I love theatre, especially musicals, and I’ve actually been thinking of watching a local production since there are a couple running right now that are getting good reviews. I was debating which one to see (I can only afford to see one) when ‘lo and behold, Wazzup Pilipinas announces that they are giving away tickets to “Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady” (KPANLL). Score!
So, I dragged my non-theatre fan BFF Patintera to Greenbelt Onstage last night for a much-needed intro to local musical theatre.
It was the first for both of us and I must admit, I wasn’t expecting KPANLL to blow me away, but it did. Amazing vocals from every single one of them! Bravo!
Frenchie Dy’s “Mely” was such a sweetheart that one can’t help but fall in love with her. The humble, kimi but no-nonsense breadwinner is the embodiment of everything good about Filipino values. There’s always that one person in every Filipino family who keeps a good head about her, soldiers on and puts food on the table. Until, of course, her dark side (honest mistake) is revealed halfway through the story.
The maldita sister, Viva, played by Natasha Cabrera (and Kim Molina) had interesting layers to her. The strained relationship between her and Mely is best explored with an open mind and heart. And I have to say, Natasha was impressive both with her acting and singing.
One of my favorite characters didn’t actually sing, though, but she was just brilliant. She had the whole computer talk down to pat, right to the end when she crashed. (Ooopss…Spoiler alert) Great job, Kakki Teodoro!
The Kayumanggilas and Fuwerza Filipinas cast proved that there’s quality musical theatre talent in the country.
The script was nearly impeccable. Nearly.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
The palpable disgusto of Fuwerza Filipinas for Filipinos seemed unresolved to me. Sure, the Filipino commoners saved the day but it felt like there was no realization for the value of Filipinos. The Kayumanggilas actually had a strong case against Fuwerza Filipinas and how the public was so wrong in worshipping them just because they’re “imported”.
I like that the “nobodies” ended up saving the day and that every single one of the characters had layers to their personalities like real people (although, we don’t really have superheroes in real life). Not one was purely evil (save, possibly, for Henyotic) nor completely good (not even Nanay), and that made the KPANLL universe richer and more vibrant.
After the show, which did not at all feel lengthy at three hours, we were treated to a Q&A with the cast. Turns out, last night was press preview for Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady. It was such a delight to get to see the cast slumped on the stage, fresh from a successful performance, glowing with joy.
Needless to say, I want more. I’m going back for more local theatre and I can’t wait to see the next one.
Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady is running until July 26 at Onstage, Greenbelt. Go, see it. You’ll regret it if you don’t.