Los Angeles arts group to host community night for Fil-Am musical
LOS ANGELES — Filipino American composer Paolo Tirol’s musical “On This Side of the World” will have its world premiere with theater company East West Players on May 13, during a special Filipino Community Night.
This world premiere is produced in association with The Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture (FilAm ARTS), host of the community night, which will include a pre and post-show reception featuring food and drinks.
Created with and directed by Noam Shapiro, the musical gives voices to Filipino immigrants navigating old lives and new beginnings.
A woman flies from the Philippines to America with a one-way ticket and a suitcase full of stories. Each story is collected from immigrants who came before her: tales of overseas workers, young lovers, gossipy church ladies, millennial princesses and first-generation Americans. She replays these stories in her mind as she searches for the courage to embrace her future.
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Filipino Americans in the cast include Steven-Adam Agdeppa, Zandi De Jesus, Michael Palma, Cassie Simone, Andrea Somera and Shaun Tuazon. Melvin Biteng and Justine Rafael are understudies.
Other Fil-Ams involved in the production include music director Marc Macalintal and choreographer Anjanette Maraya-Ramey.
Tirol’s music directing credits include “Reefer Madness,” “Drowsy Chaperone” and “The Wedding Singer.”
He handled the orchestrations for Ma-Yi Theater’s off-Broadway staging of the musical “Felix Starro,” based on Lysley Tenorio’s short story. He is working on the music, lyrics and book for “Dear America,” adapted from the memoir of journalist and activist Jose Antonio Vargas.
“’On This Side of the World’ is one of the most transporting and moving new musicals I have encountered in a long time,” said Snehal Desai, East West Players’ producing artistic director. “It explores the beautiful ways in which we immigrants contribute to the rich tapestry of what it is to be an Asian American.”
Desai added, “We’re proud to be able to world premiere this humorous, inventive, and deeply heartfelt new musical in partnership with FilAm ARTS. We hope to pay homage to and honor the countless immigrants before us who took the first, daring steps to leave all that they know behind with just a suitcase and their dreams in hopes of building a better life for themselves and their families.”
FilAm ARTS is a resource for Fil-Am artists and culture bearers outside the Philippines to “cultivate a community who are rooted in our collective history and actively striving to represent, celebrate and express Filipino culture and our unique Filipino-American identity.”
It also serves as a cultural consultant to other organizations actively looking to further Filipino representation in the global community.
“We have been so fortunate to have Paulo Tirol and Noam Shapiro as part of our FilAm ARTS pamilya,” said Giselle Töngi-Walters, FilAm ARTS Executive Director.
“We are honored to have presented highlights from ‘On This Side of The World’ two years ago. This spring collaboration between East West Players and FilAm ARTS is a testament of our community and cultural partnership. We look forward to seeing you at the theater!”
Tickets to the Filipino Community Night are available at bit.ly/on-this-side-of-the-world-filamarts.
“On This Side of the World” runs May 11-June 4 at the David Henry Hwang Theater, Union Center of the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles.