Tex Ordonez-De Leon shines in mesmerizing ‘Lam-Ang’ musical

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Dec 14 2019 07:08 PM

The character of Baglan, the revered community healer of pre-colonial Ilocos, is undoubtedly hard to miss in Tanghalang Pilipino’s modern staging of the ethno-epic tale, “Lam-Ang.”

Stage actress Tex Ordonez-De Leon lent her powerful voice to Baglan, who opened the musical. She was believed to commune with the forces of nature and elements of the universe, from the mountains to the seas, the plants and animals.

A look at stage actress Tex Ordonez-De Leon as Baglan in the musical, "Lam-Ang." Tanghalang Pilipino

“Baglan is a difficult role, both vocally and emotionally,” attests Ordonez, who gained critical acclaim in a number of theater productions in the past, starting from her debut in “Dreamgirls.”

One of the directors of “Lam-Ang,” Marco Viana, initially got in touch with Ordonez to ask if she was interested and available to join the cast. Since her calendar was not booked and she was free, Ordonez readily gave her nod.

“Besides, the venue, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), is like my second home,” she says. “Being a resident actor of TP for two years, I said yes right away. No questions asked. It’s like coming home after a very long vacation.” 

Ordonez is pleased to work for the first time with “Lam-Ang” lead actor JC Santos and leading lady Anna Luna, who plays the beautiful maiden Kannoyan.

“JC is very easy to work with, walang ere, very professional,” Ordonez says. “He was never late nor absent in rehearsals. He is a very generous actor.

“Anna Luna is a very beautiful and talented young girl, who I discovered recently, because we share the same dressing room, is as crazy as me.”

Her directors, Viana and Fitz Bitana are “very positive, that they don’t make us feel we are incompetent,” Ordonez remarks. “Magaan sila katrabaho.”

Ever since she debuted onstage as Lorell Robinson in that memorable musical production of “Dreamgirls” by Atlantis back in 2003, Ordonez’s theater projects have been few and far between. Being a musical theater actress, she does not deny the fact that she misses acting onstage.

“I’ve stopped performing to take care of my daughter, Lian, who’s now 15,” says Ordonez. “It was my choice to be a hands-on mother. Family will always be top priority [to me]. Theater will always be there, as long as the passion is there. With the support of your theater friends who know what you are capable of, you can always go back.”

She thanks her “very supportive husband and understanding daughter,” she can now return onstage and do theater again. “Time management, I guess,” Ordonez maintains. “But most of the time, my husband and daughter end up ordering delivered meals when rehearsals are long.”

Ordonez is married to Dr. Eric De Leon and they are blessed with a daughter. “I am also a fur parent to Hero, the dog and my cats, Demi, Morti, Kassi and Onyok,” she happily brags.

Her real name is Rosanna, a very feminine, albeit sexy, name. “Ang layo, di ba?,” Ordonez asked. One would really wonder and ask why she was fondly called “Tex.”

She used to imitate the late comedienne Chichay in Olive La Torre’s popular comedy flick in 1953, “Gorio at Tekla,” with comedian Tolindoy. “Since then, my friends started calling me Tecla,” Ordonez says. “Eventually, the nickname became Tex to have character, but I will always be Tecla to my old friends.”

She had the chance to act in a teleserye when she joined the cast of the ABS-CBN series, “Bituin,” back in 2002. Yet, Ordonez didn’t pursue TV acting and insisted she is more comfortable acting onstage.

She ventured into recording, when she did a duet with Gary Valenciano. The song, “Ako’t Ikaw,” was penned by Von de Guzman and was used as the theme of the first “Mano Po” (2003), directed by Joel Lamangan.

At this point in her career, Ordonez does not pine for any dream role. “Any role is a challenge,” she said. “But I'm really attracted to kontrabida roles, tapos may bonggang song. It makes me reminisce my role as Valentina in Ballet Philippines' production of ‘Darna’ in 2003. I really enjoyed the role.”