Review: Here Lies Love

You get a Playbill after the show is over. All bags must be checked if you’re on the dance floor. It’s free, though!

There has never been a show like Here Lies Love on Broadway before. The entire main floor of “seating” has been converted into the standing-only dance floor of the Millennium, a neon-laden 80’s-era nightclub in New York City, where the audience is taken on a journey that relays the story of the rise and fall of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.

This story is not presented in your typical Broadway fashion, though. No! Instead the audience is swept away and invited to the nightclub to bear witness to various moments in the lives of the Marcos’s. Presented in vignettes and songs, we learn about the Marcos’ exploding political aspirations and their rise to fame and power.

My friend Michelle and I really enjoyed Here Lies Love, a unique Broadway experience like no other.

Throughout it all, the action takes place all over the performance space: on moving platforms on the “dance floor,” stages in the front, back and sides, as well as the mezzanine ares, where there are seats for audience members. Utilizing live cameras, several scenes pull the audience in as “extras” in news broadcasts, political rallies, and more! A reporter talking to Ferdinand may turn to an audience member at the end of the interview and illicit a shout of support from them and the crowd, as part of the “live broadcast.” It’s a very fun thing to be a part of and to watch!

The performers also interact with the audience many times. I was lucky to be pointed out of the crowed twice, once by Ferdinand, and moments later, by Imelda. It was fun to be called out, and made a part of the show, if only for a moment. 

The incomparable Lea Salonga, who coincidentally, I saw perform on Broadway thirty years previously in Miss Saigon.

The music is fun. I can say it wasn’t very memorable for me, though, because I can’t remember a single song, only snippets of lyrics from one. Written by David Byrne, the song is God Draws Straight and is sung near the end of the show. The line is “God writes straight with crooked lines.” These words have been bouncing around inside my head for weeks. The most common interpretation I saw is that even though our life may not go according to our plan, god will work with it to achieve the result that is best for us. Given my complicated relationship with the concept of “god,” it is the most profound thought I’ve had in a couple decades on the topic.

There are several photo-op locations available after the show.

But I digress, the show is a unique experience that should not be missed. Definitely go for the standing tickets on the dance floor. My friend and I wanted to see Lea Salonga before she departed the show. Consequently, I went into the city for rush tickets around 6 A.M. the morning of the show. I was third in line. It was worth it though, even though Salonga’s role is of an older Imelda, and doesn’t perform until near the end. It was kind of a full-circle affair for me, as I first saw Lea Salonga perform when I saw my first Broadway show ever, thirty years prior, in Miss Saigon.

I know I didn’t go into the political themes of this show in my review; the Marcos’ are controversial figures, and at some points during the show you are left wondering if the writers were trying to gloss over the horrors of their reign. This is addressed at the end of the show and it is tied with current events going on throughout the world.

In conclusion, don’t miss Here Lies Love. Get the standing floor seats, and have fun!