Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Here Lies Love, Starring Jose Llana and Ruthie Ann Miles, Extends at The Public through July 28, 2013

I’ll be seeing the critically acclaimed world premiere musical Here Lies Love, with concept and lyrics by David Byrne, music by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, additional music by Tom Gandey and J Pardo, and choreography by Annie-B Parson on June 9. Helmed by Alex Timbers, Here Lies Love officially opened on Tuesday, April 23 and has been extended a fourth and final time to Sunday, July 28. The award-winning musical must close to make room for another Public Theater show beginning in the fall. A new block of tickets is on sale now and can be purchased at (212) 967-7555,, or in person at The Public Theater box office at 425 Lafayette Street.

Here Lies Love. Photo by Lia Chang

Here Lies Love. Photo by Lia Chang

Here Lies Love received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical; an Obie Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics; Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Music, Lighting Design, and Projection Design; and Theatre World Awards for Ruthie Ann Miles (Imelda Marcos) and Conrad Ricamora (Aquino).

Renee Albulario, Kelvin Moon Loh and Joshua Dela Cruz perform ""God Draws Straight" from Here Lies Love, at the 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards at Town Hall in New York on May 19, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Renee Albulario, Kelvin Moon Loh and Joshua Dela Cruz perform “”God Draws Straight” from Here Lies Love, at the 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards at Town Hall in New York on May 19, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Here Lies Love is a fully immersive, 360-degree theatrical experience, all filtered through the remarkable vision of David Byrne, one of the great American artists of the last half century. Set within a dance club atmosphere, audiences will stand and move with the actors. Comfortable shoes and clothing are recommended since the audience stands and moves with the actors. Dancing is encouraged.

The complete cast of Here Lies Love includes Jose Llana (Ferdinand Marcos), Ruthie Ann Miles (Imelda Marcos), Renée Albulario (Ensemble), Melody Butiu (Ensemble), Natalie Cortez (Ensemble), Debralee Daco (Ensemble), Joshua Dela Cruz (Ensemble), Kelvin Moon Loh (Ensemble), Jeigh Madjus (Ensemble), Maria-Christina Oliveras (Ensemble), Conrad Ricamora (Aquino), Trevor Salter (Ensemble), and Janelle Velasquez (Ensemble)

Within a pulsating dance club atmosphere, David Byrne and Fatboy Slim deconstruct the astonishing journey of Filipina First Lady Imelda Marcos, retracing her meteoric rise to power and subsequent descent into infamy and disgrace at the end of the People Power Revolution. Here Lies Love is neither a period piece nor a biography, neither a play nor a traditional musical but an immersive theatrical event combining songs influenced by four decades of dance music, adrenaline-fueled choreography, and a remarkable 360-degree scenic and video environment to go beyond Imelda’s near-mythic obsession with shoes and explore the tragic consequences of the abuse of power.

Special funding for Here Lies Love was made possible by The Blavatnik Family Foundation, Hans and Kate Morris and Andrea and Marc Glimcher.

Here Lies Love features set design by David Korins; costume design by Clint Ramos; lighting design by Justin Townsend; sound design by M. L. Doggand Cody Spencer; and projection design by Peter Nigrini.

Alex Timbers (Director). For The Public, Timbers wrote the book and directed the critically acclaimed musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. He will also direct The Public’s upcoming production of Love’s Labour’s Lost, A New Musical for Shakespeare in the Park in July. Timbers is the Artistic Director of Les Freres Corbusier and his additional Broadway credits include Peter and the Starcatcher, The Pee-Wee Herman Show, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which earned him a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical. His additional Off-Broadway directing credits include A Very Merry Unauthorized Pageant; Gutenberg! The Musical!; and Hell House. He is a Tony-nominated writer-director and is the recipient of Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, as well as two Obie Awards.

David Byrne (Concept, Music, Lyrics). Known as the force behind Talking Heads and later as creator of the highly-regarded record-label Luaka Bop, David Byrne also works as a photographer, film director, author, and solo artist; he has published and exhibited visual art for more than a decade. Among Byrne’s works are Playing the Building, an interactive sound installation at New York’s Battery Maritime Building and London’s Roundhouse; Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, Byrne’s first collaboration with co-writer Brian Eno since 1981’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts; a series of unique bike racks installed throughout New York City in conjunction with the New York City Department of Transportation; Bicycle Diaries, a chronicle of David’s travels on his bicycle published by Viking Press and available as an audio book featuring narration and original music by Byrne; Talking Heads: Chronology, a DVD featuring live performances spanning 1976-1983; a soundwork created while in residence at Living Architecture and Artangel’s A Room for London installation; and a collaboration with Will Oldham for the soundtrack to the new Sean Penn film This Must be the Place. Most recently Love This Giant, Byrne’s collaboration with St. Vincent was released on September 11 and his latest book How Music Works was published on September 12 by McSweeney’s.

FATBOY SLIM (Music), also known Norman Cook, is a Grammy Award-winning DJ, musician and record producer. He first rose to prominence in the 1980s as a bassist of the indie rock band The Housemartins, and went on to form the band, Beats International. In 1996, as Fatboy Slim, he released Better Living Through Chemistry, and his follow up successes include You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby, and Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars. These albums helped to popularize the “big beat” genre which achieved mainstream popularity in the 90s. In 2008, along with David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal, they released a collaboration entitled The Brighton Port Authority. His additional credits with David Byrne include the concept album, Here Lies Love.

Annie-B Parson (Choreographer) is a founder of Big Dance Theater with Molly Hickok and Paul Lazar. She has choreographed and co-created over 15 works for the company, ranging from pure dance pieces, to adaptations of plays and literature, to original works combining wildly disparate materials. Her work with Big Dance has been commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, The National Theater of Paris/Chaillot, The Japan Society, The Walker Art Center, and has performed in scores of other venues. Her awards include a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, 2002 and 2010 BESSIE awards, two Lucille Lortel nominations, and NYFA Fellowships in 2005 and 2000. BDT received an OBIE in 2000 and the first Creativity Award from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2007. She has been nominated for the CalArts/Alpert Award seven times. Ms. Parson was a YCC choreographer at The American Dance Festival where she worked with composer Richard Einhorn to create City of Brides. Outside of Big Dance, Ms. Parson created choreography for David Byrne in 2008/09 for his world tour. She directed and choreographed for the string quartet ETHEL in their first foray into dance. This piece premiered, and was then remounted at the Winter Garden. She created two works for The Othershore dance company that were seen at Ringling Festival and BAC. Her dances are featured in the film Ride, Roar, Rise about David Byrne. She choreographed for Nico Muhly’s new opera Dark Sisters, Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando, Futurity at ART, and The Broken Heart at TFNA. Since 1993 Parson has been an instructor of choreography at New York University’s Experimental Theater Wing. She has also taught nationally and internationally including Tokyo and Spoleto, Italy. She was featured in BOMB magazine, and wrote a piece for Dance USA on the state of dance/theater in the U.S. As an artist curator, she has curated shows including: the Merce Cunningham memorial, Dancer Crush at NYLA and Sourcing Stravinsky at DTW. Parson tours a lecture on abstraction called “The Structure of Virtuosity” to universities and for audience development.

RENEE ALBULARIO (Ensemble) has appeared regionally in Hairspray, The King and I, Adventures from Ezra Jack Keats, Nate the Great, The Ballad of Noah’s Ark, Radiant Baby, The Sound of Plaid, and Unholy Acts, among others. Her television credits include “One Life to Live” and “Guiding Light.”

Melody Butiu (Ensemble) has appeared regionally in Euripides’ Helen, A Little Night Music, Calligraphy, Nightmare Alley, Long Story Short, A View of the Harbor, and Language Rooms. Her film and television credits include Untold, Blood Ransom, “True Blood,” “Melissa and Joey,” “No Ordinary Family,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Modern Family.”

Natalie Cortez (Ensemble) recently appeared at The Public Theater in the new musical Giant. Her Broadway credits include West Side Story and A Chorus Line. Her additional Off-Broadway credits include Fame on 42nd Street and Sid. Regionally, she has appeared in Giant, In The Heights, The Mambo Kings, and Pippin.

DEBRALEE DACO (Ensemble) has toured nationally in Miss Saigon. Her additional theater credits include Where Elephants Weep, Nawala, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. She also appeared on film in Farm Girl in New York and When Things Get Fishy.

Joshua Dela Cruz (Ensemble) has appeared in City Center’s Encores! production of Merrily We Roll Along. His regional credits include The King and I, Suburbia, Cats, Cabaret, and Elmer Gantry.

Jose Llana (Ferdinand Marcos) has appeared at The Public in On the Town and Saturn Returns. His Broadway credits include Wonderland, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Flower Drum Song, Rent, Streetcorner Symphony, and The King and I. He has also appeared Off-Broadway in Falling For Eve. His film and television credits include Hitch, Unconscious, and “Sex and the City.”

Kelvin Moon Loh (Ensemble) has appeared in the first national tour of American Idiot. His additional New York theater credits include Barcode, Heading East, and Oklahoma! He has appeared regionally in Miss Saigon, The King and I, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Paint Your Wagon, and A Christmas Carol. His film credits include Clear Blue Tuesday and The Lamp Post.

Jeigh Madjus (Ensemble) has appeared in the first national tour of La Cages Aux Folles. His additional regional credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Altar Boyz, Peter Pan, Scrooge, Myths and Hymns, Berlin to Broadway, The Who’s Tommy, and Anything Goes. His film and television credits include Servitude and “Pop Stars: Boy Meets Girl.”

Ruthie Ann Miles (Imelda Marcos) has appeared Off-Broadway in Avenue Q and toured nationally in Sweeney Todd and Annie. Her additional New York credits include Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd and CHIX 6. Her regional credits include Band Geeks, Two By Two, On Dragonfly Wings, Miss Saigon and Cabaret.

Maria-Christina Oliveras (Ensemble) has appeared at The Public and on Broadway in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Her additional New York credits include The Really Big Once, Slavey, Night Sky, Lonnie-Jake, and The Crazy Locomotive. Her film and television credits include Vamperifica; “Ugly Betty”; “Nurse Jackie”; and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

Conrad Ricamora (Aquino) has appeared regionally in Alexander’s Not Going to Move, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, The Music Man, West Side Story, Miss Saigon, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, among others. He appeared on film in Tallageda Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby with Will Ferrell.

TREVOR SALTER (Ensemble) has appeared Off-Broadway in Revolting Rhymes. His additional theater credits include Wake Up!; Marat/Sade; Political Shorts; The Last Days of Judas Iscariot; Paradise Lost; Dead Boy; Hit It and Quit It: A Love Story; Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Byte; Proprioception; and Brechtfast at Tiffany’s; among others.

JANELLE VELASQUEZ (Ensemble) has appeared in New York in Iphigenia at Aulis. Her regional credits include The King and I; South Pacific; Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular; Songs for a New World; The Corruption of Hadleyburg; and West Side Story. She has appeared on television in “CSI: Miami.”

Completed in October 2012, the revitalization of The Public Theater’s downtown home at Astor Place physically manifests the Company’s core mission of sparking new dialogues and increasing accessibility for artists and audiences by dramatically opening up its landmark building to the street and community, and transforming the lobby into a public piazza for artists, students, and audiences. Designed by Ennead Architects and constructed by Westerman Construction, the project encompasses enhancements to the building’s interior and exterior while preserving the historic structure. Key elements of the design include infrastructure updates to the 158-year old building, as well as construction of new exterior entry stair and glass canopy; installation of ramps for improved accessibility; an expanded and refurbished lobby; the addition of a mezzanine level with a new lounge, The Library, designed by the Rockwell Group; expansion and remodeling of restroom facilities; and comprehensive exterior restoration, ensuring stability of the landmark façade.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public Theater is the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, contemporary and experimental pieces in equal measure. The Public continues the work of its visionary founder, Joe Papp, by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, and leading and framing dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. Creating theater for one of the largest and most diverse audience bases in New York City for nearly 60 years, today the Company engages audiences in a variety of venues-including its landmark downtown home at Astor Place, which houses five theaters and Joe’s Pub; the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to its beloved, free Shakespeare in the Park; and the Mobile Unit, which tours Shakespearean productions for underserved audiences throughout New York City’s five boroughs. The Public’s wide range of programming includes free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company’s dedication to making theater accessible to all, new and experimental stagings at The Public at Astor Place, and a range of artist and audience development initiatives including its Public Forum series, which brings together theater artists and professionals from a variety of disciplines for discussions that shed light on social issues explored in Public productions. The Public Theater is located on property owned by the City of New York and receives annual support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater’s year-round activities.

Lia Chang. Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Lia Chang. Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. This summer she will appear as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Penwah, July 30-August 1, 2013.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Lorey Hayes’ Power Play Set for National Black Theatre Festival 7/30-8/1
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Jose Llana, Ruthie Ann Miles, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Conrad Ricamora, Kelvin Moon Loh and More Set for World Premiere of David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love at The Public, April 2 – May 19, 2013
Ghostlight Records Releases ‘Giant’ Original Cast Album Featuring Kate Baldwin, Brian d’Arcy James, P.J. Griffith, Raul Aranas, Katie Thompson and more
Two-Time Tony Nominee André De Shields, Nehal Joshi, Akash Chopra and More Set for Mary Zimmerman helmed The Jungle Book at The Goodman, 6/21-8/4 and The Huntington, 9/7-10/6
Jeanne Sakata’s critically-acclaimed play Hold These Truths, starring 2013 Drama Desk Award Nominee Joel de la Fuente, is set for the 10th Annual soloNOVA Arts Festival at Culture Project, 6/4, 6/10 and 6/11
Christine Toy Johnson, Thom Sesma, Ali Ewoldt, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Telly Leung and More Set for The Asian American Composers and Lyricists Project at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
Photos: Working Theater’s World Premiere of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s La Ruta
Christine Toy Johnson and Raul Aranas Lead the Cast of the National Asian Artists Project’s (NAAP) Benefit Presentation of Hello Dolly!, at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 29 and May 6
Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams
Chuck Cooper, Austin Pendleton, Nicholas L. Ashe, Kyle Beltran, Grantham Coleman, Jeremy Pope, and Wallace Smith Set for MTC’s World Premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy, June 18- July 21, 2013
Keith David, January LaVoy, John Douglas Thompson, Glynn Turman, Lillias White and More Set for Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the CTG/Mark Taper Forum, April 24 – June 9, 2013
Ellen Burstyn, Jayne Houdyshell, Elizabeth Marvel, Kristine Nielsen and David Hyde Pierce Set for Drama Desk Panel: “The Art of Storytelling” at Sardi’s on March 22, 2013
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Jennifer Lim, Leigh Silverman, Samuel L. Jackson, Kenny Leon, David Ives, Douglas Carter Beane and More at The Drama Desk & Fordham University Theatre Program’s “Anatomy of a Breakout” Panel
Orville Mendoza is currently appearing as Sergeant Lombardi in Classic Stage Company’s Passion through April 19, 2013
Ann Harada Plays Cinderella’s Stepsister Charlotte in Broadway Premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Broadway Theatre
Photos: Maurice Hines, Jonathan Groff, Mercedes Ellington, Charles Randolph Wright at The Beechman for André De Shields’s I PUT A SPELL ON YOU
Signature’s Off-Broadway Revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, helmed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, runs October 30 -December 9, 2012
Raul Aranas, Kate Baldwin, Brian d’Arcy James, P.J. Griffith, Bobby Steggert and Michele Pawk Set for New York Premiere of GIANT at The Public Theater, October 26-December 2, 2012
Albee, Hwang, Enos, Taylor, Wilson, Clarke and Jacobs-Jenkins Set for Signature Theatre’s 2013-14 Season
Photos: David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Opening Night at Signature Theatre
Photos: Partying with the Cast of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child
Photos: Q & A with Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, The King in Harbor Lights’ Production of The King and I
Playing Lady Thiang in the Harbor Lights’ Production of The King and I is a dream come true for Christine Toy Johnson
Tony Award Winner Tonya Pinkins Celebrates Ethel Waters at 54 Below on August 27, 2012
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
NYMF: Prison Dancer starring Jose Llana, Jeigh Madjus, Marc delaCruz, Catherine Ricafort, Moses Villarama, Cosmo Clemens, Enrico Rodriguez, Albert Guerzon, Andrew Eisenman and Nathan Ramos at Theatre at St. Clement’s, July 20-28, 2012
C.J. Wilson navigates armor and swordplay in Signature Theatre Company’s World Premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s Medieval Play
Up Close and Personal with Darren Pettie, Star of The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
Photos and Video: Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas- In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2013 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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