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Whatever Carla wants…

CARLA Guevara-Laforteza

UNDIMINISHED – “Playing Mary Jane that night was Carla Guevara-Laforteza, whose reputation was undiminished for both presence and voice.”

That was a lady columnist (Chit Roces-Santos) writing about the hit musical-comedy “Rak of Aegis,” runninguntil Aug. 28 at the PETA Theater center in Quezon City (5Eymard Drive, New Manila, along Rodriguez Avenue).

There’s a little story how Carla got the orle in “Rak of Aegis.” All along she wanted it… and said so for all to hear. One day, at a “Miss Saigon” audition, Carla sang Aegis style. That is “bigay todo,” hitting perfectly all those high ntoes. In not ime, she was offered the Mary Jane role.

Of course, Carla wasn’t auditioning for “Miss Saigon,” having played kim in London’s West End in 1996. She still remembers that Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith went backstage to congratulate her… and asked for an autograph.

WHATEVER CARLA WANTS – Years and years back, she and her father watched “Miss Saigon” on Broadway. Carla told her dad that someday she’d be playing Kim, which he dismissed. Dad wanted Carla to finish college and not turn into an actress.

But whatever Carla wants… Carla gets. In Manila, unknown to her family, she auditioned for “Miss Saigon” and made it.

Well, at the expense of her studies at La Salle. She had no choice but to confess her “crime,” saying she’d be flying to London in a week’s time.

After almost twoyears in London she was wowing the audience as Kim, visited b her family regularly. Including her proud dad.

TV AND MOVIES – Back in Manila, Carla appeared in movies and television for ABS-CBN. She enjoyed the experience, but all along, her heart belonged to theater. Carla appeared in Repertory plays… and those produced by other theater groups.

‘EXILED’ – And then came an “accident.” She got pregnant and the “culprit” was choreographer-dancer Godfrey Laforteza. Marriage was out of the question as her family didn’t know who he was. Everything must be kept a secret.

She was “exiled” in New York, but before doing so, Carla talked to the revered Mr. M (Johnny Manahan of ABS-CBN Star Magic) and said one of her dreams was to appear with Piolo Pascual. Mr. M said that Piolo was doing a concert in Japan, “Sumama ka.”

Of course, Mr. M didn’t know she was two or three weeks pregnant. No matter whatever Carla wants… Carla gets.

In New York, Carla opted to live independently, although her parents were willing to support her. She worked in a restaurant, where many waiters and waitresses were jobless actors, kindred souls.

FAMILY – In the meantime, against all odds, Godfrey followed Carla in New York, taking over her job when she gave birth.

From lowly jobs, Godfrey rose to become manager and chef.

They raised a family in NY, where two of their three children were born.

By this time Carla’s family has learned to accept Godfrey, who proved to be a good husband and father. Carla also finished a course in hotel management, pleasing her father no end.

They returned to Manila, where Godfrey worked in five-star hotels, currently based in Cebu. Carla still auditions and lands good roles onstage.

Yes, despite her credentials, Carla still auditions, saying she is no Lea Salonga or Joanna Ampil. Ah, but in no time she’ll be up there. After all, whatever Carla wants… you know the rest.