Ako si Josephine: A Celebration for Yeng Constantino
Most recording artists mark special occasions by holding a concert or releasing a special edition of the album that started it all for them. But Pop Rock Superstar Yeng Constantino — whose career turns 10 this year—has never been, nor will she ever be, like most recording artists. She’s much more : a songwriter with a proven track record of penning chart-toppers.
Since Yeng emerged on the music scene in 2006 by way of Pinoy Dream Academy season one, she has relied on her songwriting ability to set herself apart. A unique artist like her deserves to mark a decade in the industry in a unique way. Ten years is ten years, after all. So it was that her visionary of a manager Erickson Raymundo partnered with the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) to produce a musical built around Yeng’s discography.
Inspired by the success of PETA’s Rak of Aegis — Erickson came up with the idea for Ako Si Josephine – A Musical Featuring the Music of Yeng Constantino. Instead of another concert or album, this year Yeng will celebrate her showbiz anniversary by lending her compositions to the team behind Rak of Aegis.
Ako Si Josephine was written by Liza Magtoto. It will be directed by Maribel Legarda and feature musical direction from Myke Salomon. Theatergoers will be treated to fresh takes on Yeng’s singles and other selections from her entire catalog, courtesy of Myke. Insiders say that his arrangements alone are enough reason to watch the show again and again. He took pains to give all the songs featured in the show a whole new vibe while staying true to the spirit of the original.
Yeng is confident that her songs are in the right hands. So much so, in fact, that she can’t hardly wait for people to see the musical.
“Fan din ako ng Aegis, so hopefully kung ano yung narating ng Rak of Aegis ay marating din nitong Ako Si Josephine. Sobrang funny at cute talaga ng story niya kaya excited na ako na maipalabas siya,” Yeng says.
At first, she wasn’t sure about doing a musical because she didn’t think she deserved to be so honored.
“Nung una, siyempre napaisip ako kung ganun na ba karami yung mga kantang nasulat ko para gamitin sila sa isang musical. Napaisip din ako kung ganun na ba ako ka-influential na songwriter para bigyan ng ganitong honor.”
To banish those negative thoughts, Yeng leaned on her family and friends.
“Kung meron mga ganung tanong sa utak ko, may mga tao din na naniniwala at nagmamahal sa akin. Pag meron kang ganun, nagiging mas madali to believe in yourself. So sinabi ko, ‘Kung yun po ang nakikita niyo na dapat gawin, at sa tingin niyong akma naman sa akin, sige, tatanggapin ko na po. Kasi biyaya naman yun, at ayoko namang i-dismiss lang ng basta basta. Ayokong i-shoo away yung binibigay ni God.”
Yeng appreciates that the PETA team let her be involved in nearly every aspect of Ako Si Josephine, from building the world of the music empire (which has been styled to approximate the look and feel of a graphic novel). But while she offered input from time to time, Yeng left most of the real work to the theater pros.
“Alam ko naman kung ano yung strength ko, isa akong songwriter, so may ibang aspeto nung musical na ipinagkatiwala ko na sa mga tao na kung saan yun ang expertise nila,” she says.
Ako Si Josephine – A Musical Featuring the Music of Yeng Constantino is set in a music empire where love songs are banned. But when top composer Josephine falls in love with her boss Chinito (and he with her), they can’t keep from setting their feelings for each other to music. They want to release all the songs they wrote together, but the empire’s despotic ruler Monotomia only allows HYP or Happy, Youthful, Purposeful music to be broadcast throughout the land.
Ako Si Josephine will follow Josephine’s journey towards fighting for her right to share the music of her heart with the people she loves. Josephine will be played by stage actress, YouTuber and newly-minted Cornerstone artist Via Antonio, who was handpicked by Yeng herself at the auditions. Another talented personality in the theater scene Maronne Cruz will be Via’s alternate.
Joaquin Valdez has signed on to play the charming and handsome Chinito. Meanwhile, Jon Santos and Ricci Chan will bring Monotomia to life on different dates. “Magkaiba rin yung binibigay nilang dalawa kaya nakaka-excite sila pareho panoorin,” says an insider. As for whether Yeng will make a cameo onstage, that remains to be seen. Her fans will just have to watch the musical to find out!
Ako Si Josephine – A Musical Featuring the Music of Yeng Constantino is produced by Cornerstone Entertainment and ABSCBN Events. A production of PETA.
Its first run will be from September 8 to October 9 at the PETA Theater Center in New Manila’s Sunnyside Drive. Tickets are available at Ticketworld ; call 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.
For more details about what’s happening in the Manila theater scene, please view our Theater Calendar.