Pioneer Filipino theater company, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), award-winning creative content agency, Indie.Go Media, and premiere talent management, Star Magic, are coming together to bring forth Rody Vera’s all-original Filipino musical, Walang Aray, from Feb 17-May 14, 2023 at the PETA Theater Center.
This unique partnership between the three companies, comes after the displacement of the creative and cultural sectors during the height of the pandemic. PETA alone had to close its theater doors for nearly three years, and this is the first-time that the company is staging a live public performance in its home theater since March 2019.
“We are coming from a period where art was deemed non-essential,” PETA artistic director Maribel Legarda explains. “We need partnerships, we need community, and we need to come together. This partnership with Indie.Go Media and Star Magic blurs the borders and allows for collaboration to happen between artists and creatives from various sectors and organizations,” she adds.
Indie.Go Media founder-CEO and veteran advertising director, Jun Reyes, has been the driving creative force behind Walang Aray, since he first commissioned it as a film script in 2007. As a fourth-generation descendant of Walang Sugat playwright Severino Reyes, his dream was to be able to transform his great-grandfather’s 125-year-old zarzuela into an original musical comedy for modern audiences. “My grandfather was the great Filipino storyteller of the 20th century, both through his plays and Lola Basyang stories,” says Reyes.
“When Indie.Go and I collaborated with Rody [Vera] to create a screenplay based on Walang Sugat, we wanted to honor his creative legacy by turning his century-old masterpiece into a movie musical with OPM songs. The Indie.Go film never got made. But thanks to PETA and Star Magic, we’re happy the script will finally see the light of day on the stage, for today’s generation to enjoy.”
With Star Magic as a partner, PETA is also able to continue its tradition of inviting television and film artists to bring in new audiences to the theater, which began from the time of the late National Artist and former PETA Executive Director and member, Lino Brocka.
Legarda recalls, “Lino always felt that it’s good for film actors to come and do theater because their experience of the theater will improve their craft as performers, and at the same time, their give back, is that they lend their celebrity to help theater become more popular to new audiences.”
Walang Aray features Star Magic’s “hottest musical couple” KD Estrada and Alexa Ilacad — a.k.a KDLex, who will make their theatrical debut as the leads Tenyong (KD) and Julia (Alexa), alternating with theater triple threats, Gio Gahol and Marynor Madamesila.
Star Magic Head, Lauren Dyogi, shares his enthusiasm regarding the collaboration: “We are thankful to PETA for this partnership. We know this experience will help our artists, Alexa and KD, in their craft. This joint venture will surely be fruitful not only for PETA and Star Magic, but also for the entire industry, and most importantly for the artists who are part of this production.”
With Walang Aray, PETA hopes to celebrate the joy of our little victories as artists and citizens. “We need to re-energize ourselves and move forward,” says Legarda. “It’s healthy and important in terms of strengthening whatever ideas we have of ourselves as a nation and as individuals.” Even with Walang Aray’s historical narrative, its message rings true and relevant to today’s generation: that despite whatever repressions Filipinos may face, there is strength and victory in community when we clamor for change and fight for our dreams.
Walang Aray is hilariously clever, with irreverent tongue-in-cheek humor. “After three years of what we went through – not only the pandemic, but also the elections – that’s actually what I think people need right now. People need a space to laugh and allow themselves to have fun and enjoy,” Legarda quips.
The entertainment value of Walang Aray, together with how it pays tribute to our history and culture, and how it makes social commentary by weaving the past and present, make for a musical that will surely leave audiences with a reignited love for theater and nation. It is an echo of what Walang Aray calls for: TUMINDIG at UMIBIG! “That’s the whole idea of ‘tumindig’,” says Legarda. “Standing up and moving forward.”
Walang Aray will run at the PETA Theater Center from Feb 17-May 14, 2023. Tickets are available via TicketWorld.com.ph starting December 10, 2022. For bulk tickets and showbuying inquiries, contact Mitch Go at 0917-539-1112.