Joaquin Pedro Valdes, a multi-faceted actor and singer, has made a significant mark on the West End with his recent role as Light Yagami in Death Note: The Musical. Notably backed by Bronia Buchanan’s BBA Management, Joaquin’s journey from the Philippines to the spotlight in the UK theatre scene is a testament to his talent and determination.
Originating from the Philippines, Valdes is reminiscent of Filipino artists like Lea Salonga and Jon Jon Briones, who earned their international stripes. His performance in Death Note, an adaptation of the acclaimed Japanese manga, has garnered rave reviews from critics and sold-out shows in the London Palladium and the Lyric Theatre.
The premise of Death Note revolves around the protagonist, Light Yagami, who stumbles upon a mystical notebook. Writing a person’s name in this “Death Note” ensures their imminent demise. Torn between the power to right the world’s wrongs and the moral implications of his actions, Light’s journey from hero to anti-hero captivated Valdes. The character’s depth and transformation, Valdes notes, have Shakespearean undertones.
The reception to Death Note has been overwhelming. The confluence of manga and musical theatre fans has cultivated a unique and dedicated audience base. Unlike the more raucous crowd of his previous West End stint in Heathers the Musical, Joaquin observed the Death Note fans deeply engrossed during the performance, pouring out their emotions post-show.
Valdes’s career is peppered with impressive roles, such as playing Simba in the 2022 UK tour of Disney’s The Lion King. He holds the distinction of being the first Filipino to portray this iconic character. In the context of musical theatre, he equates productions like The Lion King with the industry’s lifeblood, vital for its sustenance and growth. Furthermore, he has been part of fresh musical endeavours, cherishing the thrill of bringing new stories and characters to life.
Delving into his background, Valdes commenced his professional career at the tender age of 10 in the Philippines. Theatre captivated him early on, with a Filipino production of Les Misérables being his maiden experience. Following a stint in the advertising sector and film school, he was drawn back to the theatre, leading him to the UK. Here, after an eventful tour with Miss Saigon, he sought representation and was introduced to Bronia Buchanan’s BBA Management.
Joaquin’s association with Bronia Buchanan’s BBA Management is marked by mutual respect and vision. Amongst the agencies he considered, BBA stood out for its energy, professionalism, and strategy. As Joaquin gears up for a packed 2024, he credits BBA Management and Bronia Buchanan for their pivotal role in his journey.
In conclusion, with Bronia Buchanan’s backing, Joaquin Pedro Valdes continues to surprise and delight theatre aficionados. As he looks forward to the future, his aspirations lie not in specific roles but in continuous growth and exploration in the world of theatre.
You can catch Joaquin Valdes from November ‘23 in the exciting revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Pacific Overtures. This production is set to be one of Stephen Sondheim’s most ambitious and rarely seen creations, and it comes to the Menier Chocolate Factory in a co-production with Umeda Arts Theater in Japan.