WATCH: ‘Tabing Ilog The Musical’ Cast Sings Excerpts from the Show
Backed with a new set of cast and creative team, Tabing Ilog The Musical is all set to be restaged this November at the PETA Theater Center.
Since its maiden production in 2020, whose run was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the musical has been updated with a new script, now penned by Eljay Castro Deldoc, and new music by Vincent A. DeJesus, who returns as the show’s composer, lyricist, and musical director.
ABS-CBN is also now collaborating with PETA for the 2023 version, which will be set in our current time period. The musical is based on the ABS-CBN teen drama TV series of the same name, which follows the memories, experiences, and friendships of Eds, Badong, Corrine, James, Fonzy, Anne, George, and Rovic.
Having originally aired from 1999-2003, Deldoc shares that this musical version aims to shine a light on the Gen Z and the stories of their generation. “We want the younger audiences to see themselves in the play and we want the not-so-young audiences to understand the youth of today,” he shares.
“Tabing Ilog The Musical is about friendship, connections and disconnections sa panahon ng 5G at LTE. It is about love and romance, kasama ang mga kalat sa panahon ng dummy at dump accounts, and it is about the value of memories sa panahon na ang bilis at ang dali mag-mute, unsend, and delete. Plus a few things about confidential fun and funds.”
DeJesus shares that this show will be very music-heavy, now backed by 24 songs, with only 3 or 4 songs from the 2020 version.
“Para maiba iyung musikal, sabi namin, ‘Gawin nating mas malaki para maiba iyung genre talaga.’ [It’s] to cater to the new audience and para sa mga solid fans. We want to marry both.”
He shares that they felt the need to update the script after the pandemic. “Marami nang nangyari sa tatlong taon lalo na for the young people, for Gen Z. Siguro except for one character, naiba lahat iyung takbo ng [arc] nila.”
The show is now also helmed by director Phil Noble, who says that they had to study who the youth are today, what they’re going through, and what they’ve had to overcome during the pandemic. “Una, inisip namin iyung original characters at kung sila ay nasa ngayong panahon, ano iyung maaaring pinagdaanan nila. Doon nagsimula iyung rework sa script. And then adjustment sa songs kasi iba rin iyung tunog ng mga kabataan ngayon, iba rin iyung klase ng awit na meron sila.”
“Iyung pinaghuhugutan talaga namin, ano ba iyung mga kabataan ngayon at ano iyung pinagdadaanan nila, ano iyung pinaglalaban nila, lalung-lalo na kung paano ba sila umibig ngayon, pareho rin ba iyan ng pag-ibig ng panahon ng 90’s lalo na sa digital world, the fake news, etc. Iyun iyung mga pinasok namin.”
What can audiences take away from the show? DeJesus says, “Maganda iyung may support system iyung barkada. No one can survive alone, kahit virtual iyung support system. It’s better than nothing.”
“Before we ghost, before we delete, let’s think twice. May responsibilities, face to face or virtual. Friendship remains the same. Loyalty, trust. You never break trust.”
“Isa ring importante iyung being connected with each other,” adds Noble. “Ano ba iyung definition ngayon ng ‘being connected with your friends’? Iba na kasi iyung definition ngayon sa mga kabataan.”
“At the same time, because of what’s happening around, plus what happened during the pandemic, isang value na napag-usapan na pwedeng ipaalam namin sa mga manonood, is the value of mental health. May isa kasing karakter sa istorya, may pinagdadaanan. Kung paano sila tutulungan, kung paano sila panghahawakan bilang mga kaibigan.”
Also in the creative team are Jade Castro (additional lyrics), Stephen Viñas (choreography), Ohm David (set design), Bene Manaois (video design), David Esguerra (lighting design), and Tata Tuviera (costume design).
The full cast features a mix of theater artists and Star Magic artists who will be making their theater debuts. Featured theater artists include Benedix Ramos as Rovic/ Andoy, Chaye Mogg as George, Miah Canton as Corrinne, Jude Hinumdum and Earvin Estioco alternating as Badong, Vino Mabalot as Fonzy, Jordan Andrews as James, Omar Uddin as Andoy, Joann Co as Lola Juling, Neomi Gonzales as Azon, Red Nuestro as Panyong, Teetin Villanueva as Anchang, Lance Reblando as Meow, and Vyen Villanueva as Toots.
Star Magic artist Kiara Takahashi, who starred as Eds during the first run, is now returning to play George. Star magic artists making their theater debuts include Vivoree Esclito, Sheena Belarmino, and Jhoanna Robles alternating as Eds, Kobie Brown as James, Akira Morishita, JL Toleriza alternating as Rovic, Andi Abaya as George, Anji Salvacion as Corrinne, and Drei Sugay as Fonzy.
Tabing Ilog the Musical will run at the PETA Theater from November 10 to December 17, 2023, with Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are available at KTX.PH.
You can watch the cast perform excerpts from the show below.