Nestled in the heart of Kildonan Park, new sounds will emanate from the iconic dome of Canada’s largest open-air theatre.  

Thursday night, Rainbow Stage opens their 70th Anniversary season in historic fashion: the world premiere of Ma-Buhay: A New Musical.



Created by local musical theatre professional Joseph Sevillo, Ma-Buhay has been developed with support from Rainbow Stage as part of their mission to nurture and support local Manitoba artists.  

“I feel all the feelings,” says creator Joseph Sevillo on opening morning. “I’m really excited, unnaturally calm, I’m fatigued but I think the adrenaline will kick in.” 

Sevillo was inspired to create a new work highlighting the vibrant Filipinx community and culture, while providing new opportunities for its artists.  

“This specific new work is targeted to an underserved community,” he says. “We don’t get to really see (Filipinx performers) shine on the mainstream media and the professional stages in the city.” 

With an invite-only performance and preview night under their belt, the 22-member cast (20 of whom are from or live in Manitoba) is excited to be a part of history as the first all-Filipino cast in this, the 150th Rainbow Stage show. 

Headlining the show is Winnipegger Andrea Macasaet, who originated the role of Ann Bolyn in Broadway’s Six: The Musical and went on to perform the role of Mimi Márquez in Rent at the 2023 Stratford Festival.    

“Anything she does, she’s unreal,” says Sevillo.  

Another major star to return to town is Ma-Anne Dionisio, who Sevillo describes as “my Michael Jordan of musical theatre.”  

The Philippine-born, Canadian-raised singer and actress immigrated to Winnipeg with her family in 1990 before landing the role of Kim in the Canadian premiere of Miss Saigon in 1994. 

“I just remember having that ‘a-ha’ moment of like ‘What? A Filipino Winnipegger making it big in something?’” recounts Sevillo.  

For him, having one of the two talented performers be a part Ma-Buhay was a hope. But to land both?  

“It was another dream come true.”  

Ma-Buhay runs from June 27 through July 14.  

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