Excitement is on overdrive as the phenomenal all-Filipino musical makes its long-awaited return. Ang Huling El Bimbo (AHEB), which opens this April at the Newport Performing Arts Theater comes with new faces, fresh choreography, and a new song to deliver the iconic musical based on the hits of Eraserheads.
Full House Theater Company arranged an Exclusive Media Access to AHEB rehearsals where the 2023 cast presented a first-look at a couple of numbers and entertained questions from the media.
We asked the returning cast members: How does it feel to be back knowing it is your faces the audience wants to see onstage and who do you think is the one person in the new cast, the people must not miss?
Topper Fabregas who reprises his role as young Anthony is excited to work this time with Gab Pangilinan (young Joy) and bring aspects of their real-life friendship into the show. He is always happy to work with friends because it is wonderful and easy. He also found that chemistry with Anthony Rosaldo (young Hector) and Paw Castillo (young Emman) happened naturally. “Everyone is amazing, I will root for every single person here but I’m super proud of Paw Castillo because he was in the ensemble in 2019 and now he steps into the role of Emman so there was really such an emotional investment and you really see it. He really wanted to play the role and he really went for it and he got it, and that’s amazing”. He adds, “Another shout out to our (young) Hector understudy, MC Dela Cruz. He was in the ensemble in 2018, he’s OG ensemble and now he is the understudy for Hector so I’m proud of these two”.
Gab Panglinan‘s initial AHEB participation was to record the female voices in the demos for the 2018 original cast. She couldn’t join the show then since she was doing “Rak of Aegis” with PETA but eventually got cast as Joy in 2019. She was at a loss for words talking about her return because she says, “Without a doubt, AHEB has been one of the most defining productions of many of our careers”. Pangilinan doesn’t want to think about the expectations or the pressure or the number of people that are excited to come see it, knowing how uncertain things can be, but is excited to be on stage again with all the new people in the cast. She shares, “To be honest, someone that people should look forward to personally is Kat (older Joy). You listen to her voice and there’s just worlds in that voice. Lahat kami noong first few words pa lang niya as older Joy…. The first few words that you will hear from Katrine Sunga, as in… “sino ka, ano’ng kwento mo?” That’s the power of her voice”.
Coming back to play Hector is the OG cast member, Gian Magdangal who believes that Hector is not the kind of role that can happen on your own because it’s always been an ensemble work with Emman and Anthony and it doesn’t stand alone without the chemistry of the two other main characters. This is why he pushes that people must really watch out for Bullet Dumas and Nino Alejandro who play Emman and Anthony respectively. “I also want to underline the ensemble kasi ang hirap ng trabajo nila and speaking from experience, I started out in theater as an ensemble… and doon mo talaga malalasap.. yung hirap, pagod, puyat, pawis at dugo para mabuo yung show. So you really have to watch out for this new ensemble”, added Magdangal.
AHEB 2023 opens on April 21. Tickets are now available at Newport World Resorts Box Office, TicketWorld, and SM Tickets outlets: P3,776 (SVIP), 3,236 (VIP), P2,696 (GOLD), P1,942 (SILVER), and P1,079 (BRONZE).