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Imelda Marcos video dancing with Saudi businessman inspired 'Here Lies Love' |

Arts and Culture

Imelda Marcos video dancing with Saudi businessman inspired 'Here Lies Love'

Kristofer Purnell -
Imelda Marcos video dancing with Saudi businessman inspired 'Here Lies Love'
"Here Lies Love" is a big step towards greater representation of Filipinos on Broadway. Comprising the all-Filipino cast are Arielle Jacobs, Jose Llana, Conrad Ricamora, Lea Salonga, Melody Butiu, Moses Villarama, Jasmine Forsberg, Reanne Acasio, Jaygee Macapugay, Julia Abueva and Renée Albulario. Also part of the ‘historic’ musical are Aaron Alcaraz, Carol Angeli, Nathan Angelo, Kristina Doucette, Roy Flores, Timothy Matthew Flores, Sarah Kay, Jeigh Madjus, Aaron ‘AJ’ Mercado, Geena Quintos, Shea Renne and Angelo Soriano.
Here Lies Love via Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — Award-winning artist David Byrne was inspired to create his musical "Here Lies Love" after seeing a video of former First Lady Imelda Marcos dancing with late Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.

Byrne was the guest on the October 5 episode of "Late Night with Seth Meyers," which returned this week after five months following the end of the writers' strike in Hollywood.

After some introductory banter about Byrne's biking habits, Meyers asked the singer-songwriter about the inspiration for "Here Lies Love," whose central character is the wife of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Byrne recalled in his younger years going to discos to see performing artists and wondered about telling a story on a disco floor while people were dancing.

"I like the idea of, 'What if you can have an audience that's only half paying attention?'" Byrne said with a giggle. "Somehow that appealed to me. Because I thought, 'They'll absorb the story. They don't have to be paying attention every second.'"

He put the idea on hold until years later, when he read that the former First Lady enjoyed clubbing and had a mirror ball installed in her New York townhouse, quipping that not every New York resident has one.

WATCH: David Byrne reveals Imelda Marcos inspired his musical 'Here Lies Love'

Byrne recalled coming across a video of Marcos dancing under the said mirror ball with the arms dealer and businessman Khashoggi: "She lives in this world that I've been thinking about if there could be a show that way. And look who she's dancing with? There's a story here."

Meyers proceeded to show the layout of the Broadway Theater where "Here Lies Love" is currently being staged. He pointed out that most of the orchestra chairs were cleared out to form a dance floor.

The talk show host noted that the musical is composed of an all-Filipino cast. Marcos is played by Arielle Jacobs, while Jose Llana reprises his role as Marcos Sr. from the 2013 off-Broadway show. Conrad Ricamora plays the late Senator Ninoy Aquino.

"That's very exciting. They're kind of telling the story of their own country," Byrne said, adding that he often attends his musical once a week to be immersed in the dance floor crowd.

The producers of "Here Lies Love" were recipients of The Outstanding Filipinos in America Awards last month alongside Miss Universe 2022 R'Bonney Gabriel, former Vice President Leni Robredo, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo and nurse May Parsons who administered the world's first COVID-19 vaccine.

Actress-singer Vina Morales currently stars in the role of Aurora Aquino, taking over from theater legend Lea Salonga who played the character in a guest capacity. — with reports from Jan Milo Severo, video from the YouTube channel of "Late Night with Seth Meyers"

RELATED: R'Bonney Gabriel, 'Here Lies Love' producers hailed 'Outstanding Filipinos in America'

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