Ever since I got home from seeing Here Lies Love at the Public Theater, I have been reading about the life of Imelda Marcos. (Most of the stories I have found about her are about her many pairs of shoes.)
However, barely knowing anything about the story before today, I went into the show thinking, “Oh, so is it going to be like a Filipino Evita?”
Not surprisingly, the musical took a lot of artistic liberties, but who cares? David Byrne’s lyrics, Fatboy Slim’s music, Alex Timbers’ direction and the Public Theater is one fantastic combination.
The theatre’s setting is just as much a character as Imelda. The Public is transformed into a club, with the action happening in every corner and the cast enthusiastically interacting with the audience (who, by the way, stands the entire show.)
I have always been a big fan of a good “At this Performance” slip falling out of my Playbill and I was lucky enough to see Jaygee Macapugay on for the First Lady of the Phillipines today. Her husband, President Ferdinand Marcos, is played by the wonderful Jose Llana, who still has the face of a teenager and has never sounded better.
The musical numbers are quite infectious (the title song will run through your head for weeks) and move the story along perfectly.
Alex Timbers is definitely one of the best directors in his age group and I’m so excited to see whatever is in store for him. He’s young and he’s not afraid to take risks.
Real video footage of Imelda and news of the day is used, which gives a good reminder in the middle of the performance that this is (somewhat) real, this (sort of) actually happened.
It’s always a pleasure to see a completely original musical and Here Lies Love delivers in every way.