When I watched Himala: Isang Musikal last year, I was left grief-stricken. It was as if someone broke me, that’s how powerful the show was. It was masterfully done; thrilling with a punch in the gut. That’s why it’s such a good decision that The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical decided to have a restaging of Himala: Isang Musikal this year.
After winning a total of eight awards at the 11th Gawad Buhay Awards, including Outstanding Musical Existing Material for a Musical, Outstanding Stage Director for a Musical (Ed Lacson, Jr.), Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a Musical (Aicelle Santos), Best Ensemble Performance for a Musical, and Outstanding Costume Design (Carlo Pagunaling), Himala: Isang Musikal solidifies the fact that it’s one of the best Pinoy musicals ever produced.
Himala: Isang Musikal is a creation of screenwriter and playwright Ricky Lee and musical genius Vincent A. de Jesus. It’s based on the screenplay by Ricky Lee and the movie that he created with director Ishmael Bernal and starred by Nora Aunor as Elsa, Spanky Manikan, Vangie Labalan, Pen Medina, and Joel Lamangan. It’s a story of a young woman named Elsa, a resident of Barrio Cupang, who has said to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary and started healing the sick, which then transformed the quiet and rudimentary town of Cupang into a hectic and frenzied state.
During the press conference held at the Privato Hotel in Quezon City, the cast were introduced. Fresh from her stint as Gigi Van Tranh in the global tour of Miss Saigon and as Aileen in Rak of Aegis, Aicelle Santos reprises her role as Elsa. In this upcoming run, also playing Elsa is soprano and longtime member of Ryan Cayabyab Singers Celine Fabie.
Also reprising their roles in the show are Gawad Buhay nominees Kakki Teodoro (Nimia), Neomi Gonzales (Chayong), David Ezra (Orly), Floyd Tena (pari), and Sandino Martin (Pilo). Actor and singer Vic Robinson joins the cast and set to alternate with Sandino as Pilo. Returning to the stage is notable singer and actress May Bayot – de Castro. She played Elsa in the 2003 original stage adaptation of Himala but this year, she will be playing Nanay Saling and alternating for the role is West End alumna Sheila Francisco.
I had the opportunity to sit-down and talk to Aicelle Santos and Ricky Lee during the press con. Watch the video below as Aicelle briefly talked about Miss Saigon and being Elsa and as Sir Ricky shared his thought process on writing Himala and his plans on a possible new musical again based on one of his movies.
There’s a lot to look forward to in this rerun of Himala: Isang Musikal so you can’t really miss it again. They open on September 20, 2019 and will have a limited run for a month at the Powermac Center Spotlight, Circuit Makati. For more details about the musical, follow The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical on Facebook and Instagram.