Video: AHEB Understudies Jam, Benedix, Khalil and MC Sing 'With A Smile'

'Ang Huling El Bimbo' (AHEB) plays at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre this May.

By: May. 05, 2023
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Manila, Philippines--Let's warm up to hit Filipino musical "Ang Huling El Bimbo's" (AHEB) third weekend of live performances at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre with the young cast's rendition of "With a Smile," one of the featured songs from the musical.

"With a Smile," composed by the rock band Eraserheads' frontman Ely Buendia, is a single from the band's second album, "Circus," released in 1994.

On the other hand, in the musical, which infuses the Eraserheads' greatest hits into the storytelling, "With a Smile" is sung as a graduation hymn that opens Act Two, where the protagonists Hector, Emman, and Anthony complete their undergraduate education in a bittersweet tone.

In a pre-show during the recent gala night, understudies Jam Binay (Young Joy), Benedix Ramos (young Anthony), Khalil Tambio (Young Emman), and John MC Dela Cruz (Young Hector) were joined by Myke Salomon, musical director and arranger, and performed 'With a Smile" to a thrilled audience, made up of celebrities, social media influencers, members of the press, and some VIP guests.

On April 21, AHEB returned to live performances at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre in Pasay City. New show dates, running until the last weekend of May, have also been announced to accommodate the show's growing number of fans. Among them were at least 7 million viewers of AHEB's online streaming fundraiser during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An escape to the '90s, especially in most parts of Act One, AHEB follows the friendship among university students Hector, Anthony, and Emman and food vendor Joy as they navigate their young and eventually adult lives apart from one another.

Leading the cast are Gian Magdangal (Hector), Gab Pangilinan (Young Joy), Topper Fabregas (Young Anthony), Jamie Wilson (Sergeant Banlaoi), Sheila Francisco (Tiya Dely), Nino Alejandro (Anthony), Bullet Dumas (Emman), Anthony Rosaldo (Young Hector), Paw Castillo (Young Emman), Katrine Sunga (Joy).

Directed and choreographed by Dexter Santos (with Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as associate director), AHEB features the book by Dingdong Novenario, dramaturgy and additional scenes and dialogues by Floy Quintos, musical direction and arrangement by Myke Salomon, choreography by Stephen Vinas and Ernest Fritz Esase, scenic design by Gino Gonzales, lighting design by Monino Duque, costume design by Marlon Rivera, projection design by GA Fallarme, sound design by Rards Corpus and Arvy Dimaculangan, and hair and makeup design by Elliza Aurelio.

Maestro Rodel Colmenar or Michael Jacinto conducts the nine-piece Manila Philharmonic Orchestra in all the performances.

Before this 2023 restaging, AHEB made its world premiere in 2018, followed by another run in 2019.

In-person, it has been seen by 150,000 (and counting) theatergoers.

BWW Video: Oliver Oliveros


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