Interview: HERE LIES LOVE's Jasmine Forsberg Talks Making Broadway History

In the latest edition of BroadwayWorld's Debut of the Month, Jasmine Forsberg shares what it means to her to be working with an all-Filipino cast, and much more.

By: Jun. 27, 2023
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Interview: HERE LIES LOVE's Jasmine Forsberg Talks Making Broadway History
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Jasmine Forsberg is currently making her Broadway debut as Maria Luisa/T2 in Here Lies Love on Broadway! 

Forsberg's credits include the First National Tour of Six (Jane Seymour), Broadway Bounty Hunter Off-Broadway, Regional productions of Love in Hate Nation (Two River Theater, World Premiere), A Grand Night for Singing (Goodspeed), and Wild Fire (Denver Center). She also appeared on television in One December Night on Hallmark! 

In the latest edition of BroadwayWorld's Debut of the Month, Forsberg shares what it means to her to be working with an all-Filipino cast, why she recommends meeting your heroes, and much more.

Read the full interview and check out photography by BroadwayWorld's own Jennifer Broski below!


What does it mean to you to be making your Broadway debut with Here Lies Love?

It is an absolute dream come true, not just to be making my Broadway debut, but making my Broadway debut alongside an all-Filipino cast. Making Broadway history with them is an experience that I genuinely never thought could have happened, and here we are, telling this story on the biggest stage in America, and it’s just thrilling. It is an absolute honor, and I know it’s meaningful to everybody who is a part of this company, not just me. Here I am being all excited, but everybody is equally as excited!

What has it been like for you working with this company to bring Here Lies Love to the Broadway stage?

In my experience as a mixed-race Filipino person, I went to Filipino parties all the time growing up, whether they were grad parties, holiday parties, whether my lolo was hosting a boxing match watch party, and one of the things that as a youngster I loved about the Filipino community is that you never actually know who your real relatives are, because everybody treated you like family. And when I walked into rehearsal on the first day, I got that exact same feeling. It was just a closeness that I’ve never had with any other cast because something as simple yet deep as cultural background is, it really brings people together, it’s some common, shared, experience. So, that’s been special, period, on the Filipino note.

And then, I’m sure you’ve heard, “Never meet your heroes,” but I think all of us in this room have collectively thought of Lea Salonga as our Filipino hero over the years, and I can 100% say without a doubt, absolutely meet your heroes, because they inspire you. Lea Salonga inspires, and she’s also just Tita Lea, she’s a big sister to all of us, and it’s really, really special to meet a role model and have them mentor you in real time, it’s crazy.

Here Lies Love

What was the rehearsal process like for this show?

So, I’m jumping into this show after over 10 years of iterations of the show. It originated at The Public in 2013, and I was nowhere near New York City at that time, I grew up in Orlando, Florida. But what was so beautiful about this process is that the whole company has incorporated people who have been with the show from the very beginning, and then people who are just joining the show for the first time. So, it was a very mixed experience. We had a lot of role models throughout the process because some people have done this show for 10 years now, or even before then, in workshops, and concept recordings. And it was definitely a quick process for the people who jumped in for the first time, we were given a lot of material, but there was patience.

We got to rehearse on the set, which was really special. David Korins designed this incredible playground for us. In rehearsals we were able to use elements of that set to get a gauge of what the show was going to be. Because it’s so specific, it’s so unique, it’s unlike anything I’ve been a part of before. And thank goodness we were able to use the set as our playground during rehearsal because it made tech a lot easier, that’s for sure!

Do you have a favorite song or moment in the show?

I don’t want to give too much away, but my favorite song is our final song in the show, it’s called ‘God Draws Straight’. It is a beautiful moment for us as a Filipino cast to come together and recount this historical moment in its simplest terms. David Byrne wrote the song through the perspective of one individual going through the People Power Revolution.

This was such an important moment in Filipino history, and to this day, people have all sorts of thoughts about it, very different thoughts across the board. But ultimately, this song is the complete antithesis of everything else that you’ve heard in the show when it comes to the disco-esque musicality that you’ve heard leading up to it. It is completely stripped away of that, and it’s just real, human connection. That’s one of the most beautiful parts of the show for me, and I hope that it resonates with the audience as much as it is resonating with our company, because it’s really special to sing this song every night.

Here Lies Love

What do you want to say to people who are going to come and see Here Lies Love on Broadway?

I hope that they prepare themselves to dance, have fun, and most importantly, be informed. Get ready to be informed through disco music. One of the most beautiful things about David Bryne’s creation of this show is that he’s done all of the research with primary sources. Primary sources are what inspired and informed this show, and I am excited for the audience to get ready to party, have fun, but also walk out feeling so much more informed about a time that they might not even know that much about in Filipino history. Filipino history is American history and American history is Filipino history. That’s one of the themes of the show as well, so I’m glad that we’re bringing this show to the Broadway community.

Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Talking about Broadway debuts, I know a lot of people in my position have dreamed of something like this for their whole life, and telling this story would not be possible without the other AAPI artists who have paved the way before me. I’m getting emotional thinking about that, about how special it is to be making Broadway history, and all of the work, blood, sweat and tears that have gone into this industry before me from my other AAPI artists, and it’s just an honor. It is so special, and I hope I do them proud.

Here Lies Love

 





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