Broadway's upcoming Here Lies Love has revealed its Filipina First Lady: Arielle Jacobs (Aladdin, Between the Lines) will star as Imelda Marcos, joining a previously announced cast that includes Conrad Ricamora, Jose Llana, and Lea Salonga. The immersive musical is set to begin performances at the recently reconfigured Broadway Theatre June 17. Opening night is July 20.
The disco musical tells the story of former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos and her family's rise and fall. Marcos was married to Ferdinand Marcos, the tenth president of the Philippines whose dictatorship lasted 20 years until 1986. During his regime, Philippine senator Ninoy Aquino was the Marcos family's leading critic until being assassinated in 1983. His murder sparked the People Power Revolution, which led to the removal of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos from power.
Salonga will play Aurora Aquino in a limited guest engagement July 11-August 13. Aurora is the mother of Ninoy Aquino (played in the show by Ricamora). Following her run, guest stars from the Philippines will take over the role. Both Llana and Ricamora reprise their performances from the musical's Off-Broadway run.
The musical features a score by Grammy, Tony, and Oscar winner David Byrne and Grammy winner Fatboy Slim, with music by both and concept and lyrics by Byrne. Returning to the project are original director Alex Timbers (Moulin Rouge) and choreographer Annie-B Parson. The quartet, led by Timbers, have developed the musical over the course of a decade. Tom Gandey and J Pardo will also contribute additional music for the production, which will feature an immersive dance club staging.
Following its original run at The Public, Here Lies Love ran at the National Theater in London in 2014 and Seattle Rep in 2017. Each production was met with a variety of responses, and conversations have cropped up again on social media as attention returns to the musical with the upcoming Broadway run. In response to online criticism, the official Here Lies Love Broadway accounts on Twitter and Instagram published a lengthy statement that included the production's intentions in portraying this vulnerable moment in Filipino history onstage in 2023. Read more here.
Alex Timbers' creative team will include choreographer Parson, music director J. Oconer Navarro, Tony-nominated scenic designer David Korins, Tony-winning costume designer Clint Ramos, Tony-winning lighting designer Justin Townsend, sound designers M.L. Dogg and Cody Spencer, Tony-nominated projection designer Peter Nigrini, and cultural and community liaison Giselle “G” Töngi. Casting is by Tara Rubin, Xavier Rubiano, and Gail Quintos. General management will be by Foresight Theatrical.