Cebu’s dancing inmates inspire New York musicalBy Carmel Loise Matus
Cebu Daily News
A musical inspired by the dancing inmates of the Cebu provincial jail is making a stir on line and in New York City.
The play “The Prison Dancer” will be presented in the New York Music Festival (NYMF) from July 20 to 28 at St. Clements Theatre according to a report by GMA News Online.
The story revolves around the lives of eight Filipino maximum-security prisoners who get a shot at changing their lives when a video of their dance-based rehabilitation program becomes a YouTube hit.
The main character, Christian Bagets will be portrayed by Filipino-American Broadway talent, Jose Llana.
Bagets is a balikbayan who was born in Manila but was raised in Canada. When he returns to his homeland, he is arrested for defending the honor of the woman he loves.
The play is produced by writer-director-composer Romeo Candido and Carmen De Jesus.
In an interview of Candido in the Asian Journal, he said that he is a “huge fan” of the dancing inmates of Cebu videos.
“The combination of dance, Michael Jackson, inmates… it just blew my mind with questions,” he told the Asian Journal.
The play also has a webmusical posted in YouTube.
This was produced by Ana Serrano who also told Asian Journal that the primary target of their play was to showcase Filipino diaspora.
Serrano described the play as “Glee meets Miss Saigon”.
The webmusical stars Canadian Idol finalist and YouTube sensation Mikey Bustos and Catherine Ricafort.
It has 12 episodes and had its debut last March 6.
Since then, the webmusical has drawn 464,999 views and 2,187 subscribers.
The dancing inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPRDC) became a hit in Youtube when Byron Garcia, who was then a security consultant of the Capitol, uploaded a video of hundreds of organge-shirted inmates dancing to the tune of Michael Jackson’s 1980s hit Thriller in the prison grounds on July 17, 2007.
As of last night, the original YouTube upload of Garcia has more than 50.5 million views.