NYC-based theatre collective Three Hares presents a new song cycle with music and lyrics by Paulo K Tiról titled, “On This Side of the World,” running May 2 – May 12 at Access Theater in Tribeca, New York. The team is a recipient of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s 2019 Creative Engagement grant, which is awarded to artists with “diverse artistic experiences” whose work “contributes to the vibrancy and sustainability of our communities” – and that can certainly be expected this Spring.
The cast features Albert Guerzon* (Escape to Margaritaville, Honeymoon in Vegas, Mamma Mia!, Ghost the Musical), Jaygee Macapugay* (Wild Goose Dreams, School of Rock, Here Lies Love), Diane Phelan* (School of Rock, The King and I), Joanne Javien* (Thoroughly Modern Millie, First National Tour), Kevin Schuering* (The King and I, Lincoln Center National Tour), and Michael Protacio (Joanna Gleason’s “Out of the Eclipse” at 54 Below).
Stories of overseas workers, young lovers, and gossipy church ladies. Snapshots of undocumented immigrants, aspiring actors, and carefree millennials. “On This Side of the World” is a collection of songs capturing voices from the Filipino immigrant experience in the United States, and what emerges is a mosaic of love and loss, humor and heartache, yearning and faith – eight thousand miles from home.
The show begins at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, where six Filipinos wait to board their flight to the United States of America and more specifically – to New York City. Each has a passport, a one way ticket, and some “make believe courage” as they embark on a new life a world away from all they know. With no interstitial dialogue, each song in Tiról’s “On This Side of the World” is a self-contained story that focuses on a distinct character. Featuring an entirely Asian-American cast, the piece expands the musical theater song book for underrepresented artists by lifting up Asian and immigrant stories, and introduces Tiról as an exciting new theatrical voice.
“The Filipino immigrant story is one of courage, sacrifice, searching for identity, struggling to belong, and ultimately, redefining home,” says Filipino composer-lyricist Paulo K Tiról, whose work has been described by the Boston Globe as “a delightful treat.” “And come to think of it,” he continues, “Isn’t that every person’s story? These are not just stories of the Filipino experience – these are stories of human experiences that just happen to be told by a Filipino frame.”
Paulo K Tiról began writing “On This Side of the World” in 2013 as a project at NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. From 2013 to 2017, ten songs were completed, and individual songs were performed at major venues such as Joe’s Pub, the Laurie Beechman, and the NAMT Festival of New Musicals in 2016. In May 2018, director Noam Shapiro heard “Light of the Home” at a showcase of musical theatre writers of color by Musical Theater Factory at Joe’s Pub , and reached out to Paulo, asking to hear more. They have been collaborating on the piece since.
From September 2018 to February 2019, Paulo and Noam were Artists in Residence at Access Theater in downtown Manhattan, where the piece was completed, workshopped with the help of wonderful actors, and shared with the world in its first full reading on February 15, 2019.
Following two sold out presentations, “On This Side of the World” was programmed at Access Theater for May 2019 as part of its Association Series, which partners with Off-Off Broadway artists who are looking to take on ambitious and stimulating works of theater, accessible to a range of audiences. “Three Hares is committed to international, diverse, and socially engaged theater – theater that says, let’s make the table bigger,” says director and Producing Artistic Director, Noam Shapiro. “I think that theater artists have a responsibility to lift up new voices and to create spaces for stories that haven’t been seen or heard before.” This is reflected in the multiethnic and multinational makeup of the team for “On This Side of the World,” which features artists with roots in the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Israel, Puerto Rico, and Colombia.
“On This Side of the World” translates across cultural boundaries while lifting up stories of new immigrants and the children of immigrant families. “As my community of Filipino immigrants has expanded, so has the array of stories and characters that have gripped, intrigued and inspired me,” says Paulo K Tiról, “I now have a sense of mission, both for the theatre community and for the Filipino community at large. My mission is to share the community’s stories with pride, honesty, and love.”
*denotes member of AEA
Paulo K Tiról, composer-lyricist; Noam Shapiro, director; Ian Miller, music director; Priscilla Villanueva, stage manager; Melanie May (scenic designer); Annie Le (costume designer); Ethan Olsen (lighting designer); Lawrence Schober (sound designer); Megumi Lee, producer; Three Hares, executive production; Toro Communications, public relations.
On This Side of the World’s 12-show limited engagement at Access Theater (380 Broadway) begins Thursday May 2 and continues through Sunday May 12. Tickets range from $30 for General Admission to $35 for Reserved Seating, and can be purchased online here via artful.ly.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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