Musical theater is back to breathe life into the stages this year. There are several productions slated for this year for us to watch, enjoy, and appreciate. Musical theater enthusiasts can expect a lot of ~homegrown~ Filipino stories that will have their respective debuts and reruns for local audiences.
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As there are quite a few productions worth singing along to, we’ve prepared a list of six upcoming Filipino musicals to look out for this 2023:
1. Zsazsa Zaturnnah the Musical… ‘Yun Lang!
Zsazsa Zaturnnah the Musical… ‘Yun Lang! is a cult classic comedy musical based on the graphic novel by Carlo Vegara. This story follows Ada, a gay beautician from the province. After receiving a melon-sized stone with the word “Zaturnnah!” written on it, Ada swallows the stone, shouts the name, and transforms into the titular hero. Zsazsa Zaturnnah fights against aliens, zombies, and even a giant frog throughout this musical.
With music and lyrics by Vincent De Jesus and a stage adaptation by Chris Martinez, theater fans are in for a treat for this stage musical as it deals with the ~otherworldly~ proportions of what it means to be queer in the Philippines. The musical is also composed of a *talented* pool of thespians such as award-winning performer Kim Molina as Zsazsa; Phi Palmos, Adrian Lindayag, and Shaun Ocrisma as Ada, Anyah de Duzman as Queen Femina, and more.
The show is currently running from March 17 to April 2 at the Doreen Fernandez Black Box Theater, Areté, Ateneo de Manila University.
2. Anak Datu
Written by Rody Vera, Anak Datu is a “play with music” based on the original story of the same name by National Artist Abdulmari Imao. Its plot follows the historic lives and struggles of Mindanao’s Tausug across three stories from different periods of time. The production covers a lot of Mindanao’s history and the *personal* story of Abdulmari and his family in the 70s and 80s.
Initially conceptualized as a musical, the artistic team of this production decided to take a different direction to this narrative by setting music instead to the narrated and voiced parts of the play. The cast features the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company with specials guests such as Tex Ordoñez-De Leon, Carlos Dala, Sining Kambayoka’s Hash Magarang, and Tanghalang Pilipino’s Artistic Director Nanding Josef.
Concluding last October 2022, the play is set to return in September to October 2023. There hasn’t been any information yet on the venue and tickets for this year’s staging.
3. Ang Huling El Bimbo
Full House Theater Company’s ~*award-winning*~ musical Ang Huling El Bimbo will be making its return to the stage starting April 2023 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater. Set to the music of the iconic 90’s band the Eraserheads, the jukebox musical tells a tale of *friendship* among the friends Joy, Hector, Anthony, and Emman as they navigate their college and adult life. You’ll enjoy the nostalgia, comedy, and drama this show has to offer.
The musical production will come back with new and returning cast members such as Gab Pangilinan, Gian Magdangal, and Topper Fabregas who will reprise their lead roles as Young Joy, Hector, and Young Anthony respectively. New actors such as indie folk artist Bullet Dumas, The Voice finalist Nino Alejandro, and professional voice teacher Katrine Sunga are also welcomed into the cast.
You can buy tickets for the show at the Newport World Resorts Box Office, TicketWorld, and SM Tickets outlets.
4. Breakups & Breakdowns
Upstart Productions’ original musical comedy, Breakups & Breakdowns is another musical set to make a rerun this April 2023 after four years. It’s a ~lighthearted~ story about modern-day dating and relationships. The material of this musical was revisited and revised, having new songs, characters, and scenes added to make the musical more relevant to today’s audiences.
The cast of Breakups & Breakdowns features Reb Atadero, Rachel Coates, Sarah Facuri, and Nelsito Gomez among others. Plus, it’s under the direction Upstart Productions’ Artistic Director Joel Trinidad and dramaturg Nicky Triviño.
You can catch this musical at the Creative Arts Centre, The British School Manila. For ticket inquiries, call or text Upstart at 0917-8116156 or e-mail email@example.com.
Another upcoming musical you should anticipate is Ibarra which is based on Jose Rizal’s novel, Noli Me Tangere. As a re-working of playwright and librettist Jomar Fleras’ award-winning play Kanser, Ibarra serves as the 40th staging of the play. This stage adaptation focuses on Crisostomo Ibarra’s *psyche*, with the aim to cater to the younger generation. Moreover, the songs for Ibarra will take inspiration from the pure (wagas) and immaculate (busilak) traits of Filipinos as mentioned by musical director and composer, Jed Balsamo.
Tanghalang Una Obra is slated to stage this production on June 8 to 18 at the GSIS Theater in Pasay later this year. It will star actor Piolo Pascual who will play Crisostomo Ibarra. As further details of the musical are still under wraps, we only know that Frannie Zamora will be directing and Soprano Myramae Meneses will star as Maria Clara alongside Piolo. As of now, there haven’t been details yet on when and where to buy tickets for the musical.
6. Mula sa Buwan
You’ll be seeing Mula sa Buwan once again as the hit musical releases its professionally shot film (proshot) for a limited time this March. The musical is based on Edmond Rostand’s timeless play, Cyrano de Bergerac. In this local adaptation set in 1940s Manila, the musical now features a story of war, romance, and friendships with a hint of harana and kundiman tunes. You’ll get to know the *heartbreaking* story between the poet Cyrano, his beloved Roxane, and the kind-hearted Christian. The three main characters are played by Myke Salomon, Gab Pangilinan, and Markki Stroem respectively.
The musical will be available online from March 24 to 26 which allows viewers from all over the world to watch Mula sa Buwan in the ~comfort~ of their own homes. Online tickets will give viewers access to the show within a 24-hour streaming window per date, from 10 am to 10 pm. Moreover, ahead of the proshot’s online premiere, an advance screening was held last March 18 at Circuit Makati cinemas which had some of the musical’s cast members present at the screening.
You can grab your online tickets at the Ticket2Me website.