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Video: Gerald Santos Leads the Cast of I WILL, THE MUSICAL Finale

A school tour is in the pipeline.

Manila, Philippines--The subject of the new original Filipino-made musical, "I Will, The Musical," renowned medical doctor-philanthropist Willie Ong formally opened the show's one-night-only performance at the Manila Metropolitan Theatre on Friday night. Diagnosed with clinical depression during his early adulthood, Dr. Ong overcame such a disability surrounded by the people who most loved him, his faith in God, and his longtime mission to attend to many Filipinos who needed medical attention pro bono.

The musical's overarching theme is dealing with mental health, a condition seldom talked about among close circles but slowly gaining traction in public conversations today.

"Oo, maraming depressed ngayon, eh," Dr. Ong told BroadwayWorld.

"So dapat talaga, laban lang naman talaga tayo. Di mo man alam kung kailan darating ang tulong, dapat mag-umpisa sa sarili mo, eh. It has to come from you kase mahirap mag-expect sa ibang taong tutulong. 'Yung fire, determination, dapat mangagaling sa'yo."

In the musical, international actor-singer Gerald Santos ("Miss Saigon") plays Dr. Ong. He is supported by a formidable cast composed of Ima Castro ("Miss Saigon"), Roeder Camanag ("Chang and Eng"), Al Gatmaitan ("Magnificat"), Krizza Neri (GMA's "Protégé"), Gerhard Krysstopher, Anton Nolasco, Lance Soliman, Vince Conrad, Karl Navato, Trixie Esteban, Ruth Brillo, Hannie Jade Del Mundo, Theang Aruta, Ivy Reyes Padilla, and Hutch Tagaro Perales.

The production, which made its world premiere on virtual space around the same time last year, features book, music, and stage direction by Rommel Ramilo, assistant direction by Paul Jake Paule, musical arrangement by Jason Cabato, vocal arrangement by TJ Ramos, choreography by Leslie Dailisan, graphic and visual design by Nico Cabanit, technical direction by Elaine Evangelista, lighting design by Joco San Miguel, sound design by Marlon Sunga, costumes by Jerome Fugoso, hair and makeup by Rmes Rmes, stage management by Wenna Jarito San Miguel, co-stage management by Errylle Chloe and Christian Silang, and production management by Kimberly Claire Somoza.

Get a glimpse at "I Will, The Musical's" finale, "I Will," on top of this page. In the rousing company number, Mr. Santos leads the rest of the cast in a big song about hope and perseverance, which Dr. Ong held on to in what he referred to as a "challenging part of his life's journey."

But in Dr. Ong case, "dumating ang tulong." It's that kind of selfless service that his medical practice, and his medical doctor wife, Liza Ong, has been burning at its core.

"I Will, The Musical" has all of its musical numbers in English, but its spoken lines are a mixed bag of English, Filipino (Tagalog), and Chinese (Fukien).

A school tour is in the pipeline.

Photo: Bimbo Brillo; Video: Oliver Oliveros/BroadwayWorld



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