Julia Abueva in a scene from the musical "Cinderella." From the Facebook page of Resorts World Manila
MANILA -- Julia Abueva and Fred Lo, who alternate as Cinderella and Prince Christopher, respectively, in Resorts World Manila’s "Cinderella," bade farewell to the hit musical on Saturday at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre.
Abueva and Lo have been sharing the lead roles with pop stars Karylle and Christian Bautista in the musical for nearly three months.
Prior to joining the show in October, the 17-year-old Abueva starred in the musical "Spring Awakening" in Singapore, where she is based.
“Doing ‘Spring Awakening’ was one of the toughest roles I did. When I was doing it—it’s concomitant with my kind of age turning into a young woman. You know very well that the show was banned in Germany for some time due to its frank portrayal of abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse, and suicide,” Abueva shared.
However, playing the role of Cinderella was a dream-come-true for the young actress. “I’ve always wanted to be Cinderella,” she said.
Like her leading lady, Lo also took on a challenging stage project before "Cinderella," when he was cast in the original Filipino musical "Sa Wakas."
“Portraying my role in that show was kind of difficult. First, it was based on a real person with deep characterization, and deep emotional journey altogether,” Lo said.
As the fairy-tale couple, both claimed that they instantly built the necessary rapport as co-performers in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
Abueva was quick to describe Lo as someone she has come to like working with onstage.
“I am very comfortable working with Fred,” she said. “I can just look into his eyes without any inhibitions and we bonded well as co-actors. He doesn’t have any drama.”
Although it’s his first time working with Abueva, Lo, for his part, finds his leading lady easy to work with.
“She is so professional. It made a lot easier for me to have worked with an artist like her. Julia is so giving and that made our working relationship onstage went too smooth," he said. “At first I was just too curious about who Julia is as a person. She’s so down to earth and working with her made me feel like wanting to be 17 again.”
Although he has a Chinese family name, Lo described his family as not ultra-traditional.
“Maybe my grandparents were... but my parents were my biggest supporters in making me go after my dreams. They’ve been behind me since they learned that I can sing," he said.
Abueva, meanwhile, shared that unlike the character of Cinderella, she has no curfews back in Singapore.
“It’s difficult to have one especially when one is doing theater. The latest she can go home at 4 a.m. If I am to be late, at least I have to call and inform an hour prior to doing anything,” she explained.
After her stint in Manila, Abueva is set to fly to London to join the rest of the cast in the revival of the musical "Miss Saigon."
Abueva will cover the role of Kim along with another Filipina, Tanya Manalang, who also starred in two Resorts World Manila productions -- "The Sound of Music" and "The King and I."
Lo, for his part, said he will continue doing cosplay, which he considers a "performance art," as participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a particular character.
"Cinderella" will have its final shows at Resorts World Manila next weekend.