On This Side of the World | A World Premiere Musical at East West Players

May 11 – June 4, 2023. Opening Night May 14, 2023

PHOTO: East West Players | South Pasadenan News | The cast of "On This Side of the World" at East West Players.

East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running Asian American theater and the largest producer of Asian American theatrical works presents the world premiere of “On This Side of the World”. With music & lyrics by Paulo K Tirol and created with & directed by Noam Shapiro, this soaring new musical takes flight at the David Henry Hwang Theater May 11 through June 4, 2023 with opening night on Sunday, May 14.

A woman flies from the Philippines to America with a one-way ticket and a suitcase full of stories. Each story is collected from immigrants who came before her—tales of overseas workers, young lovers, and gossipy church ladies; snapshots of undocumented immigrants, millennial princesses and first-generation Americans. Suspended above the ocean, she replays these stories in her mind as she searches for the courage to embrace her future. This world premiere musical gives voices to Filipino immigrants navigating old lives and new beginnings, eight-thousand miles from home.

East West Players producing artistic director Snehal Desai says “On This Side of the World is one of the most transporting and moving new musicals I have encountered in a long time. It explores the beautiful ways in which we immigrants contribute to the rich tapestry of what it is to be an Asian American. We’re proud to be able to premiere the world premiere of this humorous, inventive, and deeply heartfelt new musical in partnership with FilAm ARTS. With this production we hope to pay homage to and honor the countless immigrants before us who took the first, daring steps to leave all that they know behind with just a suitcase and their dreams in hopes of building a better life for themselves and their families.”

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On This Side of the World will perform at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo. The David Henry Hwang Theater is located in the Union Center for the Arts, celebrating its 100th anniversary. The historic building was originally dedicated in 1923 as the Union Church before becoming home to three non-profit arts organizations including East West Players as the Union Center for the Arts in 1998.

East West Players produces On This Side of the World in association with FilAm ARTS (The Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture). A special Filipino Community Night with FilAm ARTS performance of On This Side of the World will be held May 13 at 8pm. This special preview night performance will include a pre and post-show reception featuring food and drinks.

“We have been so fortunate to have Paulo K Tiról & Noam Shapiro as part of our FilAm ARTS Pamilya, and are honored to have presented highlights from On This Side of The World two years ago as part of A Love Letter to HiFi. This spring collaboration between East West Players and FilAm ARTS is a testament of our community and cultural partnership,” share FilAm ARTS Executive Director ​​Giselle Töngi-Walters & FilAm ARTS TEATRO Artistic Director Giovanni Ortega. “We look forward to seeing you at the theater!”

The cast of On This Side of the World comprises Steven-Adam Agdeppa* (EWP’s Crazy Talented Asians, The Wallis’ Invincible: The Musical, La Mirada Theatre’s Grease! & In the Heights), Zandi De Jesus (Miss Saigon, La Jolla Playhouse’s Most Wanted, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Nat’l Tour), Michael C. Palma* (EWP’s Mamma Mia! & Imelda: A New Musical, Cold Tofu Improv), Cassie Simone* (La Mirada Theatre’s Hunchback of Notre Dame & RENT, A Noise Within’s Man of La Mancha), Andrea Somera (EWP’s Assassins, A Noise Within’s A Christmas Carol), Shaun Tuazon* (EWP’s Mamma Mia!, San Diego Rep’s Vietgone). Melvin Biteng (Disney Jr. Live: Costume Palooza Nat’l Tour, Avenue Q, Mamma Mia!) and Justine Rafael (EWP’s Crazy Talented Asians, Paris Las Vegas’ Bat Out Of Hell) understudy this production.

The creative team includes direction by Noam Shapiro, music direction by Jennifer Lin and Marc Macalintal, choreography by Anjanette Maraya-Ramey, orchestration by Ian Miller, scenic design by Yi-Chien Lee, projection design by David Murakami, costume design by Jaymee Ngernwichit, properties design by Glenn Michael Baker, lighting design by Szu-Yun Wang, and stage management by Edward Khris Fernandez*.

All performances of On This Side of the World are presented at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 in Little Tokyo. On This Side of the World performs May 11 through June 4, with opening night occurring Sunday, May 14. Performance times Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday are at 8pm, with additional 2 PM matinees on Saturday and 5pm performances on Sunday. Ticket prices range from $39 to $69. A Pay-What-You-Can performance is scheduled for Monday, May 22 at 8PM.

Tickets may be purchased online at eastwestplayers.org or by calling (213) 625-7000. At time of purchase please mention any wheelchair/accessible seating needs. Student, senior, and group discounts are available. Dates, details, and ticket prices are subject to change. Box office is available 11AM – 5PM, Monday-Friday, as well as one hour before all performances.


 East West Players 2 Musical Memberships are available now. All memberships will include tickets to the world premiere musical On This Side of the World and the Tony Award winning Best Musical Spring Awakening. Memberships may be purchased online at eastwestplayers.org/2musicals or by calling (213) 625-7000.

Tickets to the Filipino Community Night with FilAm ARTS performance of On This Side of the World on May 13 at 8pm may be purchased at bit.ly/on-this-side-of-the-world-filamarts.

EWP has implemented numerous COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure that artists and audience members are able to safely enjoy their experience. For more information, please visit eastwestplayers.org.