Why JC Santos is returning to theater roots

Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 14 2019 09:40 PM

JC Santos participates in a Q&A session after the world premiere of his latest film, “Motel Acacia,” at the recent Tokyo International Film Festival. Alfredo Ruzol, ABS-CBN News

TOKYO — In-demand actor JC Santos is looking forward to reuniting with his “first love,” theater, after a three-year hiatus from performing in full-length plays.

Santos will portray the titular role in Tanghalang Pilipino’s production of the Ilocano epic “Lam-Ang,” which will run from December 6 to 15 at the Little Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Since his television breakthrough via ABS-CBN’s “Till I Met You” in 2016, Santos has had limited involvement in theater. His last stage portrayal was in 2017, in the one-act play “Buwan at Baril sa Eb Major.”

Santos has instead been juggling TV and film projects, including the new horror film “Motel Acacia,” which recently competed in the Asian Future section of the Tokyo International Film Festival.

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The actor spoke with ABS-CBN News about the Black Sheep co-production, as well as his return to theater, on the sidelines of the annual event in the Japanese capital.

Referring to his stage comeback, Santos said: “First love ko naman talaga ’yun. For me, kailangan ko mag-reinvent. Gusto ko ulit matuto ng bago. Gusto ko i-update ’yung sarili ko. Gusto ko bumalik doon sa traditional idea ng acting, kung paano mag-analyze ulit, kung paano magkuwento.”

“Theater ’yung pinaka magandang way para makapagkuwento ako lalo. Para sa future gumaling pa ako. Kumbaga, mag-re-recharge lang ako,” said Santos, who auditioned for the lead role.

That “Lam-Ang” is a musical makes the project admittedly challenging for Santos, who has only had support or ensemble roles in the genre.

JC Santos leads the cast of Tanghalang Pilipino’s ‘Lam-Ang’

His last musical was in 2015; he was part of the ensemble in Dalanghita Productions’ “Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady.”

“Never pa ako naging lead sa isang musical. First time ko. Pinagkatiwalaan ako ng CCP, ng Tanghalang Pilipino, para . . . Diyos ko, kinakabahan ako pero bahala na,” he said.

Santos will be joined in “Lam-Ang” by Anna Luna, similarly a stage actress who transitioned to television. Other cast members have yet to be announced.

Billed as an “ethno-epic” musical, “Lam-Ang” is written by Jen de Torres and Eljay Deldoc, and directed by Fitz Bitana and Marco Viaña.