Thanks to Kerry for the information!

Pinoy actor in ‘Cinderella’
charms Canadian critics
By Janet C. Garcia
Inquirer News Service

TORONTO -- Paolo Montalban’s 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

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, Canada’s 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 Mail’s 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 Star’s 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 Gibson’s 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 Post’s 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 1997.

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. "It’s 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 productions.

Beautiful people

He also finished a Laurice Guillen film called "Magic Adobo," which tackles the lives of four
Pinoys in New York. "It’s an ensemble kind of movie, a comic relief just like ‘Soul Food’ and
‘The Big Chill,’" he said.

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

Although he has been fortunate to depict different characters, the 6’1" actor craves to play Dr.
Jose Rizal on stage.

Montalban was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in 1998 but he said he’s got flaws

"One of my eyes is lower than the other. I also have a really big head. It’s 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. "That’s 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 it’s better to be prepared when opportunities come by," he

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.