Filipino Talent Shines in BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards with Record Nominations

Filipino Talent BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards
Trailblazers in Theater: Van Ferro, Ginger Leopoldo, and Eugene Dizon proudly lead the Filipino American nominees at the BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards, showcasing the vibrant talents of the Filipino community in Chicago’s theater scene. Photos courtesy of Van Ferro.

Chicago’s theater scene is witnessing an extraordinary Filipino presence this year, highlighted in the 2023 BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards. The prestigious event has announced 22 nominations for Filipino-American theater artists, marking a significant rise in recognition for the community’s contributions to the arts.

The wave began with Van Ferro, a Filipino-American actor, making history in 2022 by winning two BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards in a single season—a first in Chicago theater. Following this, the Filipino community continued to make strides.

Then and Now

This year, Filipino-American talent in Chicago theater has garnered an impressive 22 nominations. Eugene Dizon, a six-time Jeff Award winner and a pioneer in the community, shared his journey: “Back in the early 90s, I was often the only Filipino in the room. Now, it’s humbling to see many Pinoys in various roles, both on and off stage.”

Nominations Galore

Ginger Leopoldo, artistic director of CIRCA Pintig, the only Filipino-American theater company in the American Midwest, is nominated for Best Supporting Performer in a Play. CIRCA Pintig’s production ‘Dario’s All-American Diner’ has achieved eight nominations, including Best Play and Best New Play/Musical.

The surge in nominations extends beyond Dizon and Leopoldo’s ventures. Van Ferro returns, nominated for Best Supporting Performer in a Play, and Daven Taba is in the running for Best Music Direction and Orchestra Performance. Jay Españo and Mychall Cornejo are contending for Best Director of a Musical, while Courtney San Pedro stands out with four acting nominations.

Reflecting on this growth, Ferro said, “It’s an exciting time for people of color in Chicago theater. I’m glad to see Filipino faces on one of the biggest stages in the world.”

Filipino American Trailblazers

The impact of Filipino-American actors is not new. Trailblazers like Lea Salonga and recent successes like Rachelle Ann Go and Eva Noblezada have set a global precedent. In Chicago, actors like Christine Bunuan and Van Ferro are joining Actors’ Equity, paving the way for more Filipino talent.

As the Filipino Wave in Chicago theater continues to rise, the community remains hopeful and determined. Ferro optimistically concludes, “This is just the beginning. We were here when it all began.”

Complete List of Nominations:

  • Best Play: Daryo’s All-American Diner (CIRCA Pintig)
  • Best Musical: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical (Mercury Theater Chicago), Rock of Ages (Mercury Theater Chicago)
  • Best New Play/Musical: Daryo’s All-American Diner (CIRCA Pintig)
  • Best Ensemble: Daryo’s All-American Diner (CIRCA Pintig), Clue (Mercury Theater Chicago)
  • Best Performer in a Play: Heather Jencks, Daryo’s All-American Diner (CIRCA Pintig)
  • Best Performer in a Musical: Courtney San Pedro, The Addams Family (Metropolis PAC), Courtney San Pedro, Disney’s Newsies (Summer Place Theatre), Courtney San Pedro, Rent (Theater 131)
  • Best Supporting Performer in a Play: Van Ferro, A Murder in the Court of Xanadu (A Theater in the Dark), Ginger Leopoldo, Daryo’s All-American Diner (CIRCA Pintig), RJ Silva, Daryo’s All-American Diner (CIRCA Pintig)
  • Best Supporting Performer in a Musical: Courtney San Pedro, Little Women (The Home Creative Co.)
  • Best Director of a Play: Luis Pascasio, Daryo’s All-American Diner (CIRCA Pintig)
  • Best Director of a Musical: Jay Espano, Gay Card (Pride Arts), Mychall Cornejo, In The Heights (Starlight Theatre, Rockford, IL)
  • Best Music Direction and Orchestra Performance: Eugene Dizon, Avenue Q (Pride Arts), Eugene Dizon, The Producers (North Shore Center for the Performing Arts), Daven Taba, Catch Me If You Can (Surging FiIm and Theatrics), Daven Taba, The Wedding Singer (Surging FiIm and Theatrics)
  • Best Favorite Local Theater: CIRCA Pintig, Pride Arts

Celebrate the achievements of these talented Filipino-American artists by voting for them in the BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards. Let’s show our support and pride for their incredible work! Voting ends on December 31, 2023. Vote here.

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The Good News Pilipinas Team is a group of Filipino journalists who advocate putting more good news stories about the Philippines and Filipinos on the media.