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Ma-Buhay!

Set to hit Rainbow Stage this summer!

Mabuhay group

The cast and crew of Ma-Buhay! A New Musical – the first ever commissioned by Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage – were introduced at a media event at Max’s Restaurant, March 19.

An all-new, all-Filipino musical will be making history in Manitoba this summer, with two Broadway stars joining the cast.

On March 19, Rainbow Stage held an official cast announcement at Max’s Restaurant in Winnipeg where artistic director Carson Nattrass said that Ma-Buhay! A New Musical! is the very first musical that Rainbow Stage has ever commissioned and developed in its 70 years of operation.

  MaAnne Dionisio
     
Broadway Filipinas Andrea Macaseat and Ma-Anne Dionisio return to Manitoba roots for new musical

Ma-Buhay! is a hilarious musical filled with original pop music and hip-hop dance. It tells the story of three singing and dancing finalists who join a fictional Filipino reality TV competition.

For creator and lyricist, Joseph Sevillo, it is a big dream come true.

“It’s a real dream come true! I have been working on this project for the last seven years and it has been an uphill battle to get here but it was worth it to put in my blood, sweat and tears so that I can feature this many Filipinos on a professional stage, on the Canadian stage, as well as get them paid for their talent.

Sevillo has been working in theatre for 20 years and believes that the musical is not just a story about Filipinos but of anyone who dares to follow through on their dreams, braving the odds and finding themselves in the process.

“It is about one’s journey, about finding themselves in pursuit of their dreams. And I think that every human being has a dream. And I hope that when people watch the show, they would be inspired to pursue their own dreams.”

Joining the Ma-Buhay cast are Andrea Macasaet and Ma-anne Dionisio, local talents who both pursued their dreams all the way to Broadway.

Macasaet is best known for originating the role of Anne Boleyn in Six, while Dionisio was best known for originating the role of Kim in Toronto’s Miss Saigon, as well as other memorable roles.

Dionisio couldn’t attend the cast announcement, but Macasaet, who also rendered a song from Ma-Buhay, said she was only too happy to be able to join the musical despite her schedule. She was also a part of Ma-Buhay in the early stages of its development.

“We need to have this show because it’s important for the kids who want to pursue musical theatre to see themselves in every possible role that they can play.”

For stage pioneer and vocal coach Joy Lazo, the musical is indeed something to be proud of.

“It’s history in the making, really. First time, it’s an all-Filipino cast, mainly Manitobans, maybe there’s two who are not, but they still have Filipino roots. It’s wonderful and I can’t be more excited for the cast and for our community. It’s basically a brainchild for Rainbow Stage and for our community.”

And for Sevillo, his ultimate dream is for the musical to someday reach Broadway.

“The dream has always been the furthest reach, which is New York on Broadway. I want it to be the first musical from Manitoba on Broadway, which is a big feat, but I got to keep going with it.

Ma-Buhay! A New Musical! will have its world premiere on Rainbow Stage from June 26 to July 14, 2024

Tickets are available through rainbowstage.ca

by Lucille Nolasco-Garrido