‘Care Divas’: A Special Run for the New Filipino Heroes

I once encountered an unanswered question before. How can you really get people to go to the theater especially the ones who never stepped foot in a theater before? It made me think about this, “Are there enough reasons that the theater experience is still worth the effort? How about Care Divas?”

Even though theater seems to be a good medium of full intended experience, the Filipinos’ level of maturity and audience appreciation to the theater is still low. But theater as part of the cultural menu, nowadays more and more opportunities and great ideas come in from young minds as they become braver and fearless enough to gamble to wider boundaries.

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Think “Rak of Aegis,” “Katy,” “Sa Wakas,” “Ako si Josephine,” “Dirty Old Musical,” “Mula sa Buwan,” and now Care Divas is back for a special run.

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With Sir Toot’s invitation, I am being introduced to another original Pinoy musical that pays tribute to all overseas Filipino workers as the present-day heroes of our country. The press launch of Care Divas makes me clamor to search for the answers.

Introduction to Care Divas

“Let me tell you why Care Divas is a special play close to our hearts in PETA. We consider it one of the landmark plays in PETA as we usually tackle a play that has social significance. Care Divas deals with the OFW migration experience. It’s one of the first plays that brought in a number of theater goers, we ran it in 2011 and we were surprised by the kind of audiences that came. They have never stepped foot in a theater. Galing sa iba’t ibang lugar sa mundo at sa kung saan-saan, they came and found the story so heartwarming,” narrates PETA President Cecilia “CB” Garrucho as she welcomes us and is grateful for all the media who are present at the PETA Theater Center.

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PETA President Cecilia “CB” Garrucho

“Let me tell you why Care Divas is a special play close to our hearts in PETA. We consider it one of the landmark plays in PETA as we usually tackle a play that has social significance. Care Divas deals with the OFW migration experience. It’s one of the first plays that brought in a number of theater goers, we ran it in 2011 and we were surprised by the kind of audiences that came. They have never stepped foot in a theater. Galing sa iba’t ibang lugar sa mundo at sa kung saan-saan, they came and found the story so heartwarming,” narrates PETA President Cecilia “CB” Garrucho as she welcomes us and is grateful for all the media who are present at the PETA Theater Center.

“We call it one of the precursors of Rak of Aegis which brought in also a new different set of audiences to PETA who’d never been to PETA before. And therefore we consider it important enough to open our 50th year anniversary.”

“This is a special run because this time we have with us our partners on board, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA),” adds Ms. CB as she continues to share stories about how OWWA became partners to PETA in this special run of Care Divas. We’ve seen how proud she is about Care Divas. She talks about the importance of why more people need to watch Care Divas, to be able to recognize the life of OFWs and eventually get inspired and be moved by its story.

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Ms. Jojo Sanches Tobia

OWWA is represented by Ms. Jojo Sanches Tobia. “OWWA’s mandate is to take care of the OFWs and their families here in the Philippines. We support this kind of play particularly iyong pang-OFWs para naman ang ating mga pamilyang OFW lalong-lalo na iyong ating mga employees sa mga migration communities ay may nalalamang mas malalim pa sa isyu ng migration.”

“With PETA’s goal to share the stories of OFWs, I am happy that this time, OWWA has been actively participating in this kind of cultural endeavor,” tells Ms. Tobia as she believes in PETA’s intentions.

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Director Maribel Legarda

“It focuses primarily on the OFW issue and their role in the Philippine community and society,” says Director Maribel Legarda as she preps us for the upcoming shows of Care Divas. She also introduces us to the whole creative actors and staff of Care Divas.

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Jerald Napoles is back to join the Care Divas cast.

Giving life to the major roles are well-respected theater actors Melvin Lee (Chelsea), Vincent De Jesus and Ron Alfonso (Shai), Dudz Teraña and Jason Barcial (Thalia), Gio Gahol, Jerald Napoles and Ricci Chan (Kayla), Thou Reyes and Phil Noble (Jonee).The actors in their supporting roles are Myke Salomon (Faraj, David, Daniel), Paul Holme and Leo Rialp (Isaac, Moshe, Yaakov, Club owner), Joan Bugcat and Gold Villar (Nonah), Eric Dela Cruz and Dom Miclat-Janssen (Avi, Aryeh, Pulis), Sherry Lara (Sarah, Adara), Eko Baquial and Joseph Madriaga (ensemble).

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The artistic team of Care Divas are as follows: Maribel Legarda (Director), Liza Magtoto (Playwright), Vincent De Jesus (Lyricist, Composer, Arranger, Musical Director), Leo Abaya (Set Designer), Jonjon Villareal (Lighting Designer), John Abul (Costume Designer), Carlo Pagunaling (Assistant Costume Designer), Carlon Matobato (Choreographer) and Gimbey dela Cruz (Vocal Coach).

Also, we were treated to a great Q&A interaction after the sample performances. Photo set below is taken from the press launch of Care Divas.

Now I got some answers to my previous question at my opening to this write-up. Just like what Ms. CB says, I believe that people who go to theater nowadays look for that compelling story that reflects human at its core, it needs to be timely, socially significant and relatable. These new sets of audience care about something that can affect their lives. Characters delivered with impressive wit is a hit and a good piece of music enriches more of its narrative. So are there enough reasons the theater experience is still worth the effort? Yes! Catch the thrill in seeing live actors perform and go watch Care Divas.

About the Care Divas

Care Divas is a disarmingly funny and candid musical drama about five (5) transgender Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Israel who work as caregivers in the morning and transform into glamorous drag queen performers at night. While desperate to make ends meet, they also struggle to search for acceptance in a foreign land.

It’s a hilarious and touching musical journey of Chelsea, Kayla, Shai, Jonee, and Thalia. A musical play that reveals the struggles, joys, and triumphs of being a caregiver in Israel.

Care Divas is originally produced and first premiered in 2011. The musical dominated the 2011 Philstage Gawad Buhay! Awards, bagging seven trophies including Outstanding Stage Direction, Outstanding Musical Direction, Outstanding Musical Production and Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Musical.

For more details, visit https://petatheater.com/caredivas.

Inclusive Dates: June 24 to July 30, 2017
Venue: PETA Theater Center

Ticket Prices:
Php 2,112.12 – VIP
Php 1,760.10 – Orchestra Center
Php 1,408.08 – Orchestra Side
Php 1,760.10 – Balcony Center
Php 938.72 – Balcony Side

The performance schedules of CAREDIVAS are from Fridays (8 pm), Saturdays and Sundays (3 pm and 8 pm). For inquiries and ticket reservations, contact PETA Marketing and Public Relations Office at Tel. No. 725-6244, petatheater@gmail.com or Ticket World at 891-9999, www.ticketworld.com.ph.

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