Age: “However old you need me to be.”
Hometown: “I have a lot of hometowns, but I was born in Santa Maria, CA.”
Current Role: Ninoy Aquino, the real-life opposition leader of the Philippines (and First Lady Imelda Marcos’ ex-boyfriend) who puts his life on the line to fight for his country in Here Lies Love.
Stage and Screen Cred: Before making his off-Broadway debut in Here Lies Love, the Filipino-American actor starred in four different productions of Romeo and Juliet and appeared alongside Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights.
"I swept tennis courts at a country club to make money when I was growing up. I’d sweep those courts late into the night and sing because nobody could hear me—Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ and Alanis Morissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill.’ I was angsty."
"One of my first acting gigs was Anything Goes in Charlotte, NC, and it was extremely frustrating—that show was so racist. The director came up to me and said, ‘Can you be a little more Chinese?’ I just stood there, frozen."
"In college, I did a monologue from Lanford Wilson's Lemon Sky about a teenager meeting his father for the first time. My biological parents got divorced when I was seven months old and I didn’t meet my mom until I was eight. I felt such a connection that I didn't even have to act."
"These two people came to Here Lies Love and we could tell they were high on something. They were dancing to their own rhythm. A lot of what I do is directly address [the audience] and I’m looking at them like, ‘You’re not really getting what I’m saying!'"
"An older woman got so wrapped up in the show that during Marcos’ sex tape scene, she yelled out, ‘Scoundrel!’ at the top of her lungs. We were dying of laughter backstage."
"I’m playing the hero right now, and he’s so self-sacrificing. I want to play other aspects of myself and do a straight play. Hopefully I’ll get to play a total asshole villain one day."