David Byrne will host a special performance of Here Lies Love on September 28 benefiting his nonprofit, Arbutus. Local educational and community groups will also participate, including Forest Hills High School Filipino Club, Apex for Youth, Broadway for All and NYU.
Attendees of the performance will receive premium seating for the show, a gift bag, and an invitation to an exclusive post-performance conversation with Byrne, producers Clint Ramos and Jose Antonio Vargas, and members of the cast. VIP-level ticket holders will receive signed copies of a vinyl LP of the Here Lies Love concept album on Nonesuch Records.
Bryne's nonprofit, Arbutus, was founded in 2018, and is dedicated to to reimagining the world through projects that inspire and educate. Projects include Bryne's online magazine, Reasons to Be Cheerful, which reports on solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Arbutus has also pioneered the new immersive science-theatre experience in Denver, Theater of the Mind, which leads 16 audience members at a time are through a series of rooms set in alternate realities.
Here Lies Love began previews on Broadway June 17 and officially opened July 20. The immersive disco musical is based on the real story of Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos, whose husband Ferdinand Marcos was the 10th president of the Philippines and ruled as dictator for 20 years until 1986. 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. Read the reviews here.
Leading the cast is Arielle Jacobs as Imelda Marcos opposite Jose Llana as Ferdinand Marcos. Completing the leading cast is Conrad Ricamora as Ninoy Aquino, a Philippine senator who critiqued the Marcos family during its regime until his assassination in 1983, and Vina Morales as his mother, Aurora Aquino. Ninoy Aquino's murder sparked the People Power Revolution which resulted in the removal of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos from power. Both Llana and Ricamora reprise their performances from the musical's 2013 Off-Broadway run.
The all-Filipino cast, a first for Broadway, also includes Broadway alums Melody Butiu (Doctor Zhivago), Jaygee Macapugay (Shucked), Julia Abueva (KPOP), Aaron Alcaraz (Mean Girls), Kristina Doucette (Wicked), Jeigh Madjus (Moulin Rouge!), Geena Quintos (Miss Saigon), Shea Renne (Hadestown), and Angelo Soriano (Aladdin), as well as Moses Villarama, Jasmine Forsberg, Reanne Acasio, Renée Albulario, Carol Angeli, Nathan Angelo, Roy Flores, Timothy Matthew Flores, Sarah Kay, and Aaron "AJ" Mercado. For many, the show is personal as several of them and their families lived in the Philippines when the Marcos family was in power.
Returning to the project are original director Alex Timbers (Moulin Rouge!) and choreographer Annie-B Parson. They are joined on the creative team by 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. Bobby Garcia served as casting consultant. General management will be by Foresight Theatrical. Tom Gandey and J Pardo have also contributed additional music for the production.
The immersive staging of the Here Lies Love transforms the Broadway Theatre into a disco dance club complete with a performance catwalk and "satellite stages." It also features 360-degree lighting and video screens as part of the design.