(Photo by Richard Termine)

First Filipino Musical Off-Broadway Opens Ma-Yi’s 30th Anniversary Season

IN response to popular demand and critical acclaim, Ma-Yi Theater Company is pleased to extend the world premiere of Felix Starro, a new musical by Jessica Hagedorn and Fabian Obispo, to September 21.

Based on a powerful short story by acclaimed writer Lysley Tenorio, Felix Starro, which opened on September 3, marks the first-time-ever a musical created by Filipino Americans will be presented Off-Broadway.

Directed by Ma-Yi’s Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña and choreographed by Brandon Bieber (FX’s Fosse/Verdon), Felix Starro explores issues of faith, family, love, loss, betrayal, and what it means to be an undocumented immigrant in America. Opening Ma-Yi’s 30th anniversary season, Felix Starro represents another milestone in Ma-Yi’s distinguished history of creating new work that shapes the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today.

Jesse Green of The New York Times found the music “moving and timely” and noted that Felix Starro’s expansion of the musical art form is “a miracle worth believing in.” In Time Out New York, Raven Snook found Felix Starro “universal in appeal” and also “unique to Filipino culture.” In Theater Pizzazz, Carole Di Tosti called the musical “riveting” and “richly profound,” while Darryl Reilly in TheaterScene.net found Felix Starro “engrossing” and “impressive.”

In Felix Starro, protagonist Felix is a famous faith healer in the Philippines, whose clients once included celebrities and big politicians. After falling on hard times, Felix decides to go to San Francisco for one last healing mission with ailing Filipinos in the Bay Area. Junior, Felix Starro’s nineteen-year-old, orphan grandson, goes along as his assistant. Unbeknownst to Felix, Junior has plans of his own.

The cast for Felix Starro includes Alan Ariano (The King and I, Miss Saigon) as Felix Starro, Caitlin Cisco (The Hundred We Are) as Crystal, Francisca Muñoz as Mrs. Delgado, Ryan James Ortega as Bobby/Ramon, Diane Phelan (School of Rock) as Charma, Nacho Tambunting (NBC’s Rise) as Junior, and Obie and Lortel award-winner Ching Valdes-Aran as Flora.

The creative team also includes Obie award-winner Marsha Ginsberg (scenic design), Becky  Bodurtha (costume design),  Oliver Wason (lighting design),  Julian Evans (sound design), Paulo K Tiról (orchestrations), Ian Miller (musical director), Cristina Sison (production stage manager), and Jorge Z. Ortoll (executive producer)

Performances of Felix Starro will now take place through September 21 at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street in Manhattan). Performances run Tuesday–Sunday at 7pm and Saturday & Sunday at 2pm. Tickets, priced at $52–$102, can be purchased by visiting ma-yitheatre.org or by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200.  

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