Bits and Snippets of the Philippines

Basic Reading of Global Filipinos

Bituing Walang Ningning The Musical Will Open Again on October 2015

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For some of you readers who are familiar with the title, it’s a comic book series, a television series and a movie, right? Remember the infamous slapping phrase, “You’re nothing but a second rate, trying hard copycat!” *SLAP!* Now, who do you remember saying that?

I was privileged to have watched the musical finale of the Bituing Walang Ningning: The Musical at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila last July 18, 2015. So, yes, this article was due two weeks or so ago. The musical has been running 24 shows before I watched its finale.

And for those who were not able to watch it, have no fear. Bituing Walang Ningning will have its second run starting October 8, 2015 also in Resorts World Manila. Yay!

I should say an awesome overall performance goes to Cris Villonco who played Lavinia Arguelles a.k.a. the Evil Queen of the show. Somehow, most villains in musicals do get the best roles that allows them to express themselves in all spheres of the musical experience. For me, it was Villonco who stole the show. I was also impressed with the singing prowess of Mark Bautista who played “lover boy” Nico Escobar and the acting of Monica Cuenco as musical play’s heroine Dorina Pineda. I knew Menchu Lauchengco was going to be there but she played a secondary role as Edith (okay, I forgot who Edith was). Of course, Jon Santos a gay role as Auntie stole some highlights because I knew he was ad-libbing some of his words – and it was awesome how he did it. Stage production was elegant yet simple (in short, not messy as I’ve seen some musicals do). Kudos to the scriptwriter and musical director, Freddie Santos, for doing a good job with the sometimes split-second intervals and ins-and-outs movements that usually create chaos in a musical play but was never felt by the audience (me!)

Bituing Walang Ningning is a Snow White versus the Evil Queen fairy tale done in a Philippine musical theater scene. But the ending, if you still recall the comic book, movie or TV series, is different. Well, that’s for you to find out when you watch it starting October 8, 2015 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater.

This comic book adaptation actually started as a 1985 movie blockbuster in Philippine cinema that starred Sharon Cuneta as Dorina, Christopher de Leon as Nico, and Cherie Gil as Lavinia. Also, the late Jay Ilagan, Tommy Abuel, Joel Torre and Chandra Romero were also cast in the silver screen version. The first screening day of this movie was actually Valentine’s Day of 1985. Zsa Zsa Padilla was originally offered the role of Lavinia but because of the two-piece swimsuit and some kissing scenes, Padilla turned it down.

Then came the television series version in 2006 with Sarah Geronimo playing Dorina and Angelika dela Cruz as Lavinia. This time, Zsa Zsa Padilla joined the cast of the TV series as Dorina’s real mother. It was aired on a primetime television hour in ABS-CBN.

The comic book version of Bituing Walang Ningning actually came out in 1984 and was created by Nerissa Cabral, a very well-known illustrator in the 80s and up till today. Her first illustrated story was published in 1962 in Espesyal Komiks. Thirty of her comic book stories have already seen themselves in film versions, starting with Ako ng Aking Ama and Karugtong ng Kahapon in 1975. During that one year in 1985, four of her works appeared on screen, including Bituing Walang Ningning.

The title song “Bituing Walang Ningning” was originally composed by Willy Cruz. In fact, nine out of the 13 songs in the musical were composed by Cruz. Paikot-ikot was by Mon Espia and Ang Boyfriend Kong Baduy by Marvic Sotto. All of the 13 songs were originally published by Viva Music Publishing.

I earnestly recommend you watch Bituing Walang Ningning, The Musical starting on October 8, 2015 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila. Tickets are not yet available (I think) but if they are, you can go online to Resorts World Manila or TicketNet Online to buy your tickets for the Philippine musical’s October run.

More photos:

Sources: RW Manila Press Release | Resorts World Manila Online | WikiPilipinas | IMDB | Wikipedia

Photos: @raffypekson | Resorts World Manila

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