Kanakan-Balintagos’ #Manhid: The Pinoy Superhero Musical

Manhid posterCultural Center of the Philippines, and Ballet Philippines, now celebrating its 45th year, present the ballet musical, ManhidWhat if the EDSA People Power Revolution failed? This is the question posed by the musical, which presents an alternate timeline of events leading to the present day. The people are plagued by the disease of Kamanhiran (apathy) and it is up to a chosen few superheroes to cure the people of this disease.

Sandino Martin (Cinema One Originals Best Actor, Esprit de Corps) leads the cast as the dream boy (in more ways than one ;)) Bantugan. Mark Anthony Grantos alternates. Regina de Vera (Der Kaufmann) is the female lead as the wind-bender Lam-ang. Teetin Villanueva (COLLECTION) alternates. Mayen Estañero (Lorenzo) leads the villains as Mamalahima, the Minister of Humanity.

Selfie with Sandino Martin, who plays Bantugan
Selfie with Sandino Martin, who plays Bantugan

The cast of superheroes the Maragtas also include: Allunsina, using her power as sailor mouth, is played by Gold Villar (Rak of Aegis) and alternate Kim Molina (Rak of Aegis). KL Dizon plays insect goddess Urduja. Dilim, the bringer of darkness, is played by Jean Judith Javier (Noli Me Tangere the Opera). Ronah Rastata is the healer Lagrimas. BP principal dancer Jean Marc Cordero and company member Kazier Policarpio alternate as half-bird half-human Sarimanok. Company members Victor Maguad and Erl Emmanuel Sorilla play fortuneteller Gawigawen.

And the villains of the Tulisan ng Bayan: Fred Lo (RENTCinderella) and Ricardo Magno (La Revolucion Filipina) alternate as Radya Indarapatra, the charming man with a thousand masks. BP principal dancer Richardson Yadao is skilled spearman Apolaki. Shadow puppeteer Malyari is played by principal dancer Earl John Arisola and soloist Timothy Paul Cabrera. Principal dancer Katherine Trofeo and soloist Denise Parungao play poison ivy Gonongleda. Witch doctor Rasagadang is played by soloist Rita Angela Winder and company member Ma. Celina Dofitas.

The cast of the musical Manhid
The cast of the musical Manhid

The musical is written by Kanakan-Balintagos (aka Auraeus Solito, director of indie darling Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros), and directed by Ballet Philippines artistic director Paul Alexander Morales, who also co-choreographed with BP2 (BP’s junior company) artistic director Alden Lugnasin. Vincent de Jesus, Carina Evangelista, and The Eraserheads composed the music. The Radioactive Sago Project is the musical’s live band, with Francis de Veyra as musical director.

Amiciness got to watch the afternoon show last February 22 and I must say that it is an honor to have witnessed an excellent original Filipino theatrical production. You too can watch the remaining shows at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo at the CCP Main Theater, on the following weekends: February 27, 8PM; Feb. 28, 2PM & 8PM; March 1, 6PM; Mar. 6, 8PM; Mar. 7, 6PM; Mar. 8, 2PM & 8PM. Discounts for students and young professionals are available on selected dates. Buy your tickets now!