Photo Flash: THE KING AND I's Jose Llana Celebrates American Songbook Concert
Broadway vet Jose Llana returned for the 20th season of Lincoln Center's American Songbook, four years after his sold-out appearance at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse. Llana was very at home on the concert stage of The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center and was joined by his Here Lies Love cast members Jaygee Macapugay, Jeigh Madjus, Renee Albulario and Billy Bustamante on February 1st.
His 11-piece band featured Music Director Kimberly Grigsby on piano, Pete Donovan on bass, Jon Epcar on drums, Aaron Heick on reeds, Sean Driscoll on guitar, Randy Andos on trombone, Matt Owens on trumpet, Entcho Todorov on violin, Hiroko Taguchi on violin, Chris Cardona on viola and Clarice Jensen on cello.
Llana's very personal set list encompassed his career and his recent marriage to Erik Rose. For the encore, Here Lies Love cast members from the New York and Seattle tour - Carol Angeli, Julian Leong, Diane Phelan, Belinda Allyn, Jordan DeLeon, Shea Renne and Geena Quintos - came down the aisles to join in on "Eleven Days".
The creative team also included Tony nominated orchestrator John Clancy (Mean Girls, Fun Home), Tony Award-winning orchestrator Michael Starobin (Next To Normal, Assassins) and Matt Stine (Music Track Editor).
Scroll down to see photos from the reception and after party at Ascent Lounge.
Two decades since the teenaged Jose Llana made his Broadway debut as Lun Tha in the 1996 revival of The King and I, the classically trained tenor has retained his boyish charm and "youthful bravado" (New York Times), now enhanced with the gravitas of a seasoned star. His standout performance as Ferdinand Marcos in the 2013 David Byrne and Fatboy Slim musical Here Lies Love, directed by Alex Timbers, earned Llana a host of rave reviews, along with a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical. As a recording artist, the "charismatic and then some" singer (Showbiz 411) has released two solo albums, Altitude and Jose-both best sellers in his native Philippines-and been featured on numerous cast albums.
In 2015 Llana returned to his Broadway roots, taking over the role of the King of Siam in Bartlett Sher's Tony Award-winning revival of The King and Iat Lincoln Center Theater and its subsequent touring production.
In Spring 2019, Mr. Llana will lead the UK tour of The King and I as The King, with Annalene Beechey as Anna, fresh from her West End success at the London Palladium. The pair are set to open the UK Tour and are scheduled for the first three cities - Manchester, Dublin and Sunderland. Click here for the touring schedule and to book tickets.
Click here to read Llana's interview about the show and his upcoming tour.
Photo Credit: Lia Chang
Ian Newport, Jose Llana and his mother Regina Tolentino Newport
Jose Llana with his niece Veronica, his sister Patricia Llana and his mother Regina Tolentino Newport
Jose Llana with his nephew Max and his niece Veronica
HERE LIES LOVE reunion with Justin Levine, Jeigh Madjus, Jose Llana, Ruthie Ann Miles, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Matt Stine, Jaygee Macapugay, Shea Renne, Alex Timbers, Renee Albulario, Julian Leong, Belinda Allyn
Jose Llana and guests
The Appel Room