A musical written, directed, and starring Filipinos is set to open off-Broadway in August.
Based on a short story by Lysley Tenorio, it is about a famous Filipino faith healer who loses his money and decides to go to San Francisco and offer his services to Filipinos there. He travels with his orphan grandson Junior who plans to stay in the United States as an undocumented immigrant.
According to the Ma-Yi Theater Company, the play “explores issues of faith, family, love, loss, betrayal, and what it means to be an undocumented Filipino immigrant in America.”
Its book and lyrics were written by acclaimed Filipino author Jessica Hagedorn, while its music is by Fabian Obispo. The play is directed by Ralph B. Peña.
Ariano will play Felix, the faith healer, while Tambunting will play his orphan grandson Junior.
Ariano has been part of various Broadway plays including The King and I and Miss Saigon. He also appeared in TV shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Gotham. Tambunting, on the other hand, was part of the 2018 TV show Rise.
Other cast members include Caitlin Cisco, Francisco Muñoz, Ryan James Ortega, Diane Phelan, and Ching Valdes-Aran.
Felix Starro will be shown at Theatre Row in New York from Aug. 23 to Sept. 15. Tickets are available on the Ma-Yi Theater Company website.
This will be the first time a musical by Filipino-Americans will be presented Off-Broadway.
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