In-between the recently concluded West End production of “Heathers The Musical” and New Theatre Peterborough’s pantomime rendition of “Aladdin” in Christmas, it seems that Filipino theater actor Joaquin Pedro Valdes has no rest as he is set to take part in the world premiere of the highly anticipated new musical Vanara: The Legend. The Musical,” which will be performed at Hackney Empire in London in October.

Valdes confirmed on Instagram Tuesday his part in the musical, coinciding with the official announcement of the production on the same social media platform. “Thrilled to be joining this star-studded World Premiere Cast of @vanaramusical as ROOH in the gorgeous London @hackneyempire next month!,” Valdes posted.

Speaking of star-studded, the theater production’s cast includes Matthew Croke (Mohr), Glenn Carter (Tahl), Johnnie Fiori (Oroznah), Emily Bautista (Ayla), Carole Stennett (Tonah), Cavin Cornwall (Crohm), Kayleigh McKnight (Sindah), Samantha Mercer (Utza), and Shem Omari James (Caladar), along with Jemima Brown, Chris George, Yuki Abe, Olivia Jones, Ella Martine, Hicaro Nicolai, Prem Rai, and Ebby Sama. Valdes will play Rooh in the musical.  

“Vanara” is a story of another earth in another time where nature is revered. In that world, two tribes are locked in an age-old battle: the Kogallisk and the Pana. One tribe has the secret of fire, while the other wants it. Amid the conflict, one young woman must decide whether to protect the life she knows or burn it down. The musical’s prevailing message focuses on hope and unity, which are timely as we live in a world where conflict and natural disasters occur.

“‘Vanara’ is setting up a unique world but is also something that is relatable,” said Adam Lenson, the musical’s director and dramaturg, in a video posted on Instagram. “It is a story of love, family, and tradition. It is a story of a world on a brink of a massive change. It is a story about the environment, which we could lose out on if we would not take care of it. It is a way where science and magic are indistinguishable from one another if we do not understand them,” he added.

Lenson is joined by Eleesha Drennan as co-director and choreographer, along with Tony Cucchiara for original book and concept, Michael Conley as book writer, Gianluca Cucchiara for music and orchestratioons, Andrew James Whelan for lyrics, Ted Sperling as creative adviser, Annalisa Cucchiara as creative consultant, Mathieu Geffre as assistant choreographer, and Roberta Veutro as producer’s assistant, under the production of Giovanna Romagnoli.

Musical fans can catch Valdes and his co-stars at “Vanara: The Legend. The Musical” from Oct. 22 through 31 at Hackney Empire in London. For more information about the production, visit

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