“Here Lies Love”: A Disco-Pop Musical on the Life of Imelda Marcos

“Here Lies Love” is a disco-pop musical that revolves around the life of Imelda Marcos, the former First Lady of the Philippines, and her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, who became president in 1965. At the beginning, they were embraced by many as a hopeful new start, with their power rooted in American foreign policy, which saw them as a democratic bulwark against communism in Asia.

However, over nearly two decades, their rule was marred by violence against political opponents and corruption, exemplified by Imelda’s infamous shoe collection. In 1986, the “People Power” revolution erupted, leading to the ousting of the Marcoses, who were forced into exile in the U.S.

The musical “Here Lies Love,” created by singer-songwriter David Byrne, delves into Imelda Marcos’ life through a dance-club atmosphere. Byrne was inspired by Imelda’s love for discos, which led him to envision this unique way of storytelling.

The musical’s central theme is understanding what motivated Imelda Marcos and eventually led to her downfall. The show features Arielle Jacobs as Imelda and Jose Llana as Ferdinand. Llana, having been born in the Philippines during the tumultuous period of Marcos’ military rule, brings personal connections to the role. Lea Salonga, who plays the grieving mother of assassinated opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, also produces the show.

“Here Lies Love” marks a significant milestone, as it is the first all-Filipino company to perform on Broadway. The production encourages audience participation and dancing, making it an immersive theatrical experience.

The musical aims to go beyond the myth of Imelda’s obsession with shoes and explore the real consequences of power and responsibility in the context of her life’s extraordinary journey.