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Ma-Buhay!  All-Filipino musical

To open Rainbow Stage’s 2024 Season


Rainbow Stage Artistic Director, MA-BUHAY! Creator, and members of the MA-BUHAY! Phase 2 Development Team: Back Row (L to R): Carson Nattrass (Artistic Director), Joseph Sevillo (Creator), Justin Bulaong, Victoria Exconde, Robin Jordan Quintana, Jerilyn Bulaong, Stef De Leon, Joy Lazo, Dutchess Cayetano Front Row (L to R): Rochelle Kives, Brady Barrientos Photo by Rey-Ar Reyes

Ma-Buhay! a full-scale production of an all-Filipino musical, will make its Canadian premier in June 2024 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Rainbow Stage.

Over five years in development, Ma-Buhay! is the first musical ever to be commissioned by Winnipeg’s outdoor musical theatre company.

The book, music, and lyrics of Ma-Buhay! are the creation of Joseph Sevillo. He has been a professional theatre artist for 20 years. Sevillo said he was inspired to write a Filipino show having never played a Filipino on stage in his career.

“This project means everything to me, as it’s a chance to tell our stories for the first time, amplifying the talent from the Filipinx community here in Manitoba, while giving Filipinx Artists, for most, their first professional contract at Rainbow Stage,” said Sevillo.

Sevillo hopes that Ma-Buhay! will lead to more representation of Filipino artists in the professional theatre and provide development opportunities for young Filipino artists. Since its inception five years ago, over a hundred Filipino artists have participated in its workshops.

The story of Ma-Buhay! is set in present-day Winnipeg against the backdrop of a fictional Filipino reality TV competition. It follows three singing and dancing finalists from different economic backgrounds who battle to change their lives for the better. It promises to enthrall the audience with its original pop music and hip‐hop dance.

Mabuhay features several original song-and-dance numbers. Sevillo wrote one of the Tagalog songs with his late mother, Teresita.

“I am very elated to see the big dream of Joseph come into fruition. He has worked tirelessly over the past five years to come up with this wonderful creation. With Rainbow Stage taking on Ma-Buhay! musical under its new initiative, more Filipino artists are given the opportunity to showcase their talents on a major mainstream stage. May this musical serve as an inspiration to more Filipino artists/talents and those from other ethnicities. Sariling atin ito, suportahan natin!” said Joy Lazo, Member, Board of Directors, Rainbow Stage.

Rainbow Stage 70

For its 70th anniversary, Rainbow Stage says it is “making history with the Canadian Premiere of Ma-Buhay! and honouring history with a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious favourite.”

The Canadian premiere of the all-Filipino production of Ma‐buhay! will run from June 27 to July 14, 2024.

It will be followed by the all-time favourite Mary Poppins, which will take flight from August 15 to September 1st.