By Ibarra C. Mateo
ACTOR-singer Victor “Cocoy” Laurel returns to stage by playing the leading role of Juan Diego, the poor Aztec mat-weaver said to have witnessed an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Guadalupe: The Musical,” the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of the Philippines and the Americas, has been transposed into an all-new musical premiering on Sept. 28, 8:00 pm, at the Meralco Theater.
The show runs until Oct. 14, Fridays through Sundays at 8:00 pm, with Saturday and Sunday matinées at 3:00 pm.
Directed by Baby Barredo and produced by Julie Borromeo, the highly anticipated Guadalupe is based on the mysterious, world-changing events that occurred in 1531 in New Spain, or present-day Mexico.
The all-original English-language musical, which was created by award-winning artists Joel Trinidad (book and lyrics) and Ejay Yatco (music), “is a sweeping theatrical epic that uses history as a backdrop for a uniquely inspiring tale that will appeal to theater-lovers everywhere, regardless of their religious beliefs,” organizers said.
Joining the creative team are Julie Borromeo and Rose Borromeo (choreography), Mio Infante (scenic design), John Batalla (lights), Rards Corpus of Soundcheck (sound design), and Celia Diaz-Laurel (costumes).
The world premiere of Guadalupe is sponsored by the Friends of Punlaan.
Sharing the stage with Laurel are actors Lorenz Martinez, Shiela Valderrama-Martinez, Onyl Torres, and Miguel Vasquez, with Noel Rayos, Kyla Rivera, and Joel Trinidad covering various major roles.
Joining them all are Arman Ferrer, Chaye Mogg, and Kuya Manzano; all part of a cast of more than 30 actors, singers, and dancers.
Guadalupe is sponsored by Meralco.
In 1531, in the newly conquered land then known as New Spain, a series of unexplained, some might say miraculous, events occurred that would change the world.
That incredible true tale is now the basis of Guadalupe, a production presented by the Julie Borromeo Performing Arts Foundation.
“The story of Juan Diego of Guadalupe is practically a musical,” Borromeo said. “But what makes this story different is all the supernatural elements in it.”
Of these there are many, and all a matter of public record: the painted images on Juan Diego’s now famous tilma (or apron), which show no evidence of any brushstrokes, and whose pigments come from a source unknown to nature; the seeming impenetrability of the cloth from which it was made; the mysterious recovery of Juan Diego’s dying uncle, and more.
But although it deals with the miraculous, Guadalupe is not a conventional faith-based show.
“It’s not a religious musical as such,” Barredo said. “It’s a powerful piece of theater that just happens to contain religious elements. It’s an important distinction, and one that drove the creation of the show from the start.”
For scriptwriter and lyricist Trinidad and composer Yatco, the creative task was to use factual, historical events as a backdrop for a true story that contains some fictional elements.
“Some of the most popular musicals in the world combine fact and fiction this way,” Yatco said.
“You’ll see some things in this show that seem completely implausible,” Trinidad said. “Those were the ones that really happened.”
(Please call 577.1046 or 0917.537.8313 for tickets and inquiries. Tickets also available at TicketWorld at 8919999 or visitwww.ticketworld.com.ph.)