You don’t have to be born in the ‘70s to appreciate Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! You can be born in the ‘80s, the ‘90s, and even the ‘00s and still appreciate the story of the musical, where seven college students join a song-writing and singing contest during the time of Martial Law. The musical is set to the songs of APO Hiking Society, a legendary Filipino band.
It also doesn’t matter that you weren’t born when the band first released its singles. APO’s songs are such a classic that those born in later decades will still recognize them. And what a great repertoire to create a story from.
The songs were seamlessly woven to create a universal story of young, scrappy kids who had a dream and had to fight for it. Even the cast was carefully selected and brought out the nuances of each character. Some of my favourites were Jobim Javier who played the playboy Butch, Floyd Tena as Rick (and his soft, luxurious hair), Jon Philippe Go and his poignant portrayal of Ray, and Alfritz Blanche and his comedic timing. Sab Jose and Marika Sasaki could keep up with the men with their vocals but their most glorious moments were when they were being funny.
Apart from them, they were joined by Mark Bautista, Jef Flores, Jon Abella, Vyen Villanueva, Rita Daniela, Raul Montesa, and Neomi Gonzales. Also part of the ensemble are Gian Gloria, Shalee Vicencio, Peachy Atilano-Guevara, Anton Posadas, Jourdan Bartolome, and Derrick Gozos.
Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! had a large cast but its strengths were in its ensemble numbers where everyone is involved. The high-octane choreography of “Blue Jeans” was an excellent start and a preview of what’s to come. The best part is that each character had their time to shine without the show going on too long. Some standouts were “Batang Bata Ka Pa,” “Mahirap Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba,” and “Panalangin.”
9Works Theatrical and Globe Live always goes all out with their production and we saw this in American Idiot, A Christmas Carol, and Newsies. We also saw this with Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! and its costumes, choreography, and set design. Everything was well-researched and well-designed.
Apart from the LSS-worthy songs, one of the great things about the musical is nostalgia. I certainly wasn’t around during the era but I appreciated the humor and the ironic nods to present day, like the lack of traffic in EDSA, Frazier Mall, and how you can drive to Ateneo from Greenhills in just 10 minutes.
Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is perfect for the Filipino viewer since it combines variety show-worthy performances, effective love teams, and local humor. The cherry on top is the music. It’s going to make you sing “Doo Bidoo.”
This story is in partnership with 9Works Theatrical. Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! runs from February 2 until March 17 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater with 8PM shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and 2:30PM matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit the website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.