‘Imelda’ opens at Julia Miles Theatre Sept. 30

by Oliver Oliveros

NEW YORK (Sept. 21) — “Imelda,” a new bio-musical that retells the rise and fall of Imelda Marcos -a highly controversial figure in Philippine politics, widow of erstwhile dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and owner of over 3,000 pairs of shoes – boasts an all-Filipino cast led by Jaygee Macapugay as Imelda, and Mel Sagrado Maghuyop as Ferdinand.

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre (New York) collaborates with East West Players (EWP Los Angeles) to bring “Imelda” Off-Broadway, directed by Tim Dangwho also directed the show’s world premiere in L.A., with special performances from September 22 to October 18, 2009 at the Julia Miles Theater, 424 W 55th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues. Opening night is Wednesday, September 30 at 7 p.m.

Other Filipino actors in the cast include Liz Casasola as Corazon Aquino,Brian Jose as Benigno Aquino, Jr., Alan Ariano, Angelica-Lee Aspiras, Billy Bustamante, Leanne Cabrera, Loresa Lanceta, Jonelle Margallo, and Romney Piamonte.

Tisa Chang, Artistic Producing Director of Pan Asian Rep, asserts that, “It’s fitting that two pioneering Asian American Theatre organizations based on the West and East Coasts unite to create the New York premiere of a powerful new musical about the political and controversial figure Imelda Marcos…”

“Consistent with our mission and artistic philosophy to serve diverse artists and audiences, and to build on the goals set at the National Asian American Theatre Conference (NAATC) held in Los Angeles in 2005 and at the first NAATFestival held in New York two years ago, Pan Asian Rep and EWP are proud to bring this important work to the Filipino community, and other multi-cultural audiences in New York City.”

Told in 30 fast-moving scenes and 17 songs, “Imelda” juxtaposes recent Filipino history and the life story of former first lady Marcos that spans the 1940s to 1980s, with a parallel narrative on former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and Corazon Aquino, who was installed as the11th Philippine President by the peaceful 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled the 20-year Marcos regime.

“This musical endeavor will be a challenging new opportunity for Pan Asian Rep’s senior artists core, as well as its emerging talents to work with director Tim Dang, composer Nathan Wang, playwright Sachi Oyama, and lyricist Aaron Coleman,” adds Chang.

Choreographer Reggie Lee, scenic designer Koari Akazawa, lighting designer Victor En Yu Tan, costume designer Ivy Chou, and Filipino hair and makeup artist Leslie Espinosa complete “Imelda’s” production team.

Founded in 1977, Pan Asian Rep (The Joy Luck Club, Shogun Macbeth) is the largest producer of Asian American Theatre productions, particularly on the United States East Coast. The Company encourages production of new plays with contemporary Asian American themes; explores new forms by drawing upon the unique heritage of Asian American style, music, and movement; and nurtures emerging Asian American talents.

“Imelda” performances at the Julia Miles Theatre are on Tuesday thru Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on Sunday at 3 p.m.


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