Vancouver student actors inspired by Filipinos on Broadway

VANCOUVER — This is Jolene Bernardino’s first season with Vancouver’s Theatre Under the Stars at the Malkin Bowl in the Stanley Park.

She plays Annie on “42nd Street,” a Broadway musical on showbiz dreams come true.

It’s an impressive feat for a musical theatre student just on her third year at Capilano University.

“I was very surprised…42nd street is a very big dance musical…and I just started dancing a year and a half ago. It’s been very demanding, very big challenge for me personally. I’ve grown so much through rehearsing; I enjoy it every single night.”

Caleb Lagayan meantime is on his third season — he plays the role of Lord Pinkleton in the magical fairytale “Cinderella” this summer.

But unlike previous adaptations of the classic fairytale, the town crier dons a traditional Filipino costume, the barong, all throughout his performance.

“I’ve had many Filipino audience members wait for me after the show and really thank me for being kind of like representing the Philippines. It’s really an honor; it’s the main reason why I do musical theatre.”

Both actors admit breaking into the local theatre scene is not easy.

But they hope to showcase Filipino talent more, with Pinoy Broadway icons as inspiration.

“There are so much pride that comes with it… people I look up to, Jon Jon Briones, Lea Salonga, who have put Filipinos on the map in musical theatre, and it’s my goal to do the same here in Canada.”

“Cinderella” and “42nd Street” run at the Malkin Bowl until August 18.

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