Get Ready for a Breakout Hit! Showstopping Musical Prison Dancer takes over the NAC in November
GET READY FOR A BREAKOUT HIT! SHOWSTOPPING MUSICAL PRISON DANCER TAKES OVER THE NAC IN NOVEMBER
All-Filipino musical marks Nina Lee Aquino’s first directed production as Artistic Director
November 9, 2023 – OTTAWA (Canada). In 2007, a video featuring 1,500 inmates in a Filipino prison dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller was uploaded to YouTube, quickly becoming one of the internet’s first viral videos. The “Dancing Inmates of Cebu” became the inspiration for an ambitious and joyous musical titled Prison Dancer. Created by Filipino Canadian creators Romeo Candido and Carmen De Jesus, this production is now set to entertain audiences at the NAC from November 23 to December 2, 2023.
The musical is a landmark production in Canada - marking the first Filipino musical ever produced in the country. Under the direction of NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Nina Lee Aquino, the all-Filipino cast premiered Prison Dancer to critical acclaim at the Citadel Theatre this past May, winning five Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production.
Paying tribute to pop, house, and R&B while unabashedly reveling in its deep love for sentimental ballads and drag, Prison Dancer reimagines the origin story of a viral sensation. This tale of resilience and hope chronicles the journey of Lola, a prisoner who instills purpose and joy in her fellow inmates. Under Lola's leadership, a community forms within the prison walls, uniting as a pangkat (a Filipino term for group) to support and look out for each other.
Over the past several years, creators Candido and De Jesus have developed this story, presenting it through various mediums. These include an award-winning transmedia project comprising an interactive web series, a performative cinematic experience, and a cast recording. Now, the tale returns to its beloved original form as a live musical production.
Prepare to be captivated by the cast's powerhouse performance and inspired by a story of hope found in the most unexpected places.
PRISON DANCER – NOVEMBER 23 – DECEMBER 2 BABS ASPER THEATRE
An NAC English Theatre Revival of the Citadel Theatre Production. Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s Nation Creation Fund
Music and Lyrics by Romeo Candido; Book by Romeo Candido and Carmen De Jesus; Directed by Nina Lee Aquino; Produced by Ana Serrano and Carla Serrano. Featuring Norm Alconcel, Pierre Angelo Bayuga, Dominique Brillantes, Josh Capulong, Diana Del Rosario, Renell Doneza, Daren Dyhengco, Chariz Faulmino, Byron Flores, Julio Fuentes, Jovanni Sy, Stephen Thakkar; Music Director, Additional Scoring, Piano Arrangements; Kierscey Rand Regozo; Musicians Jeremie Guitierrez, José Monchito Hernández Garcia, Leighton Rodney; Costume Designer Joyce Padua; Lighting Designer Michelle Ramsay; Set and Props Designer Joanna Yu; Sound Designer Owen Hutchinson; Fight Director Richard Lee;; Choreographer Julio Fuentes; Associate Choreographer Keiran Bohay; Dramaturgy Rick Boynton; Audio Coordinator Wayne Hawthorne; Stage Manager Gina Puntil; Assistant Stage Manager Alysse Szatkowski; Associate Stage Manager Angela Mae Bago;
PERFORMANCE AND TICKET INFORMATION
For more information and showtimes, please visit: https://nac-cna.ca/en/event/33675
PASKONG PINOY SA OTTAWA (FILIPINO CHRISTMAS IN OTTAWA) – DECEMBER 2
The Philippine Centre Canada (PCC) and the Philippine Embassy in Canada, in partnership with the National Arts Centre, invite you to join us for a festive holiday market - the Filipino way! Shop for holiday goodies and gifts made by local Filipino businesses and artisans, learn how to make a parol (lantern), and enjoy listening to Filipino Christmas carols.
10 am – 4 pm
Peter A Herrndorf Place
NAC’S NATIONAL CREATION FUND
The National Creation Fund’s investment of $135,000 allowed the artists to invest in research phases – including a research trip to Cebu City, Philippines -- and additional creation workshops that integrated designers and design concepts. This enhanced development set the stage for the Filipino Canadian-majority Prison Dancer team to collaborate in entirely new way, with space for the risk-taking and innovation necessary to create a brand-new large-scale musical.
THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS
The National Arts Centre Foundation would like to thank The Slaight Family Foundation and Official Hotel Partner Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites. Special thank you to the Dr. Kanta Marwah Endowment for English Theatre.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE
The National Arts Centre (NAC) is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety — and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation.