The hit new musical Here Lies Love is making quite a splash on Broadway this season. The show, which centers around the rise and fall of the controversial former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos, is set in an immersive discotheque. The musical was designed by Hamilton’s David Korins, who was tasked with converting the Broadway Theatre into a nightclub.
Here Lies Love is the brainchild of entertainment icon David Byrne (Talking Heads, American Utopia), who wrote the music and lyrics for the score alongside another music legend, Fatboy Slim, who contributed music. And it’s not just the creative credits that feature bold-faced names. The musical boasts an impressive list of coproducers who are making history on Broadway this season by presenting the first all-Filipino cast for a show on the Main Stem. Coproducers include R&B singer H.E.R.; comedian Jo Koy; Tony Award winners LaChanze and Lea Salonga (Salonga also appeared in the show for the first few weeks of its run); rapper, singer, and producer Apl.de.Ap (Black Eyed Peas); and DJ Cherish The Luv. NY1 News entertainment journalist Frank DiLella recently checked in with H.E.R. and Lea Salonga to reflect on being a part of this landmark production.
What made you want to sign on as a co-producer for Here Lies Love?
H.E.R.: I have always been impressed and mesmerized by how much it takes to put together a Broadway show. There is so much work and creativity that goes into it, but it is so rewarding and inspiring. Also, being a part of a Filipino production was a personal choice as well — being able to put my culture on the map is one of the most fulfilling moments of my life.
LEA SALONGA: Oh, that was easy. I was asked really nicely by lead producer Clint Ramos! Nic [Lea’s child] and I were on a shopping trip when Clint made the call. It’s a little surreal to be walking up and down makeup aisles one minute and talking about being a Broadway producer the next!
Your opening night was electric! What went through your mind when you walked into Broadway’s hottest discotheque for the very first time?
H.E.R.: It was an emotional experience and I felt incredibly proud. I was so excited to show the world what we have been working so hard on, and it is a moment that I will forever cherish. I will always replay that night in my head and that first step inside the theatre. I’m so proud of the cast and crew and what we have been able to accomplish.
LS: Probably the same things that went through everyone else’s minds: that there is absolutely nothing like this on Broadway. It’s unique, innovative, inclusive, immersive, historic, mind-blowing.
There is nothing like live theater. Tell me about your most cherished Broadway experience.
H.E.R.: Collaborating with my coproducers and learning the inner workings of Broadway and theater overall from them made me so grateful. You can’t be afraid to try something new, and I am forever thankful for the experience.
LS: Being destroyed by Bernadette Peters when she played Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. The moment she started to sing “Send in the Clowns,” I was a weeping mess.
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