David Byrne’s critically acclaimed musical that was extended four times, “Here Lies Love” will reconvene for a one-night only concert on Monday, November 25th at Terminal 5 to help raise money for relief efforts in the Philippines, post Typhoon Haiyan. The concert proceeds will go to Doctors Without Borders. “Here Lies Love” is about Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda, during their regime, which benefits from Byrne’s eclectic music and a complex moving set, that all takes place within a disco. Mr. Byrne is quoted as saying, “The show is about the resiliency of the Philippine people, which couldn’t be more timely.” I caught up with actor and cast member, Jose Llana, who plays Ferdinand to talk about the upcoming concert, how it was conceived and what’s next for “Here Lies Love”.
Progressive Pulse: I’m guessing it was bittersweet when you heard that you and your fellow cast members were going to reunite for the critically acclaimed, “Here Lies Love” concert benefit for relief efforts in the Philippines, in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan?
Jose Llana: Yes, it was bittersweet. As soon as I heard that most of the devastation was centered around Tacolban, Leyte, where part of our show takes place, I knew we as a company had to do something to help with the relief effort.
Progressive Pulse: Tell us how it feels to know that your art, can help with tragedy in the Philippines.
Jose Llana: Music and art are healing things. Music can lift the soul when it’s down and can help unite people in a way nothing else can. It can also be used as an excuse to gather a bunch of people in a room under one cause to reach out and help people in need.
Progressive Pulse: ‘Here Lies Love’ had an extremely successful run at the Public Theatre. How will the concert at Terminal 5 on Monday, November 25th differ?
Jose Llana: We are going to sing every note of every song in the show in the order we sing it. I believe we’ll have some of our costumes, too. There will be some lighting elements, but more specific to the Terminal 5 space. Because we’re pulling this together in just one rehearsal, we won’t be able to add any choreography but we’ll do our best to keep the audience engaged in the story. Also, David Byrne is going to join us onstage for our final song.
Progressive Pulse: This is a global tragedy for all of our brothers and sisters, but, do you personally have any family or friends in the Philippines that were affected by Typhoon Haiyan?
Jose Llana: Thankfully, most of my family is based in the Manila area so they were spared. But we have some cast members whose families were directly impacted by the typhoon.
Progressive Pulse: Will the show ever come back or go elsewhere after the concert?
Jose Llana: I think it will. They are not definite yet but plans are in the works. We all believe that something as special as this piece has to come back.
Progressive Pulse: Have you ever worked in a show that had so many moving components and no set stage?
Jose Llana: No, I haven’t. It’s really thrilling. It’s so new and so exciting to watch original theater really emerge and take shape.
Progressive Pulse: There’s a great concept album that came out with the likes of Cyndi Lauper with all songs written by David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim. Will there ever be a cast album?
Jose Llana: There is a cast album. We’ve recorded it. And it will be released when they transfer the show!
Progressive Pulse: People often forget that after a tragedy, the rebuilding and damage can continue for days, months and sometimes years after the initial date. Thank you for doing this concert for aid in the Philippines. May your art continue to inspire people to reach out and help in the Philippines.
Jose Llana: Thank you!! Jose.
You can get tickets for “Here Lies Love” the concert here: www.ticketmaster.com/here-lies-love-the-concert