In an unforeseen twist of fate, the controversial figures of Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos have taken their place on Broadway’s illustrious stage in the tragicomic rock musical “Here Lies Love.” For investigative journalist Lewis M. Simons, whose career involved exposing the dark underbelly of the Marcos regime, this unexpected chapter brought about a complex tapestry of emotions.
Simons, upfront about his lack of admiration for the Marcos duo due to their atrocious reign, found himself in the midst of a sold-out matinee, surrounded by a diverse audience that included Filipinos intimately acquainted with the Marcos era and younger individuals unfamiliar with the nation’s tumultuous history.
Unfolding the Marcos’ History
“Here Lies Love,” crafted by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, unfurls the gripping narrative of Imelda’s ascendancy to power and the eventual downfall of the Marcos regime. Simons, having chronicled the Marcoses extensively during their rule, never envisioned witnessing their story unfold on Broadway.
Despite his initial reservations, Simons admits to being unexpectedly moved by the production. He shares reflections on chatting with Filipinos in the lobby, some of whom had actively participated in the People Power Revolution of 1986 that led to the Marcos dictatorship’s ousting. Tears welled up, laughter resonated, and a myriad of emotions played out in the audience.
The musical, featuring actors embodying Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos, revisits pivotal moments from their political reign and personal lives. Arielle Jacobs, portraying Imelda, delivers a poignant performance questioning love, while Jose Llana, as Ferdinand, engages the audience with charismatic campaign antics.
Simons, a seasoned journalist pivotal in uncovering the Marcoses’ crimes, reminisces about his role in exposing their hidden wealth and contributing to the public outcry that led to their removal in 1986. The musical, he observes, mirrors the flamboyance of Imelda and the political maneuvering of Ferdinand.
Drawing parallels between the entertainment tactics of the Marcos era and the Broadway spectacle, Simons contemplates the broader implications. Today, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of the late dictator, holds the presidency, a surprising encore in the Marcos saga.
In a poignant reflection, Simons recognizes the enduring legacy of the Marcos regime, not only in political corridors but also on Broadway. The once unthinkable concept of a musical portraying their story now serves as a platform for revisiting a painful past and understanding its lasting impact.
As Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos receive applause on the Broadway stage, their son, Bongbong Marcos, governs the Philippines. Simons contemplates this unexpected encore, questioning the complexities of public sentiment and the role of entertainment in shaping political narratives.
In conclusion, Simons notes that the Marcos saga, now immortalized in a Broadway production, evokes emotions that transcend personal disgust. It prompts reflection on the power of storytelling, the resilience of a political legacy, and the enduring impact of a regime that once brought a nation to its knees.