‘Tsi­noy Mu­si­cal’ holds spe­cial place in Joel La­man­gan’s heart

'The work high­lights the pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions of Chi­nese peo­ple to the Filipino com­mu­nity.'

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By STEPHANIE MARIE BERNARDINO

Af­ter di­rect­ing five out of the seven in­stall­ments of the “Mano Po” fran­chise about the dif­fer­ent lives of Filipino-Chi­nese char­ac­ters, di­rec­tor Joel La­man­gan’s love for any­thing and ev­ery­thing Chi­nese has grown deep.

This time, he helms “Bi­nondo: A Tsi­noy Mu­si­cal.” It is about Lily, a Filip­ina night club singer in pre-Mar­tial Law Manila, and Ah Tiong, a main­land Chi­nese scholar re­turn­ing to Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion-era Beijing. They em­bark on a jour­ney of great love and heart­break that be­gins one fated, moon-lit night dur­ing the Mid-Au­tumn Fes­ti­val of 1971 in the heart of Manila’s Chi­na­town.

Also in love with Lily is a lo­cal Chi­nese boy and child­hood friend of hers, Car­los, who hides his feel­ings for her but even­tu­ally finds the courage to tell her about it. This makes the story a touch­ing love triangle fo­cus­ing on the dif­fer­ent ways of giv­ing and re­ceiv­ing love, full of heart­breaks and sac­ri­fices while the Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion rages on in Beijing.

The script is by ac­claimed screen­writer Ricky Lee in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ger­shom Chua and El­jay Del­doc. The story is based on a true story by Rebecca Shangkuan-Chuaunsu.

Joel re­called an in­stance when a Chi­nese ap­proached him af­ter the lat­ter watched “Maynila Sa Mga Kuko Ng Li­wanag The Mu­si­cal” which the for­mer helmed and held at KIA Theatre last year.

“Ti­nawag niya ako, tinatanong niya ako bakit daw masama ang pagkaka-por­tray ko sa mga Chi­nese sa mu­si­cal,” he said. “Sabi ko hindi na­man ako ang gu­mawa nu’n. I can­not make them good, kasi that’s in the novel,” he said. “So sabi niya ‘Gawa mo ako na mabait na­man ang Chi­nese.’ Eh sayang na­man so sabi ko ‘Sige.’” It was the same per­son who sug­gested that Ricky be tapped as screen­writer since he is also Filipino-Chi­nese.

So, in “Bi­nondo,” Joel high­lights the pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions of Chi­nese peo­ple to the Filipino com­mu­nity. They willl also use fa­mous Chi­nese songs and orig­i­nals sung by Chi­nese singers and Filipinos who look like Chi­nese. It took a month for him to find them, Joel re­vealed.

The mu­si­cal uses three lan­guages – English, Ta­ga­log and Chi­nese. Mu­sic and chore­og­ra­phy by Von de Guzmán and Dou­glas Nier­ras. The pow­er­house cast is com­prised by Sheila Martinez, Carla Laforteza, David Ezra, Ar­man Fer­rer, Noel Rayos, Floyd Tena, Ima Cas­tro, Rita Daniela, Mariella Lau­rel, Lorenz Martinez, Franco Lau­rel, Tues­day Var­gas, Ana Feleo, Jim Pe­banco, Khalil Kaimo, Ash­lee Fac­tor, Kay Bala­ja­dia, Jen­nifer Vil­le­gas, Dondi Ong, Elizabeth Chua, Rus­sell Magno, Ell­rica Laguardia, and Rhap­sody.

“Bi­nondo: A Tsi­noy Mu­si­cal” will run at The Theatre So­laire from June 29 up to July 8.

The work high­lights the pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions of Chi­nese peo­ple to the Filipino com­mu­nity.

PRO­DUCER REBECCA CHUAUNSU

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