Khalil Ramos makes musical theater debut in ‘tick, tick… BOOM!’

When it mounted the Jason Robert Brown musical revue Songs for a New World in 2009, 9 Works Theatrical became known as one of Manila’s premier theater companies. The company delivered only the best award-winning plays and musicals such as Rent, They’re Playing Our Song, Grease, La Cage aux Folles, Green Day’s American Idiot, A Christmas Carol and the multi-awarded Disney production of Newsies.

In 2018, 9 Works Theatrical and its sister company The Sandbox Collective produced the acclaimed Himala: Isang Musikal, followed by its first-ever original Filipino musical, co-produced with Globe Live: Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!, based on the music of legendary OPM singing group the Apo Hiking Society.

This year, 9 Works Theatrical is back with Robbie Guevara’s new restaging  of tick, tick…BOOM! at RCBC Plaza’s Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium on 5 to 27 August.

Making his professional musical theater debut as Jon, the main character in the musical, is Khalil Ramos, who admitted to getting jitters at the thought of doing his first stage musical.

“To be honest, at first I was terrified by the material and just me going onstage for the first time as an actor. It’s something that has been on my mind for quite some time. I’ve always wanted to do theater, hindi lang mahanap yung perfect timing, perfect material. But right now, everything just fell into place. I was very drawn to the character of Jon. Overall, I’m very happy, excited but incredibly nervous,” he said.

“If TV is producer’s medium, film is director’s medium, stage is the actor’s medium. If you are really serious about your craft, you have to do stage,” he added.
But, “On the left side of my scale is fear of everything live, on the right side is the love for acting. I’ve been in love with acting for 10 years. Just that alone is enough for me to go on, and do everything I could to overcome my fear.”

Rock monologue

The recipient of the 2001 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, tick, tick…BOOM! is a semi-autobiographical rock monologue musical by Jonathan Larson, the late American composer, lyricist and playwright behind the landmark musical Rent.

Reprising his role as Jon from the 2016 9 Works Theatrical production is actor and dance music composer Jef Flores, who won the Gawad Buhay for Best Actor in a play for Red Turnip’s This Is Our Youth and in a musical play for tick, tick…BOOM!

Actress, singer and content creator Tanya Manalang played in the West End revival production of Miss Saigon before the pandemic, and is now reprising her role as Susan in the upcoming tick, tick…BOOM! remounting.

Joining Tanya as Susan is musical theater and television performer and radio DJ/VJ Kayla Rivera.

Vien King, whose portrayal of Giorgio in the Philippine Opera Company’s production of Passion by Stephen Sondheim earned him a Best Actor in a Musical recognition at the LEAF Awards, will play Michael, alternating with actor, singer, host, director and content creator Reb Atadero.