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The Independent Online

Filipino priests sing and dance in a new musical based on the life of Pope Francis that aims to draw more young people to the church in Asia’s largest Roman Catholic country.

The musical traces the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio from his childhood in Argentina to his election in 2013 as the first Latin American pontiff. The makers of “I (heart sign) Pope Francis” based the mostly English-language two-hour musical on news stories and literature about the pope, but add fictional elements to complete the narrative.

Show director Andy Alviz said the performance depicted the challenges as well as the rewards of Catholic priesthood, hitting “many birds with one stone”.

“You entertain, you evangelise and at the same time,” Mr Alviz said.

The 50-odd cast of amateur actors showcases the talents of five real-life priests, including Ric Luzung in the lead role as the pope. Mr Luzung, a veteran of the community theatre stage, sings and dances in the musical featuring 24 original songs. The props used in the show were mostly sourced from Philippine churches, but a white skull cap was imported from the Vatican to match the one worn by Pope Francis.

The musical premieres in Angeles City on 12 December and will run until next January.

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