The groundbreaking and celebratory all-Filipino musical gets a complete reading of script and score! Co-creator Joseph Sevillo and Rainbow Stage Artistic Director Carson Nattrass were on Morning Light. 

After two full seasons away, music rings out again from under the iconic dome of Rainbow Stage!


“Ma-buhay: Filipinos Singing for their Lives” is a brand new musical centred around three characters, Honey, David and Selena, competing in a highly televised Filipino reality singing competition. 

“You get to follow their journeys,” explains co-creator Joseph Sevillo.”They all have different reasons why they want to win the crown of ‘Star on the Rise.’”

Sevillo has been an active part of Winnipeg’s professional theatre community for over 2 decades, including multiple performances at Rainbow Stage. He is also a leader, mentoring and encouraging fellow members of the Filipino Canadian community and other groups to explore opportunities in the performing arts.

“Growing up in Winnipeg… I never really had any male Filipino mentors that I could look up to navigating this type of business,” explains Sevillo. Considering Winnipeg’s vibrant Filipino community, the idea of an all-Filipino musical was a no-brainer. “We all know that Filipinos love to sing, dance and act so that’s kind of what motivated (‘Ma-buhay’)!”

For Rainbow Stage Artistic Director Carson Nattrass, partnering with a local musical theatre creator like Sevillo is the next logical step for the organization. 

“Rainbow Stage has always had a Manitoba first mandate that has stewarded the careers of many performers,” says Nattrass. “But I wanted to expand that into expand every field.” 

Nattrass explains that the power of representation on stage is not only important for the Filipino Canadian community but for all Manitobans. “If we tell our own stories and employ our artists to see that they have a voice to share their story with the world, then we start having impact that is far deeper than we had before,” says Nattrass. 

Ranging in age from 11 to 73, the cast, handpicked by Sevillo, is made up of professionals and amateurs alike. 

A reading of “Ma-buhay: Filipinos Singing for their Lives” takes place at 7PM on Wednesday, September 1. The event is free to the public, though attendees are encouraged to reserve their seats in advance as capacity is limited. 

In the full interview below, learn more about how the work has changed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, how it feels to be back at Rainbow Stage, and the ultimate dream for “Ma-buhay!” 

Under the current Manitoba Public Health Order, we are only permitting those who can display proof of immunization against Covid-19 along with one piece of matching government issued ID for this event.

Masks are currently required while traveling within the walls of the facility and can be removed once seated.

Guests will be asked to sign a Covid-19 screening declaration prior to entry.