Filipino cast and crew make Broadway history with 'Here Lies Love'

Thursday, July 20, 2023
Filipino cast and crew make Broadway history with 'Here Lies Love'
A new Broadway musical opening Thursday night tells the story of Imelda Marcos, who was the first lady of the Philippines for more than two decades. Sandy Kenyon reports.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A new Broadway musical opening Thursday night tells the story of Imelda Marcos, who was the first lady of the Philippines for more than two decades.

Her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, ruled the country with an iron hand and the couple became notorious as they amassed billions of dollars in personal wealth before both were forced into exile after a peaceful revolution in 1986.

If all this seems like a very unlikely source for a musical, that is part of what makes "Here Lies Love" so great.

Fatboy Slim wrote the very catchy tunes and this is the most entertaining new show on Broadway right now.

Amazing when you consider the source of a musical that takes its title from the words Imelda Marcos wants on her tombstone, "Here Lies Love."

One of the many reasons to recommend this musical is the chance to watch a Broadway star take her career to the next level, by playing Imelda Marcos over the course of four decades.

"I really get to stretch myself as an artist, and to be able to tell this story with a full Filipino cast feels like such an important time in history," said Arielle Jacobs, "Imelda."

Jacobs grew up the daughter of a Filipino mother.

"So there's a big honor there to be able to own this story and be able to share this story," she said.

The story of the notorious wife of a dictator is an unlikely source of inspiration for a Broadway musical and it's hard to imagine how such a dark tale can be told in such a fun way.

In keeping with Imelda's love for Manhattan's "Studio 54" back in the 1980s, the musical is a disco extravaganza where theatergoers get to be part of the action in a way that is thrilling for both patrons and performers.

"Because of the immersive quality of the piece, I am literally three feet from your face. I get to be completely with the audience," Jacobs said. "For me, it's thrilling because I get to feel like I'm creating this bond and this trust with every single person that I encounter."

The bouncy first half makes the evil that comes later seem even more jarring by contrast which makes "Here Lies Love" even more memorable, as a show that engages, mind, body, and soul in equal measure.

I really owe a debt of thanks to Eyewitness News Reporter Nina Pineda who told me about this show: which makes history as the first on Broadway to be told exclusively by Filipinos onstage and behind the scenes. That's reason enough to see it, but "Here Lies Love" is also the most entertaining hour and a half in any theater anywhere right now.

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