Aicelle Santos alternates with Joan Bugcat as the lead character, Aileen.

Finally: Rak of Aegis, The Musical

Making musicals out of pop and rock albums is a sure way to get more people to watch plays. Remember the one-act musical, American Idiot, back in 2010? It was an adaptation of Green Day’s American Opera and the band’s other punk/rock singles. There’s Mamma Mia!, the smash hit musical based on Abba’s disco tracks, Movin’ Out, the jukebox musical based on Billy Joel’s hits, and many other pop album-based musicals running both on and off-Broadway.

The Philippine theater scene isn’t far behind. In 2009, I was fortunate enough to bag the lead role, Toyang, in Trumpets Playshop’s adult recital, Whatever Happened to Toyang: An Eraserheads Musical. This unofficial musical adaptation featured Pinoy rock legends The Eraserheads’ greatest hits such as “Toyang,” “Magasin,” and “Julie Tearjerky.”

In 2013, amidst critics announcing that OPM (original Pilipino music) is dead, Sa Wakas: A New Pinoy Rock Musical refueled the flame that is Pinoy rock music. Although the chart-topping band Sugarfree disbanded in 2011, their hits such as “Mariposa” and “Hari ng Sablay” were brought back to life in this memorable stage musical.

This year, PETA Theater joins the game with Rak of Aegis, a rock/comedy musical based on—you guessed it—the songs of ’90s band Aegis.

Rak of Aegis is directed by Maribel Legarda, written by Liza Magtoto, and musically arranged by Myke Salomon. It’s based on Pinoy rock band Aegis’ 1999 debut album, Halik, which brought us hits such as “Luha” and “Basang-basa sa Ulan.”
Cast: Isay Alvarez-Seña, Robert Seña, Aicelle Santos, Joan Bugcat, Ro Alfonso, Jet Barrun, Kakai Bautista, Poppert Bernadas, Gimbey Dela Cruz, Neomi Gonzales, Pepe Herrera, Carlon Matobato, Julienne Mendoza, John Moran, Jerald Napoles, Gie Onida, Phillip Palmos, Myke Salomon, Paeng Sudayan, and Gold Villar

It’s about time! I remember when the movie version of Rock of Ages came out in 2012. I joked to my friends that someone should come up with “Rock of Aegis.” I guess I’m psychic.

Even if you weren’t a fan of local radio channels such as 101.9 (“Naka-love ka pa ba?”) or noontime shows in the ’90s, I’m quite sure you’ve heard someone belt out the likes of “Basang-basa sa Ulan” and “Halik” at local videoke bars.

PETA’s Rak of Aegis features the story of Aileen (played by Aicelle Santos alternating with Joan Bugcat), a mall promo girl caught between finding love and seeking fame to support her family. The plot revolves around the residents of the flooded village of Villa Venizia. I can already picture Aileen, her hands reaching up to the skies while singing “Basang Basa sa Ulan” outside her ravaged home.

Aicelle Santos alternates with Joan Bugcat as the lead character, Aileen.
Isay Alvarez-Seña as Baranggay captain Mary Jane

Scroll below to see the cast of Rak of Aegis. My fellow karaoke and videoke-loving Filipinos, please do not be tempted to sing along when you watch the show. Let’s just hit the nearest videoke bar after.

Next on my hunt: the unveiling of Jagged Little Pill: The Musical on Broadway.

Rak of Aegis runs from January 31 to March 9, 2014 at The PETA Theater Center, No.5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City. Tickets are available via Ticketworld and PETA Theater.

Photos courtesy of PETA Theater