Belting it out again at Rainbow Stage

Live showcase aims to inspire young performers


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Broadway may be temporarily shut down, but that’s not stopping local musical theatre performers from honing their craft and putting on a show.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/08/2020 (1014 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Broadway may be temporarily shut down, but that’s not stopping local musical theatre performers from honing their craft and putting on a show.

On Saturday, Rainbow Stage will reopen for the first time this season as a host of BELT Fest 2020, a performance showcase featuring 10 talented new faces from the Filipino community performing some of Broadway’s biggest hits.

From 50 video auditions, 10 singers were chosen for the program and have been receiving coaching from event host and actor Andrea Macasaet — who was starring in the Broadway musical Six when theatres were ordered to close — on how to get into character, how to portray a song and how to sing like a star.

Supplied BELT Fest performers, from left, Joseph Sevillo, Jesse James Baris, Victoria Exconde, Vina Dimayuga, Robin Quintana, host Andrea Macasaet, Alba Manuel (kneeling), Josh Caldo, John Eisma, Marini Tagarda, Joyce Jugo and Shauldon Santos.

One of the 10 lucky singers is Joyce Jugo, who has been using her spare time during the pandemic to build her vocal chops.

“Singing isn’t as big a part of my life as it was when I was younger,” says the 22-year-old. “It’s something I’ve put on hold for a while because I was in school.”

When she saw the audition posting on social media earlier this summer, she didn’t even think she was going to be chosen. Now she’s busy rehearsing for her Rainbow Stage debut, and she says she’s not nervous at all.

“When I was younger, I would get really nervous before performances,” she explains, “but now I feel what I call a performer’s high. I get adrenaline and get into it and the stage feels like home.”

Robin Quintana will also be treading the boards of Rainbow Stage on Saturday evening. It won’t be his first time on the outdoor stage, but he’s just as excited as if it were.

“I’ve been singing since I was four,” says the 27-year-old, who sang Why, God, Why from Miss Saigon for his audition.

Quintana hopes events like BELT Fest 2020 will inspire more collaboration within schools and more opportunities for youth and students who otherwise could not afford musical theatre training. He’s also excited for the opportunity to showcase Filipino talent.

“Singing is a big part of the Filipino culture,” he says, “but we usually stay inside our houses and perform karaoke. That’s why I think this is such a great opportunity to show and express how much we all love to perform.”

“It’s very empowering to see Asian representation and BIPOC people on these platforms and stages,” adds Jugo.

“I’m really excited that BELT Fest 2020 is a thing because it shows that people like me, who want to pursue theatre for fun and a profession at the same time, can do both.”

The complete lineup of performers includes Jesse James Baris, Seanne Buenafe, Josh Caldo, Vina Dimayuga, Victoria Exconde, Joyce Jugo, Alba Manuel, Robin Quintana, Shauldon Santos and Marini Tagarda. The showcase will feature a special performance by Joseph Sevillo, with piano accompaniment by John Eisma and Macasaet as host.

Masks are mandatory at tonight’s performance and the 2,000-seat venue will be capped at 300. Advance tickets, $20, are available via Eventbrite.

Twitter: @franceskoncan

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Frances Koncan

Frances Koncan
Arts reporter

Frances Koncan (she/her) is a writer, theatre director, and failed musician of mixed Anishinaabe and Slovene descent. Originally from Couchiching First Nation, she is now based in Treaty 1 Territory right here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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