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Ben&Ben songs shine in 'One More Chance' musical |

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Ben&Ben songs shine in 'One More Chance' musical

Kristofer Purnell -
Ben&Ben songs shine in 'One More Chance' musical
Sam Concepcion and Anna Luna as Popoy and Basha in PETA's 'One More Chance: The Musical.'
Philippine Educational Theater Association

MANILA, Philippines — After nearly two decades, Cathy Garcia-Sampana's movie, "One More Chance," remains a personal favorite for many Filipinos who tear up seeing John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo's characters fall in and out of love.

While Popoy and Basha's relationship is far from ideal, their love story somehow carries a magnetic force that draws people into witnessing a quite realistic depiction of a struggling couple.

As such, it is no surprise that the Philippine Educational Theater Association's (PETA) takes on "One More Chance" as its latest production, aided by the music of a popular face of modern Filipino pop culture.

Since its eponymous debut extended play in late 2016, Ben&Ben has been churning out hits that touch every imaginable form of love in the romantic spectrum.

Using the songs of Ben&Ben as a lens and story guide, PETA manages to retell "One More Chance" with much more weight and in a new light that makes one appreciate the original story penned by Vanessa R. Valdez and Carmi Raymundo.

On paper, Ben&Ben and "One More Chance" feels like a match made in heaven, with several songs fitting neatly into several scenarios of the film.

Related: 'It's very dear to our hearts': Bea Alonzo excited to watch 'One More Chance The Musical'

These include tracks such as "Maybe The Night," "Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin" and "Masyado Pang Maaga" in the first act, and arguably in the stronger second act with "Lifetime," "Sa Susunod Na Habang Buhay" and "Leaves."

Perhaps the only weak point is the heavy expectation of a pivotal scene being matched with such a heartbreaking song, as is the case for the number involving "The Ones We Once Loved."

But what PETA's "One More Chance: The Musical" does well is clearly show how much at fault Popoy is for his and Basha's fallout — something viewers of the film realized and understood better years after the film was released in 2007. 

The production also triumphs in giving some of Ben&Ben's songs or a scene in the story more meaning. The best example was the use of "Pagtingin," which crosses over three different scenarios.

Sam Concepcion and Anna Luna are exceptional, taking on the lead roles, especially the latter whose vocal range magnifies how hurt Basha is throughout the story.

Sam, as he has done for many years, carries a charm akin to his predecessor, John Lloyd, and to no one's surprise, even busts some moves halfway through the musical (something his alternate, CJ Navato, does not have any trouble matching).

Sheena Belarmino (and likely her alternate Kiara Takahashi as well) sells the difficulty of her character, Tricia, and her position, especially through a powerful performance of "Kathang Isip."

Beyond the three, Via Antonio gives a scene-stealing performance as Anj, the role originated in the movie by Bea Saw.

As remarkable as the cast is, laurels should also go to the people off the stage particularly to David Esguerra for his lighting design, Bene Manaois for his projections, Ohm David for his minimalist set design, Myke Salomon for his musical direction, and Carlo Villafuerte Pagunaling for his costumes.

PETA will undoubtedly spark some newfound love for "One More Chance," and in the process, reawaken hearts that were built and broken in the years since Philippine cinemas first heard the words: "She had me at my worst. You had me at my best... and you chose to break my heart" and "Sana ako pa rin… ako na lang… ako na lang ulit."

But the line that best encapsulates "One More Chance: The Musical" is one spoken by Kenneth, alternated between Poppert Bernadas and Paji Arceo, "Love is only enough when you have more than enough to give."

"One More Chance: The Musical" runs in the PETA Theater Center until June 30.

RELATED: Sam Concepcion 'excited' to play John Lloyd Cruz's Popoy in 'One More Chance' musical

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