Broadway Barkada to hold concert in Los Angeles, May 28

May 19, 2018
USA and Canada Section,

LOS ANGELES  Performance and artist-support group Broadway Barkada will stage "Balikbayan: An LA Homecoming Concert" on May 28 at Rockwell Table and Stage.

From left: Liz Casasola, Broadway Barkada (BB) cofounder and the concert's director;
Billy Busamante, BB cofounder and cast member of "Soft Power;"
Jaygee Macapugay, BB member and cast member of "Soft Power."

The show will feature Filipino American cast members of the musical "Soft Power" as well as other Broadway Barkada (BB) members who have performed on Broadway and Off-Broadway.

"The show will feature a mix of musical theater, pop, R&B, soul, jazz and boogie-woogie," says director Liz Casasola. Musical direction and arrangements will be by Mark Abulencia.

Part of the proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project.

Line up

BB members in the cast of "Soft Power" (starring Conrad Ricamora and currently playing at Ahmanson Theater) confirmed to join the concert include Billy Bustamante, Jaygee Macapugay, Maria Christina Oliveras and Geena Quintos.

According to Casasola, also performing in the concert are BB members who are based in Los Angeles, such as Melody Butiu, Chris Chatman, Debralee Daco, Deedee Magno Hall, Anthea Neri, Isabelle Van Vleet and Allen Lucky Weaver.

"Many of these artists who worked in New York have moved to Los Angeles for various reasons, such as pursuing television, film or music work or to raise families," she says.

These artists' geographic trajectories are part of reason why the concert is titled "Balikbayan"-to celebrate a homecoming and reunion of these colleagues and barkada-mates.

Other performers joining the concert include Emily Borromeo, Bryan Geli, Joanne Javien, Glen Llanes, Anthea Neri, Jennifer Paz, and Nicole Santiago.


For Casasola, there's a personal connection to the concert title. "Los Angeles is my hometown! It's also my homecoming," she says.

BB cofounder Billy Bustamante (left) moderating post-show talkback session
with Lea Salonga during Pinoy Night at "Once on This Island."

Aside from working as an actor in New York (including Jessica Hagedorn's "Dogeaters" at The Public Theater), she has also coproduced concerts that topbilled the likes of Lea Salonga.

She cofounded Broadway Barkada with actors Billy Bustamante and Brian Jose in 2009.

All three were in the cast of Pan Asian Repertory Theater's staging of "Imelda: A New Musical." Two typhoons adversely affected several areas in the Philippines that year and the trio gathered the show's all-Filipino American cast to perform in a benefit concert to raise funds to send back to the survivors.

The group has since continued to grow and has become a collective of professional artists whose mission is "to provide a community for the Filipino artist, that cultivates our talents, educates our audiences, and elevates our global impact."

Filipino Veterans and Education Project aims to obtain national recognition and raise awareness of Filipino and Filipino-American World War II soldiers through academic research and public information.

Other events

In February, Broadway Barkada hosted a "Pinoy Night" at one of the performances of the Broadway musical "Once on This Island," which includes Lea Salonga in the cast. The group facilitated a post-show talkback session with Salonga moderated by Bustamante.

From left: BB members JP Moraga, Allen Lucky Weaver and Jon Viktor Corpuz
were part of the cast of the staged reading of Boni Alvarez's play "Fixed."

Last month, BB members JP Moraga, Allen Lucky Weaver and Jon Viktor Corpuz were part of the cast of a staged reading of Fil-Am playwright Boni Alvarez's "Fixed" at New Dramatists, a developmental laboratory for professional playwrights, in New York.

Alvarez was named as one of New Dramatists' eight new resident playwrights last year. He was chosen out of 415 applicants by a seven-person committee (composed of New Dramatists residents, alumni, and outside theater professionals) in a nine-month evaluation process.

The reading of Alvarez's play kicked off his residency, which will last until 2024. His play "Fixed" was most recently staged by Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles last year, directed by Rodney To.

An adaptation of Spanish writer Pedro Calderon's "The Physician of His Own Honor," the play is about the love between Miracles MalacaƱang, a Filipino ladyboy masseuse, and Mariano Fernandez.


Back in New York, Broadway Barkada will perform at "Time Is Now," a networking and mentoring event featuring Filipino industry leaders, at the Harvard Club of New York in June.

The group will also hold its annual "Lumipad Dance Concert" at Alvin Ailey Theater later in the year.

"Balikbayan: An LA Homecoming Concert" is on May 28 at Rockwell Table and Stage, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. Tickets at

READ about the Filipino American cast of "Soft Power" here.

READ about the 2017 Los Angeles staging of Boni Alvarez's "Fixed" here.