Sparkle Singer Thea Astley Tries Acting In Theater Via “Rent: The Musical”

Thea Astley on her first time in the acting scene: “I hope this will not be the last…” 

Sparkle singer and “All-Out Sundays” mainstay Thea Astley steps into the world of theater acting for the first time.

She is part of the Philippine adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s Broadway musical “Rent.”

Thea plays the role of Mimi Marquez, the female lead of the story.

“Rent,” a musical set in the ’90s, tackles the impact of HIV/AIDS on young people—from different conflicts to conquering these battles. 

Talking to FreebieMNL at a visit to the rehearsals for “Rent,” Thea admits being nervous at her first try at acting. However, she sees this as a learning experience with the help of her co-stars.

She says, “Nakakakaba talaga. Nakakakaba kasi siyempre, disciplined din [naman] yung mga tao sa showbiz, pero dito, parang kakaiba talaga… 

“Like, grabe yung level of focus, yung talent, and yun nga, yung discipline yung pinaka nag-stick talaga sa akin. As in, kung halimbawa, yung rehearsal namin, 4 p.m., nandito na ako ng 2. 

Thea Astley
Thea Astley

At the moment, Thea is enjoying the experience as a first-time actress.

She expounds, “I wanna get myself na yung naka-mindset na ako for what I’m gonna do for the day. ‘Tapos nagtatanong na ako, nagpapaturo na ako sa mga unclear sa akin, but ultimately sobrang rewarding experience and I hope this will not be the last. I will for sure try out again after ‘Rent.'”

Thea started her career as the first runner-up of GMA-7’s “The Clash” during its second season. She is also part of “All-Out Sundays” singing group Queendom.

READ ALSO: Here’s What To Expect From Queendom Concert

How Thea made it to “Rent”

Behind Thea’s decision to audition for “Rent” were actually friends who encouraged the her to try things out. 

She shared, “Nag-post si 9 Works Theatrical ng general call for auditions ‘tapos kasi, surprisingly, I have a lot of theater friends dahil yan sa live streaming app… and then one of them, si Floyd Tena, hindi ko makakalimutan, shoutout kay kuya Floyd!

Tinag niya ako sa comment niya na ano, ‘You should audition for Mimi.’ 

“So, I was like, ‘Okay! Sige, I’ll audition.’ I signed up online, ‘tapos I went the day of auditions, ‘tapos I made it through to the callbacks and then now, I’m here!”

At the time, she did not inform yet her management, Sparkle GMA Artist Center, until she made it to the role.

Smiling, she revealed, “Sinabi ko na lang siya sa management ko actually nasa callbacks na yata ako. Ayun, and thank God naman they’re very supportive.

From then on, Thea made sure she was prepared and built for the challenge.

She continues to study her role and immerse herself in Mimi’s story, with the goal of putting justice to her character. 

Of this, Thea said, “I think ready na. Nandoon ako ngayon sa point ng alam ko na yung notes, alam ko na yung kailangan kong kantahin, medyo name-memorize ko na siya.

“So, [ngayon], nandoon na ako sa part ng kung ano ba si Mimi. Like, ano yung istorya niya kasi siyempre, the text, the script can only give you so much.

Ano ba yung mga pinagdaanan niya nung bata siya? Bakit siya naging ganito? Bakit siya drug addict? Bakit siya exotic dancer? Paano siya nagkaroon ng AIDS… yung mga ganung bagay. So, nandoon na ako ngayon sa part [ng] pagko-complete ko nung picture.”

Fellow Sparkle artists—who are more into acting—continue to cheer on Thea and receive help from them.

She shared, “Nung nag-start ako to formulate yung character ni Mimi, I would ask them questions na, ‘Ikaw ba? Bakit sa tingin mo ganito? Si ganito? Si ganyan?’

“Like, I would talk to sila Vince [Crisostomo], si Jeff [Moses], si Sean [Lucas] na kasi siyempre, sila kasi, nagwo-workshop sila regularly ng acting, and ako, hindi. So, mayroon silang mga natuturo sa akin na mga exercise nila sa acting workshop na naa-apply ko din.”

The revival of “Rent” is under the production of 9 Works Theatrical with the direction of Robbie Gueverra. The musical is showing from April 20 to June 1, 2024 at 4F RCBC Plaza, Ayala Ave Makati. 

Interview Jimpy Anarcon
Text Pamela Torres
Banner Art Dani Sison

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