Magsimula ka

I didn’t know that the classic OPM song Magsimula Ka came from a musical of the same title. It was, according to my friend Gibbs Cadiz, one of the very first musicals in Filipino staged in the 1980s. With the onslaught of Broadway musicals that almost totally eclipsed the Philippine musical theater scene during that decade, Magsimula Ka was a welcome respite from the tried and tested production of musicals imported from that famous street in the Big Apple.

After my Media Literacy class at UP last Thursday which ended at around 7:30 in the evening, I took a cab to Greenhills. It was my first time to be at the Music Museum, or the Greenhills Shopping area, so I had no idea where it was except that it’s “sa likod ng mall”. I thought of directing the cab driver to ask around where the venue was as he was also not knowledgeable. It was a good thing I did not because the word Music Museum was in bright white neon light, drowning all the other signage in the area. I climbed up the narrow semi-spiral staircase and was directed by a very amiable staff to my seat.

The venue was not as big as I imagined it to be based on the video clips of concerts shown on Showbiz reports of the nightly prime time Tagalog news programs I used to watch. I got not expectations of the production either. I am not keen on singing and dancing. But since Gibbs invited me, I thought of giving it a try. Although i know it’ll run for more than two hours which is my threshold of boredom for musicals and other forms of theater.

The musical was not extraordinary. There were some painful moments, probably because of the un-updated script or the exaggerated acting, but the play was, shall I say, passable. It reminded me of Janice de Belen or Manilyn Reynes starrers that failed not in giving me goosebumps when I am reminded of them now. And interestingly, Magsimula Ka gave me lots of those.

Ciara Sotto’s performance was very noticeable. It was noticeably unnoticeable. The rest were forgettable. Though I remember, while writing this line, that the maid and her paramour who were both superfluous in as far as the story line was concerned, did catch my attention. And to think that the musical could stand on its own without them. But Magsimula Ka would have totally lost my attention had it not been for the duo.

I wonder why my professor in that Media Literacy class did not include theater in the list of media we will be dissecting in class. I got to suggest it to him then.

Thanks to Gibbs Cadiz for the ticket and the wonderful during- and after-dinner conversation.

8 thoughts on “Magsimula ka”

  1. dear john,

    i just hope that new breed of filipino writers,composers and theater artists would take effort in bringing in new filipino musical materials. personally, this is one of the reasons why i am taking pains in learning music even while working abroad.

    i hope one day i would be able to write musicals. a dream i hope would be realised in the future. thanks for posting this.

    1. marvin, do well. i hope to one day watch a musical whose libretto you’ve written. all the best.

  2. Yes I’m sporting an Afro this time and if the guy you saw wears thick eyeglasses then it should be me. This entry helped me not to expect a lot from the actress who plays the lead female role. The sudden shift from 80’s Tagalog to modern then back to the 80’s distracted me. The fact that some of the cast members plays two or more characters could be the production’s effort to help the audience differentiate one character to another. Happy weekend Feb.

    1. hi pedbanayad, how come you know me? anyhow, enjoy the show.

      come back here for your feedback; let’s see if we agree on some salient points.

    2. thanks for following this blog, nong. i thought i saw you last time sa mrt, but you looked a bit different. are you sporting an afro this time?

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