Ang Huling El Bimbo 2019: Nostalgic, Timely, Relevant
Last year, Eraserheads fans were shooked at the news that there will be a musical that features the songs of one of the most iconic ‘90s Pinoy bands. Lo and behold, Ang Huling El Bimbo was a treat for people of all ages, as its story of friendship resonates with people coming from all walks of life, driven by a collective understanding of the music that defines a generation.
They brought back the musical for a re-run this March 2019, and there is absolutely no reason to miss it. Rumor has it that several plot lines, song choices, and stylistic directives have been changed from the previous run, in order to address whatever gaps may have happened during the last time. There’s additional dialogue written by dramaturg Floy Quintos, and direction is by the amazing Dexter Santos. Anyone is definitely in for a treat and everyone is recommended to watch this show. Gusto mo bang sumama? Pare (and mare) ko, you have until April 14 to do so. Even Ely Buendia himself loved the show:
Below are reasons why watching Ang Huling El Bimbo is worth it. There are some spoilers though – you may want to tread carefully before scrolling down.
1) It is not just a hodgepodge of Eraserheads songs put together for the sake of pulling off a narrative. The narrative thrives on its own, and is then amplified by amazing orchestration and arrangement of Eraserheads songs one could not imagine can be sung in a different yet still beautiful way.
2) Its plot is not the usual cheesy friendship tale. While the songs are mostly 90s songs, the overall premise of the story is set both in the past and the present – a present riddled with societal issue, making the musical a social commentary on its own.
It’s hard to talk of this point without posing major spoilers, so let’s just say that it follows the tale of four friends who have been there for each other during their formative years in young adulthood, and how it follows a series of events that revolve on matters such as love, identity, career. It’s not the cheesy “I’ll be there for you moments” that make it count; it’s the Huwag Kang Matakot scenes that just hit close to home. ‘Di mo ba alam nandito lang ako? Now, THAT’S friendship.
3) It features only the best from Philippine musical theater.
Every note that came from Gabriela Pangilinan’s character gave me so much joy (pun intended) – her singing was flawless, her every note infused with emotion. Add to that a powerhouse cast including the likes of Gian Magdangal, OJ Mariano, Jon Santos, Reb Atadero, Bibo Reyes, and many more and you are sure that every cent spent is worth every rehearsal and training these actors – our Pinoy pride – has gone through just to deliver a worthwhile show worthy of a standing ovation (which happened when I watched the show – I wouldn’t be surprised if they had those on a regular basis).
4) It can leave you both happy and uncomfortable, joyful yet sorrowful – at the end of the play, you will feel your humanity, throbbing and raw. It pinches your very heart because what it shows is basically what most Filipinos go through then and now.
Watching the play is like watching fragments of your own life unfold before your very eyes. The excitement and thrill of leaving home, the friendships formed in and outside college, career pains and triumphs, losses and gains. Not to mention the current state of the country and the seeming plague we are all in. All of these surely guarantee that there are eyes not dry at the end of the musical. It is tinged with humanity and calls us more to be humane and open.
So… sawa ka na ba sa mga hassle ng buhay mo? Maybe it’s time to dig deep into the past and head straight on to the present as well, so that hopefully, we can do something proactive for the future. Watch Ang Huling El Bimbo before it’s too late to make that dance with him, with her, with life, and don’t let regret rule over your life. One of those regrets shouldn’t include, “I should have watched the musical”. ;)