The life of an admired ‘Iskolar ng Bayan’


    “The struggle for freedom is the next best thing to actually being free,” 27 year-old University of the Philippines Diliman student and noted “iskolar ng bayan” was once quoted.

    Lean—as he was fondly remembered—was shot and killed in September 19, 1987. As the iconic student activist, Lean fought for national democracy in the university and in the nation. He is one of the unsung heroes who have sacrificed their lives during the turbulent days of the martial law. His life has defined an era of student activism and his work still inspires the youth today.

    Uriel Molina as Mr. Tim

    Lean’s multi-roles as activist, politician, friend, husband, son and father will be recreated in the forthcoming Lean – A Filipino Musical produced by UP Manila Dramatista.

    The September 1997 original production of Lean—The Filipino Musical was produced by the Leándro Alejandro Foundation and the UP Student Council in cooperation with the UP Diliman Committee for Arts and Culture. The musical featured renowned artists like Chikoy Pura, Bayang Barrios, Cookie Chua, and Noel Cabangon.

    Dean Lopez as Edward

    In 2013, the University of the Philippines Repertory Company (UP Rep) restaged the musical with youth activists Vencer Crisostomo of Anakbayan and Third Alub of the League of Filipino Students alternately playing Lean.

    The latest update of the musical will see Kenneth Mangurit portraying the titular role while Frances Mendoza (as Lidy), Carlo Cabahug (Ka Tanny), Carmela Reyes (Bobby), Dean Lopez (Edward), Lalaine Quinan (Jojo), Neil Suyat (Noli), Raffy Baybay (Chino) and Uriel Molina (Mr. Tim) lend their acting chops for the supporting characters.

    The musical about the turbulent 1980s is written by Gary Granada, one of the Philippines’ best composers of songs that evoke nationalism and pride in the Philippines.

    Carmela Reyes as Boday

    Specifically, for this musical, Granada remixed the tune of “UP Naming Mahal” in a contemporary rock version and gave it a new and more “nationalistic sounding” lyrics.

    Lean—The Filipino Musical also features powerful catchy songs that breathe new life to the many different characters and personas of the 1980s. Through song and dance, the musical not only tells the story of the influential student activist but also creatively re-imagines the loud cries of the masses.

    To be staged at Adamson University Theater in Ermita, Manila, Lean—The Filipino Musical will have May 12 (7 p.m.) and May 13 (4 p.m. and 7 p.m.) as playdates.
    For tickets, call Zoe Caballero at 0906 427 3981.


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