Ma-Yi Theater Company’s world premiere of Felix Starro, a new musical by Jessica Hagedorn and Fabian Obispo, opened at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd St.) on September 1. Scroll down for photos of the opening night party at The Brazen Tavern.
Based on a powerful short story by acclaimed Filipino American writer Lysley Tenorio, who was in the house for opening night, Felix Starro marks the first-time-ever a musical created by Filipino Americans is being presented Off-Broadway.
Directed by Ma-Yi’s Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña (The Chinese Lady, Among The Dead) and choreographed by Brandon Bieber (FX’s “Fosse/Verdon”), Felix Starro also marks the long overdue return to New York stages of novelist and playwright Hagedorn whose critically-acclaimed Dogeaters (The Public Theater, 2001) was called “imaginative and fluidly impressionistic” (New York Times). Felix Starro began previews on August 23 and performances will continue through September 15.
The cast for Felix Starro includes Alan Ariano (King and I, Miss Saigon) as Felix Starro, Caitlin Cisco (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.
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.
Felix Starro explores issues of faith, family, love, loss, betrayal, and what it means to be an undocumented immigrant in America.
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)
Tickets, priced at $52-$102, can be purchased by visiting ma-yitheatre.org or by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200.
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 has appeared in the filmsWolf, 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.