The Here Lies Love Phenomenon: A Must-Know for Broadway Fans
The Broadway stage has long been a platform for historical narratives, bringing to life the stories of figures both revered and reviled in a way that allows audiences to engage with the past. From the tumultuous saga of Les Misérables to the hip-hop chronicle of Alexander Hamilton's life, Broadway thrives on actualizing history through a musical lens. Yet, even amongst these historical juggernauts, a show has emerged that not only retells history, but redefines the Broadway experience. This is the phenomenon of Here Lies Love.
Here Lies Love, a musical brainchild of legendary musicians and creative geniuses David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, tells the story of Imelda Marcos, the infamous First Lady of the Philippines, known for her lavish lifestyle amidst the nation's poverty. However, what sets Here Lies Love apart from other Broadway productions is not only its unique subject matter but also its transformative approach to the theatre going experience. The show is not merely watched, it is experienced; it is an immersive spectacle that engages the audience on every level, and at every turn.
Creative Minds Behind Here Lies Love
Here Lies Love is a thoughtfully conceived project inspired by the unusual life of Imelda Marcos. Known worldwide for her extravagant lifestyle in the midst of her country's poverty, Marcos left an indelible mark on the nation's history. The inspiration behind the musical was the juxtaposition of Marcos’s disco-dancing, fashion-forward persona against the backdrop of the political turmoil in the Philippines.
The creative minds behind this groundbreaking project are David Byrne, frontman of the legendary band Talking Heads, and British DJ and record producer Fatboy Slim, also known as Norman Cook. Their combined musical expertise has resulted in an electrifying score blending disco, pop, rock, and Filipino folk sound in a dynamic soundtrack fitting for the drama and flamboyance of Marcos's life. The music is an integral part of the immersive experience, driving the narrative and encouraging audience participation.
The show was brought to life under the direction of Alex Timbers, known for his innovative directorial style in shows like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Moulin Rouge!, and Peter and the Starcatcher. Timbers's vision for Here Lies Love extends beyond the stage, enveloping the audience in the world of the musical. His creative use of space and movement, combined with Byrne and Fatboy Slim's pulsating music, transform the theatre into a living, breathing part of the show, making this show a truly unique and immersive Broadway occurrence.
Behind the Story
With this show you are invited to witness Imelda Marcos’s journey, from humble beginnings to her position as First Lady of the Philippines. The plot unfolds from the 1960s to the 1980s, marked by the declaration of martial law and the People Power Revolution. It paints a vivid picture of Imelda's rise to power, her excessive lifestyle, her relationship with Ferdinand Marcos, and her eventual downfall.
The characters in the show are as colorful as the setting. The lead character is a charismatic and ambitious woman who is both adored and vilified. Her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, is a shrewd and manipulative politician, while opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino serves as a voice of resistance. The supporting characters, from political figures to ordinary citizens, add depth to the narrative and provide a fuller picture of the era.
The title Here Lies Love is a phrase reportedly chosen by Imelda Marcos herself for her tombstone. This encapsulates the core of Imelda's character as portrayed in the show - a woman who loved extravagance, power, and above all, herself.
The Innovative Staging of Here Lies Love
Rather than separating the performers from the audience with a conventional proscenium stage, the creators transformed the theatre into a pulsating dance floor. Whether standing on the dance floor or seated in traditional theatre seating, the audience is not just watching the story unfold, they are part of it. As the actors perform amongst the crowd, the audience is encouraged to dance and move, which is very unusual for a Broadway show. This immersive approach creates a dynamic and intimate connection between the performers and the spectator.
The blurring of boundaries between performers and spectators adds a layer of realism and immediacy to the narrative, enhancing the impact of the story. The audience is not just observing Imelda Marcos' life; they are living through the highs and lows with her. You don’t just wait for the uprising to happen, you become one with the people. This powerful approach to storytelling is a significant part of what makes Here Lies Love such a standout show.
These staging choices put the musical at a significant place in contemporary theatre. It challenges traditional norms and pushes the boundaries of what theatre can be. In an era where audiences crave unique, hands-on experiences, Here Lies Love delivers in spades. It serves as a reminder of the transformative power of theatre, and its potential to not just tell stories, but to make the audience live them.
Musical Highlights of Here Lies Love
Conceptualized by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, the score is an eclectic mix of disco, rock, and pop that captures the spirit of the disco era that Imelda Marcos loved. With influences ranging from American pop to Filipino traditional music, the soundtrack is a captivating blend of east and west, past and present.
Several songs stand out for their emotional resonance and significant role in the narrative. The title song Here Lies Love, which is also the opening number, sets the stage for the story to unfold. It introduces us to Imelda Marcos in her youth, full of dreams and aspirations, and establishes the themes of love and ambition that run through the show.
The score not only drives the narrative but also deepens our understanding of the characters and their experiences. Whether you're a fan of musical theatre or simply appreciate good music, the soundtrack of Here Lies Love is a must-listen. You can find the entire cast album on platforms like Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, etc.
Fan reception and cultural impact
The popularity of Here Lies Love has been nothing short of phenomenal. Its innovative storytelling approach, combined with its cultural elements, evoke emotions and draw people closer to the real-life events described in the musical, resonating with audiences both seasoned and new to the Broadway scene. The participative format allows audience members to engage with the show on a new, personal level, which gives each viewer their unrepeated perspective.
Here Lies Love has also received critical acclaim for its groundbreaking approach to theatre. Critics have praised the daring way it pushes the boundaries of traditional theatre.
The show has also had a significant cultural impact, opening up discussions about history, politics, and the nature of power. It has sparked interest in the history of the Philippines and the controversial figure of Imelda Marcos, introducing a new generation to this complex period in history.
Experience the show for yourself
Reading about Here Lies Love can only convey a fraction of the unique experience that awaits you when you see the show live. From the moment you step into the transformed Broadway Theatre, you become an integral part of the production. The story of Imelda Marcos unfolds not just before your eyes, but all around you. This is not just a show, it's an event—an electrifying journey that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated.
For those planning to share this incredible experience with friends, family, colleagues, or a group of students, Broadway Inbound offers attractive group discounts. Whether you're planning a special night out or a corporate event, Broadway Inbound makes it easy and affordable to experience the best of New York’s musical scene. Enjoy the show together, making for a memorable outing that is sure to be the talk of your group for a long time to come.