Paulo Tiról musical is a ‘vibrant mosaic’ of the balikbayan experience

Jaygee Macapugay and Michael Protacio as lola and apo, conjuring up memories of days gone by as they cook dinner in a kitchen in Queens.Michael Kushner Photography.

Composer and lyricist Paulo K. Tiról’s On This Side of the World, will have a concert staging on February 3rd and 4th, at 7:30 p.m. at the Greenwich House Theater in the West Village. 

On this Side of the World – presented by Prospect Theater Company — is a collection of songs capturing voices from the Filipino immigrant experience. Stories of overseas workers, young lovers, and gossipy church ladies. Snapshots of undocumented immigrants, millennial princesses, and first-generation Americans. Tiról’s wistful, joyous song cycle is a vibrant mosaic of love and loss, humor and heartache, yearning and faith eight thousand miles from home.

The musical was developed and originally presented by Three Hares in association with Access Theater in downtown Manhattan, where it had a sold-out two-week in May 2019. Of this production, Theatre is Easy said: “It’s rare to see a production entirely focused on the balikbayan experience in the United States. But considering that there are nearly a quarter million Filipino Americans in and around New York City, On This Side of the World is a musical revue that feels not just welcome, but long overdue…On This Side of the World may play best with immigrant audiences, but the themes of separation, love, and perseverance are relatable even to those who have never set foot outside of their home country. Audiences won’t be able to stop cheering (when they’re not weeping) for this ambitious underdog of a show.”

The Manila-born Tiról.  Photo by Kenneth Camara

The upcoming concert presentation of On This Side of the World is part of Prospect Theater Company’s IGNITE Series, which showcases compelling new musical theater works in concert settings. It will reunite the original cast from the May 2019 premiere: Albert Guerzon (Escape to Margaritaville, Honeymoon in Vegas); Joanne Javien (Secret Garden at the Arden Theatre, Miss Saigon); Jaygee Macapugay (Soft Power, School of Rock, Prospect’s Honor); Diane Phelan (Here Lies Love, LCT’s The King & I,  Prospect’s Honor); Michael Protacio, (Out of The Eclipse, Cry Love); and Kevin Schuering (LCT’s The King & I National Tour, Disney’s Aladdin at Chicago Shakes), as well as director Noam Shapiro, music director Ian Miller, and line producer Rachel Nortz.

Tiról is originally from Manila, where he was a corporate professional, choral-liturgical composer, and super-fan of western musical theatre for over a decade before moving to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music. He went on to attend NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program as a composer, on a full tuition scholarship; then to be a lyricist in the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, and an artist-in-residence at Access Theater with director Noam Shapiro. He is currently a Musical Theatre Fellow at the Dramatist Guild Foundation. Other projects include orchestrations for Ma-Yi Theatre Co.’s off-Broadway musical Felix Starro; andbook, music and lyrics for the original full-length musical Called. His work has been presented at Joe’s Pub, the NAMT Festival of New Musicals, Prospect’s Musical Theater Lab, Barrington Theatre Co., Musical Theatre Factory, and more.

Prospect Theater Company, founded in 1998, is dedicated to fostering and showcasing today’s new voices shaping tomorrow’s musicals.  Over two decades, the company has fully produced 35 new musicals in New York City, in addition to new plays and numerous re-inventions of classic works. The company received an OBIE Award grant, and its role as a community anchor for emerging artists was honored with a grant from the American Theatre Wing. 

For tickets ($35) and information, please visit or call 212-352-3101.

© The FilAm 2020

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: