Marking the first off-Broadway musical created by Filipino Americans, Felix Starro explores issues of faith, family, love, loss, betrayal, and what it means to be an undocumented Filipino immigrant in America.

Felix Starro, a famous faith healer from the Philippines whose clients once included Hollywood celebrities and the most powerful politicians, has returned to San Francisco for one last healing mission to cure ailing Filipino Americans in the Bay Area. Unbeknownst to Felix, however, Junior, his nineteen-year-old grandson who has been acting mysteriously, has a mission of his own and the choice he makes could rip their family apart forever.

Felix Starro features a book & lyrics by Jessica Hagedorn and a score by Fabian Obispo, and is based on the powerful short story by acclaimed Filipino American writer, Lysley Tenorio. The musical is directed by Ma-Yi Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña and features choreography by Brandon Bieber of “Fosse/Verdon.”

Photo by Richard Termine.


Theatre Row 410 West 42nd Street New York, NY 10036

A Sneak Preview Of "Felix Starro"

About the Playwright

Jessica Hagedorn | Book & Lyrics

Jessica is the author of Dogeaters (National Book Award finalist), Toxicology, Dream Jungle, The Gangster Of Love, Danger And Beauty, and Burning Heart: A Portrait Of The Philippines (with photojournalist Marissa Roth). She is the editor of three  groundbreaking anthologies: Manila Noir, Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction and Charlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home In The World. Her numerous plays include adaptations of Dogeaters (world premiere directed by Michael Greif) and The Gangster Of Love (world premiere directed by Loretta Greco), and the musical Most Wanted, a collaboration with composer Mark Bennett. Screenplays include Fresh Kill, a feature film directed by Shu Lea Cheang. From 1975-85, Jessica led a funky/punky poet’s band called The Gangster Choir. One of the band’s signature songs, “Tenement Lover”, is featured in John Giorno’s ‘80s music anthology, A Diamond Hidden in the Mouth Of A Corpse. Prizes and honors include the American Book Award, the Philippine National Book Award, the AALDEF Justice in Action Award, as well as fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Hewlett, Gerbode Foundation, the Lucille Lortel Foundation, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sundance Theatre Lab and the Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab. She is a finalist for the 2020 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Mabuhay/Salamats: to our phenomenal, paranormal,  charismatic, kick-ass cast, our indefatigable creative/production team, Sarah Hanlon and Jesse Jae Hoon of Ma-Yi, and my invaluable assistant, Jennifer Ogasian. Up next, for Two River Theater: Play Like A Girl: The Amazing Life & Times Of A Band Named Fanny.

About the Composer

Fabian Obispo | Composer

Fabian returns to Ma-Yi, where his composing credits include Caucasian Chalk Circle, Mother Courage, and The Romance of Magno Rubio, among others. Other musicals for which he wrote the music are Long Season (Perserverance Theatre), Dear (Syracuse Stage), and Yellowmoon Rising (NYU). He has also provided music for Yerma (Arena Stage), Black No More (Guthrie), Nothing Forever (New York Theatre Workshop), The House of Bernarda Alba (NAATCO), and The Frogs (Juilliard), to name a few. His compositions have been performed in major concert halls including Lincoln Center and Tcaikovsky Hall in Russia and have won numerous awards for international choral groups. Fabian has composed and sound designed extensively for Off-Broadway and regional theatres. His works have been published internationally in Sweden by Sveriges Körförbunds Förlag and Walter Music Corp., and in Germany by Möseler Verlag Wolfenbüttel, and Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart. He was a two-time resident of the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy and was an artist in residence at Dartmouth College, Ohio State University, New Harmony Project in Indiana, and Sundance Theatre Lab. Fabian is a recipient of the Barrymore Award and the Berkshire Theatre Critics Award.

About the Choreographer

Brandon Bieber | Choreographer

Brandon most recently choreographed the television series “Dream” that will debut on the new Apple TV Network this Fall. Prior to that he served as the Assistant Choreographer of the acclaimed series “Fosse/Verdon” on FX. He has served as the Assistant/Associate Choreographer and/or Dance Captain of several Broadway, Touring and Regional productions, including the revival of Side Show, Something Rotten!, Annie, Camelot and Kiss Me, Kate (both at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C.). He is thrilled to be making his Ma-Yi Theater Company debut. Many thanks to Ralph, Jessica, Fabian, Ian, the production team, and this gorgeous cast!

About the Director

Ralph B. Peña | Director

Recent Off-Broadway: The Chinese Lady, Among The Dead, House/Rules, and Wong Kids in The Secret of the Space Chupacabra, Go! Ralph has been Ma-Yi Theater’s Artistic Director since 1996, and has been instrumental in establishing Ma-Yi Theater Company as the country’s leading incubator of new works by Asian American playwrights, reaping numerous Obie and Drama Desk Awards, a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical (KPOP), and most recently, the 2018 Ross Wetzsteon Obie Award. Apart from Ma-Yi Theater, his work has been seen on the stages of Ensemble Studio Theater, the Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Victory Gardens, Laguna Playhouse, Children’s Theater Company, and La Mama ETC, to name a few. This is for Damien, always and forever.


Design Team

  • Marsha Ginsberg | Scenic Design
  • Becky Bodurtha | Costume Design
  • Oliver Wason | Lighting Design
  • Julian Evans | Sound Design
  • Paulo K Tiról | Orchestrations
  • Ian Miller | Musical Direction & Additional Vocal Arrangements
  • Cristina Sison | Production Stage Manager
  • Samantha McCann | Assistant Stage Manager
  • Nick Graci | Projection & Video Design

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