|FIRST FILIPINA BROADWAY STAR, as MEI-LI, LEAD ACTRESS, FLOWER DRUM SONG|
Cely Ocampo Carillo (born 18 Feb. 1934/d. 2017) was the daughter of Dr.Tomas Carlos Carrillo Sr.from Binan, who once served as a medical officer in the U.S. Medical Corps during World War II. Her mother, Carmen Casas Ocampo, was a Spanish language teacher at the University of the Philippines. The school opened doors to the the child musical prodigy who often performed in presentations staged by the U.P. Dramatic Club.
|CELY CARRILLO, press picture, 1960.|
Carrillo, bent on pursuing her Broadway dream, lingered on and rented a West Avenue apartment in upper Manhattan. With her was brother Tomas Jr., who was starting college at Fordham University, and her unmarried maternal aunt, Miss Ocampo (her mother and 2 sisters Cory and Cecille, were living in Tennessee).
Like all aspiring artists, she went on countless auditions, snagging TV roles on and playing alongside Raymond Massey and Lee Tracy. She was also a featured singer in the ABC-Paramount produced record, “Hi-Fi in an Oriental Garden”, where she sang 3 folk songs: Leron, Leron Sinta, the Pearls of Mindanao, and Bahay Kubo.
After over a year of headlining the musical, Umeki left and it was Carrillo who stepped into shoes her in 1960, a milestone in her career. Suddenly, she was thrust in the spotlight as the lead actress in a popular musical, a first for a Filipino.
My thanks to Mr. Rufi Carrillo for Cely Carrillo's personal background.
Broadway World: www.broadwayorld.com