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Filipino newbie plays key role in acclaimed HK musical

03 June 2017

Samson as  Prince Marbo
in “Melodia”. Photo from Hong
Kong Youth Arts Foundation
A young Filipino landed a choice role in a Hong Kong musical, with just sheer talent to back him up.

Gian Carlo Samson, or Gio to his friends, played the role of Prince Marbo in “Melodia,” which finished its run at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts on Apr. 29. The 17-year-old played the love interest of veteran performer Aoi Toba, who appeared in the title role of Melodia.

About 800 young people auditioned for parts in the locally-produced musical created by Lindsey McAllister, founder of the HK Young Artists Foundation in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil  composer Violaine Corradi and musician/artist Rose Winebrenner. Of these, only 100 youths, aged between 9 and 25, landed parts.

Gio, who had no formal musical training, not only got in, but also snagged one of the most-sought after roles in the musical spectacle that went on to receive rave reviews.

During the show's 100-minute run, the audience was thrilled and entertained by vibrant and jaw-dropping displays of puppetry and acrobatics, plus song and dance that left many enthralled.

Gio recalls being told about the auditions towards the end of 2016 by his mom’s friend who encouraged him to try out. After a few callbacks, the Filipino teenager got the thrill of his life when he was tapped to play Prince Marbo.

Apart from landing a choice part, he also got to interact with a diverse cast and production staff.

Gian was born in Baguio City but is now attending YMCA Christian College in Kowloon where he is a member of football club. He also loves to play guitar and intends to learn drama in school.

Gio had many shining moments during the play and his song/rap duet with Melodia, “What’s In a Name”, was one of its funniest and most memorable parts.

As Prince Marbo, he played the character of a conceited teenager who intimidated and bullied Melodia until he began to like her and believed in her potential to save the world.

Gio has this message to other young people like him trying to make their mark in the world:

“If there is ever an opportunity, take it, no matter what others say or think, or you might regret not doing so.  Wouldn’t you rather know that you tried and didn’t succeed instead of asking yourself, “What if? What if I tried? What if I got the part? What if I met amazing people? What if I loved it? These are just a few of the question you might find yourself asking. So go for it, no more what if's. ”

Expect to hear more about this young man in the near future. — Contributed by Hilda Ilaga Jacinto

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