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The Sandbox Collective celebrates its fifth year with the re-staging of their critically acclaimed maiden production, Dani Girl: A Musical About Hope. Set in the town of Pittsburgh in the year 1991, this exhilarating musical by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond follows 9-year-old Dani Lyons on a magical and transformative journey. Far from sitting back and letting cancer take over, she sets off on a whimsical quest to find her hair and figure out the answer to the question, “Why is 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 in between—proof that a child’s imagination and fighting spirit know no bounds nor limits.

Woven into the story is the narrative of her mother Katharine, who finds solace in religion, leaving the hands of fate in her faith (pun intended). As she clings on to prayer, she remains haunted by memories of Dani’s father and the disaster that was their marriage. Intertwined with Dani’s journey is that of fellow warrior and best friend, Marty, who battles a pediatric form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Together with Dani’s imaginary friend and “guardian angel,” Raph, Dani and Marty seek to answer life’s most existential questions, the most urgent being, “Why is cancer?"

Dani’s journey becomes every man’s journey—one of faith, courage and hope. And isn’t hope best seen through the eyes of a child? Though the musical does touch on the ideas of faith, resilience and hope, it does not sugarcoat nor romanticize the grim realities of cancer and the possibility of death. What it does serve to highlight are the indomitable spirit and courage of the individual—one’s path, pain and purpose.

May Dani’s transformative journey serve as a soaring reminder and inspiration, and as an illuminating wake up call to embrace the things and people that truly matter. May cancer serve not as a death sentence but as a question to ponder on, and as a shared experience for people to overcome together.

Dani Girl: A Musical About Hope will star Philstage Gawad Buhay awardee, Rebecca Coates in the title role (Agnes of God, The Secret Garden). She is set to alternate with Kyle Napuli in the role of Dani Lyons (The Lion King, Matilda). Luigi Quesada will return as Dani’s best friend and fellow warrior, Marty (Hair, Waitress). He will be sharing the role with new cast member, Daniel Drilon (The Secret Garden, Fun Home). Returning cast members, Shiela Valderrama-Martinez (Binondo, Guadalupe, Shrek) and Pam Imperial (RENT, The Sound of Music) will be alternating as Katharine Lyons, Dani’s mother. Meanwhile, Lorenz Martinez (Miss Saigon, Binondo) returns and alternates with new cast member Juliene Mendoza in the role of Raph (Dekada ‘70, All Out of Love).

Toff de Venecia (No Filter, The Boy in the Bathroom) makes his much-awaited directorial comeback in this re-staging of Dani Girl. He is at the helm once more as director and executive producer. Joining him is Sab Jose as assistant director and marketing and public relations director. Completing the artistic team are Ejay Yatco as musical director, Stephen Viñas as choreographer, Faust Peneyra as scenographer and costume designer, Miggy Panganiban as lighting designer, Joee Mejias as projection & video designer and Myrene Santos as hair and makeup designer Santi Santamaria leads the production team as co-executive producer (9Works Theatrical). Rounding out the production team are Anna Santamaria as operations and finance director, Maine Manalansan as design director, Elliza Aurelio as associate producer, Pauline Gaerlan as production manager, Myka Cue as marketing and public relations associate, Jonjon Martin as public relations manager and Anissa Aguila as head stage manager.

Dani Girl: A Musical About Hope will open on August 10, 2019 and will have a limited engagement until September 1, 2019 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue, Makati City. Tickets are now available through Ticketworld online. Dani Girl: A Musical About Hope is co-presented by The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical, together with our gold ribbon sponsor, Make-A-Wish Philippines. Special thanks to our silver ribbon sponsors: Privato Hotel Group, Toy Kingdom and St. Luke’s Medical Center; our institutional partners, Carewell Community Foundation, Childhaus, Philippine Cancer Society, Inc.,

CanHOPE and Cancervants; our community partners, Pineapple Lab, Classic Chef, K Best, and DC Superheroes Cafe; and our official media partners: Crossover 105.1, Pitchworks,, Theater Fans Manila, Young Star, Uniquely Pinoy, and Art+ Magazine.

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