Nagbabalik, because this one-of-a-kind video clip disappeared from YouTube, along with about 93 others I had painstakingly uploaded over a 3-year period, when the site unilaterally cancelled my account. No use crying over that; I'm reassembling the clips and posting them again online one by one, starting with this precious moment.
[Original and complete blog post here. Excerpts below.]
In the recent stellar concert “Ryan Cayabyab: The Music Man at 50” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Escalante briefly stepped into the role of Katy once again, singing “Aba, 'Ba, 'Ba Boogie” like a force of nature, and in so doing gloriously reaffirmed her dormant claim to this role.
In a night that offered show-stopper after show-stopper in lavish tribute to the country's most well-known composer, Escalante's performance was a high point, a drop-dead incarnation of the combined genius of Cayabyab's music and Jose Javier Reyes' buoyant lyrics.
Too bad it was an all-too-brief moment, sandwiched as it was between the passable growling of Angelika de la Cruz (who played the teenage Katy), and the stirring take by Mitch Valdez on “Minsan ang Minahal ay Ako,” the now-classic stage anthem she and Celeste Legaspi sang in the original show. We never got to see that “Katy," but Valdez's spiky, atmospheric vibrato was enough to bring a glimmer of the magic that must have attended that legendary run...” (“Show-stopper after show-stopper,” PDI, Oct. 24, 2004)
One more valuable stage moment lost to fading memory, I had thought, until show producer Mickey Munoz lent me his DVD file of Ryan Cayabyab: The Music Man at 50 and gave me permission to post excerpts of the show in this blog...
Now it's my pleasure to share with you Bituin Escalante in the Katy! medley that I had raved about in my review. This time, you won't see Angelika de la Cruz as the teenage Katy, but--tadaaan!--Sarah Geronimo, who would sing a sensational Pahiram ng Kanta (she appeared on the first evening of the show, Angelika on the second). Her ebullient turn had me thinking that if Katy! got revived, say, a decade from now, Sarah would be perfect for the role. Just listen to her ditch the bland pop singing for once and roar her way through the big, brassy sound of 1930s bodabil (as Mr. Cayabyab had re-imagined it).
Casting, however, is a moot issue at this point. Musicat Philippines, the production company behind Katy! and other original Filipino musicals (Larawan, Alikabok, Kengkoy at Rosing), has stopped mounting shows due to prohibitive costs and sparse audiences. That is tragic news, because Musicat was the only theater company we had that was exclusively dedicated to creating original Filipino musicals.
We may never see a Katy! again in our lifetime, so enjoy this all-too-rare clip. (Sorry for the messed-up sound in some parts, couldn't clean it up.)
Performers: JM Rodriguez, Mickey Munoz, Raul Montesa, Topper Fabregas, 92 AD, Sarah Geronimo, Bituin Escalante, The Hotlegs, Mitch Valdez
1. Look closely at Jose Javier Reyes' lyrics for Aba, 'Ba, 'Ba Boogie. They not only capture in words the liberating sensations of an era-defining dance, they also demonstrate the versatility and range of our native tongue:
Paa ko'y napapalundag
Malala 'to, napakatindi!
Parang kiti-kiting kinakati-kati
Parang paru-parong 'di mapakali
Kamay at paa, umeekis, sumasalisi
Aba, 'ba, 'ba, ano ba ito?
Aba, 'ba, 'ba, boogie!
2. Wondering how Mitch Valdez originally sang this song? Here, from the original cast album of Katy!
[video copyright © ABS-CBN]