Binondo looks at the Chinese-Filipino experience of love

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THE NEW MUSICAL Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical sheds light on plight of Filipino-Chinese through the prism of a love story.

On view at The Theatre at Solaire for a limited run — from June 29 to July 8 only — Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical not only offers good music, but shares stories of an oft-misunderstood Philippine minority.

The original production is inspired by a true story. According to creative producer Rebecca Chuaunsu, a Chinese professor once told her the story of his eternal love for a Filipina. Her professor’s story moved her, a Chinese-Filipina herself. She said it was her dream not only to share the story, but to present a more encompassing narrative about the Chinese-Filipinos experience.

Playwright Ricky Lee, who is also a Chinese-Filipino, agreed to write the play and admitted that he had also noticed the scarcity of literary pieces that highlight the deeper context of the Chinese-Filipino struggles.

Gershom Chua and Eljay Castro Deldoc helped Mr. Lee on the book and lyrics.

Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical tells the story of Lily, a Filipina night club singer in pre-Martial Law Manila, and Ah Tiong, a mainland Chinese scholar returning to Cultural Revolution-era Beijing. The two embark on a journey of great love and heartbreak that begins one moon-lit night during the Mid-Autumn Festival of 1971 in the heart of Manila’s Chinatown.

Lily, a hopeless romantic, falls in love with Ah Tiong, who, on the other hand, is cynical about fate. Coming into their love story is Lily’s childhood friend Carlos, a local Chinese, who confronts his feelings for Lily and sets out to get her. A love triangle tackling the different ways of loving, giving, and receiving love, is the crux of this story.

Veteran actresses Shiela Valderrama Martinez and Carla Guevara Laforteza play Lily, while Arman Ferrer and David Ezra play Ah Tiong. Meanwhile, Floyd Tena and Noel Rayos play Carlos.

Directed by Joel Lamangan, the story is set in two decades‚ the 1970s and ’90s — and two countries — China and Philippines.

The musical explores how love can triumph despite racial prejudice and political turmoil. It also shows how the years of waiting and absence can change the lives of anyone who is brave enough to pursue love.

Also in the cast are Mariella Laurel, Ashlee Factor, Ima Castro, Jennifer Villegas dela Cruz, Kay Balajadia Liggayu, Dondi Ong, Russell Magno, Elizabeth Chua, Jim Pebanco, Lorenz Martinez, Khalil Kaimo, Ellrica Laguardia, Rhapsody Li, Tuesday Vargas, Jonel Mojica, Joseph Billeza, Philip Deles, and Ivana Villanueva.

The other members of the artistic team are creative and line producer Rebecca Chuaunsu who came up with the original story, Von De Guzman who handles music composition and musical direction, Douglas Nierras does the choreography, Joey Nombres handles the lighting design, and Otto Hernandez who is in charge of both the production design and technical direction.

Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical is presented by Synergy 88 Digital, Rebecca Chuaunsu Film Production (RCFP), and Fullhouse Asia Production Studios, Inc.

Tickets to Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical are available at Ticketworld (www.ticketworld.com.ph). For details follow #BinondoMusical and @BinondoMusical on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or visit the website www.binondomusical.com. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman