"DJ" Kelvin Moon Loh gets the party started in HERE LIES LOVE
Here Lies Love, the immersive downtown musical from David Byrne and Alex Timbers, features a hard working and magnetic ensemble who play multiple roles around leads Ruthie Ann Miles and Jose Llana. Cast member Kelvin Moon Loh, however, has a rather unique role. As the “DJ” in the nightclub environment, he opens the show with a high energy welcome that sets the tone for the evening—and closes the show with one of the evening’s most memorable numbers. Serving as our guide, he takes us on an amazing journey to the Philippines and the world of Imelda Marcos. The multi-talented performer was recently cast in the upcoming musical Side Show, where he will make his Broadway debut this fall.
Culturadar sat down with Kelvin to talk about his experience working on Here Lies Love.
American, But No Idiot
Green Day was instrumental in breaking down sexual barriers in the punk scene by championing queer punk band Pansy Division. Does American Idiot have a similar mentality with musical theatre?
KML: "I don’t know if American Idiot’s intentions are to break down any sexual barriers. What I can say is, this is a show about outcasts and misfits in search of life’s fullest potential. Black, white, Asian, gay, straight, et cetera — it doesn’t matter — just anyone on the outside, or who has felt like they are on the outside, of what the media tells us is “in.” When I am onstage, I have a moral obligation to represent these people earnestly. Deep in my heart, I represent the gay youth who are, sometimes literally, dying to have their voices heard — their beautiful unique voices. My every performance is for them."
Reviews for Kelvin as the D.J. in HERE LIES LOVE
“All parties end, alas. Or should we say hooray? In any case, a disco beat doesn't rest as comfortably in the reign-of-terror sections. And for the finale, the production shifts into a folkie, “Guantanamera”-esque mode, an ode to the triumph of the Filipino people, in which the man we have hitherto known as our D. J. (the protean Kelvin Moon Loh ) is transformed into a guitar-strumming troubadour.”
“As a DJ (the excellent Kelvin Moon Loh ) looks down from his perch, what enfolds is the all-too-familiar account of a Third World country Shanghaied by corruption and self-indulgence.”
“As dizzying as the well-choreographed numbers on the multiple stages and the driving disco beat are during 'Here Lies Love,' the most memorable song is a quiet, acoustic one, 'God Draws Straight,' taken from oral histories of participants in The People Power Revolution of 1986. 'You might think you are lost,' the show's DJ sings in the hopeful anthem, 'but then you will find that God draws straight, but with crooked lines.'
“A gorgeous acoustic track follows called 'God Draws Straight,' performed by Loh, its lyrics lifted from oral testimony of participants in the People's Power revolution that forced an end to the Marcos regime.”
Reviews for Kelvin as the Half Man Half Woman in SIDE SHOW (Kennedy Center)
"The fellow with a third leg really appears to have that extra appendage, the lizard man sports scary scales, and the hermaphrodite seems to be split down the middle in the new production of “Side Show” at the Kennedy Center here. As they lumber, slither or caper forth in the opening number of this 1997 musical, creating a macabre pageant of human oddity, it becomes clear that what we will be seeing is less a revival than a full-scale reimagining of this show....But this strongly acted, powerfully sung revival soon puts to rest any fears that the show’s intrinsic merits."
Kelvin's interview with Toronto's FAB Magazine for AMERICAN IDIOT
Kelvin Moon Loh
Kelvin's interview with Culturadar for HERE LIES LOVE
Curiosities Shine in Broadway's 'SIDE SHOW'
Some sideshow attractions in the Broadway revival are based on real people such as Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, the living Venus de Milo, an armless woman named Frances O’Connor who ate with her feet, and Josephine Joseph, who dressed on one half as a woman and on the other as a man. Some of the “exhibits,” as they were known, were born with deformities and found a home and a living in sideshows. Others weren't, but found peace amid individuals who didn’t fit into mainstream society. “A sideshow is a place where misfits could come to hide, or misfits could come to show themselves,” says Kelvin Moon Loh, who plays the half man-half woman in the musical.
Kelvin's interview with The Wall Street Journal for SIDE SHOW
Reviews for Kelvin in PACIFIC OVERTURES at Classic Stage.
"Pacific Overtures has certainly never been funnier. Ann Harada's red-heeled Madam prepares her new recruits for the foreigners' arrival in “Welcome to Kanagawa.” It helps that he has such winning comedic performers in breakout performer Loh, whose flustered novice is one for the ages. Loh brings the same performative acuity to all his roles here (pulling quadruple duty as a warrior, a sailor, and a Russian admiral) and the play is richer for it."
"Most of all, the numbers astonish with their narrative nimbleness. In 'Someone in a Tree,' the fateful meeting between the Japanese and the Americans is recalled years later by a soldier (played by Kelvin Moon Loh) who lay under the floorboards of the treaty house (and could hear but not see what was going on) and a boy looking down through the eaves (who could see but not hear)."
"There are some standouts. Like Thom Sesma as the Old Man and Austin Ku as the Young Boy who remember (“Someone In a Tree”) spying on the historic moment when Admiral Perry landed on Japanese soil. And Kelvin Moon Loh as the comic Russian Admiral (in “Please Hello”) who issues a warning (“Don’t touch the coat!”) to anyone bedazzled by his uniform."
“One of the most ingenious songs from this or any other Sondheim work is the Rashomon-like "Someone in a Tree," a captivating account of Kayama's elaborate deception of the Americans in a treaty hut, recalled by an old man (Sesma) who witnessed the events as a young boy (Austin Ku), and by a warrior (Kelvin Moon Loh) who hid beneath the floorboards, listening. It's an absolutely transporting vignette, beautifully performed, that blurs actual history with unreliable memory from three compromised perspectives.
… "Please, Hello," in which American, British, Dutch, Russian and French admirals — all of them comically exaggerated national stereotypes — come one after the other, angling for trade access. Loh and Harada are especially funny as the Russian and French admirals, respectively."
"Sondheim lovers may jump at the chance to see any live production of this rarely staged work, and the news for them is not all dire. The opening and closing numbers are confusing, but the major middle ones are cleanly handled: “Someone in a Tree” (about the importance and limits of bearing witness) and “Please Hello” (a masterpiece of comic stereotyping, with Kelvin Moon Loh especially amusing as a Russian envoy)."