Quick Thoughts on the music of ‘Mula Sa Buwan’

Photo of William Elvin and Nicco Manalo in 2011, rehearsing 'Cyrano', the original version of 'Mula Sa Buwan'.
Photo of William Elvin and Nicco Manalo in 2011, rehearsing ‘Cyrano’, the original version of ‘Mula Sa Buwan’. From Martha Sta. Barbara’s Facebook.

It was 2010. My young career as a stage actor was stagnant, with repetitive and uninspired ‘father roles’ in Dulaang UP even though I was still in my mid-20s. My special project paper, the last requirement to finish the Certificate in Theater Arts prograp in UP Diliman, has been swept away by typhoon Ondoy in 2008. Two years after, I have not yet gathered the inspiration to start again from the first page.  I was also getting impatient and frustrated with the way my music project (with Alden Acosta and J Victor Villareal) Happy Days Ahead was going at that time, with the three of us stuck in a house in Sampaloc, Manila living a bohemian lifestyle.

Enter Pat Valera, who was working on an adaptation of the French classic ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ in the University of Asia and the Pacific. I was not really a fan of stage musicals, though of course I have learned to respect the genre a lot as a Theater student. Never have I imagined myself to be writing an original stage musical.

I agreed, because I felt like there was really nothing to do with my life at that time. Writing an original musical felt like something great, and it made me feel like I had a purpose. It’s hard being a godless existentialist. I just can’t go to a chapel and pray for my life to have meaning, you know?  But in a higher sense, I went into the project as a dreamer. It was a chance to fulfill a dream of doing something that would be special to a lot of people through music and theater.

Nicco Manalo (as Cyrano) and William Elvin backstage at the GSIS Theater. Photo taken from Geraldine Contreras’ Facebook page. 

The original run happened in UA&P in December 2010, and was performed the next year in the GSIS Theater as Dulaang Laboratoryo thesis production. Both runs were directed by Pat Valera, with Nicco Manalo as Cyrano. The role of Roxane was brought to life by Ina Gonda for the UA&P run, with Martha Sta. Barbara and Ava Santos essaying the role on the GSIS stage.

The music of Mula sa Buwan was written only through my instincts as a songwriter. I did not think about structure, or musical storytelling in the traditional ‘Broadway’-ish sense. It is very exciting for me to hear the music being structured for the first time by the very talented team of TJ Ramos, Danielle Marquez, and Arkel Mendoza. Yes, if you’re seeing the play this December, I will practically be experiencing the music for the first time with you.

‘Mula Sa Buwan’ opens December 2 in the Ateneo de Manila’s Irwin Theater. Come join us in this dream, and weep with us in the midst of this broken, but ever beautiful world we try to encapsulate through music, theater, and love.

Here’s yours truly performing ‘Ikaw’ from the musical with Nicco Manalo on vocals, from Teetin Villanueva’s YouTube channel.

by Pat Valera & William Elvin Manzano

Dec. 2 (Fri), 10AM – Sold-out
Dec. 2 (Fri), 8PM
Dec. 3 (Sat), 3PM – Sold-out
Dec. 3 (Sat), 8PM
Dec. 4 (Sun), 3PM
Dec. 4 (Sun), 8PM

at the Irwin Theatre, Ateneo de Manila, Katipunan Ave., QC
(This play is open to the public)

Limited tickets available at TICKETWORLD: bit.ly/mulasabuwan

ORCHESTRA – P800 (Reserved Seating)
BALCONY – P600 (Free Seating)

For bulk ticket purchase, please contact CAT: 0916 4063242
To reserve seats, email us at info@mulasabuwan.com



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