New musical a surefire hit—with tighter editing

New musical a surefire hit – with tighter editing

/ 12:20 AM April 16, 2024

New musical a surefire hit—with tighter editing

From left: Sheena Belarmino, Luna, and Concepcion (Photos courtesy of the Philippine Educational Theater Association)

It was a full house on Thursday, the press night for Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (Peta) newest production “One More Chance: The Musical.” The people gathered that evening were determined to have a good time as the 2007 movie it is based on — and which starred actors John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo — continues to be a favorite among Pinoy viewers. Add the music of the popular nine-member band Ben&Ben to the mix and they have a surefire hit on their hands.

As we settled into our seats and the house lights were dimmed, ocean sounds started playing. Projected on the proscenium was a bird’s-eye view of waves washing over white sand. Cast members helped set the scene before actors Sam Concepcion (Popoy) and Anna Luna (Basha) came onstage, twinning in denim and brimming with love for one another.


‘Nuanced and expanded’

Theirs is a classic tale of love lost and love found, but what happens in between is a morass of turmoil and regret. Popoy and Basha are lovers who happen to work in the same firm; she’s an architect and he’s an engineer. They’re saving up for their wedding, but Basha seems to have lost sight of the prize. Instead of focusing on her work, she dabbles in fashion, designing dresses for clients.


READ: ‘One More Chance’ musical leads see John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo as inspiration

Popoy is peeved and nags her which Basha doesn’t appreciate. She feels he’s being dismissive and controlling, and wants out. They go their separate ways, but fortunately have friends—a barkada they can confide in, played skillfully by Anj (Via Antonio), JP (Jon Abella), Chinno (Johnnie Moran), and married couple Kenneth (Poppert Bernadas) and Krizzy (Rica Laguardia).

Anna Luna (left) and Sam Concepcion in “One More Chance: The Musical”

Anna Luna (left) and Sam Concepcion in “One More Chance: The Musical”

“In this version, we not only show the nuanced and expanded experience of the couple, but also [that of] their friends, the Thursday barkada,” wrote playwright Michelle Ngu-Nario in the program notes.

“With the adaptation, the relevant themes and issues presented in the film can be further explored. [The couple’s] struggles were also tied up to the expectations shouldered by … these young professionals making a name for themselves,” she added.


As someone not entirely familiar with the Ben&Ben playbook, I was pleasantly surprised that the chosen songs seemed to have been made expressly for the production.

In a statement, the band expressed their gratitude to Peta for the chance to be part of the “once-in-a-lifetime” project.


“As the story navigates through the exhilarating highs of romance, friendship and the sharp pains of regret, we hope our songs help you delve deeper into this emotional spectrum,” they said.

Musical director and sound designer Myke Salomon fit in as many tracks by the band as possible — a whopping 23 — but the musical might benefit from tighter editing. The 2007 movie clocked in under two hours, but “One More Chance: The Musical” runs for three.

Scene from “One More Chance: The Musical”

Scene from “One More Chance: The Musical”

The leads were more or less evenly matched with Sam Concepcion managing to weep without looking too wimpy, a talent perfected by John Lloyd Cruz.

The two actors who really made an impression, however, were Neomi Gonzales (in the dual roles of Edith and Rose) and Sheena Belarmino (Tricia). Gonzales was a scene-stealer as Popoy’s Korean-crazy, ajumma-styled aunt. Every time she uttered a Korean term or line, the audience lapped it up.

As Popoy’s new girlfriend, Belarmino came across as likable and relatable. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this Star Magic artist can really sing. When she sings “Kathang Isip” towards the end, you can hear all the hurt and disappointment in her voice.

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“One More Chance: The Musical” runs from April 12 to June 30 at Peta Theater in Quezon City. INQ

Luna and Concepcion

Luna and Concepcion flanked by (from left) Neomi Gonzales and Raul Montesa

Concepcion (left) and Belarmino

Concepcion (left) and Belarmino

TAGS: Entertainment, Musical

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