Thursday, June 28, 2018

Experience APO Hiking Society’s songs with a twist in Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!

Bring out your blue jeans and get ready to do the hustle, because 9 Works Theatrical and Globe Live are presenting an original musical: Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! The APO Hiking Society is an OPM legend, and it was only a matter of time that a musical set to the tune of their songs was created.

Back in an era where American songs dominated the airwaves, APO Hiking Society was among the first to promote Original Pilipino Music, or “OPM”, and encourage their fellow songwriters and musicians to write songs in Filipino. The musical group, composed of Danny Javier, Jim Paredes, and Boboy Garrovillo, also won millions over with saccharine harmonies, sweet lyrics, and boyish charm.

The goal we had was to write songs that would encapsulate the Filipino's experience of love, friendship, humor, etc.,” says Paredes, “That is why people can relate to them. Lyrics were simple but authentic. We avoided clichés. We used everyday language.” Because these songs were so relatable, they’ve become soundtracks to countless memorable moments in peoples’ lives, and part of their stories to tell.

In this spirit, Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! features a new story penned by director Robbie Guevara. He shares, “In 2013, Boboy Garrovillo lightly suggested we make a musical using their songs. I remembered his story on how APO started and evolved when we did a play together in 2003. And I knew that’s what I wanted the musical to be about.” The musical follows a ragtag group of college students hard at work to win a singing and songwriting competition in the 1970s. They go through joy and heartbreak as they come of age, told through the songs of APO Hiking Society. “I didn’t exactly choose them,” says Guevara of facing the daunting task of handpicking songs from APO’s discography, “Things just fell into place. If you listen to their songs, you cannot not get attracted.”

While we may know APO Hiking Society’s songs by heart, musical director Bartolome gives the songs a fresh twist that could surprise even the most dedicated fans: new arrangements, rich harmonies, and large numbers by the talented cast. Bartolome says, “It was difficult because we are so used to the traditional choral part voicings and singing. But with great talents, we were already enjoying the parts a week into music rehearsals.”

“It’s hard, but the challenge wakes you up early each day,” explains Guevara. The whole cast and crew’s sheer love for APO Hiking Society music shines, and it’s undeniably infectious.

Santi Santamaria, executive producer of 9 Works Theatrical, is thrilled about Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!: “This year, together with our sister company the Sandbox Collective, we staged our very first Filipino musical Himala Isang Musikal, which had a phenomenal run, and with Globe Live, we won multiple awards for Disney’s Newsies in the recent PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay Awards. Now, we’re thrilled and somewhat pressured, coming from those 2 highly successful productions, to come up with a brand new original Filipino musical which we will work from the ground up. I’m very optimistic though that everyone will enjoy what we created.”

9Works Theatrical and Globe Live have also gathered an incredibly talented cast to bring the show to life. Mark Bautista stars as the group’s chief lyricist Rick, who is also the boyfriend of Anna, played by the magnetic Rita Daniela. Part of Here Lies Love at West End in 2014-2015 and fresh from a Seattle Repertory’s staging of Here Lies Love, Bautista has been a mainstay of Pinoy showbiz, releasing 6 chart-topping albums, taking part in 10 movies, and being part of numerous musicals, both local and international, such as Noli Me Tangere. Meanwhile, Daniela, an artist at GMA, is also the first ever Pop Star Kid. She has graced the silver screen on Bahay Kubo at the 33rd Metro Manila Film Festival and Dagim at Cinema One Film Festival, where she was nominated as best supporting actress.

Jobim Javier, with his natural charm, follows in the footsteps of his father Danny Javier as the campus palikero, Butch. The familiar voice behind All Good Radio on Jam88.3, Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is his first theatrical venture. Sab Jose, who recently graduated with honors at the Guilford School of Acting in London earlier this year, plays his love interest, Michelle. Jose’s talent has shined as part of Rent, The Wedding Singer, and Grease. Acting as Sonny is award-winning singer Alfritz Blanche, who was part of Himala Isang Musikal, and Noli Me Tangere. Taking the role of Jane is Filipino-Japanese actress Marika Sasaki, a GMA artist who has appeared in TV series My Guitar Princess, and Unbroken Hearts. Jon Philippe Go, also known as The Singing Chemist after being chosen by Lea Salonga in The Voice of the Philippines Season 2, is Ray. He's appeared in the musical adaptation of The Little Prince, and I Remember a Boy.

Stepping up as Jaime is Philippine Theater’s it-boy Jef Flores, 2-time PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay awardee for best actor for tick… tick… BOOM! and This is Our Youth. He’s recently appeared in Disney’s Newsies. Also part of Newsies and Mula Sa Buwan is Jon Abella, a UP Theater Arts graduate, who will play Donnie this time around. Theater veteran Raul Montesa is Ray’s father. Last seen as Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, he’s also a Miss Saigon alumna, and an actor in many local teleseryes. UP College of Music graduate Neomi Gonzales is Ray’s mother, after being Chayong in Himala Isang Musikal. She also has appeared in Rak of Aegis, ABS-CBN’s On the Wings of Love and Hanggang Saan.

Of course, no musical with APO Hiking Society’s songs would be complete without lush harmonies courtesy of the rest of the cast: Gian Gloria (A Christmas Carol, American Idiot, Marco Polo: An Untold Love Story), Shalee Vicencio (A Christmas Carol, American Idiot, Dirty Old Musical), Peachy Atilano-Guevara (RENT, The Wedding Singer, Grease), Anton Posadas (Disney’s Newsies, The King & I, The Bluebird of Happiness), Jourdan Bartolome (Disney’s Newsies, A Christmas Carol, UP Filipiniana Dance Group member), and Derrick Gozos (Walang Sugat, Romeo and Juliet, Florante at Laura).

Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is a brand new original Filipino musical with music by Danny Javier, Jim Paredes and Boboy Garrovillo, musical arrangements and orchestrations by Daniel Bartolome and Orly dela Cruz.

Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!  is written and directed by Robbie Guevara, along with Jonjon Martin as dramaturg, Dingdong Rosales as assistant director, Daniel Bartolome as musical director, PJ Rebullida as choreographer, Shakira Villa Symes as lightning designer, Joey Mendoza as set designer, Eric Pineda as costume designer, Dong Calingacion as technical director, Rards Corpus as sound designer, Myrene Santos as hair and makeup designer, Ronan Ferrer as vocal supervisor and Cathy Azanza-Dy as stage coach.

Heading the production team are executive producers Santi Santamaria (9 Works Theatrical) and Joe Caliro (Globe Live), with Globe Live Events Director Denise Seva, the 9 Works Theatrical Team - Anna Santamaria as company manager, Jonjon Martin as PR manager, GM Hernandez as marketing manager, Arma Bonilla as stage manager, Gian Nicdao as graphic design manager and JC Inocian as photographer.

Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! will be shown at Maybank Performing Arts Theater, Bonifacio Global City, on August 3-5, 10-12, 17-19 & 24-26, 2018, at 8:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, and 3:00pm on Saturdays & Sundays.

For tickets, contact Ticketworld at 891.9999.

Official Hashtags: #9WTMusikalnAPO  #GlobeLiveMusikalnAPO
Facebook: /9WorksTheatrical. Twitter & Instagram: @9WTonline
Facebook & YouTube: /GlobePH. Twitter & Instagram: @enjoyGlobe

A limited number of performances are available for fundraising and block buying. Please contact 586.7105 • 0917.554.5560

Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is a production of 9 Works Theatrical and Globe Live, co-presented by FOXlife and FRONTROW, with MUD (Make Up Designory) as the official make up partner, and CNN Philippines as media partner. Special thanks to BGC Arts Center.

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