It took quite a long while for any network to convince her to do a teleserye but after TV5 finally got her to agree to it, Megastar Sharon Cuneta has poured her heart and soul into a project that she said she feels great to be a big part of.
Originally billed as a “tawa-serye” but is now pegged as “the first dramedy barangay series”, the much-anticipated “Madam Chairman” is set to premiere this coming October 14. In a barrio fiesta-themed press launch on Friday, a presentation of the show’s trailer and introduction of characters, more is revealed about the show’s engaging storyline.
Sharon plays Bebeth de Guzman, a simple and loving wife and mother whose life changes when she becomes barangay chairman of Barangay Sta. Clara and had to shuffle her roles as head of her small community as well as head of her own family after her philandering OFW husband (Jay Manalo) leaves her for another woman (Regine Angeles) from the neighboring barangay.
“My character here is in many ways, similar to Stella, the role I played in ‘Crying Ladies’. Maraming challenges sa buhay ni Bebeth, mas lalo pang dumami nang naging barangay chairman na siya,” she revealed during the press conference.
Given a husband who even when he was an OFW was often not around, it’s an even bigger challenge for Bebeth to raise their children all by herself. And at least two of them can be quite handful. There’s Bubuy (Akihiro Blanco), her actor-wannabe son who seems to have inherited his father’s skirt-chasing ways.
There’s Kakay (Shaira Mae Dela Cruz), her kikay daughter, and there’s the adorable Jun-Jun (Byron Ortile) who seems to be a calming influence and ironically, the one person who puts things in the proper perspective for her.
Outside of her family, she also has to deal with people like Jojo Campomanes (Bayani Agbayani), the son of the former barangay chairman who is constantly scheming to oust her; Jingle (Ciara Sotto), her ever supportive BFF; Mercy (Glenda Kennedy), the unsolicited adviser to her; Cita (Malou De Guzman), her religious friend and Hermes (Manny Castañeda), her tactless friend who is preoccupied with sportsfests and beautification of their barangay.
Also providing additional support are Fanny Serrrano, Tony Mabesa, Jim Pebanco, Nanette Inventor, Gilleth Sandico, Patani, Bearwin Meily and Toby Alejar.
“The script written by Direk Joey Reyes really psyched me up for this,” Ate Shawie exclaimed. “Ma’m Wilma Galvante also made me undergo a barangay immersion that allowed me to understand my character and the barangay system even better.”
It also doesn’t hurt that the series is being helmed by award-winning director Joel Lamangan, who admitted that he is much involved in the affairs of his own barangay in Cavite.
Asked if she had a hand in the selection of the cast members, Sharon said she was open to working with anyone and added that she has had a very good experience with her veteran and younger co-stars, including her TV children whom she personally bonded with.
“I make an effort to reach out to all of my co-actors. They’re all good actors naman. I found Patani in particular to be a very smart actress and I love our scenes together. “As for my TV husband, I’m so happy to work with Jay Manalo as he is always the dramatic actor that I admire. Bukod sa hindi siya OA, ang galing pa niya sa comedy,” she enthused.
She did admit, however, that she recommended her nephew, Chris Cuneta, for the show who was eventually cast as Kakay’s love interest. The Megastar added that she personally monitors the progress of Chris during tapings.
“Lagi ko ngang kinukumusta si Chris kay Direk Joel. Sabi ko kasi kay Chris, kung hindi mo gagalingan, matatanggal ka. So far, he’s doing well naman according to Direk Joel,” she noted.
For his part, TV5 president and CEO Noel C. Lorenzana said that the network is happy to come up with programs that are not just entertaining but also contributes to the betterment of society.
“We’re happy that ‘Madam Chairman’ is one such show. We already saw the pilot and we all applauded after watching it. Maganda ang suportahan ng cast and crew and magandang trabaho ang binigay nila na magugustuhan ng mga manonood,” Lorenzana admitted.
As for what else can people expect from “Madam Chairman”, Sharon has only this to say:
“I promise you, it will only get better every week.”
“Madam Chairman” premieres on TV5 on October 14 at 7PM.