Siddhartha the musical : Biography of Sakyamuni Buddha

The musical is based on the book The Biography of Sakyamuni Buddha by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order. Most of the songs used in the musical are also based on the writings of the Venerable Master.


Fo Guang Shan Philippines in cooperation with the Buddha’s Light International Association will restage Siddhartha: The Musical at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on July 17, at 2 pm and 8 pm. Directed by Sarah Mae Enclona-Henderson and with musical direction by Jude Gitamondoc, Siddhartha: The Musical tells the story of Siddhartha, the prince who renounced his royal status to seek enlightenment. He would eventually become the Buddha, the awakened one. His teachings are still kept alive today by millions of people all over the world.

To date, Siddhartha: The Musical has been staged a total of 55 times. It has been shown in Cebu, Manila, Iloilo, Bacolod, Taiwan and the United States.

In November 2013, the entire cast and crew of the production was invited to perform by Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple in southern California to take part in the temple’s 25th anniversary celebration. The production also traveled to Northern California and other parts of the U.S. Proceeds from the shows were used to rebuild structures damaged by the earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu, as well as in relief operations for the victims of typhoon Yolanda.


Synopsis of  Siddhartha the musical

ACT ONE
(From his birth to his departure from Kapilavastu)
 
Scene 1. The Birth of Siddhartha
Known for his gift of memory, Ananda retells the story of Siddhartha ("He Was My Friend"). The story begins by showing the vibrant city of Kapilavastu under the leadership of King Suddhodana ("Kapilavastu"). Unable to bear a child to inherit the kingdom, the people of Kapilavastu beseech the king to give them an heir to the throne ("This King Needs A Son"). Queen Maya dreams of an elephant with six white tusks entering her side. She realizes she is with child. And so months after, Siddhartha was born, walking seven steps forward and declaring his uniqueness to the world.
 
Scene 2. The Prophecy of Assita
The sage Assita prophesies that the child Siddhartha will grow to become the Enlightened One ("The Prophecy"). King Suddhodana rejects the prophecy and vows that his son will one day be king. Queen Maya pacifies the King ("My Son Is Not My Own") and reminds him to let go of their son when the proper time comes. Likewise, she entrusts the care of her son to her sister Mahapajapati ("Promises").
 
Scene 3. Siddhartha's Childhood
Little Siddhartha grows up to be an introspective child. Rather than playing with his cousin Ananda and all the other kids, he prefers to sit by himself and explore the things around him in wonder ("Look, A Butterfly"). Seeing the cycle of life all around ("Life Cycle"), he finds peace within himself ("Heaven Is In Our Hearts"). The King sees this and his apprehension grows. He decrees that Siddhartha shall never see suffering, sickness and death. The prince shall only see beauty and happiness, and his life will revolve around the pleasures and comfort within the palace walls ("My Son Can't Be A Monk").
 
Scene 4. Siddhartha's Marriage to Yasodhara
Siddhartha grows to become a handsome prince, adored and worshipped by his people ("Siddhartha"). Siddhartha marries the betrothed Yasodhara and the whole kingdom celebrated with them ("The Wedding"). And yet, despite all these, Yasodhara is aware that her prince is extraordinary ("And He Was Called Siddhartha"). Despite the richness and pleasures within the palace, Siddhartha longed to discover the world outside the palace walls ("Too Many Good Things").
 
Scene 5. Siddhartha Departs Kapilavastu
While exploring the grounds outside the palace, Siddhartha finally sees the realities of life: old age, sickness and death ("The Four Special Signs"). He is distraught to learn that no one can escape these sufferings. He encounters a lone monk who seems quiet and peaceful. He learns that the monk left his home and riches behind to find the truth to overcome world suffering. He decides to leave the confines of Kapilavastu in search for the meaning of life ("The One Thing I Will Do").
 
ACT TWO
(From his renunciation to his enlightenment)
 
Scene 6. Siddhartha Becomes An Ascetic
Yasodhara is heartbroken to learn of Siddhartha's departure. King Suddhodana promises to bring him back ("He Will Return"). He sends five attendants to look for his son. In the meantime, Yasodhara longs for the company of her lost husband, while Siddhartha continues his search for enlightenment ("Longing"). Siddhartha becomes an ascetic and practices self-mortification ("Forest of the Ascetics").
 
Scene 7. The Five Attendants
The five attendants rummage through every corner of the kingdom to look for Siddhartha ("Looking For Siddhartha"). When they finally find him, they are greatly awed by what they see and follow him for six years ("I'll Follow You"). However, their awe turns to disgust when they see Siddhartha fainting and giving in to the needs of the flesh by drinking goats' milk offered by a common shepherd girl. Feeling cheated, they abandon him. Siddhartha realizes that asceticism is not the way to enlightenment. Under a bodhi tree, he vows never to stop until he will be enlightened ("I Will Not Stop").
 
Scene 8. Siddhartha Becomes Buddha
Mara and his daughters taunt, tempt and attempt to dissuade Siddhartha from his noble cause ("Mara's Dance"). In a climactic moment, Siddhartha enters the state of Samadhi and attains enlightenment. The five attendants return, surprised to see Siddhartha fully emancipated and enlightened as the Buddha.
 
INTERMISSION
 
ACT THREE
(From his return to Kapilavastu to his transition to Nirvana)
 
Scene 9. The Dharma Wheel Is Turned
The five attendants become the Buddha's first disciples. The Buddha teaches them the right way to enlightenment, the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path ("The Noble Path"). Thus, the Dharma Wheel begins to turn.

 
Scene 10. The Return to Kapilavastu
The Buddha returns home after being away for several years. The people of Kapilavastu flock to the city to greet the Buddha ("Siddhartha reprise"). The Buddha arrives at the imperial palace and is reunited with King Suddhodana, his wife Yasodhara and his now grown-up son Rahula ("The Reunion"). Life flourishes in the Sangha, under the guidance of the Buddha ("Namo Sakayamuni Buddha").
 
Scene 11. The Ministry of the Buddha
People from all walks of life approach the Buddha to seek his counsel ("Three Tales"). First is Anathapindada, whose son is tormented by his haughty wife, Lady Sujata. Second is Cudapanthaka, the monk with a weak memory. Third is Nidhi, a lowly untouchable who collects human waste. Upon hearing the teachings of the Buddha, Lady Sujata repents, Cudapanthaka achieves enlightenment by sweeping the floor, and Nidhi becomes a monk.
 
Scene 12. The Death of Suddhodana
King Suddhodana is dying from old age. The Buddha stays by the bedside of his father to comfort him as he transitions to the next life ("Life Is But A Dream").
 
Scene 13. Mahapajapati's Request
Mahapajapati, the widowed queen, beseeches the Buddha to allow her and all womenfolk to become a monk ("All I Have To Give"). With the help of Ananda, she is able to get the Buddha's permission ("Silently, I Recite Sakyamuni's Name").
 
Scene 14. Ananda's Promise
Years past and the Buddha, like all human beings, grows in age. While he is resting, Ananda promises to continue the work of the Buddha ("As You Sleep").
 
Scene 15. Buddha Transitions to Nirvana
Eighty years pass. The Buddha prepares for his passing and bestows his final words upon his followers ("The Buddha Is In You"). The earth shakes and petals fall from the sky as the Buddha gently passes on from this world to Nirvana.
 
Scene 16. The Buddha Lives On
The work of the Buddha overflows to the rest of the world, with the Sangha flourishing and the Dharma Wheel continuing to turn even after his passing ("We Are One").

Cast of  Siddhartha the musical : Biography of Sakyamuni Buddha

The cast of over 70 volunteer actors and dancers showcases the musical and performing talents of Filipinos, particularly of Cebuanos. 

The cast are as follows:  Benjamin Layos / Junrey Alayacyac (Siddhartha/Buddha),  Gabriel Gomez / Clark Van Daryl Jolbot  (Ananda),
Ivy Melody Gallur / Joanna Ang (Yasodhara), Glicerio ‘Cerj Michael’ Germudo (King Suddhodana), ????? (Queen Maya), Lavinea Rosa Hopkirk (Mahapajapati), Francis Eric Isidro (Assita). 

The 5 Attendants/Monks are: Mark Jude Tenedero (Bhadrika), Joer Ivan Gallur (Asvajit), Sukharno Durado (Ajnata), Eyre Hyamze Dumalagan / Edlyn Clark Sereño (Dasbala) , Jose Christo Rhey Asignar (Mahanama) .
The supporting cast are Romel Abella (Anathapindada), Edison Saynes (Cudapinthaka), Jomar Gomez  (Nidhi), Pamela Therese Estalilla (Lady Sujata), Francis Eric Isidro (Mara),  Jessa Jean Amen, Lourdes Arnejo and Shane Reseroni  (Daughters of Mara), Thomas Jacob Dañas (Little Siddhartha), Daniel Florenz / Corsini Atup (Little Ananda), David Elijah / Corsini Atup (Rajula), Shifrah Bouchikhi (Little Yasodhara) and Xyna Precious Juros (Little Girl of Royalty).

The ensemble are as follws: Jessa Jean Amen, Lourdes Arnejo
Julie Grace Coronel, Mark Arnold Langahid, Patricia Andrea Pateña
Brazilia Francesca Valdez, Shane Nicole Reseroni, Edisa Tantiansu
Dave Nielson Velez and April Marie Ynclino
The artistic and production team are as follows:  Sarah Mae Enclona-Henderson (Director), Jude Gitamondoc (Writer, Composer, Musical Director), Vince Gaton (Choreographer), Oj Hofer (Costume Designer Bhavna Gupta (Cosatume Design Consultant), Sherry Gail Liamting (Costume Design Asst.), Carlo Victorio Enad (Accessories Coordinator), Romero Vergara  (Hair and Make-up), Walfrey Mercado (Set & Props Designer and Executor), Felipe Anjelo Calinawan (Sound Engineering), Ralph Joey Cabusas (Orchestration), Nendel Endrina and Niño James Bañares (Additional Orchestration), Grace Nono, Bob Aves and Joseph Abella (Additional Songs & Lyrics), Eyre Hyamze Dumalagan (Rehearsal Dance Master).
All proceeds of the restaging of the musical will benefit Guang Ming College based in Manila for the training of scholars from financially-challenged families all over the country in the fields of Performing Arts and Buddhist Studies.

For ticket inquiries, please call Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple at 559-9540.

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