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MANILA, Philippines – Here Lies Love, a musical about the life of Imelda Marcos, is headed for Broadway, with performances starting in June.
With music by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, the disco musical dramatizes the rise and fall of the Marcos matriarch and follows the dictator’s family through to the People Power Revolution.
The Broadway staging is set to transform the theater into an immersive “dance club environment,” where viewers will move along with the actors.
The show is produced by Hal Luftig, Patrick Catullo, Diana Di Menna, and Clint Ramos and Jose Vargas, who are the first-ever Filipino lead producers on Broadway.
“Exciting lessons are often learned through uniquely surprising works of art. And nothing is more surprising than the way ‘Here Lies Love’ vibrantly and creatively sheds light on a crucial part of Philippine history,” Ramos said.
At the same time, Vargas added: “While the Asian diaspora can no longer be denied in American popular culture, Filipinas and Filipinos remain woefully outside the spotlight. I’m thrilled to help break barriers on what has historically been an exclusive stage: Broadway.”
While the current production takes pride in bringing Filipino representation to Broadway, some netizens question the musical’s “fun” take on the bloody Marcos dictatorship.
Twitter user @rxnnlm said “I will not be celebrating a musical making the Marcos family seem fun and cool to appease Western audiences.”
Another Twitter user @banter_ko said “we DON’T need a fucking musical that focuses on our fucking oppressors in a time when they reclaimed the presidency.”
@delr0ses admitted that the musical was once their favorite “but the marcoses should not be glorified in any way esp by a WHITE MAN.”
@liveactionraya said writers should have done research “on all the shit the Marcos’ put the Philippines through instead of romanticizing them.”
Meanwhile, @amanda_carmela found herself “conflicted”: “Broadway musical about Filipinos hopefully employing lots of Filipinos? I love to see it! Who/ what the musical is about, especially considering who the president is now? [gritted teeth emoji].”
Here Lies Love started out as a 2010 concept album featuring singers like Cyndi Lauper, Florence Welch, Sia, and Tori Amos.
In 2013, it was adapted into a musical, which premiered off Broadway in New York City, with Ruthie Ann Miles as Imelda, Jose Llana as the dictator, and Conrad Ricamora as opposition leader Ninoy Aquino. Following its off-Broadway premiere, the musical has since built a following, and has been staged in London and Seattle.
Here Lies Love‘s official opening night on Broadway is set for July 20, with performances starting on June 17. – Rappler.com