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New musical celebrates long-running Ateneo-La Salle rivalry

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Ed Gatchalian and Jaime del Mundo

Ed Gatchalian is producing, with 4th Wall Theatre Company, “Rivalry: Ateneo-La Salle The Musical,” a musical with fictitious characters from De La Salle University and Ateneo De Manila University.

“‘Rivalry’ is unique, original and local, not just a remake of a Broadway hit,” said Gatchalian. “It may be about the fabled feud between La Salle and Ateneo in sports, academics, love and marriage, business, politics and the professions, but such competition, and the excitement it generates, is a universal theme.”

“It will be enjoyed by even those not associated with either of these two schools,” he said.

How it started

Gatchalian has had a long and successful career in advertising, creating scores of jingles that have become familiar to generations of Filipinos. He was the musical director for television shows like “Celeste Music Hour,” “Pilita and Jackie Lou,” and “Champoy.”

“Over 30 years ago, Noel Trinidad, actor, singer and a good friend of mine from our  ‘Champoy’ days, approached me with an idea for an original musical about Crispa and Toyota, then the stellar teams in the Philippine Basketball Association. But the idea never materialized,” he said.

“Last year, I was writing original music with director Jaime del Mundo on a commissioned musical, and it rekindled my desire to pursue Noel’s idea. Instead of Crispa and Toyota, I decided to zero in on Ateneo and La Salle.”

Gatchalian started composing music. He recruited Noel’s son Joel (artistic director of Upstart Productions) as the show’s lyricist. Del Mundo developed the book.

Collaboration

The collaboration has resulted in a plot set in 1968, revolving around two young men, both star basketball players of their respective schools who vie for the affections of a beautiful coed from a nearby girls’ school.

Gatchalian is musical director with Jaime del Mundo directing.

“I felt I would be the ideal person to direct,” said del Mundo. “I don’t have strong feelings of loyalty to either school. I can see and appreciate both the Ateneo and La Salle sides. My job is to find the commonality and right balance.”

Nancy Crowe will choreograph, Lex Marcos is set designer. Johnsy Reyes is lighting designer and Albert Figueras will handle costume design.

A total of 51 actors have been cast, including, of course, Noel Trinidad. Gatchalian wrote a part for his friend, and Joel wrote a vaudeville-inspired song especially for his father to perform.

Seating will not be segregated for Ateneans and Lasallians. “We’ll have free seating,” said Gatchalian.

“Rivalry” runs Jan. 27-March 11, 8 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, with 3 p.m. shows on Saturday and Sunday at Meralco Theater. Call Ticketworld at 8919999.


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