There are actors whose stars are on the rise, and then there are firecracker comets shooting across the galaxy with so much brilliance all you can do is gape at the light they left behind. You count the days until their next appearance. Part of you wonders if you’ll ever see them again. But with breakout theater actress Gabriela Pangilinan, you never have to wait too long before she’s back on stage again and knocking the house down with each performance.
When we caught up with Gab at last week’s Keds Ladies Unite launch for Women’s Equality Day, she had just finished rehearsals for an event in Okada, closed a successful run of jukebox musical Ang Huling El Bimbo, and was getting ready to open Rak of Aegis this week. Recently, she’s earned plenty of raves and glowing reviews for her moving, show-stopping portrayal of Joy in El Bimbo.
We sat down recently with the sunny and charming Gab, who shared with us her journey into musical theater, the moment she knew she was in it for good, and how each role has prepared her for the next.
Young STAR: Did you always know you wanted to be involved in theater?
Gab Pangilinan: Yes, but I didn’t do it right away. When I graduated from Ateneo, nag-finance ako for a year. I was a broker. In the end, gusto ko talagang mag-teatro. I remember I was working at the office and somebody asked me if I was performing at that time, which I wasn’t. Sabi niya, Rak of Aegis is looking for an alternate, can you come audition? Kasi yung bahay ko at that time malapit sa PETA. So parang ako, okay, sige, why not? I was thinking it could be a side thing. When I got there, I auditioned. As in, naka-corporate pa ako. Tapos sumayaw ako, kumanta. Then they were like, the photoshoot’s ongoing right now, can you go home, get dressed, and come back here? So I would go to work from nine to five, then I’d rehearse from six to 10, and then wala na, I was completely in love with it. After that, I went straight into it and quit my job two months into doing theater, tapos tuloy-tuloy na.