A jukebox musical is always an exciting idea. To the regular theater-goer, it might seem like a simple formula: take a musician’s existing catalog and make a story out of it. But, in reality, it is very hard to execute. Jukebox musicals are either a hit or a miss. 9 Works Theatrical and Globe Live’s first original Filipino musical takes on APO Hiking Society’s greatest hits. And like APO’s songs, Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is definitely a big hit.
At the core of Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is a heartwarming story of love and friendship. Set during the country’s turbulent 70’s, a group of college friends decide to join a singing and songwriting contest. At a time when originality and creativity, especially in the music industry, was not particularly celebrated, they decide to submit an original composition.
A New Stage
9 Works and Globe co-productions always deliver on their stage designs. This musical’s in particular though is relatively simpler than their previous ones. The biggest change, of course, is the venue. This is their first show not to be held outdoors at the Globe Iconic Amphitheater (which is probably wise since it won’t stop raining these days). There are no huge LED panels in sight at the Maybank Theatre stage, but lighting, projections, smoke machines, and a lot of props are fully employed. But don’t let the more minimal setup fool you: there are still clever surprises on stage.
The musical paid tribute to APO in the best way possible. Their songs were re-arranged and re-imagined in the context of a theatrical piece, mirroring the characters’ moments of triumphs and struggles without losing APO’s familiar, classic sound. These songs were written decades ago but remain as fresh and #relatable as ever—a testament to the timelessness of APO’s music.
Just like APO’s music, the musical is wonderfully Pinoy. It’s like watching an old Pinoy film: the 70s references, the Amboy jokes, and especially the characters and their conflicts. It’s easy to relate to the story because at some point in our lives, we were young, fearless (reckless even) and wanted to change the world for the better. The APO musical reminds us to be idealistic. To continue challenging norms whether musically or socially.
Jobim Javier is often introduced in news articles and reviews as THE Danny Javier’s son, but he proves that he is more than that. All eyes were on him in musical numbers like Panalangin and Mahirap Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba. His portrayal of campus playboy Butch will charm his way to your heart. I know he did mine. 😊 Reiterating a headline I saw in my social media feed, a star is born in the form of Jobim Javier. Here’s hoping for more theatre work in his future.
Another one making a spectacular debut with this musical is GMA artist Marika Sasaki who plays Jane. She’s been playing bit roles on TV shows usually as the lead girl’s sidekick, but here the spotlight is solely on her. Her comedic timing and musicality are in full display complemented by an equally talented loveteam and duet partner Alfritz Blanche. Their moments together were some of my favorite numbers in the musical.
Jef Flores, Jon Abella, and Vyen Villanueva are also a delight to watch on stage. Having seen them in more serious roles like Tick…Tick Boom!, A Christmas Carol and Newsies, it’s refreshing to have them sing and dance to Filipino tunes while making fun of Jef’s slang accent.
Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is definitely a must-watch. It is the kind of musical where all the elements just work together perfectly: a heartwarming story, a super talented cast, and APO’s timeless music. It will make you smile, laugh, cry and wish you were on stage with the cast singing Awit ng Barkada. Kudos to everyone involved in this production. I can’t wait to watch again.
Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is still showing for the rest of August at Maybank Performing Arts Theater, Bonifacio Global City, on August 17-19 & 24-26, 2018, at 8:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, and 3:00pm on Saturdays & Sundays.
And if you would like to watch the show and support a charitable cause, buy tickets for August 24, Friday. Part of the proceeds of the show will benefit Childhaus, a halfway house for cancer patient kids. Check the Instagram post below for details:
Have you watched Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! already? What did you think? Are you looking forward to watch the show again? Sound off in the comments below.