Cultural Center of the Philippines
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino
May 13, 2011
Zsazsa Zaturnnah is a red-haired curvaceous superheroine whose alter-ego, Ada, is a gay beautician from a Philippine province. Ada turns into the superheroine upon swallowing a melon-sized magical stone and shouting “Zaturnnah!” The plot of the graphic novel is laid like a parody of Darna and Vergara paid tribute to Mars Ravelo’s creation but Zsazsa Zaturnnah is a character on its own as the story deals with issues encountered by the LGBT community. She is also used as reference and subject in gender studies courses in some universities, including the government-run University of the Philippines. The first book was followed up by the Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakkhang Maynila’ series. It is a three-part series with the first part released in 2012 while the second part was released in 2016. Vergara is still working on the third part as of April 2019.
Beyond comics and other literature, Zsazsa Zaturnnah appeared in other media including film and theater. Zsa Zsa Padilla who is the inspiration for the character’s first name portrayed Zsazsa Zaturnnah in the 2006 film Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Moveeh with her alter-ego Ada played by BB Gandanghari (then credited as Rustom Padilla). From 2006 to 2011, a musical theater entitled Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal was staged by Tanghalang Pilipino at the Cultural Center of the Philippines as well as in different places with different actors playing Zsazsa Zaturnnah (including Eula Valdez and K Brosas) and Ada (including Tuxqs Rutaquio and Vincent de Jesus). In 2019, Rocketship Studio released a teaser for Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, an animated film featuring Vergara’s character.