planned for release in November of this year. Miss Granny has already spawned adaptations in China, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia. American actor Tyler Perry has reportedly secured the rights for the film’s Hollywood remake.

Filipino films selected for international festivals

Three Filipino films will be screened at the New York Asian Festival, to be held from June 30 to July 16. Mikhail Red’s Birdshot has been selected in the festival’s main competition. Also featured in the festival are Avid Liongoren’s Saving Sally and Jet Leyco’s Matangtubig (Town in a Lake).

Birdshot and Matangtubig will also screen at the Taipei Film Festival, held in Taiwan from June 29 to July 15.

Filipino films Apocalypse Child, directed by Mario Cornejo, and Singing in Graveyards, directed by Bradley Liew, have also been selected as part of the festival’s programme.

artslife@thenational.ae