Photo © 2018 Joseph Legáspi
Photo by Noam Shapiro. Taken while in rehearsal for On This Side of the World, April 2019.
As a musical theatre writer, Paulo tells Filipino-American, Asian-American, and immigrant stories, so as to proudly give these communities -- his communities -- a voice on the New York stage, as well as provide fresh performance opportunities for Asian-American talent. As he does this, he works with artists of diverse origins and backgrounds, and explores universal themes -- thus allowing his work to speak to broader audiences.
Scroll down or click one of the buttons below to learn more about Paulo's work in musical theatre.
On This Side of the World is a collection of songs capturing voices from the Filipino immigrant experience in the United States. Stories of overseas workers, young lovers, and gossipy church ladies. Snapshots of undocumented immigrants, millennial princesses, and first-generation Americans. Performed by six actors, each song is a self-contained story, resulting in a vibrant mosaic of love and loss, humor and heartache, yearning and faith, eight thousand miles from home.
Paulo began writing On This Side of the World while studying at NYU in 2013. In 2018, with half the songs written, director Noam Shapiro started developing the piece with Paulo. The two completed On This Side of the World over the next eight months with the help of an artistic residency at Access Theater, which culminated in a sold-out two-week run there in May 2019. Click here for the team behind the May '19 Access Theater production.
With producer Megumi Lee, Paulo and Noam continue to develop On This Side of the World and find ways to share it with more audiences.
"THEATRE IS EASY BEST BET: On This Side of the World may play best with immigrant audiences, but the themes of separation, love, and perseverance are relatable even to those who have never set foot outside of their home country. Audiences won’t be able to stop cheering (when they’re not weeping) for this ambitious underdog of a show.”
(Maria Paz Alegre, Theatre is Easy)
In February 2020, On This Side of the World had a sold-out two-night concert staging as part of Prospect Theater Company's IGNITE series at Greenwich House Theater in NYC's West Village, reuniting the original Access Theater cast and featuring new songs and orchestrations.
Founded in 1998, Prospect Theater Company is dedicated to fostering and showcasing today's new voices shaping tomorrow's musicals. It is an honor for Prospect to have selected OTSOTW as their first show for the new decade.
Called at Musical Theatre Factory's 4X15 series in May 2018. Standing, from left: Bob Kelly (music director), Rogelio Peñaverde Jr., Roy Flores, Joanne Javien, Brian Jose, Luis Ramos, Sara Mae Lagasca, Catherine Gloria, Lora Nicolas Olaes, Rebecca Aparicio (director), Joe Harkins. Kneeling, from left: Jonelle Margallo, Paulo K Tiról.
Welcome to the Manila-based call center of Liberty United Credit Cards, where agents spend their nights acting like Americans -- putting on fake accents and fake names, claiming a fake time zone and fake address -- and pretend to happily serve American callers.
Meet Carmela, the call center's star agent on the threshold of achieving her long-time dream of moving to the United States.
And meet Nelson, a 70-year-old widower calling from North Dakota who threatens to ruin Carmela's plans with one request: to be her friend.
Called tells the story of how, over five days, Carmela navigates the rules of the call center, puts on a pretense of friendship, deals with colleagues trying to bring her down, and slowly comes to grips with all she's given up in the name of ambition. Through this frame, Called examines post-colonial identity, as well as the isolation we impose upon ourselves in pursuit of our dreams.
Called was partially developed through Musical Theatre Factory's 4X15 series in May 2018, and is being developed in the 2019-20 class of the Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellows program.
"Green Line Ride", music and lyrics by Paulo K Tiról. Performed at the 8th Annual Curtain Up, Berklee's musical theatre writing and orchestration showcase. Orchestration by Franco Niro; music direction by Jacklyn Riha; featuring William Eastland. Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA, March 2017.
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