After the likes of "Rak of Aegis" and "Sa Wakas," both successful stage musicals based on the discography of local bands, a new production featuring the songs of APO Hiking Society is set to open in August.
Titled "Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!", it is being produced by Globe Live and 9Works Theatrical and will run from August 3 to 26 at the Maybank Performing Arts Center in Taguig.
Some 15 songs from the iconic trio of Jim Paredes, Boboy Garovillo, and Danny Javier have been weaved together to tell a coming-of-age story set in the 1970s, centering on a musically inclined college barkada as they experience together heartaches and learn from them.
Among the APO tunes included in the musical are "Bawat Bata," "Doo Bidoo," "Blue Jeans," "Batang-Bata Ka Pa," "Pumapatak na Naman ang Ulan," and "Panalangin."
During a press conference Tuesday announcing the play, Paredes recalled that, "Through the years, maybe about 20 people have approached us to do a musical."
He explained: "We've been presented different scripts, [but they] didn't really quite excite us. Some never presented a script, they just wanted permission. But this is the first time they actually seriously — I felt with great seriousness and effort — that they wanted to do something with the music.
"When I talked to them, I realized that these were theater people who really loved what they do, and I said, 'Yes, definitely, you guys take our music to where you want it to go.'
"I started writing at age 14. I'm 66 now. And now this music is being played outside of us singing it in a concert, and that's really quite a thrill."
Paredes expressed confidence in how 9Works Theatrical and director Robbie Guevarra breathed new life into the memorable hits of APO.
"We wanted to write for Filipinos songs about love, friendship, relationships, sex, and this was our — without even planning it — legacy. And now they've taken it up, and I'm very happy about it," he said.
"I've attended a rehearsal, and the way the songs are interpreted and situated and all of that, it's very unexpected — pleasantly unexpected," Paredes added.
Singer-actor Mark Bautista leads the cast of "Eto Na!", which also includes Rita Daniela, Jobim Javier, Sab Jose, Alfritz Blanche, Marika Sasaki, Jon Philippe Go, Jef Flores, Jon Abella, Raul Montesa, and Neomi Gonzales.