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‘Ang Huling El Bimbo’: A story on friendship told through iconic ‘90s hits

Those who were born or grew up in the ‘90s are familiar with the classic songs of Filipino rock band Eraserheads. We bought their tapes, memorized their songs' lyrics, and sang along to them. Many relate to their music, finding meaning to the stories told. 

The cast in 'Toyang's Canteen' segment of the musical. 
One story, currently playing on stage, revolves around these iconic songs. 

Written by Dingdong Novenario, Ang Huling El Bimbo is about a group of friends whose lives were drastically changed one tragic night. 

The musical play, produced by Resorts World Manila and Full House Theater Company, in cooperation with Ultimate Shows, Inc., premiered on July 26 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater. 

Set in two timelines: the ‘90s and present, it follows the lives of Joy, Hector, Emman, and Anthony from college until the time they parted ways. 

Seasoned stage actors Jon Santos, OJ Mariano, and Gian Magdangal play Anthony, Emman, and Hector, respectively. While Topper Fabregas, Boo Gabunada, and Reb Atadero/Bibo Reyes respectively portray the younger versions of Anthony, Emman, and Hector. 

The three former college buddies reunite after two decades to address their unresolved issues. 

(From left to right) Jon Santos as Anthony, Tanya Manalang as young Joy, Gian Magdangal as Hector, and OJ Mariano as Emman.
The musical production deals with the underlying issue of rape and corruption told through the life of Joy. 

Tanya Manalang, who stars as the young Joy shared that her character is one of the most important members of the cast as she serves as the glue holding the barkada together even after a series of tragic moments that occurred in her life.

“Joy became the glue kahit nag-FO [friendship over] na sila,” Manalang said in an exclusive interview. 

Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo portrays the older Joy. 

While the music used are Eraserheads songs, the materials are original and meticulously made. Musical director Myke Salomon impeccably weaved some of the band’s hit tracks such as “With a Smile,” “Ligaya,” “Pare Ko,” and “Alapaap” into the narrative of the story. 

A classic Eheads song perfectly matches each scene, dramatizing the suffering and emotion each character deals with. It shines a light on the universality of the themes of complex social and human relationships. 

No doubt, Ang Huling El Bimbo is stirring some attention. Its music and performances captivated the audience during the gala premiere. The audience went home feeling contented and happy after reliving their days back in the '90s.

Jon Santos, OJ Mariano, and Gian Magdangal play the lead characters Anthony, Emman, and Hector, respectively.
Ang Huling El Bimbo runs until Sept. 2 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila. 

Topics: Eraserheads , Dingdong Novenario , Ang Huling El Bimbo , Jon Santos , OJ Mariano , Gian Magdangal , Tanya Manalang
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