Friday, July 18, 2014

Flipzoids: A Must See Play Featuring Three Filipino Immigrants in America

Wazzup Pilipinas!

With only three characters Aying, Vangie and Redford, the play is circa 1985 and is set on a beach in Southern California. It is a funny and highly moving story about three Filipino immigrants in America navigating through the shifting landscape of home, desire, loneliness and belonging. The play examines what it means to be an outsider, to be Filipino and/or American, to be a hybrid.

BECCA GODINEZ ( AYING ) is a seasoned singer, songwriter, director and actress. Her career has taken her through numerous musical avenues, from country to musical theater and everything else in between. She was a student of classical voice, where she competed and won for her college its first classical voice trophy. Believing in her gifts, she was given the lead role in the operetta, “The Telephone” by Gian Carlo Menotti, where she sang the difficult lines of the sole female soprano, Lucy. Simultaneously, she was a student of vocal jazz, scatting and enjoying the less traditional and less rigid boundaries of that genre, and for a season, she was a member of a vocal jazz ensemble that toured Northern California. Years later, she performed as front act to jazz musicians, Tom Scott, Richard Tee, Carlos Rios and Steve Gadd.

Becca spent a good amount of time on the legitimate stage, where she performed in straight plays and in musical theatre. She was a member of Repertory Philippines where she portrayed numerous roles which included Tuptim in The King and I, Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, and in a CA production of West Side Story where she played Anita. An Orange County newspaper’s review stated... “In her role of Anita, she displayed a deep understanding of the role and gave it a passionate interpretation, which outshone Rita Moreno's interpretation …of "West Side." When she came to her big song "A Boy Like That," she gave it tragic and heart-wringing overtones …”

Becca is the recipient of several awards. She was recognized as “Woman of Distinction” for Theatre, 1st Place at the Opera 100 Classical Competition, Tinig Awardee in the Philippines, and at the 10th Tokyo Music Festival where she represented her country; Becca won two awards handed to her by jazz great, Sara Vaughan. As a songwriter, Becca won 1st Place at the Houston International Song Festival for a song that she co-wrote with “Feelings” composer, Morris Albert.

It is in pop and adult contemporary music however, that Becca found her musical home. In pop and A/C, she sings songs that touch on each of the musical influences that nurtured her style. It is in this arena that Becca began to write original songs and it is in this musical milieu where life and all its musical flavors converged.

Surprisingly in the last two years things took a different turn for Becca. By a fortuitous chance meeting, Becca was cast as a lead in a reading of best-selling author, Mona Simpson’s new book, “Coins”. This led to more readings and after performing a reading for Eve Ensler’s, “The V Monologues”, she never imagined she would one day be asked to audition for a play.

Becca was cast as the lead in “Flipzoids” a dramedy in Los Angeles for which she gained rave reviews. She auditioned for the role not knowing how she would do since it had been 30 years since her last with Repertory Philippines. Five months after that audition, she received a call to say that she landed the lead and went on to perform the role of Aying, a 72-year old woman of amazing substance. She was onstage at the Los Angeles Theatre Center during the entire month of October in 2012. The bug bit and it bit hard. “I didn’t think that I would ever return to the theatre”, she said. Today, as a result of that 2012 experience onstage, Becca is wearing a new hat – that of theatrical producer.

Originally from Los Angeles, Ellen D. Williams has been seen on both the stage and screen in the US. She is best known for her role as Patrice on the hit TV show HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.

She was first seen professionally in Boston, Massachusetts with Massachusetts Rep’s MOBY DICK: A WHALE OF A TALE where she worked with world renowned producer, Cameron Mackintosh. Her favorite stage role has been playing Fil-Am character “Ruby” in RUBY, TRAGICALLY ROTUND written by Fil-Am playwright Boni B. Alvarez. For that role she received a Los Angeles Weekly nomination for Best Actress. She also has played Fil-Am character Farrah Legazpi in two other Alvarez plays, DUSTY DE LOS SANTOS and BLOODLETTING.

Ellen has loved the opportunities to play strong Filipino characters. Other favorite regional roles include IXNAY at East West Players, THE BOOK OF LIZ at The Garage Theatre, THE ENLIGHTENMENT at The Carpenter Center and THROWING RUBIES at the Stella Adler Theatre. She has also toured throughout the Northwest and West Coast regions of the US doing educational theatre with such companies as the GAP Theatre Company and South Coast Rep.

She is a proud member of the American talent unions – Actors Equity and SAG/AFTRA.

Born and raised in agrestic Santa Maria, California, Maxwel Corpuz began performing in the theatre in high school. He later graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Musical Theatre.

Soon Maxwel found himself performing in large-scale arena industrials such as opening for The Steve Miller Band then opening for EARTH, WIND, and FIRE, both at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. He has also performed in plays and musicals in intimate professional theaters. Roles include Barfee in The 25th Annual…Spelling Bee (NTAC), Thuy in Miss Saigon (Little Theatre), Mrs. Taylor in Batboy (Young Theatre), Man 1/2 in Songs for a New World (GCAC).

In affiliation with Ensemble Studio Theatre, he spent a summer training with preeminent theatre educators in New York City as a participant in the New York Theatre Intensives. There he learned how to direct and write for the stage while continuing to train in acting. When he left the New York experience, he carried with him his first NYC acting credits and soon after became a published writer.

Of late, Maxwel has embarked on a new path – one that has taken him towards directing and dance. He led a workshop that he later directed. This new play by Emirick Haro, entitled, “I Am Different” was produced and presented in the Citizen’s Bank Arena in Ontario, CA. His latest project was in affiliation with Broadway Barkada, an organization of Fil-Am theatre professionals in New York City, Maxwel was featured in a dance concert that was performed at the prestigious, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Returning to his role as Redford in FLIPZOIDS, and to be able to perform it in Manila is a dream come true. This will be Maxwel’s first trip to the motherland! Being able to tell this American story with Filipino roots will really hit home.

FLIPZOIDS - A great story that needs to be seen and experienced by all Filipinos. This is a laugh out loud, cry in pain, know our culture kind of experience."

FLIPZOIDS premiered in New York in October 4, 1996 through Ma-Yi Theater Company.

Featuring: Becca Godinez, Ellen D. Williams and Maxwel Corpuz
Direction: Jon Lawrence Rivera,
Playdates: July 17-19, 2014 --- 8 p.m.
Music Museum, Greenhills

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