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‘Alden’s Reality’ a year in the making

When the pandemic struck, Alden Richards and director Paolo Valenciano did not give up, even as they had second thoughts over the ambitious nature of the project — a virtual reality concert shot at a 360-degree angle

Kathleen A. Llemit

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ALDEN Richards celebrates a decade in showbiz with a virtual concert in December. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF GMA NETWORK

Lady luck found her way into Alden Richards’ life on his fifth year in showbiz. Half of his 10 years in the entertainment industry were spent on projects that gave him media exposure — but never the type that hogged headlines or created a protective fandom capable of smashing Twitter records.

The dimpled actor’s contemporaries were Barbie Forteza, Joshua Dionisio, Jake Vargas, Bea Binene and Louise de los Reyes in the early years of his career. They starred in an afternoon TV series, Tween Hearts, that ran from 2010 to 2012.

The series spawned a movie, Tween Academy: Class of 2012, with almost the same cast.

In the next two years, Alden concentrated on doing TV shows. He was paired with Louise and they starred in the 2012 series One True Love.

In 2013, they were again cast in the ensemble drama Mundo Mo’y Akin. In 2014, he played the younger love interest of Marian Rivera in Carmela.

Then he was cast in a period drama, Ilustrado (2014), about Jose Rizal.

 

Accidental stardom

The stars must have aligned for Alden on 16 July 2015 when he was paired with then newbie and Internet sensation Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza in an episode of Eat Bulaga’s “Kalyeserye.”

Alden is ready to entertain fans in his December online concert.

Maine went out of character, breaking with a wide smile and eyes twinkling for a few seconds when she saw Alden on the TV screen. EB’s producers thought of creating a love story between Alden’s namesake character and Maine’s Yaya Dub, who only saw each other on the TV screen.

It took months of a scripted plot until they finally met via a special episode of the segment, held at the jampacked, 55,000-seater Philippine Arena on 24 October 2015.

Dubbed #AlDubEBTamangPanahon, the episode drew 41 million tweets in 24 hours that led Twitter to declare it as the most used hashtag within 24 hours and the third most tweeted topic in the TV category worldwide in 2015.

The episode also garnered a 50.8 percent rating in Mega Manila, according to AGB Nielsen.

From then on, Alden never looked back. He and Maine would star in TV shows and films such as Destined to Be Yours (2017) and Imagine You and Me (2016).

He starred in the fantasy superhero series Victor Magtanggol (2018) and the inspirational drama The Gift (2019).

In 2019, Alden played the lead opposite Kathryn Bernardo in the film Hello, Love, Goodbye — which became the highest-grossing Filipino film with earnings of P800 million.

Alden likewise cashed in on music, recording four albums — Alden Richards (2013), Wish I May (2015), Say It Again (2016) and Until I See You Again (2018).

 

Concert

How time flies for Alden, who is also dubbed Asia’s Multimedia Star.

“Looking back, I don’t feel that it’s been 10 years because I’ve been enjoying my days in the industry,” he said a recent video conference.

“I’m very blessed for all the things that happened for the past 10 years because I felt complete as a person and, at the same time, I feel complete as an artist.”

HOW time flies for Alden Richards who is celebrating his 10th year in showbiz this year. / PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF GMA NETWORK

To celebrate his first decade in showbiz, Alden said he owes it to his dedicated fans to hold a concert amid a pandemic. “Alden’s Reality” has been a year in the making, originally scheduled at the Araneta Coliseum this November.

When the pandemic struck, Alden and director Paolo Valenciano did not give up, even as they had second thoughts over the ambitious nature of the project — a virtual reality concert shot at a 360-degree angle.

“I’m really proud of the work. I’m really confident that we’re going to showcase something new to the audience and I’m sure they won’t be disappointed,” said Alden, who was involved in the conceptualization and song selection of the concert.

Fans will be happy to know that he’s going to launch a new single, a collaboration between Flip Music and GMA Music.

“Being in the industry for 10 years is not easy,” he said. “I have no relatives in showbiz. I learned by myself… with great people and a great team behind me. I can say that the 10 years have been fruitful,” Alden said.

Tickets may be purchased by logging on to www.gmanetwork.com/synergy. Filipino buyers will be given a special VIP package at P1,200 which includes one general admission ticket plus one exclusive VR device. The concert starts streaming online at 9 p.m. on 8 December (Philippine time).

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