This one is particularly poignant.
I used to sing Christmas carols with childhood friends around the neighbourhood, so this video made my heart ache a little. If you can’t see it, you can view it on YouTube. (For those who don’t understand Tagalog, the English part of the medley starts at 1:38.)
The editor of the Australian Filipina magazine asked if I would write an obituary for RJ Rosales. I only had his CV up to 2007, so you may notice that it’s light on the details after that. I hope I did him justice. You can find the original article here.
RJ Rosales, who has died aged 37, was one of the Australian Filipino communitys favourite sons. Best known for his stint as co-host of ABS-CBN Philippines variety show ASAP, he was a critically acclaimed actor and musical theatre performer, receiving a Helpmann Award nomination for his role in the 2007-08 Australian season of Miss Saigon. His smooth but strong balladeers voice, equally suited to popular music as show tunes, found fans across generations from all over the world. Continue reading
If you would like to add a tribute to RJ or send words of comfort to his family, you may do so here:
24 March 1974 — 5 December 2011
The funeral service starts at 10.30am on Saturday, December 10 at Blessed John XXIII Catholic Church, Stanhope Gardens. Interment will follow at Pinegrove Cemetery, Michinbury. Click on the link above for more details.
This filler was included in the Miss Saigon issue of the Australian Filipina, which coincided with the Sydney production of the musical. At the time, the magazine only profiled Filipinas, so I couldn’t do a feature on RJ.
RJ Rosales broke into the gruelling profession of musical theatre when he was cast in the 1996 Sydney production of Miss Saigon. Since then, this former bank employee from St Clair, NSW has carved a name for himself, performing the title role in Chang and Eng – The Musical to critical acclaim in Singapore, and appearing on ASAP as part of a two-year contract with ABS-CBN Philippines. RJ’s performance in the MMFF Best Movie for 2005, Blue Moon, earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination. The physical demands of his profession and jet setting lifestyle haven’t held RJ back. No longer just a local heartthrob, RJ was one of Cleo’s 50 Most Eligible Bachelors and Female’s 50 Most Gorgeous People in Singapore — and its not difficult to see why! RJ comes full circle when he returns home to perform the role of ‘Thuy’ in the 2007 Australian production of Miss Saigon.
This piece was first published in the February/March 2007 issue of the Australian Filipina. The photo was provided by RJ Rosales.
This was my first interview, and I hope I did justice to RJ, who also happens to be a childhood friend. It’s one of my favourites.
Filipino-Australian entertainer RJ Rosales took the bold step of moving back to Manila to live his dream. He talks to PINOYexpats about what it’s like to be an expat then a balikbayan, and how he copes with living out of a suitcase.
There’s something lightly surreal about talking to a childhood friend whose face regularly appears on television and whose voice draws audiences from around the world. So it’s a relief to discover that chatting over the phone with RJ Rosales is just like, well, talking to an old friend. Which is just as well, because it seems he’d just gotten out of bed when I rang, though I wouldn’t have guessed from his cheerful tone. He eats his breakfast as we talk, and the conversation is laced with humour and just a touch of homesickness. Continue reading
This was a review of Her Son, Jose Rizal performed by a local Filipino community theatre group. This piece went through a lot of revision, but it didn’t quite suit the publication I was aiming for.
The sold-out gala performance of Her Son, Jose Rizal, written by renowned Filipino artist Leonor Orosa-Goquingco, was an extravaganza of music, colour and emotion. Goquingcos one-act play is a brief but powerful look at key moments in the life of Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ most celebrated patriot. Four scenes are linked by soliloquies of an older Rizal (Manny Diel) in prison and show various stages of Rizal’s life as a boy (Elijah Merjudio) and a young man (RJ Rosales).
A sense of expectation hung in the air as the lights dimmed at the Tom Mann Theatre in Surry Hills. Diel opened the play from one corner of the stage, an anguished Rizal on the brink of martyrdom. Although director Armando Reyes seemed heavy-handed with these speeches, the spectre of Rizal’s prison cell, ever present downstage, remained a deliciously foreboding presence. Continue reading