On May 16th, Drama Desk Award winner Jose Llana returned to the home of his Lortel-nominated portrayal of President Marcos in Here Lies Love at The Public Theater to celebrate the release of his American solo album debut, Altitude (Yellow Sound Label). Playwright David Henry Hwang, AnnMarie Milazzo and many of his Here Lies Love cast mates were in the house to cheer him on including Conrad Ricamora, Billy Bustamante, Aaron J. Albano, Diane De Boer, Kelvin Moon Loh, Janelle Velasquez, Debralee Daco, Jeigh Madjus, Trevor Salter and Renee Abulario.
Llana’s first headline concert at Joe’s Pub showcased his illustrious, 20 year career on Broadway, and featured songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Adam Guettel, William Finn, David Byrne and more, which he performed last year in his critically acclaimed concert at the Lincoln Center American Songbook Series. His debut American solo album, Altitude, hot off the YELLOW SOUND LABEL presses, featured many of the songs that he performed at the Lincoln Center American Songbook Series. Altitude is produced by Michael Croiter with Kimberly Grigsby serving as Music Director. Click here to download it on iTunes and here to purchase it on Amazon.com.
Tony Award winner Ruthie Ann Miles, his co-star in the Off-Broadway smash Here Lies Love and Lincoln Center’s The King and I, is featured as a special guest on the album and also performed “Child of the Philippines” with Llana at Joe’s Pub.
It was a virtual Here Lies Love reunion onstage with musical director Kimberly Grigsby (HLL musical director) at the helm and on the keys; musical arrangements and orchestrations by Matt Stine (HLL musical editor) and Cody Owen Stine; and HLL cast members Jaygee Macapugay, Jeigh Madjus and Enrico Rodriguez as his background singers. Llana was accompanied by Kevin Garcia on Drums, Pete Donovan on Bass, Simon Kafka on Guitar and Jack Bashkow on Reeds. After the concert, the party continued in The Library.
Llana recently completed his second turn starring as The King in Lincoln Center’s Tony-winning revival of The King & I, opposite Analisa Leaming as Anna.
Altitude follows Llana through show-stopping highlights of his accomplished Broadway career. When this program debuted last year at Lincoln Center, a rave review from Flavorpill praised Llana as “an exceptionally versatile performer, thrilling the audience with contemporary pop songs and Broadway standards alike.” The album features several numbers from The King & I, including his personal arrangement of “A Puzzlement.” “Child of the Philippines” and “A Perfect Hand” come from Here Lies Love, the smash hit musical at the Public Theater which helped him explore his own Filipino roots. Ben Brantley of The New York Times said “he should have been nominated” for a Tony Award in his the role of Marcos. Other highlights include “Chip’s Lament” from William Finn’s Spelling Bee – in which Llana was called a “standout” by The Washington Post – and selections are from Adam Guettel’s song cycle Saturn Returns. The album is rounded out by numbers from classic musicals Company and On the Town, pop hits from Billy Joel and Ed Sheeran, and a contribution from Pretty Dead Girl, a musical adaptation of the cult short film.
“Twenty years ago – in the Broadway Revival of The King & I – I began an amazing, messy, unpredictable journey,” says Llana. “Since then, I’ve gotten to sail on Adam Guettel’s rolling waves, misspell words in Bill Finn’s adolescent gymnasium, and rule with an iron fist in David Byrne’s presidential palace. And two decades after I arrived in New York, when I took the stage as the King in the new Broadway production of The King and I, I knew I’d come full circle. At my concert for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Series, I got the chance to honor the composers who’ve kept me gainfully employed, and who make me want to keep reaching for higher altitudes. This album was inspired by that night, and the astonishing music I’ve been lucky enough to get to sing.”
Yellow Sound Label is a Grammy Award-nominated, cutting-edge record company that produces both established performers and up-and-coming artists. The boutique label takes a hands-on approach in nurturing and producing passionate, focused performers and composers who create quality, noteworthy recordings. The label has featured the best of Broadway (Matilda, The Visit, Big Fish), Off Broadway (Heathers: The Musical, The Burnt Part Boys, Murder Ballad), theater luminaries (Chita Rivera, Alan Cumming, Telly Leung, Christopher Jackson), and rising songwriter/composers (Marcy & Zina, Kerrigan & Lowdermilk, Lance Horne, Michael Patrick Walker). www.YellowSoundLabel.com.
THE KING AND I’s Jose Llana Celebrates ALTITUDE Album Release at Joe’s Pub on May 16
Broadway’s THE KING AND I Starring Jose Llana and Analisa Leaming, Offers Autism-Friendly Performance on April 24
Broadway’s ‘The King and I’ Will Feature a Succession of Kings- Ken Watanabe Returns (Mar. 17 – Apr. 17), Jose Llana (Apr. 19- May 1), and Hawaii Five-O’s Daniel Dae Kim (May 3 – Jun. 26)
THE KING AND I’s Lainie Sakakura Ushers in the Year of the Monkey at P.S. 87 with Broadway Pals Ann Harada, Jose Llana, Telly Leung, Amaya Braganza, Sam Tanabe, Belinda Allyn, James Ignacio and YoonJeong Seong
Photos: Celebrating with Jose Llana, Ruthie Ann Miles, Kelli O’Hara and Company after THE KING AND I’s Special Performance for The Actors Fund
Q & A with Jose Llana, the new King of Siam in LCT’s Tony Award-Winning Revival of The King and I
Photos: Late Night at HERE LIES LOVE with Jaygee Macapugay, David Byrne, Jose Llana, Conrad Ricamora, Melody Butiu and More
Photos: Jose Llana, Stephanie Umoh & cast of Falling for Eve
The Making of the Flower Drum Song Cast Album
Flower Drum Song, An American Story
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.com, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.