Streaming service produces original musical


FOR Still, the original musical series produced by Viu, the cast, production staff and crew had to go through two lock-in tapings. 

“We’re about to go on our third lock-in,” said Viu chief content officer Garlic Garcia. “We had 100 people on set at any one time, all Covid-free. We want to send everyone back home to their families safe and sound.”

“The quality and production and effort just to enter the lock-ins have been so amazing to see. We had a great experience producing this. Because of this, we believe this is the way forward,” said Arianne Kader-Cu, country head of Viu Philippines.

Created by Palanca-awardee Pat Valera, who is known for award-winning shows Dekada ’70 The Musical and Mula Sa Buwan, Still was cocreated by theater stalwarts Giancarlo Abrahan and Nicco Manalo. The series was directed by Treb Monteras II of the internationally acclaimed rap musical Respeto while multi-awarded screenwriter, director, producer and editor Monster Jimenez produced the series.

The eight-episode series follows the story of talented upcoming artists participating in Daloy Himig, a music camp that abruptly ends when the pandemic hits. With quarantine protocols placed around the country, the campers are stuck in Balay, with only their music and each other to keep them company.

Leading the campers are estranged best friends Laura (Julie Anne San Jose), always the relentless dreamer who fights for herself, for the people she loves and for the limelight, and Sab (played by Gab Pangilinan), the voiceless writer who wants to follow her dreams but can’t. The two instantly become friends with veteran camper Iggy (Mike Shimamoto), always “the happy pill” Tugs (Abe Autea) and tired-but-still-a-fighter Leigh (Lance Reblando). Along with their mentors Nikolas (Christian Bautista) and Annette ( veteran stage and concert singer Bituin Escalante), the campers’ lives and stories intertwine through powerful and poignant music.

When asked how similar she was to her character Laura, San Jose had this to say: “It’s my first time to have this kind of role. This one’s really different. There are a lot of contradictions. I am not my character. I had to really discover how my character is sa araw araw na buhay. She’s tough and she could be a bit of a handful but deep inside, she’s loving and caring. We’re similar in that we fight for what we want for our dreams and our families.”

“It’s quite overwhelming. It gives much broader chance to express, flesh it out,” said Shimamoto of the difference between acting for the theater versus being on Still.

“But logistically, this is more difficult to get people together. The setup was still very theater. We had rehearsals and a spirit of ensemble. We were lucky to have a team who supported us through and through,” said Pangilinan.

You can watch Still on Ticket2Me. New episodes will be added every week and can be viewed multiple times within a 32-hour window. For a special rate of P599, Viu subscribers can avail of an Exclusive Viu Package (a free six-month Viu Premium subscription plus a free digital Still chord book) with early access per episode. 

 Filipinos can also listen to the show’s 13 original songs performed by the country’s best talents via Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Tidal.

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