If you missed last years theater adaptation of Ricky Lee and Ishmael Bernal’s Himala, it would be atrocious to skip it this year. Ricky Lee & Vincent A. de Jesus’ Himala: Isang Musikal is back. It’s currently being staged at the Power Mac Center Spotlight and will run until the 20th of October 2019. Himala: Isang Musikal follows the story of a young woman from Barrio Cupang named Elsa who becomes a savior in the eyes of her co-townsfolk of Barrio Cupang. In the movie, Elsa was played by Ms. Nora Aunor and in this theater run, the pivotal role is being portrayed by Aicelle Santos and Celine Fabie. This winner of eight awards at the 11th Gawad Buhay is jointly produced by The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical.
When I first watched Himala: Isang Musikal last year, I ended up leaving the theater broken and a bit out of sorts. I’m not sure if those are good moods to feel after a show but not to sugarcoat it even more, I felt like somebody close to me just passed away. I ended up immediately buying a bottle of beer at the lobby of the theater to help me process what just happened; what I was just part of. Through the direction of Ed Lacson, Jr., Himala: Isang Musikal was that effective and relatable. It was that well-produced and acted that it’s the first time I felt so strongly about a theater performance. Himala: Isang Musikal for me tested my empathy, that I knew I had a lot of. My eyes were burning from forcing myself not to cry from some of its heart breaking and powerful scenes. The well-composed and written songs by Vincent A. de Jesus were moving, tender, and extremely harrowing.
I find it difficult to say anything more about Himala: Isang Musikal without spoiling the show but let me share that watching this second run, I thought my heart will be spared from feeling pained since I already saw it but no, although this time I allowed myself to be vulnerable and cried along with a good number of people at the press preview. Singer Bituin Escalante, who was part of the run last year as Nanay Saling, this time was part of the audience sitting beside Tony Award winner Lea Salonga. She was still crying and grief-stricken while standing at the lobby after the show. Everyone had expressions the same as mine the first time I saw it last year.
Himala: Isang Musikal will make you go through feeling after feeling with little to no intervals. Everyone who is involved in the production is so committed for the audience to be part of Barrio Cupang, whether you like it or not. The cast in their characters as inhabitants of Cupang will make you feel their struggle, hopelessness, and fanaticism as if it were also yours. It’s safe to say that this one is an OPM masterpiece; a classic that needs to watched and rewatched. Click this link for the cast of this year’s Himala: Isang Musikal and my interview with Aicelle Santos and Ricky Lee.
Ricky Lee & Vincent A. de Jesus’ Himala: Isang Musikal is currently being restaged at the Power Mac Center Spotlight at the Circuit Makati until October 20, 2019. Follow The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical for ticket details or message me at 0917-5005190 for tickets for the September 29 (Sunday); 8pm show.