Quezon City, PHILIPPINES — As part of the 35th anniversary celebration of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) is bringing the special run of the wondrously hilarious, deeply heart-warming, and genuinely eye-opening story of ‘CAREDIVAS – An Original Pinoy Musical’ on June 24 to July 30 at The PETA Theater Center.
A tribute to our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), CAREDIVAS is a candid stage drama that reveals the reality of the lives of our modern-day heroes. It tells the tale of five OFWs (namely Shai, Kayla, Chelsea, Thalia, and Jonee) in Israel who work to give care during the day and transform into glamorous drag queen performers at night. While desperate to make ends meet, they also aspire acceptance in a foreign land.
The major roles will be played by acclaimed theater performers. Melvin Lee will reprise his role as the sweet Chelsea who seems to have it all – a kind employer and potential lover; Vincent De Jesus and Ron Alfonso as the often-sarcastic leader Shai who is haunted by the image of her mother who expects so much from her; Dudz Teraña and Jason Barcial as the ditzy Thalia who along with Jonee joined “D’ Nigtingales” (their unit stage name) to express their creativity; Gio Gahol, Jerald Napoles and Ricci Chan as Kayla who is always transferring employees and has become an illegal migrant worker, and Thou Reyes and Phil Noble as Jonee.
When asked about his message to non-theatergoers, original cast Vince De Jesus says, “CAREDIVAS is not really a gay play. It is a play about Filipinos who happen to be gay. There is nothing sexual about it. They work hard for their families so it’s everyone’s story. They could be lesbians, they could be straight, but like I said nga, it’s not about the gender. It’s about the sadness in their lives and they’re trying everything to better the situation, ignore the pain and sadness. Which is very universal. Very Filipino.”
Caregivers, also known as personal aides are individuals who give assistance to their clients who are often sick, in rehabilitation, mentally or physically disabled, or the elderly. Their job descriptions include bathing and bathroom functions, workout and light exercises, plan and prepare meals, feeding, grooming, giving medication and regular household chores. They are also considered personal assistants and companions who engage their client in various activities.
The term OFW is not new to Filipinos. Majority of the households in the country have a relative working abroad to provide for the needs of those who are left behind. There isn’t a shortage in the exposure of the life of OFWs because it’s been a topic of radio, television, and print media for many years. However, CAREDIVAS hopes to shed a different light to people especially their families who are unaware of the struggles of these caregivers in a live stage production with a highly-witty script and story written by Liza Magtoto with tastefully Pinoy music and lyrics by Vincent de Jesus.
Rounding up the cast are Myke Salomon (Faraj, David, Daniel), Paul Holme and Leo Rialp (Isaac, Moshe, Yaakov, club owner), Joan Bugcat and Gold Villar (Nonah), Eric Dela Cruz and Dom Miciat-Janssen (Avi, Aryeh, police officer), Sherry Lara (Sarah, Adara), Eko Baquial and Joseph Madriaga (ensemble).
CAREDIVAS is directed by Maribel Legarda. Completing the artistic team are Leo Abaya (set designer), JonJon Villareal (lighting director), John Abul (costume designer), Carlo Pagunaling (assistant costume designer), Carlon Matobato (choreographer) and Gimbey dela Cruz (vocal coach).
CAREDIVAS was first produced in 2011. The musical dominated the 2011 Philstage Gawad Buhay! Awards, bagging seven trophies including Outstanding Musical Production and Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Musical.
CAREDIVAS was continued to be produced in April 2012 in partnership with Repertory Philippines and last February 2017 to open PETA’s 50th Anniversary.
Bring your family and friends to watch this tale that shares a message that is still as relevant today as it was when it first premiered. CAREDIVAS opens July 1, and will run until July 30 at the PETA Theater Center.
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