culture

'Dani Girl' takes you on a journey of faith, courage, and hope

July 15, 2019 – Ally Soriano

In a world that is seemingly ravaged by pain and suffering, it’s often hard to find a glimmer of hope in our everyday. And yet somehow, without fail, we still find reasons to smile. Such is humanity’s innate ability to cope and overcome. Dani Girl serves as a prime example of this resilience, a beacon of light in a seemingly bleak world. 

The Sandbox Collective, with 9 Works Theatrical, bring back their widely acclaimed maiden production, “Dani Girl.” This is to celebrate 5 years of producing new, groundbreaking, and cutting-edge theatrical work. First staged by Sandbox Co in 2014, it explores themes that even the most grown adults veer away from; and yet is faced head-on with fearless tenacity by a child. 

The exhilarating musical by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond follows a little girl’s magical and transformative journey. Dani Lyons is a precocious and spirited 9-year-old girl who battles cancer in a refreshing way. Rather than dwell on her sickness and let it take over her life, she embarks on a whimsical quest to find her hair and answer some of life’s most difficult questions: “What is hope?” and “Why is there cancer?” Together with her fellow warrior and best friend Marty, they go on a journey of lightsaber duels, imaginary game shows, blasting off to outer space, and all the silly games between—proof that a child’s imagination and fighting spirit have no limits.




Rebecca Coates returns as the plucky Dani with Luigi Quesada as her gallant Marty once again. Also being brought back from the original cast are Shiela Valderrama-Martinez and Pamela Imperial who alternate as Dani’s loving mother Katherine Lyons. Lorenz Martinez is also back to play Dani’s imaginary guardian angel, Raph. He is set to alternate with new cast member and fellow theater veteran Juliene Mendoza.

Perhaps most notable in this year’s restaging is that it will be starring Felicity Kyle Napuli as young Dani Lyons and Daniel Drilon as Marty. “Having actual kids alternating as Dani and Marty adds a new, vibrant, creative energy to the show. It also invigorates with a wondrous perspective from actors who are closer to the age of the characters they’re playing,” shared Toff de Venecia who returns to the director’s chair after three years.

He emphasizes the importance of hope as the thematic cornerstone of the show which aims to uphold the presence of hope amidst struggle. It also serves as a celebration of the childlike innocence, wonder, imagination, courage, and hope that people often forget and lose as full-fledged adults. 

“As we get older, we sometimes lose sight of the good things in life. And I feel like what Dani Girl has brought home to me is what really matters; what’s meaningful. And that is the people that you care about in your life. The games that you play,” Rebecca Coates shared on how to find and keep hope in our lives. “Find that thing that gives you hope, gives you life, and really really fight for it. Never let it go. Find people in your life who don’t say ‘stop being sad’ but who says ‘I’ll be with you while you’re sad.’” 

 Luigi Quesada shared his own advice as well: “You have to allow yourself to feel. Don’t shut it out. You can cling on to the simplest things like your teddy bears even if people judge you for it. Because hope really does come in different forms. It may not be the best form and at first, you might want to reject it. But when you follow that path of hope and acknowledge what you’re feeling, it propels you to move forward. ”

“Dani Girl: A Musical About Hope” truly promises to be an unforgettable and eye-opening experience that will have you laugh, cry, and leave with a newfound appreciation of life. It opens Aug. 10 and will have limited shows until Sep. 1 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City. Buy your tickets here and be part of this exceptional adventure.



—alike.com.ph


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