Move over Huling El Bimbo: this rock opera by two National Artists is returning to the stage 2
One of the most celebrated productions of Ballet Philippines returns to the stage.

Move over Huling El Bimbo: this rock opera by two National Artists is returning to the stage

Alice Reyes is bringing back the Bien Lumbera libretto of Tales of the Manuvu back to life
ANCX Staff | Mar 18 2019

The stage musical is having a moment. Huling El Bimbo and Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!, productions based on the music of the Eraserheads and the Apo Hiking Society respectively, are still attracting crowds—this after Noli Me Tangere, The Opera, the Jerry Sibal production at the CCP, had a brief run earlier this month. Before March ends, however, another musical extravaganza will hit the Main Theater of the CCP stage once again—and it’s from the brilliant talents of two National Artists.

For its 49th season, Ballet Philippines is reprising its original rock opera, Tales of the Manuvu, on the 22nd to the 31st of the month. National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes choreographs and directs the restaging, while National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera is responsible for the libretto.  

Move over Huling El Bimbo: this rock opera by two National Artists is returning to the stage 3
Sheila Valderama plays the role of First Woman, while Lorenz Martinez plays First Man

“Tales of the Manuvu” is a retelling of the myths of the Manuvu Tribe and its unique adaptation was the most monumental coup of Ballet Philippines in the ‘70s. Not only did it bring together rock, opera, pop and ballet on the stage, it also brought audiences from all walks of life to one theater in a collective celebration of Philippine culture. Behind those early stagings were the likes Nonong Pedero, the Afterbirth band, Ernest Santiago and Monino Duque. It once starred Celeste Legaspi, who popularized the iconic song from the ballet, “Noong Unang Panahon”, as well as celebrated singers Hadji Alejandro, Anthony Castelo and Boy Camara in the premiere. Leah Navarro made her debut performance in the production, which also featured Rey Paguio and the UP Concert Chorus.

In the 2019 refresh, Francis de Veyra provides new musical arrangements while Broadway theater designer and multi-awarded filmmaker Loy Arcenas is lending his genius to the creation of the mystical Manobo realm. Theater veteran couple Shiela Valderrama and Lorenz Martinez, together with Poppert Bernadas (of The Voice and Rak of Aegis) will be the leads in a special matinee show on the 24th (2PM). The UP Concert Chorus will once again contribute their vocal support, with the Radioactive Sago Project as the band.

Move over Huling El Bimbo: this rock opera by two National Artists is returning to the stage 4
A new batch of dancers brings to life this 70s tale of love and traditions.

Performers for the other shows which will run from March 21-31 are Minstrel’s Ding Mercado,  Aicelle Santos (straight from her Miss Saigon tour in Ireland), and top contemporary singers Lara Maigue, Nar Cabico, and Reuben Laurente.

Sponsoring the matinee show on March 24 is the Maryknoll/Miriam College Alumni Association (MMCAA) in celebration of its 40th Anniversary and in honor of three of its Amazing Alumni Achievers: Alice Reyes, CCP Chair Margie Moran-Floirendo, and Celeste Legaspi who will be watching the show on this day. There will also be a special pre-show performance by guest Manobos.

Supported by San Miguel, proceeds from this benefit show on March 24 will go to the Lumad students of the Save our Schools Network and the MMCAA’s Project MMaria (Quick Response to Emergencies) Initiative.


Ticket prices range from Php300 to Php3,000 and are available via TicketWorld and the MMCAA office, where an exclusive 4+1 (Buy 4 get 1) 40th anniversary promo on Php3,000, Php2,500 and Php1,500 tickets is available. For information, please email or call the MMCAA office at 930-6272 loc. 1187.


Here are other stories on National Artists: