Of musicals, hard work and humility: David Ezra is Philippine Theater's newest gem

Some may say his destiny to become a thespian in Philippine theater was laid down even before he was born. After all, his mother is none other than the Original Diva, Ms. Dulce. But David Ezra has worked hard literally and figuratively to reach wherever he is right now.

Born David Ezra Llamedo Cruz, David is not new in the theater scene. As a graduate of University of Santo Tomas (UST) Conservatory of Music with a degree in Music Education majoring in Voice, he has wide experience in musical theater. He takes pride in being honed through UST's musical revue of some of Broadway's biggest hits. He was even part of Repertory Philippines' Sweeney Todd and Seussical.

"But being Aguinaldo for Mabining Mandirigma is my first lead role," Ezra gushes. Despite the raves the steampunk musical has been getting, he keeps his feet on the ground and shyly smiles when complimented for his powerful tenor voice and intense performance. Playing alternate with Arman Ferrer, Ezra topbills Mabining Mandirigma's cast together with performer par excellence Liesl Batucan, who plays a female Apolinario Mabini, and an ensemble of Tanghalang Pilipino's (chanelling the Ilustrado's upbeat and funky song) "creme de la creme".

But before being part of musical theater, the handsome tenor reveals a secret many will be surprised to know--he was an instrumentalist before he learned how to sing. In fact, he used to be a lead guitarist for a rock band. Ezra even points out, " I only realized I wanted to sing and act (last) 2008".

A head-banging,angst-filled crowd's loss, is definitely a gain for Philippine theater.


His boyish grin also worked to his advantage, capturing the hearts of audiences when he performed with a four-male, multi-awarded pop classical group, "The FORTE-nors". He spent four years performing with them both for local and international crowd. When he decided to take some chances as a solo performer, it proved to be a risk worth taking. Recently, he was awarded by Aliw Awards as "Best New Male Artist for 2015".

When we asked how he prepared for his Aguinaldo role, he admitted he would sing even in the shower just to prep his voice for intense singing for the musical. "It helps that I had formal training for voice in UST. (However) I was not formally trained in acting."

Which comes as a surprise because most of the people who have come to watch were all raving about the intensity of his performance as General Emilio Aguinaldo.  When asked how he prepared for the acting part, he said he is guided by the belief that it is important that as an actor, it is important to connect with the audience and make them feel the character one is playing onstage.

Starpowerhouse had a quick interview with the actor and played "fast talk" to get to know more about his thoughts about the steampunk musical he is a part of:


StarPH: Act 1 or Act 2?
David: Act 2!
StarPH: Sundalo or Ilustrado?
David: Sundalo
StarPH: Mabini or Aguinaldo?
David: (smiles) Aguinaldo
StarPH: Para sa bayan, utak o puso?
David: Utak!

The actor also has some inspiring words for aspiring actors. "For me, to become a successful actor, you have to keep learning. You have to continuously grow. Work on your technique. Accept constructive criticism, and do not be egotistical."

Surely, David Ezra has proven he is more than just eye-candy. He knows his craft, and works hard in every challenge laid before him. In his role as Emilio Aguinaldo in the acclaimed steampuk musical, he has proven he is not just a mere alternate, but a force to reckon with.

More photos of  Tanghalang Pilipino' Mabining Mandirigma kindly go to the official fanpage of AXLPowerhouse

Written and Review By : Erick Frago
Photos and Edited  By : Axl Guinto

Star Powerhouse Originals

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About Erick Frago
He is the season writer in the Star Powerhouse.

About Axl Guinto
He is a founder of Axl Powerhouse Group, handling magazine blog, a blogger in chief of Star Powerhouse, freelance event photographer and heritage advocate.

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