Audience participation. Standing for 90 minutes. Historical subject matter. Even the most seasoned theatregoer might give pause at seeing this show. But when you add innovative direction, amazing disco music, and a super talented cast, suddenly everyone is talking about Here Lies Love. In fact, the show was so talked about after its successful run last summer, it has returned to The Public Theater. No one is happier than Patty, since Emily saw the show during its last run. And even now, we would both see it again.
Here Lies Love tells the story of how Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, became an infamous world figure. But, it’s how this story is told that makes the show special. Everyone is ushered into an open space with platforms and stages all around. Some people are up in the balconies, but those on the floor are really part of the show. We’re all at a disco, and the DJ tells you at the beginning Filipinos invented karaoke, so we’re all expected to participate and have fun. Alex Timbers’ direction has us all moving around and looking everywhere, while Fatboy Slim and David Byrne’s music has us dancing and sometimes crying. Everything helping to create the atmosphere of the performance.
The cast really helps pull this off. They make the audience feel comfortable and also excited about their involvement. The ensemble is full of amazing performers, giving their all, especially Sara Ramirez look-alike Maria-Christina Oliveras. At the performance we saw, an understudy, Jaygee Macapugay, was on as Imelda. She was great, and Emily said some of her choices really made her performance stand on its own. And Jose Llana and Conrad Ricamora played off each other and Jaygee so well, it was fun to see their relationships change. Here Lies Love ends with the cast, fittingly, leading the audience in a sing-along, everyone participating in the show we created together (though we guess most of the work was done by the cast and creative team).
Get tickets to Here Lies Love here.