Some child actors survive the perils of early fame and go on to succeed as adults. To name a few, there’s Drew Barrymore, Neil Patrick Harris, Jodie Foster, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Locally we have Vilma Santos, Judy Ann Santos, Aiza Seguerra, and Lea Salonga among others.
Reminiscent of how everyone saw a star in Lea when she headlined Repertory Philippines’ production of the musical ANNIE in 1980, a similar fate seems to be in store for nine year old Krystal Brimner. Like those mentioned above, this young talent who will soon wear Annie’s iconic red dress in Resorts World Manila’s (RWM) upcoming stage production seems to possess the hallmarks that stars are made of.
Half-Filipina and half-Scottish, Krystal was born in San Diego, California and moved to the Philippines in 2009. Since the age of three, Krystal found her niche as a performer and the spotlight finally illuminated her flair last year when she took on the role of Angel, John Lloyd’s daughter, in Erik Matti’s controversial indie film “Honor Thy Father”. In the film, Krystal’s role required her to shave her adorable curly locks. Though the move may seem overwhelming for a young girl like Krystal, she readily obliged seeing the scene’s merit to the film and eventually to her career as well.
When awards season came, Krystal won several best child actress awards for the role from award giving bodies Metro Manila Film Festival, the Trinity University of Asia Platinum Stallion Media Awards, and Gawad Guro Awards.
Krystal’s innate interest in the arts and charisma both on and offscreen undeniably gives her an advantage in the entertainment industry. But it is her no-nonsense work attitude that may just catapult her to the top.
This year, Krystal pursues a new challenge—the stage. Learning of the auditions for Annie, Krystal, with a head of fully grown curls, immediately heeded the call. Fortunately, fame hasn’t inflated the young multi-awarded star’s ego as she shared how her audition for the role went. “I was a little bit nervous when I went in the room,” Krystal said as she saw hundreds of other hopefuls for the role. “Then they told me to sing songs (from the musical), and they were ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’ and ‘Maybe’. After that, they told me to come back on Monday and I was so happy then I told mom, and she was also very happy,” she said.
The audition also proved to be a fun process for Krystal and her mom who is very supportive of her career. “The auditions were very fun because sometimes mom would be scared and sometimes she would be happy,” Krystal said. “When the auditions were over I said: finally, it’s done! Then they told me that I was part of Annie and I was super excited that I got the role,” she beamed.
Now starring alongside another fresh talent in Isabeli Araneta Elizalde as Annie in RWM’s upcoming family musical, Krystal is as optimistic as her character in venturing to theater roles despite starting out in film. “It’s different because in (making) movies, Direk always says, “cut!”, while in this stage play, it’s all straight—there’s no stopping, it’s all going to flow straight,” she said.
Aside from Krystal’s background as a singing champion in various competitions, print and TV model, G-Force Kids scholar, and as a member of ABS-CBN’s 2nd i-Shine Talent Camp, she remains a consistent honor student in school which all makes for a promising talent in the industry.
Watch this clip that I took during Krystal and Isabeli’s first appearance in public as the classic character Annie.
With her new endeavor onstage, Krystal possesses the true qualities of a big star in the making. Her passion and enthusiasm for her craft is evident on how she prepares for the big role. “Annie is very positive—which is me. I always like being positive and Annie is nice, she cares, and she’s careful,” said Krystal as she prepares for the role that could define her as a true star on the rise.
ANNIE opens on September 30, 2016 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts world Manila featuring Krystal Brimner and Isabeli Araneta Elizalde, with Michael De Mesa, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Jill Peña, Red Concepcion and Mako Alonso.