Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, screening at The Palace Danbury Saturday, April 20, follows the real life rock and roll fairy tale of Arnel Pineda. Arnel grew up in poverty; his mother died when he was 12 years old, and he ended up on the streets of Manila, literally singing for his supper. In 2007, the once homeless teen from the Philippines, was plucked from YouTube to become the lead singer for the iconic American band Journey.
Journey is the mega-hit band responsible for “Don’t Stop Believin,” “Faithfully,” “Anyway You Want It,” and “Wheel in the Sky.” With nearly 40 years of history, music, and fans, the band has gone through several phases and members, including losing their signature frontman Steve Perry. In 2007, Neil Schon, the band’s lead guitarist, was looking for a new lead singer and stumbled upon Arnel Pineda’s video on YouTube. Pineda’s voice was a revelation to Schon.
In this Cinderella story for the ages, Arnel, having overcome a lifetime’s worth of hardships, must now navigate the immense pressure of replacing a legendary singer and lead a world renowned band on their most extensive world tour in years. The film culminates in Journey’s trip to Manila to play in front of thousands of adoring new fans.
Ramona Diaz, the film’s director, recounted how she was inspired to make the film. In 2008, she received an email from a friend in Manila with the title “Best U.S. Embassy Visa Application Story.” In order for Pineda to get a visa to audition in America, he had to convince the Manila U.S. Embassy that he really was auditioning for Journey. The agent asked him to sing “Wheel in the Sky,” and Pineda belted out a version so convincing that the entire waiting room stopped and listened. Needless to say, the agent issued him a visa.
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey will be shown at The Palace Danbury, on Saturday, April 20 at 8pm. Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 the day of the show. The theatre is located at 165 Main Street in downtown Danbury, Connecticut. Free parking is readily available for theatre patrons behind the building. For more information, call (203)794-9944 or visit thepalacedanbury.com.