‘Here Lies Love’ on Broadway sparks conflicting views among Fil-Ams | ‘Here Lies Love’ on Broadway sparks conflicting views among Fil-Ams
 
 
 
 
 
 

‘Here Lies Love’ on Broadway sparks conflicting views among Fil-Ams

/ 12:34 PM May 19, 2023

To many Marcos loyalists, Here Lies Love is not worth watching despite its merits. To many critics of the Marcoses, it romanticizes Imelda.

To many Marcos loyalists, Here Lies Love is not worth watching despite its merits. To many critics of the Marcoses, it romanticizes Imelda. CONTRIBUTED

NEW YORK—This year’s revival of Here Lies Love is considered path-breaking for many reasons. It is the musical’s first-ever Broadway run and Broadway’s first all-Filipino company. It promises to be a fully immersive experience with the audience able to go disco-dancing alongside actors. But it is also triggering divided sentiments among Filipino Americans.

Here Lies Love tells the story of longtime Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, tracing the rise and fall of the woman once known as the Iron Butterfly through music created by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Developed and directed by Tony Award winner Alex Timbers, with choreography by Olivier Award nominee Annie-B Parson and additional music by Tom Gandey and J Pardo, the show’s home at the Broadway Theatre will be transformed into a dance club where the audience is immersed in the story.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

A wide variety of standing and seating options will be available throughout the theater’s reconstructed space,” producers said in the show’s press release.

Initially released as an album featuring mainstream artists in 2010, it was adapted to a rock musical that had an off-Broadway premiere at The Public Theater in 2013. The show returned to The Public in 2014-2015, debuted at London’s Royal National Theatre in 2014, and most recently opened at Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2017.

All-Filipino cast

This year’s Broadway run features Arielle Jacobs as Imelda Marcos, Jose Llana as Ferdinand Marcos Sr., and Conrad Ricamora as Ninoy Aquino. The musical boasts the presence of Lea Salonga on a limited run, to play the role of Aurora Aquino for five weeks.

The all-Filipino cast includes Melody Butiu, Moses Villarama, Jasmine Forsberg, Reanne Acasio, Jaygee Macapugay, Julia Abueva, Renée Albulario, Aaron Alcaraz, Carol Angeli, Nathan Angelo, Kristina Doucette, Roy Flores, Timothy Matthew Flores, Sarah Kay, Jeigh Madjus, Aaron “AJ” Mercado, Geena Quintos, Shea Renne, and Angelo Soriano. Grammy Award-winning musician H.E.R. is part of the producing team, which include Jose Antonio Vargas and Clint Ramos.

Cast of Here Lies Love, Broadway’s first all-Filipino company. CONTRIBUTED

Cast of Here Lies Love, Broadway’s first all-Filipino company. CONTRIBUTED

“The Philippine Consulate General in New York recognizes the important precedent that Here Lies Love is setting by featuring an all-Filipino cast, a first in Broadway’s history. The musical is a shining testament to the talent and skill of Filipino performers and solid proof of how they enrich the performing arts wherever in the world they may be,” Consul General Senen Mangalile said in a statement to INQUIRER.net.

ADVERTISEMENT

You may also like:

Here Lies Outrage: Imelda musical triggers emotions online

Lea Salonga joins ‘Here Lies Love’ team

For Oliver Oliveros, regional editor at BroadwayWorld, the show comes at just the right time: “The Marcoses have returned to the pinnacle of power with last year’s election of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as president of the Philippines. Watching Here Lies Love could get people to ponder on “why we’re repeating the same mistakes of the past again and again.”

Tony Award winner Alex Timbers, Jose Llana, and HLL coproducer Georgina Pazcoguin discuss the show in a reception in New York. INQUIRER/Elton Lugay 

Tony Award winner Alex Timbers, Jose Llana, and HLL coproducer Georgina Pazcoguin discuss the show in a reception in New York. INQUIRER/Elton Lugay

“Don’t we get tired of dancing to the same tune?” he wondered.

Another reason for catching the musical is the abundance of talent. Byrne is a Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winner. Slim has won the Grammy; Timbers and Ramos, the Tony, not to mention the credentials of Salonga.

“Theatergoers, especially Filipinos in the city, who missed the earlier productions of ‘Here Lies Love’ (Off-Broadway, London, and Seattle) should catch its long-awaited premiere on Broadway for its straightforward premise: It’s the first Broadway show that stars an all-Filipino cast telling a Filipino story—a historic feat that may not be happening again for a long time,” Oliveros told INQUIRER.net.

Marcos loyalists fume

But to many Marcos loyalists, Here Lies Love is not worth watching despite its merits.

“I am sorry but I will not watch the show. I’ve been loyal to the Marcoses for as long as I can remember. I love them, and going to the show means disrespecting not only the family but also my fellow supporters,” Myra Roa, a healthcare worker based in Pennsylvania, told INQUIRER.net.

Jan Andrada, former treasurer of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) in New York, who is now based in Virginia, shares the feeling. “After all the lies, a Marcos has risen into power because of the truth. I am happy for the history-making Filipino cast but unfortunately, I am not going to watch nor support the show,” she told INQUIRER.net.

Raised in Baguio City, Andrada still has fond memories of the late President Marcos’ visits to the Philippine Military Academy and remembers the aftermath of the People Power uprising. She claims that not only Malacañang but also the Mansion House was destroyed. Relatives and allies of the Marcoses and the Romualdezes suffered the consequences. Elected government officials were unceremoniously replaced by people whose qualification was “basta nagprofess ng pagkadilaw (as long as they professed being Yellow)” while many military officers were placed on floating status. As far as she is concerned, there was a marked deterioration in Filipino values after the Marcoses were deposed.

“Now you can feel that the Filipinos are hungry for self-identity. And for me, the bottom line for this downfall is about jealousy… Those who partied and were considered friends with the Marcoses in Malacañang were the same people who exaggerate their versions, which became material for publications, plays, documentaries, etc. What a shame to be proud of and celebrating a downfall,” Andrada told lNQUIRER.net.

Romanticizing Imelda?

Meanwhile, following criticisms aired in January by netizens who felt that Here Lies Love was romanticizing Imelda Marcos and glamorizing martial law, the show’s production clarified that it affords young Filipinos and Filipino Americans a chance to “explore, grapple with and interrogate a vital part of their history”.

“Why now? History repeats itself. Democracies all over the world are under threat. The biggest threat to any democracy is disinformation, Here Lies Love offers a creative way of re-information – an innovative template on how to stand up to tyrant,” the producers said in a statement.

HLL lead cast Jose Llana (as Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.), Arielle Jacobs (as Imelda Marcos), and Conrad Ricamora (as Ninoy Aquino). HAROLD JULIAN

HLL lead cast Jose Llana (as Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.), Arielle Jacobs (as Imelda Marcos), and Conrad Ricamora (as Ninoy Aquino). HAROLD JULIAN

“Why on Broadway? We cannot tell the modern history of the Philippines without the United States. They’re intertwined. Here Lies Love is an Anti-Marcos show. It is a pro-Filipino show, being told in a quintessential American form: the Broadway musical. Two cultures, two histories, continuing a centuries-old complicated dance,” it added.

However, Golden Gate Xpress visuals editor Miguel Francesco Carrion remains unimpressed. “Here Lies Love can claim to be an anti-Marcos production, but if it fails to portray the active role that Imelda played during the conjugal dictatorship, then it will have failed as an accurate representation of the horrors she and her family are complicit in,” he wrote in a piece published May 14 that extensively tackled alleged crimes of the Marcoses.

For Fil-Am Prince of Pop Garth Garcia, it should be more about Filipino pride and culture than anything else. “Speaking as an artist and community partner of the show, it’s about time to rest political differences and celebrate our pride and culture. I urge everyone to watch and support the show,” he told INQUIRER.net.

MORE STORIES
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
TAGS: Filipino American stage production
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.




We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.