Casino Español de Cebu presented “An Evening of Fun with Pinky Marquez” at its ballroom, Salon de España. It was more, much more, than fun. A “compleat” show one might say, using the Shakespeare spelling. Pinky had some take-offs on the Queen’s language that were absolutely hilarious.
Honey Jarque Loop had single-handedly organized the whole event, from ticket sales to publicity, and all that may have come in between. The results were evident: a huge appreciative crowd, and funds raised for two worthy endeavors.
One is the forthcoming medical mission of Casino Español for its employees and dependents. Eminent doctors from the membership volunteer their services and laboratories donate medicines. But there is always a need for more, and that is where Pinky’s show filled the gap.
Another is the help promised to the Don Bernardo Alvarez Elementary School in Tabango, a municipality two hours’ drive from Ormoc City in Leyte. Recent calamities have caused its walls to crumble, its floors to crack and its ceilings to give in.
The schoolchildren and parents have pitched in with whatever manual labor was in their power and talent to provide. But materials to rebuild and restore the classrooms, as anyone will tell you, have added up to a pretty sum.
At the start of the program, Honey took the mike to welcome all, thank Pinky for accepting to perform, and enumerated the kind sponsors and friends who made the evening possible. Among them are Mariquita Yeung, Candice Gotianuy, Nena Garcia, Teresin Mendezona, Dennis and Petite Garcia, Alberto and Mari Tere de Rotaeche, Mita Rufino, Cheling and Susan Sala, Bennett Thelmo, Bobby Joseph, Montebello Villa Hotel, Hans and Bo Hauri, Pinky Chang, Ana Climaco and Lehn Jarque.
The stage was set for the performance with potted shrubs, silken screens that changed color according to the lighting and a lectern with a highchair. Enter the star: Pinky Marquez in black gossamer gown cinched with myriad Swarovsky crystals that sparkled like diamonds.
There was enough brilliance in her personality to eclipse King Solomon’s mines, exemplified by her first number: “Something’s Coming,” from “West Side Story.” Next came a medley of the more forceful numbers from “Funny Girl.” That was a most positive “Here I Am” and an even more assertive “Don’t Rain On My Parade.”
Pinky prepared the ground for her next number, asking couples in the audience how and where they first met. Anna Marie and Johnny Dizon said, “The Cebu Country Club.” Then she asked me and Cecilia and I answered I was 10, and she, five.
“Childhood infatuation,” Pinky trilled, and flew off to render “Some Enchanted Evening” from “South Pacific.” As she warbled, she concentrated on Manoling and Melba Sainz.
“This is for all of you,” she said and went on to sing “People.” Her eyes brimmed with emotion and the audience was so hushed you could have heard the proverbial pin hit the carpeted floor.
She took the opportunity of presenting a guest artist in the person of Dave Clark, who is from Cebu, plays the piano in Caribbean liners and is about to launch an operatic career. “Nessun Dorma” from “Turandot” brought the house down.
Pinky can be very self-effacing, and has that quality of the great to laugh at herself. She recounted the trajectory of her singing career according to the roles she has played in “The Sound of Music.” She started as the youngest of the Von Trapps, bidding, “So long, farewell… good night.”
Then she was the 16-year-old Liesl going on 17, followed by the lead role of Maria, plucked from a convent to be governess of Baron von Trapp’s orphaned children, then ending up as the Baroness herself.
“Well, now I’m the Mother Superior,” Pinky said, her eyes atwinkle. “That’s my role in the show at Resorts World, currently.” And so we were treated to her version of “My Favorite Things.”
At this juncture, she was joined by guest star Alan Dale, for as she said, “How can I sing duets by myself?” They did two of the best from “West Side Story” and an electrifying sequence from “Phantom of the Opera,” which showed what ranges they were capable of achieving.
Pinky told the audience how she had to acquire a British accent for her role as Mrs. Darling in “Peter Pan.” She stressed, “No, I did not have to fly!” But we all flew off our seats with her mimicry of some typical British situations in speech. “Ah, troo-looloo,” she declared emphatically.
She needed a respite after this, and Alan Dale did a solo—“All of Me.” A while later, together, they obliged with two requested songs in Spanish—“Historia de un Amor” and “Eres Tu.”
“Now comes my energy song,” she boomed, and from those gushing lyrics we deduced it must be titled “Inspiration.” She was all over the audience, in the process of searching for two men to be her backup.
Up the stage they went with her: Mike Smith, who is British, and John Domingo, the American consular agent. She gave them a crash course on voice culture, and they obliged by repeating “sweet, sweet” every time she cued them with her jeweled arms.
Solo on stage, she did an emotive “Send in the Clowns,” followed by that “Man from La Mancha” favorite, “The Impossible Dream,” for which she got a standing ovation. “But I’m not through yet,” she quipped in gratitude.
As the title of her next song indicated, it was “Time to Say Goodbye,” followed by “Our Prayer” which merited another standing ovation, to which she now said “This is it.”
As the audience broke into—and sustained—the wild applause, Casino Español vice president Gabby Leyson and house chairperson Eddie Gonzalez went up to present Pinky with gifts for a truly wonderful show. She started to say something but the crowd drowned her with “Bravo, encore, more…”
She took a theatrical stance, and sang “Somewhere.” As it ended, the crowd surged to congratulate her. To all, she said, “Bring me back any time. You want once a month? I love these fund-raisers.”