Exclusive interview with entertainment veteran, Victor Lirio


As an entertainment veteran in acting and directing, Victor Lirio is also the founder of Diverse City Theater Company and creative director to Filipino singer/actress Lea Salonga. Lirio talks to 429Magazine about his contribution to the benefit, his relationship with Salonga as well as his future endeavors.

429Magazine: Possibly a brief background on the upcoming PhilDev benefit and what do you personally see as the importance of the cause?
Victor Lirio: The upcoming concert is PhilDev’s annual fundraising event to raise funds for the organization.  I support the cause of PhilDev because it promotes education and training for the Philippines to have longer-term economic sustainability and become more globally competitive.  It’s a big and ambitious dream.
429Mag: What inspired you in your career and what essentially inspires you the most, as an individual?
Lirio: What inspires me in my work is telling compelling stories … stories with extraordinary circumstances, relationships and characters.  They broaden my perspective about humanity and people.  I am learning to judge less.  Poetry inspires me as well, specifically, works by Mary Oliver and David Whyte.  As an individual, I am inspired by selfless acts of others.  They make me aspire to be a better version of myself.
429Mag: Was there ever another alternative career you would have taken?
Lirio: My heart was set on pursuing a career in the performing arts.  As an alternative career, I would have taken the policy-making path working for the United Nations Development Group (UNDP).
429Mag: How long have you been working with Lea Salonga? Is there a memorable moment you’d like to share between the two of you?
Lirio: Lea and I first worked together as actors in 1994 in a production of Grease!  I produced her Carnegie Hall concert debut in 2005.  I first directed her in a Sondheim concert at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in November 2011. Then, twice at The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center this year:  opening of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Concert Series and the exclusive webcast of her critically acclaimed concert at Café Carlyle, Back to Before, that I also directed.
429Mag: Have you and Lea have any connections to the LGBT community, i.e. benefits, etc.?
Lirio: We are both big supporters of marriage equality.  Lea has done performances for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  I also support and have partnered with GLSEN (Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network).
429Mag: Any other philanthropic work you feel passionate about?
Liro: My free time is consumed with causes in the Philippines, gay rights causes, and my non-profit theater company in New York.  When I have more time, I would love to do more work related to environment sustainability and teaching theater to kids.
429Mag: Any advice for newcomers entering the industry?
Lirio: Take the subway.  Cabs are expensive.  Use punctuations.
429Mag: What’s next for you?
Lirio: I am launching my new company, BWAY-LIVE.COM.  It’s like HULU for original theater content.  We will premiere with the exclusive webcast of Lea’s New York show filmed in The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center.  I also met with an artistic director of a regional theater company in the east coast and discussed possibly directing David Hare’s play, The Judas Kiss.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.  I love the play!


The Phildev benefit is on October 5 in San Francisco at The Nourse Auditorium at CityArts. You can buy tickets here.


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