Every artist have dreams to pursue, but it is how one conquers those dreams that make a difference. Over the last couple of months, noted award-winning actor and classical / crossover artist AL GATMAITAN was quietly working on a dream project to further hone his craft in music and theater.
To further widen his horizons, Al Gatmaitan embarked on a major decision --- a bold move that he has taken very seriously in the forthcoming production of Linda Faigao-Hall’s “THE FEMALE HEART” under the direction of Banaue Miclat-Janssen for the UP Playwrights’ Theater
Set in the late 1980's, the play follows Adelfa and her elder brother Anghel’s struggles as resident of the infamous mountain of garbage popularly known as Smokey Mountain. Confronted by extreme poverty and her brother's ailing health, Adelfa agrees to become a mail-order bride in the United States.
When queried by Al’s peers about this challenging job as Anghel, he was straightforward to share his point of view and said that "In an actor's career path, it does not happen all the time when a role that will be much more challenging is offered. From film, television and theater, roles vary from age to genre. And of late, we decided to take ten giant steps to test our mettle in this straight play and not a musical. Apart from immersing ourselves into the role, we have also been simultaneously prepared our physical well-being through a strict diet and workouts in the gym. The rigidity has been getting tougher each and every day. Of late, rehearsals are even much more intense and here’s hoping that when the play opens on July 1, the theater audiences will like and love this one role of a lifetime I have taken. It's really going to be an exciting year for me. To God be the Glory ! ”
AL GATMAITAN is a much sought-after theatre, film, and television actor, as well as, a crossover artist who excels in all musical genres such as pop, musical theatre and classical. Al began his training at the UP College of Music, majoring in Voice Performance. He continued further studies in Italy for three years, joining Spazio Teatro and Teatro Calabria, working with renowned masters in theatre arts including Italian soprano Maria Francavilla from the Conservatory of Torrefranca 'Vibo Valentia.'
He won second place with distinction at the First Filipino European Pop Song Festival in Reggio Calabria, Italy.
In 2014, Al attended the Music and Performing Arts Profession Summer Program at the New York University Steinhardt School of Music, New York USA under the mentorship of tenor, Michael Ricciardone, while continuing to work with Juilliard- trained mezzo soprano Clarissa Ocampo.
In theatre productions, to name a few, Al played the Tenor for Philippine Opera Company's Master Class (under Mr. Michael Williams) and he has been part of the successful runs of Ang Bagong Harana under the direction of Mr. Floy Quintos, and the latter's Ang Huling Lagda ni Apolinario Mabini 2015 (under Mr. Dexter Santos). He covered as Roger Davis for NineWorksTheatrical Production of Rent (under Mr. Robbie Guevarra), collaborated with Tanghalang Pilipino for Banaag at Sikat (under Ms. Jose Estrella) and Noli Me Tangere 2011 (under Mr. Audie Gemora) where he was nominated as Best Male Featured in a Musicale for PhilStage's Gawad Buhay Awards. Last 2013, he played Kuya Boy for Bit by Bit's production "Maxie the Musicale," (under Mr. Dexter Santos).
He has been nominated for Aliw Awards' Best New Male Classical Performer and Best Actor in a Musical categories. In 2015, Al was blessed to win the Aliw Award for Best Classical Performer.
Later this year, Al will also present his collaborative work with noted composer Jesse Lucas.
Herewith are simple messages from Al’s co-artists for the continued success of his career for many, many more years and decades.
I would always remember Al Gatmaitan in Lumbera's Hibik at Himagsik NIna victoria Lactao for Dulaang UP. Beautiful Tenor voice and disciplined actor. Of course, i directed that one together with Arnold Reyes, as Al Gatmaitan’s alternate.
I have been working with AL since 2009. And he's been like a brother to me since. He's always been very professional, preparing for characters intensively both physically and mentally. Last year, when Jesse Lucas composed music for our project "Ginugunita Kita" and asked me to pick a partner for the song DUET of Rizal and Bracken, I immediately thought of Al. And this year, for my directorial debut with UP Playwrights' Theatre, I felt most comfortable with him, and he fixed his schedule to work around the production. Just like a brother. Yet always very professional.
DEXTER MARTINEZ SANTOS
Al is one of the hardest working actors I've worked with. He is committed and passionate that's why he is able to immerse himself in different fields of the performing arts like the opera, musical and straight plays.
DIOHANNA SWEET PLANTADO – TIONGSON
We met AL when he joined our Ensemble for the 2002 re-staging of Trumpets Original Production of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe".. We would always hang out after shows or free weekends with the other cast members. We would do Sports Tournament too..fun times ! He was a very private and quiet guy so I gave him a little title.. "SI AL NA WALANG MALAY"!!! I remember AL was into Photography that time, so I had him photograph my 30th Birthday Show ! Al is now one of my SuperFriends and he'll be Ninong of my soon-to-be-born Baby ! Congrats AL !
Right behind ya cheering!
In theatre, film, the concert stage and television, very few artists (and I use this word with utmost care and seriousness) are gifted with that roguish good looks, dangerous charm and the accompanying sharp wit, reminiscent of the bad boys next door that everyone loves but is always in trouble. That is as far as looks are concerned. And all these impressions gradually diminish as one experiences the actor, singer (again with utmost care and seriousness) and operatic talent that is Al Gatmaitan in performance. That's a 360 degree reversal in impression. Good looks, yes, roguish, no... More like gentle. Charming, yes, dangerous, definitely not... More like caring, considerate and sensitively aware. Wit, yes, sharp, well... More like intensely intelligent. A gentle giant in the Philippine Performance Arts stage… All true and from the heart.
Talent is not enough. Generosity, humor and humility are equally valued qualities of any artist. Al has all these. Here’s to the next 20 years, dear Al.
Al is an extraordinary performer whose exceptional vocal range matches his gift of vocal artistry – a rare combination these days. I am really excited to collaborate and produce his first crossover album.
Through the years of being a friend and colleague to Al...the most glaring thing that I always see is his being grounded and consistent. For sure he knows he has the talent, the looks and the charm and yet never have I heard it spoken about...I witness him work and prepare for projects whether big or small with the same gravity...he values his craft and he knows how to count his blessings by enjoying, being grateful and taking good care of them...lastly he is a loyal and true friend.
It was his closing show as Gen. Ricarte in Huling Lagda ni Apolinario Mabiniand he was so brilliant and generous that during curtain call, I gave the last bow to himwhich I felt he deserved. I’m so lucky to have him as one of my closest friend in the industry.
SHEILA P. FRANCISCO
Congratulations on 20 years in the business Al Gatmaitan!!! Though we have never shared the stage, I have seen you perform and be mesmerized by your amazingly powerful voice. Your passion and commitment to your craft is truly admirable. More than that I am simply blessed to have you as my friend. May the journey beyond 20 years be even more blessed and favor-filled! Love you!!!
Let's wish Al all the best. After all, two decades of creative energies in his body of work truly deserve a newer, fresher and a bolder act.
Go for it Al !!!!!
(THE FEMALE HEART runs from July 1 – 10, 2016 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, University of the Philippines Diliman.
For tickets, sponsorships, and show buying inquiries call Samanta Clarin (09277406124) or Camille Guevara (09178239531). You may also contact Dulaang UP Office at 926-1349, 433-7840, 981-8500 local 2449 or email dulaangupmarketing at gmail.com.)