Almost 15 years since it was first staged, the Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical are resurrecting Himala: Isang Musikal which is based on Ishmael Bernal's iconic film Himala.
Ricky Lee, who wrote the script of the original movie, also penned the musical version which debuted in 2004 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. "Ang haba na ng naging journey ng Himala," he told the press. "Very fulfilling na sa haba ng journey, ilang beses siyang na-reincarnate... Sa mga hindi pa napapanganak nung pinalabas yung Himala, welcome and enjoy Himala: Isang Musikal."
"We know we wanna do it for the new generation," said director Ed Lacson Jr. "It took us a year and a half to choose the people to do it... and I hope it's as powerful as the other reiterations."
Comparing the 2018 revival to the past incarnations of Himala, composer Vincent de Jesus said "Habang tumatagal nag-iiba yung meaning, mas nagiging relevant. And now it's taking another form, mas nagiging colorful."
Himala follows the story of Elsa (played in the film by Philippine Superstar Nora Aunor) who becomes a savior in the eyes of the suffering people of Cupang after allegedly being blessed with healing powers from the Virgin Mary.
Set to take on the iconic role is Aicelle Santos who previously starred in the hit musical Rak of Aegis and the 2017 Manila Film Festival entry Ang Larawan. "I am happy, excited and to be honest, scared," she shared to MYX. "Each scene is challenging. Preparations siyempre rehearsals - I make it a point to be there 100 percent heart, mind and soul."
For Aicelle, its relevance won't seem to fade away anytime soon. "Going back to the story, ito yung gusto natin iparating na paano ba mag-survive ang mga Pinoy. Ang ganda rin na ma-orient natin yung mga millennials ngayon so I hope they can watch."
Walang himala? Not for Kakki Teodoro who finally gets to play one of her biggest dream roles. She will be portraying Nimia, Elsa's childhood friend who returns to Cupang after becoming a prostitute in Manila.
"I look forward to show the humanity and the realness of being a prostitute... na hindi porke't prostitute ay madumi kang tao. Gusto kong ilabas yung dangal ng karakter ko," she said.
Meanwhile, Rak of Aegis' Neomi Gonzales plays their other friend Chayong, Elsa's right-hand woman with a tragic fate.
Also starring in the theatrical masterpiece are Sandino Martin, David Ezra, Bituin Escalante, Jenny Villegas, Glenda Liao, Cristy Peredo, Matel Patayon, Sigrid Balbas, Hazel Maranan, Raflesia Bravo, Roxy Aldiosa, EJ Pepito, Joshua Cabiladas, Kits Falcis, Roby Malubay, Gary Junsay, Mano Domingo, Neil Tolentino, Eizel Marcelo, Jasper Jimenez and more.
Himala: Isang Musikal aims to be powered by actors' vocals and emotions, maintaining only minimalistic but necessary stage designs. "I have a very hardworking cast who think on their own... building their own characters," said Direk Ed.
The entire cast gave us a snippet during the media launch. If you're wondering if this revival can pull it off - consider it done. So mark your calendars, Himala: Isang Musikal will run from February 10 to March 4 at the Power MAC Center Spotlight, Circuit Makati.
Are you looking forward to Himala: Isang Musikal?