Thursday, July 5, 2018

Love is for Singing: A musical brings APO Hiking Society’s songs to life

Mark Bautista (Rick)
Through APO Hiking Society’s songs alone, there are a thousand and one ways of saying how true love lasts. That’s why their legacy has endured until today in the hearts of couples growing old together to the tune of “Panalangin,” college students doing the boogie to “Blue Jeans,” and all the people that grew up on the wisdom of “Batang-Bata Ka Pa.” Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!, a production of 9 Works Theatrical and Globe Live, is set to introduce APO’s music to new generations, while bringing back golden memories for long-time fans.

Throughout the eighties, APO Hiking Society and their songwriting prowess made them one of the pioneers of the movement towards Original Pilipino Music or “OPM,” which Danny Javier was said to have coined himself. While music being in Filipino or Taglish seems natural today, during APO Hiking Society’s rise to fame, it was daring enough to inspire musicians who then rose to claim their own fame as well.

Rita Daniela (Anna)
Since then, Boboy Garrovillo, Danny Javier and Jim Paredes have become icons. They’ve become a mainstay on the radio with dozens of hit singles, and played in over 50 cities all over the world, from the United States to Japan. They were the first to perform at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York, along with Marco Sison.

APO Hiking Society’s music experienced a new wave of popularity when the tribute albums Kami nAPO Muna and Kami nAPO Muna Ulit were released in the mid-2000s. OPM’s most famous acts at the time such as Kamikazee, Itchyworms, Sponge Cola and Up Dharma Down introduced a new generation to APO’s music with their own renditions. There’s no escaping their cultural influence.
Marika Sasaki (Jane)
Paredes succinctly explains their secret: “We wrote the soundtrack of people's love lives. We made and sang songs that became their theme songs for their first love and the other stages that they went through. We captured their closeness and bonding with their barkada. We had songs that celebrated their childhood and school lives.” Taking off from there, director Robbie Guevara penned an original story for the musical.

Set in a university in the 1970s, Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! follows college friends hard at work to win a songwriting and singing competition. The story follows them through the ups-and-downs of youth, from artistic doubts to romantic bliss and heartbreak. All of this happens under the iron fist of Martial Law, and yet, for some of them, their spirit and passion for music thrive. “We all go through these,” says Guevara, “We all relate somehow.”
Jobim Javier (Butch)
Perhaps that’s the reason why the songs naturally fit together to form a narrative. The musical’s songs are carefully selected, from the hits to the hidden gems. It promises to be a melodic treat for fans and theater fanatics alike, with lush choral arrangements that give a fresh twist to the songs that we know and love.

“I personally wouldn't want to touch the original arrangements. The songs are already perfect as it is. But considering that it would be used in a musical, changes have to be made. Because it’s not going to be staged as a concert. But with a story. The music is part of the storytelling. I carefully chose which to omit, which to keep and which to change to best serve the staging or the scene,” says musical director and arranger Daniel Bartolome. Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! was made with a fervent love and respect for the music of APO Hiking Society. It is a heartfelt homage to the group and how their songs have resonated with generations upon generations. It’ll be a treat for the entire family and theater lovers alike.
Jon Philippe Go (Ray)

Raul Montesa (Ray's Dad)

I am quite thrilled. I am very excited to see where they will take our songs. I am also happy that a very young cast is performing them. The script, staging, and the music seem fresh and new. I hope the Filipino theater audience loves it,” says Paredes.

What’s not to love? Mark Bautista, Jon Philippe Go, Jobim Javier, Alfritz Blanche, Jef Flores, Jon Abella, and Vyen Villanueva star as the ragtag septet, while Rita Daniela, Marika Sasaki , Sab Jose, Raul Montesa, and Noemi Gonzales play the part of the people in their lives.
Sab Jose (Michelle)
Rounding out the cast are Gian Gloria, Shalee, Peachy Atilano-Guevara, Anton Posadas, Jourdan Bartolome, and Derrick Gozos.

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.
Alfritz Blanche (Sonny)

Ensemble Gian Gloria, Shalee  Vicencio, Peachy Atilano-Guevara

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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