Parokya ni Edgar jukebox musical to reflect band's identity 2
The cast at rehearsals. Photo from the Facebook page of Newport World Resorts

Parokya ni Edgar jukebox musical to reflect band's identity

The idea to stage a Parokya ni Edgar musical came in 2019, but it was shelved because of the pandemic.
Leah C. Salterio | Apr 25 2024

“Buruguduystunstugudunstuy” is obviously a mouthful to say, a challenge to read and even difficult to remember.

The title of Parokya ni Edgar’s second album released in 1997 has been adopted for the jukebox musical featuring the band’s songs, to be staged by Full House Theater Company at the Newport Performing Arts Theater (NPAT) at Newport World Resorts.

“You know, we are trying to provide our audience with the best, possible, exciting and entertaining productions that we can muster with our resources and talents, great theater artists,” shared Full House Theater Company co-artistic director Michael Williams. “There are many other things in the pipeline. But that’s for future kwentuhan.”

“Buruguduystunstugudunstuy” is a “very interesting musical,” according to Full House Theater Company co-artistic director Menchu Lauchengo Yulo.

“This particular musical revolves around four women, who go on a journey to find their true selves,” Yulo explained. “They go through the usual life struggles, identity, what am I worth and they find their answers in this story. 

“It’s a very, very interesting perspective into the way Chito’s [Miranda] music is written as we travel in different struggles that they have to confront in the journey to finding self-worth.

“We’ve been working on this musical since February and we are excited to give a sneak peak of ‘Buruguduystunstugudunstuy’ the Musical.’ The show is packed. Chito knows pretty much where the story is going.

“We promise you magic, fun, visuals, three kinds of love. Everything under the universe will be in the Parokya ni Edgar universe.”

The idea to stage a Parokya ni Edgar musical came in 2019, but it was shelved because of the pandemic.

 “We wanted something different. We were attracted by the music of Parokya ni Edgar and what it had to offer. So that was when the brainstorming happened,” Yulo said.

“It was a series of several brainstorming sessions, into the auditions, finding the right cast. Once we had the draft, we knew what we needed.

“The beauty of an original musical, we have the liberty to tweak it as you go along. It’s constantly evolving into what hopefully, you will see on opening night (April 26). It’s a work in progress.”

Even if “Buruguduystunstugudunstuy” will be staged post pandemic, the musical still comes with challenges for the production.

“Every new musical presents different sets of challenges,” said director Dexter Santos. “This is a highly visual show, very technical. There are a lot of details that we have to face with regards to the technical.

“Of course, this production is distinct from ‘AHEB’ [Ang Huling El Bimbo] because this is electric, visual, fast-paced. It’s fantasy, it’s fun, it’s funny but it still has its little tweak sa puso.

“To be given the chance to do Parokya ni Edgar songs and translate it into a theater musical is another blessing. We are all excited. One of the interesting and most beautiful things is the wide array of the type of songs that Parokya ni Edgar have.

“We are able to hear the Parokya songs. Alam natin ‘yan. We fell in love, nagkukulitan tayo with our barkada. It transcends time, classes. It has been part of our lives. There have been Parokya songs that make us laugh, smile, that hurt us.

“We are trying to come up with a show and a musical that will encapsulate all of those things within the identity of the band – makulit, cool, naughty, all of those things.”

Admittedly, it’s a tall order for Santos and his creative and artistic team to stage a show at NPAT. “Apat na teatro yata ang kasya,” Santos maintained. “Napakalaki ng NPAT. The whole thing of creating a show in that 1,700 venue, napakahirap. Our creative team is working so hard.”

Santos is not wary even about the challenges they need to face for the musical. “Bring it on,” he insisted. “We are capable of handling all those challenges. We are very, very confident with this cast, our creative team and everybody is very collaborative.

“For FHTC, our objective is to provide fresh, new exciting, entertaining theater fare for our audiences. Also, we try to make sure the musical has substance. We remain open what will come and what we will face.

“We have an eye on those things and we try to strike that balance. People walk away from our shows different, enlightened, changed or heartful and inspired. We try to provide our audience with that kind of rollercoaster everywhere.”

FHTC has a “mandate” to present, as much as possible, all-original Filipino materials including script and musical score.

“Of course, we don’t shy away from jukebox musicals and there is a reason for that because jukebox musicals provide us with a very unique opportunity,” Santos said. “There is familiarity and that pays tribute to the artists who created those works.”

“Buruguduystunstugudunstuy” is undoubtedly a “rollercoaster ride” for the audience, according to Santos. “It has to be a rollercoaster ride,” he pointed out. “Coming from ‘Harana,’ ‘Gitara’ or ‘Halina sa Paroya,’ it has to be a rollercoaster ride.

“It will be a lot of fun, comedy and naughty. It can be super kulitan. It can be dark most of the time and some of the time. There’s love and kilig. The audience can feel hurt. It’s a whole gamut of emotions.

“At the end of the day, we want to tug hearts. Gusto namin ng isang palabas na meron kurot sa puso. One where you can bring your whole family, watch it, hear the songs of Parokya and experience live performances with friends and family. Also be a sort of reunion.”

Unlike other musicals where male leads take centerstage, “Buruguduystunstugudunstuy” spotlights four female artists – Felicity Kyle Napuli, Marynor Madamesila, Natasha Cabrera and Tex de Leon – who are the headliners.

The musical has a big cast. Included are Pepe Herrera and Nicco Manalo, plus the 14-piece orchestra – from string, percussion, drums. The cast is slated to dish out 47 Parokya ni Edgar songs throughout the musical.

“As what Rody Vera said, this [musical] is an acid trip,” said Santos. “This is a wild, wild ride. It’s really the culture of the band and the songs. We want to pay tribute to the fans, as well. This is fast-paced and highly-visual.”

Ejay Yatco is musical director and arranger, Stephen Viñas is choreographer, lights designer is Monino Duque, sound designer is Arvy Dimaculangan, costume designer is Raven Ong, set designer is Lawyn Cruz, video designers are Ga Fallarme and Joyce Garcia.

Yatco revealed that just to listen to the entire discography of Parokya ni Edgar took him two months after he received the script from playwright Rody Vera.

“Hinimay ko talaga ang music ng Parokya at ginawa kong thesis statement,” Yatco said. “We tried to see what songs will fit in every scene. The priority of our arrangement is how to tell the story effectively, given the new arrangement.

“At the same time, we want to pay tribute to the culture of Parokya. The iconic songs need to be included. As a songwriter, I’m trying to have a conversation with everyone.” 

Vera, who started working on the script in February 2023, added, “Ang requirement lang nila sa akin, basta hindi ‘Ang Huling El Bimbo.’ Ibang panahon ako. Pero that became an advantage for me. Ipinakita ko talaga ang mga songs from seven albums.

He sent the first draft of the script in October 2023. “Isang malaking universe ang nabuo ng Paroya ni Edgar songs,” Vera said.

“Lahat ng pangalan ng characters, makikita niyo sa lahat ng ginawang kanta ng grupo. Nakatulong ‘yun sa pag-uugnayugnay at pagbuo ng kwento mula sa mundo ng Parokya.”

Knowing the difficult titles of Parokya ni Edgar songs, Viñas said they needed to concoct a new and different vocabulary.

“Hindi ka lang dapat marunong magkwento ng ginagawa mong compositions and styles. Nag-isip kami ng stylistic ways of how to move each character.” 

“Thank you for making ‘Buruguduystunstugudunstuy’ come to life,” said Universal Records CEO Kathleen Dy-Go. “For the much-awaited and anticipated ‘Buruguduystunstugudunstuy,’ the Parokya ni Edgar musical.”

“Back in July 2023, during the final curtain call of the phenomenal ‘Ang Huling El Bimbo,’ the announcement of ‘Buruguduystunstugudunstuy’ sent waves of excitement through the year.

“Universal Records Philippines couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this incredible project. The timeless hits of Parokya ni Edgar are said to be immortalized onstage. We have to keep confidence in the production team spearheading this endeavor.”

Go added: “What makes this musical even more special is the remarkable journey Parokya ni Edgar has had under the wings of Universal Records Philippines.

“For almost three decades, they have grown as artists, delivering hit after hit. Their loyalty to our record label is truly unmatched.

“Their second album ‘Buruguduystunstugudunstuy,’ inspired the musical stage to their current status as one of the biggest artists signed under Universal Records. They have consistently proven their artistry and charisma for every Filipino.”

“As we eagerly look forward to the premiere of ‘Buruguystunstugudunstuy’ this April, we can’t help but have high expectations for what promises to be an unforgettable musical experience.

“We are confident that audiences will be treated to a musical journey filled with nostalgia, emotion, sheer brilliance and of course, comic relief from Parokya ni Edgar’s hits. We are in for a real treat this April.”