Ang Larawan: The Musical
CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo
Ang Larawan the Musical’ in 1997 (with a rerun in 1998), is a musical based on National Artist Nick Joaquin’s play, A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino.
Legaspi and Rodis calls Ang Larawan their passion project, having worked on the material for well over 20 years. Their journey began when Legaspi personally approached Joaquin and asked his permission to mount a Filipino musical adaptation of his play. Joaquin agreed with one condition, that National Artist Rolando Tinio would do the translation. “Rolando, I think in 3 weeks came up with the translation,” Legaspi said. “That’s how geniuses work, I guess!”
Ang Larawan is set in Intramuros before WWII, focusing on the plight of unmarried sisters Candida and Paula Marasigan. They are the daughters of high-profile painter Don Lorenzo Marasigan. Legaspi already played the role of Candida when the play was staged by Tanghalang Pilipino in 1992. She again played Candida (opposite Zsa Zsa Padilla’s Paula) in the 1997 musical. Sadly, Tinio would never see the musical he helped create as he passed away 10 days before the musical opened. The music was written by Ryan Cayabyab.
The musical was restaged in 1998, and theater veteran and singer Rachel Alejandro (who was co-executive producer during the first run) took over the role of Paula at 21 years old, almost 20 years younger than her character. Alejandro fondly recalls, “One of the things that I’ll never forget is being up there on stage and Nick Joaquin himself being in the audience shouting at me, ‘You’re too young!’”