Fly me to the moon, because Mula sa Buwan is back!

Curtains have opened once again for one of my favorite Filipino musicals, Mula sa Buwan, and I AM ECSTATIC! I always thought it was a shame the runs for this show were extremely short, so I’m really happy they’re producing a total of sixteen shows now (well, down to twelve now, because they’ve already opened last Friday). I caught yesterday’s 3PM show, and here’s a list of notable things I loved in this rerun:

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Review | Full House Theater Company’s Ang Huling El Bimbo

As Rak of Aegis enjoyed a couple of successful runs, Sa Wakas returned with a vengeance and Ako si Josephine had its initial run. It kept me wondering how much longer I had to wait till someone picked up The Eraserheads’ rich discography and turned it into a blockbuster of a musical.

Not for long, said the universe.

Because in January 2018, posters asking “Kamukha mo ba si Paraluman?” and “Magaling ka bang sumayaw, mapa-boogie man o cha-cha?” (with a font and color scheme mimicking The Eraserheads’ first album cover) littered my Facebook feed, and in millennial-speak, FAM, I WAS SHOOKETH. I messaged my theatre-going buddies and in a few minutes decided we would buy tickets immediately when they started selling. (We did wait a few weeks in reality, because funds. Tickets at Resorts World Manila’s Newport Performing Arts Theater ain’t cheap, fam.)

And finally — last night, my high school barkada and I went on a trip down memory lane, together with Hector, Emman, Anthony, and Joy. And the music that was the soundtrack to many of our high school ups and downs.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
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Changing Partners has returned to the PETA Theater Center!

Following its successful transition into film, the critically acclaimed and award-winning musical CHANGING PARTNERS is returning to the stage this May at the PETA Theater Center.

The Journey

According to multi-awarded composer and writer Vincent A. DeJesus, the book, libretto, and music of Changing Partners were inspired by his own personal stories and of his friends. When asked how long it took him to write this piece his reply was, “A lifetime.”

Changing Partners was first presented in a full-house, one-night only Stage Reading at the Virgin Labfest in July 2016. The Virgin Labfest, spearheaded by the Writers’ Bloc Inc., is a festival of new plays by emerging and established Filipino playwrights held annually at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). The staged reading featured actors Ricky Ibe, Patricia Ismael, Giannina Ocampo, and Sandino Martin and was directed by Director Rem Zamora.

Two months after, DeJesus and Zamora came together once again to produce the full production of  Changing Partners: A Torch Musical. Produced by DeJesus and the PETA Theater Center, the musical was staged at the 115-seater PETA Theater Center’s Studios in September and October 2016. Actors Agot Isidro, Jojit Lorenzo, Anna Luna, and Sandino Martin starred in the play, while DeJesus was the musical director and provided live piano accompaniment. About the same time, The Bindlestiff Studio in California, U.S.A. produced and performed the musical as part of its Tagalog Theater Festival and featured Fil-American actors. Several weeks after, DeJesus submitted the script to the Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature where it received a Best Full-Length Play award. In November and December 2016, the musical went back onstage and had another successful rerun at the PETA Theater Center Studios.

In November 2017, Changing Partners: A Torch Musical transitioned from being a theater musical to full feature film. Under the direction of blockbuster movie director, Dan Villegas, the film starred the same cast as the full musical theater production and was a film entry at the 2017 Cinema One Originals Film Festival. Changing Partners – The Movie won eight awards: Best Director (Villegas), Best Actress (Isidro), Best Actor (Lorenzo), Best Acting Ensemble (Isidro, Lorenzo, Luna, Martin), Best Editing (Marya Ignacio), Best Music (DeJesus), Audience Choice Award, and Champion Bughaw for Best Film. Because of its success and critical acclaim, Changing Partners – The Movie was given a nationwide commercial release in January 2018. The movie also released the Changing Partners – The Movie Original Soundtrack on Spotify. Produced by Star Records, select song from the musical movie were covered by Star Music artists KZ Tandingan, Jona Viray, Khalil Ramos, and Daryl Ong. In February 2018, it won big at the 34th Movie Press Club of the Philippines – Star Awards 2018, bagging five awards under the Independent Film Category: Best Film, Best Director (Villegas), Best Screenwriter (DeJesus and co-writer Lilit Reyes), Best Editing (Marya Ignacio), and Best Music (DeJesus).

A New Offering

Looking at its track record, Changing Partners seems to be moving in the fast lane. In the span of less than two years, it has impressively achieved what would normally take about a decade, or more, to reach. But the team behind this gut-wrenching, anti-romcom musical is not slowing down anytime soon. They are taking Changing Partners to another level by bringing it to a bigger stagethe 400-seater PETA-Phinma Theater.

Agot Isidro, Jojit Lorenzo, Anna Luna, and Sandino Martin are returning to reprise their roles, and Director Rem Zamora is again directing. DeJesus will be joined by cellist Poch Gutierrez to provide live music accompaniment. Another addition to the close-knit team is production designer Ben Padero, who also designed the set of PETA’s adaptation of Marsha Norman’s “Night, Mother.”

CHANGING PARTNERS: THE STAGE MUSICAL just opened its two-weekend run at the PETA-Phinma Theater, PETA Theater Center last Friday, May 11. Make sure to catch the show on May 19-20, at 3:00 and 8:00 pm.

Ticket prices are Php1500 (VIP), Php1300 (Orchestra Center), Php1000 (Orchestra Sides), Php1200 (Balcony Center), and Php800 (Balcony Sides).

You can book your tickets through Ticketworld. You may also call or text (0945 499 1008) or send a message to the PETA Theater Center Facebook page for inquiries and reservations.

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5 Must-See Filipino Musicals (January-April 2017)

Last year, I was able to see ten stage productions–3 Stars and a SunLes Miserables, GodspellRak of AegisAko si JosephineDirty Old MusicalChanging PartnersThe Tempest ReimaginedMula sa Buwan, and Mabining Mandirigma–and I could tell you that even as my wallet protested, my heart and soul were happy and content. This year, I have my eyes set on even more productions, most of them original Filipino musicals. Because hey, love your own, right? Here are five Filipino musicals you definitely must see from January to April 2017!

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