Making the case for a Ben&Ben musical

Elizabeth S. Timbol

Posted at Jun 17 2021 06:26 AM


A post shared by Ben&Ben (@benandbenmusic)

MANILA -- There is a new Ben&Ben album in the works. The band teased listeners on what to expect via two new singles – "Magpahinga" and "Upuan" – which veer off the beaten path just a bit, but still stick close to the familiar.

Ben&Ben’s commitment to carrying their heart on their sleeve and singing about it shows in their music videos, which are pretty much five-minute short films. The A-list casting in many of them -- Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Sue Ramirez, Joel Torre, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Bela Padilla, among others -- further amplifies this band’s overall appeal. 

“Take a listen around and through the songs, and the common denominator is obvious. They are all stories based on human experiences, real-life experiences of the people in the band, the people close to us. Or even our fans’ real-life experiences,” explained Jam Villanueva, who plays drums for the band. 

With so many stories attached to each of the songs, why not take it a step further and weave a narrative around it to tell an even more moving story? 

Why not a musical based on the songs of Ben&Ben?

Toni Munoz, who plays percussions, admits that everyone in Ben&Ben are all big theatrer fans, and it is an idea they could get behind. When it came to plotlines, there was no holding back. 

Miguel Benjamin chimed in with “Thriller, horror. Si Agnes gusto n'ya 'yun. Zombie apocalypse! That’s such a great idea!" 

“Or how about 'Game Of Thrones'?” quipped bassist Agnes Reoma. “Whatever the story will be, for the band, it will be down to the writing.”

“If ever, in the future, magkaroon ng musical with our songs or to be able to collaborate with a writer or director of a play or a screenwriter, it would still be largely based on human experiences – the good and the bad, and how people learn from them and move on with their lives – the beauty of life,” Jam Villanueva explained further. “Whether it be zombie apocalypse or whatever.”

The question is, where do you even begin? Just for fun, here are five songs that will make a great starting point for that “loaded with all the hugot feels” show you want to see.

1. "Upuan" (2021)

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Hugot lyrics: "Upuang magkatabi. Mayro'n bang kahulugan? Kaibigan o pag-ibig? Ano ba'ng nararamdaman?"

First crush? Friend-zone? Does he or she feel the same way? Do they know my secret? There are so many places this vignette could go, with many kilig moments in between. Ben&Ben’s lyric video for this song has the band dressed as students -- there’s an idea somewhere there.

2. "Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin?" (2020)

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Hugot lyrics: “Sasalubungin kita sa dulo ng 'yong galit. Uunawain kita para 'di tayo maging epidemyang 'di matapos-tapos sugpuin.”

Where do you even begin with a lyric like this? It is so heavy with emotion that you can only hope they find their way back – however that looks for them. 

3. "Araw-araw" (2019)

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Hugot lyrics: “Matang magkakilala sa unang pagtagpo. Paano dahan-dahang sinuyo ang puso? Kay tagal ko nang nag-iisa. And'yan ka lang pala.”

Finding true love at first sight. And choosing to love everyday. It’s the story everyone wants for themselves. Ben&Ben’s use of the word "mahiwaga" is on point on what this song is all about.

4. "Masyado Pang Maaga" (2019)

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Hugot lyrics: “Tahan, pwede ko bang malaman? Laman ng iyong isipan. Para walang maling akala. Parang kay bilis ng iyong pag-alis. Teka lang, teka lang, teka lang muna.”

Are you crying yet? Bring out the tissue box. That’s it. 

5. "Pagtingin" (2019)

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Hugot lyrics: “Pahiwatig, sana 'di magbago ang pagtingin. Iibig lang kapag handa na. Hindi na lang kung trip-trip lang naman”

This is for those “What happens next?” and “What now?” moments -- and Ben & Ben’s writing of "Pagtingin" captures that in spades. 

With the second album on the horizon, expect more songs that capture the human experience as only Ben&Ben has. 

“The themes of the songs will expand…. There are still love songs and heartbreak songs, but it’s not just about that anymore,” is how Miguel Benjamin presents it. “So kung ganun kalawak ang mga tema, mahirap pa isipin kung anong kwento ang babagay.”

Who knows when, where or how this will all play out. All the elements for another great original Pinoy musical are there. Insightful emotion-driven songs, the need for connection (even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse), and a story rooted in the human experience -- told by a group of people making music under one roof (since the band moved in together in 2020). 

Ben&Ben is open to the idea, even venturing to say it will happen “when the time is right.” 

It took Lin-Manuel Miranda six years to bring "Hamilton" to Broadway, so they’ve got time. In the meantime, putting this kathang isip out into the universe – in case someone is listening.