#FACinfocus News: All The World’s A Stage – Part 2: New Shows & New Opportunities

2nd Edwin Picture for InterviewsAnnouncement by Edwin A. Santos

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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You can discover and find the next generation of Filipino and Filipino American performers on the world’s stage while many from both the television and film industries return to theatre work while their projects are on hiatus.

It was announced earlier today that after three years, the first Filipino American male principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, Jeffrey Cirio will be leaving for London to join the English National Ballet.

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Jeffrey Cirio (center)

His statement from his Instagram:  “I have received numerous messages about the recent press release from English National Ballet. So there is no speculation, I want to clarify that, yes, I am leaving ABT. This was not an easy decision for me. I have been honored to dance for the last three years at ABT. I am so grateful for the opportunities which I have been given here by Kevin Mckenzie. However, after being at ENB last fall as a guest artist and working with Tamara Rojo, I realized that she has a lot of the same vision about ballet that I have. While respecting the classics, she is excited about moving ballet forward. I feel that in moving to London I will get the opportunity to dance more roles and to work with some of the choreographers with whom I have always wanted to work. Coming originally from Boston Ballet, I was accustomed to doing a very diverse rep. After working with Wayne McGregor again here at ABT, I realized how much I missed that. A dancer’s career is very short and it is imperative that we seek out the opportunities and accept them when they come our way. I will miss my colleagues and friends here at ABT. I love them all very much. This is an amazing group of dancers and artists. I am so thankful to the staff for all that they have given me. Again, I’m honored to have worked here. I am very excited about what the future holds in Europe.”

Official announcement from the English National Ballet: “Following his recent guest performances with the Company in Song of the Earth, La Sylphide, Romeo & Juliet, Nutcracker and Akram Khan’s Giselle, Jeffrey Cirio, currently Principal at American Ballet Theatre, joins English National Ballet as Lead Principal.”

In 2009, Cirio was the first American to be awarded a Gold medal at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition and also won a coveted Princess Grace Fellowship


Break a leg, Jeffrey! There is nothing wrong seeking new endeavors and creativity in your craft thus making you a versatile performer.  The show must go on!

East West Players, in Association with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, presents As We Babble On written by Nathan Ramos (Winner of East West Players’ 2042: See Change Playwriting Competition) and directed by Alison M. De La Cruz currently playing that began from Thursday, May 31 to this Sunday, June 24 at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Downtown Los Angeles.

As We Babble On explores the pursuit of success, its costs, and whether the whole adulting thing is ever going to happen. Benji, a first-generation Asian American comic book artist, struggles in New York City when his dreams are pulled from under him and an ex-boyfriend resurfaces. As the unconventional path of his bestie Sheila takes a left turn, and his half-sister Laura unexpectedly finds herself on the fast track to success, each begins to unravel.

The Cast includes Will Choi (Asian AF), Sachin Bhatt, Jiavani Linayao, Jaime Schwarz and Bobby Foley.  Buy Tickets for the last remaining shows: eastwestplayers.org or call (213) 625-7000.


Speaking of East West Players, the theater’s 2018 Visionary Award Winner — stage (Miss Saigon) and screen (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace) actor, Jon Jon Briones, (our recent special guest panelist from our 4th Annual Actors Panel, June 9th) will be seen next in Reprise 2.0’s Sweet Charity from today, Wednesday, June 20 to Sunday, July 1 at the Freud Playhouse in UCLA’s Macgowan Hall.  For more information and tickets, click here:  https://www.reprise2.org/shows/sweet-charity/

David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s new “play with a musical,” Soft Power ended its Southern California run on Sunday, June 10 at Downtown Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre.  It will begin its Northern California run at San Francisco’s Curran Theater from also today, this Wednesday, June 20 to Sunday, July 8.


Conrad Ricamora (Here Lies Love, The King and I, How to Get Away with Murder), Jaygee Macapugay (School of Rock), Billy Bustamante (Miss Saigon), Maria-Christina Oliveras (Amélie) and Geena Quintos (Miss Saigon) are some of the Filipino American performers in the cast.  For more info and tickets for San Francisco, click here: https://sfcurran.com/shows/soft-power/

On Saturday, June 9, 2018, Asian AF’s FILIPINO AF made its mainstage debut at the Upright Citizens Brigade’s second theater in Hollywood, UCB Sunset.


In October 2017, Asian AF had its first spin-off show FILIPINO AF to celebrate Filipino American History Month – the first all Filipino American comedy show at the UCB Theatre. Filipino AF had a second holiday themed show in December 2017 and a third Lent themed show in March 2018.

The June 9, 2018 mainstage debut was its Philippine Independence Day themed show coinciding to the historical June 12, 1898 date where 120 years ago, the Day of the Proclamation of Independence from Spain was made led by General Emilio Aguinaldo. The event saw the unfurling of the first National Flag of the Philippines, made in Hong Kong by Marcela Agoncillo, Lorenza Agoncillo, and Delfina Herboza, and the performance of the Marcha Filipina Magdalo, as the National Anthem, now known as Lupang Hinirang, which was composed by Julián Felipe and played by the San Francisco de Malabon marching band.

FACT:  I am a 5th generation descendant of Marcela Agoncillo.

Filipino AF’s debut show featured musical stand-up by Jr de Guzman, the Winner of Stand Up NBC, a sneak peek and Q&A of Lumpia with a Vengeance with editor / Executive Producer A.J. Calomay and actors Earl Baylon and our own FilAm Creative Executive Director Meriden Villanueva, a video sketch by Nathan Ramos (Club Mickey Mouse, As We Babble On), a short film, Five Point Oh by Erich Rheinhart Tamola, a sketch by Alfred Aquino II with Gilbert Galon and another sketch by Laurie Len Magers with JM Palmer featuring Camille Mana, Earl Baylon, Sandy Velasco, Mara De La Rosa and Gilbert Galon, of which, the chorus sang “Nandito Ako” recorded by Lea Salonga in 1993.

Closing the evening was long form improv by Sini-Gang, a UCB Filipino American mashup team, featuring guest improviser Eugene Cordero (Kong: Skull Island) being joined by Albert Andrade, Daryl Jim Diaz, Kay Kaanapu, PJ McCormick, Allyn Pintal, Joy Regullano, Christopher Renfro, Erich Rheinhart Tamola and Vince Yap with Guest Monologist Kimee Balmilero (Hawaii Five-0)  L.A.rsian Barbecue food truck provided after show meals.

Hosted/Produced by Allyn Pintal, Joy Regullano & Erich Rheinhart Tamola
Executive Produced by Will Choi & Asian AF


And, speaking of Lea Salonga, the next night, June 10th saw many of us watching the 72nd Annual Tony Awards where the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical went to… Once On This Island featuring Salonga and its costume designer Clint Ramos!



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