Article from Philippine Daily Inquirer
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Pinoy actor in ĎCinderellaí
charms Canadian critics 
By Janet C. Garcia
Inquirer News Service 

Paolo Montalban says
Filipinos should be
proud of who they are. 
TORONTO -- Paolo Montalbanís charisma and talent charmed the 
audience here as he portrayed the role of The Prince in the 
musical play "Cinderella," which ran from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4 at 
the historic Pantages Theater. 

The play, created almost half a century ago originally for 
television by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, was not a 
hit among Canadian theater critics.

But the Manila-born Montalban, who performed with Grammy awardee 
and seasoned actress Eartha Kitt (as the fairy godmother) and 
pop singer Deborah Gibson (as Cinderella), saved the day.

A critic from the Globe and Mail, Canadaís national newspaper, 
said all performers failed but Montalban, who debuted as The 
Prince in the ABC/Disney-produced TV special Cinderella four 
years ago.

"The most successful is Paolo Montalban as the prince," said 
Globe and Mailís Ray Conlogue. "His strategy is to act like a 
well-mannered Yale undergrad who has wandered by accident into 
the chronic ward of a mental hospital. He sings with a pellucid 
sincerity that Rodgers and Hammerstein would have admired."

Toronto Starís Richard Ouzounian believed that the play almost 
lost its fairy tale charm and timeless beauty because of its 
ultramodern components, from the neon-colored costumes of the 
villains (the stepmother and stepsisters) to Gibsonís style of 
singing, which still clings to pop.

But Ouzounian was impressed by Montalban. "On the positive side, 
I enjoyed the performance of Paolo Montalban as the Prince, 
although his sincerity seemed to have wandered in from another 
far more appropriate production," he wrote.

The National Postís Robert Cushman simply thought that 
Montalban, 27, "was pleasant enough" to be The Prince.

Role of a lifetime

Tall, dark and handsome Montalban debunked the notion that The 
Prince was Caucasian when he appeared with Brandy (as 
Cinderella), Whitney Houston (as fairy godmother) and Whoopi 
Goldberg (as the Queen) in the TV version of "Cinderella" in 

The psychology graduate, who has been on stage for almost 10 
years now, said he feels more comfortable acting as The Prince.

"I love it," Montalban said. "Itís the role of the lifetime."

On stage, he had been part of productions such as "King and I" 
(on Broadway), "Man of La Mancha," "Ballad of Little Jo," "Nine" 
and the "Flower Drum Song."

After "Cinderella," which will be presented in 20 more North 
American cities, Montalban said he would try out again for the 
role of an American-born Chinese circa 1959 in "Flower Drum 
Song" for its Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City 

Beautiful people

He also finished a Laurice Guillen film called "Magic Adobo," 
which tackles the lives of four Pinoys in New York. "Itís an 
ensemble kind of movie, a comic relief just like ĎSoul Foodí 
and ĎThe Big Chill,í" he said.

On TV, Montalban was also seen as Kung Lao in the WB 
series "Mortal Conquest," where he showed his martial arts 

Although he has been fortunate to depict different characters, 
the 6í1" actor craves to play Dr. Jose Rizal on stage.

Montalban was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in 1998 
but he said heís got flaws too.

"One of my eyes is lower than the other. I also have a really 
big head. Itís huge. And I have broad shoulders. But I disappear 
when I turn sideways." Montalban, who plays six musical 
instruments and whose parents Paul and Vivian are chemists, grew 
up in New Jersey.

Being proud

He said being a Filipino is an asset in his acting career.

"Filipinos should not think that they would not be hired because 
of race," he said. "Thatís a wrong attitude. We should be proud 
of who we are."

In 1999, he went to Manila and was amazed by Filipino 
talents. "They sing and dance well."

To be in his place, he said, they should remember two 
things: "Patience and hard work."

"This whole business is about luck so itís better to be prepared 
when opportunities come by," he said.

He said he would be willing to help Filipinos make it big in the 
field of acting. And, like the good characters in "Cinderella," 
he would like to see them live happily ever after.