Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady The Musical

Anyone who has experienced the frustration of losing a kasambahay, as well as the joy of and relief that comes with hiring one, will find something to appreciate and enjoy in this musical. An engaging story and script, solid performances, great voices, beautiful music and lyrics, spot on choreography/lighting/practically almost everything – these are the things that super musicals are made of and Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady The Musical (KPANLL) is one such super musical.

Written and created by Carlo Vergara, with Peterean Brinas as co-writer and with Vincent A. De Jesus as composer, lyricist and musical director, KPANLL is the story of two sisters, Mely and Viva Moran and what happens when they each find employment with one of two groups, the group of superheroes called Fuwerza Filipinas and another group called the Kayunmanggilas. KPANLL is directed by Chris Martinez and is produced by Dalanghita Productions, a company that aims to produce "fresh, flavorful, Filipino" musicals. To everyone involved in bringing this musical to life, you have our admiration and appreciation. Similar to other productions (e.g. William, Rak of Aegis) that have been staged and that we have watched at the PETA theater, KPANLL is another showcase of true Filipino creativity and genius. Magaling talaga ang Pinoy!

The musical runs for three hours, with a 15-minute intermission in between, but it is enjoyable from start to finish. Save for a few portions which could have been shortened (no spoilers here, just an expression of personal opinion), I can safely say that my family and I savored every minute of the show that we would be willing to watch it again. From funny lines to dramatic scenes, KPANLL has it all that I found myself crying (yes, naiyak – hulaan ninyo kung saan) and then laughing that I felt that it was a pretty crazy musical for me to watch. I mean that as an expression of recognition for the wealth of talent that was unfolding before our eyes in the theater that day.

From the story of Mely and Viva, as well as the Fuwerza Filipinas and the Kayumanggilas, KPANLL touches on universal themes in a very Filipino way – themes like family, sibling rivalry, politics, showbiz, and all kinds of love – from love for family, to romantic love, and yes, even love for power and recognition. It delivers life lessons that we have always known but sometimes need to be reminded about because we forget – every now and then. In KPANLL, you will see bits and pieces of yourself, people you know, people who may be watching in the theater with you, people whom you may be missing and just about everyone who has it in them to be a hero…

KPANLL connects with the mind and with the heart. If anyone has any doubt how powerful words and art can be, please watch this show. For me, personally, I appreciated the whole package but it was the music and words of Vincent De Jesus that truly moved me. The songs are a combination of English and Filipino compositions. I liked the Filipino lyrics best – iba talaga pag sariling wika. Mas malalim ang hugot. Tagos sa puso. "…Nakita ko sa iyong mata, na ano man ako ngayon, may mas hihigit pa…" Hay naku.

On the day that we watched, we caught Ms. Bituin Escalante as Mely, Ms. Kimverlie Molina as Viva, Mr. Hans Eckstein as Leading Man, Ms. Astarte Abraham as Madre de Dios, and Mr. Domi Espejo as Senyor Blangko. It would be interesting to watch again and catch a different set of cast members. All the performers (from those who played the leads to those who were part of the ensemble) were outstanding but for this show, Mely, Viva, and Senyor Blangko were super outstanding. As the judges say in true Your Face Sounds Familiar fashion, hindi ko nakita si Bituin, Kimverlie, at Domi. Sila talaga si Mely, Viva, at Senyor Blangko. At grabe ang mga boses (The Voice of the Philippines naman ngayon – hindi ako binayaran ng ABS-CBN para dito. Walang nagbayad ng kahit ano actually. Kami lang ang nagbayad para sa tickets namin.).

May Bayot-de Castro was also super as Nanay. Siyempre, Nanay nga e.

Just as a side story, my family and I kept thinking about where we had seen Mr. Domi Espejo previously as he looked super familiar. Upon reading the program after the show, we realized that it was in King of the Birds at the Ateneo. Magaling siya talaga.

At the end of the show, you will also get the chance to take photos of the performers so have your cameras and phones ready. Salamat po kay Ms. Bituin and Ms. Kimverlie. It is amazing how Ms. Kimverlie can sound soft and sweet off-stage after hearing her perform powerfully in Rak of Aegis, Manhid, and in KPANLL. As for Ms. Bituin, the first thing I remember before I took my turn to have a photo taken with her was her saying “thank you” right up front and gratitude always makes one a true star in my book.

KPANLL will be staged until June 7, 2015, with shows on Fridays to Sundays at 8pm. There are matinees at 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets sell for P800.00 (balcony), P1,200.00 (orchestra) and P1,500.00 (VIP). If you can watch foreign productions and concerts featuring foreign artists costing much more than that, panoorin mo na ito. Sulit ang pinaghirapan mong suweldo. Bring the whole family, barangay, even your kasambahay. You know your life will not be as super without them. You may purchase your tickets at Ticketworld or call or text them at 0917 706 3533.

[By Angelica Viloria | Sunday, May 17, 2015]


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